Thursday, 30 January 2014

Wastoids - EP

Thumping hardcore punk. Three quick hardcore mutations crammed between two big clumping hardcore trudges. Red Meat stomps in, all burly and graveltoned, the guitars surface, scraping and fading, like night sounds, before an animal grunt intercedes and throws the song down into a fierce knockdown dragout thump, gorging itself on violence, a song as graphic and as any vegan sXe hardcore screed, but without the bargainbasement moralising, just living in the gore and living with it. RED! MEAT! I'm a Prick, My Toronto and MCAB are the shittalk seethers, nasty and brief, shouts and thuds in the rumbles, shivering guitar flickers on MCAB cracking out of the mess. I'm a Prick opens "I'm a prick just like you", Minor Threat connotations, but screaming for the recognition of its own shittiness rather than personhood, tearing itself down. MCAB reiterates its self-loathing, cutting between sarcasm and flailing anger: "I hate this shit and I hate you/I hate myself and I hate punk too/I hate this city, I hate my dick/I hate this scene, it makes me sick". It can't commit to its own satire before it breaks apart with bare disgust and then it can't even keep that up before it curls back in on itself. It's the quickly descending stages of alienation. Brown Sugar/Brown Liquor's another slower one, angry bloody lead vocals trading off with brickhead Oi!-rocked roars. The music dropping down to a drumbeat, leaving that scream, shorn of the deeper uglier stomp it seems less angry, more anguished, breaking up not breaking out, drug numb not drug warm. While the whole thing hits with the simplistic violence of skinhead pulp, Dragon Skins and Knuckle Girls, it's darker, less communal than those shoutalong sections imply, it's the fragmentation of those little cliques and scenes and it stabs and cuts with the shards left over. Hardcore punk rock, hardnosed and brawling, infused with shifting levels and dynamics of violence, with the consequences as well as high, the bruises as well as the punches thrown.

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Koszmar - Jeniec Wojenny

World-ripping d-beat from Canada, screamed in Polish, on Rust and Machine records.. Chopping, charging. Onwards motion, full of surges and blood, sparks of solos dying fast amongst the drum crashes, the vocals painful and spitedrenched. The shrill feedback wails squeezed and shaped into purposeful discordant weapons on Anioł Miłosierdzia, the carceral bite of Zdrazony's push/pull riffs. The eight minute torrent of Atomowa Groza, half-inches a riff from Fleetwood Mac's The Chain and tortures it with noise and thunder, settling into one of those rippling rhythms to close the album in a way similar to Disclose's nine minute relentless Wardead topping off Yesterday's Fairytale, Tomorrow's Nightmare. When you pull and prod a genre so used to self-destructive one/two-minute assaults, it no longer becomes a fresh gust of radioactivity air cutting your head up new ways, it stops being a winding gutpunch of fury, you fall in lockstep with its gets and gives, it becomes more a journeyed anger that sustains you, the once dissonant discomfort enshrouds you, sticks in the bone and warms the fingers, tight and close like a hood, which makes Atomowa Groza's slide into this ghoulcall wasteland echoes all the more jarring, and the straight bomber fury with which it bursts out of this all the sharper.

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Murderer - Let My People Go cassette

Murderer. Another band from the fertile sewergardens of the current New York Ground Zero hardcore scene, on Toxic State records, featuring members of Hank Wood, Crazy Spirit, Dawn of Humans etc. Another crepuscular creep, in terms of its lineage it's not got that reckless whine and wheedle of some of these bands but it does have a bit of the Crazy Spirit gallop and a bunch of Hank Wood's urban ugliness, dilemmas restated again and again without growth or comprehension, in caveman shout, brainworn repetitive. "I try to be good at everything I do/But everything I do is dirty and bad/I'm a bad boy, baby." Lowdown and lowfi, shrugged acceptance and despair. Music for guileless hoods of a rundown Personal and Pizzas persuasion, all punches and failure, struggling with the limits of their perceptions of the world. A band with the rhythm and futility of Robert De Niro as Jake La Motta laying into the jail wall in Raging Bull. Murderer. In his essay The Simple Art of Murder Raymond Chandler railed against the elegantly contrived mysteries of the likes of Agatha Christie and wrote that Dashiell Hammett "gave murder back to the kind of people that commit it for reasons, not just to provide a corpse; and with the means at hand, not with hand-wrought duelling pistols, curare, and tropical fish." and this is the kind of crime that Murderer provide the soundtrack for, purposeful and unclean, Abuli-Bernet Torpedo cold. "Death, it comes for every man" warns the band's theme song. It comes with the slap of the drums and the music's grubby punk burble. It comes mucky and reeking and it won't let up, it's stuck in this pattern, this broken asphalt rut. Recidivist hardcore.

Rad - Loud & Fast

Deadly and gleeful, Rad drop-in with the skatethrash speedcuts of the likes of Jellyroll Rockheads or BBQ Chickens. Twenty songs in ten explosive minutes. On Sacramento records.

Despite proclaiming "I'm an adult/Do my laundry/Pay my taxes/I'm an adult" on I'm an Adult, and Banned in Circus Heights focusing on the trudge of everyday worklife, the album as a whole is an affirmation of adolescent energy, alternately goofing off and steaming about the blatant hypocrisy of it all. Even the song Banned in Circus Heights ends in this triumphant singalong of "I GOT UP FOR WORK TODAY!" that sounds like it's a personal mantra reaffirming to yourself that you are actually not fifteen anymore because sometimes you can't quite believe that shit. We all know that one, not sure anyone I know ever feels properly adult, always constantly surprised when you have to do some real life shit like write a cheque or talk to somebody who fixes things for a living.

That's the rail that Rad balance on, the place where you're trying to get by not slipping into the worst parts of teenage mopeyness and cynicism, but also trying to retain that teenage passion and clarity in the face of people your age rapidly transmogrifying into better-in-the-old-days caricatures. So it runs yes on that adolescent energy, but it's clearly consciously mining that and using it as fuel and guidance for these catchy 40 second punk smashes, rather than letting it run chaotic and wild. It's got the carve and punch of a Nunfuckers or Some Old Bullshit-era Beastie Boys, but it's focused and tight, not sloppy stupid and sticky nasty. It keeps things taut.

So it makes you feel like a part of a real cool teen crew who are constantly caught twixt outrage at society's many ills and dumb dumb jokes. Songs switch up between silly pursuits like S.I.M.P.L.E.'s ode to hotdogs, and more pressing matters like Corporate Drugs, and even within the songs like Corporate Drugs that it attacks those issues more with sophomoric taunts and facetious insults like "We're Clariton clear, you're full of shit!" than with cohesive well-argued (read: boring) points. "Moshing is our medicine!" it crows. You've gotta believe a line like that, sung with that conviction. Times when you're hanging out and feel like you can set the world to right with your puerile friends, but really you just wanna make those idiots laugh with a quick oneliner or an exaggerated impression of some dickbag you all know and loathe.

All the burns and choruses feel like inside jokes you've been let into, Legacy of Bro-tality just screaming "AQUALUNG!" as if that says everything you need to know about some shitty dude (and it totally does). In Never Turn Your Back (On a Mosh) it goes ""Strike the spike in the pit" my mother said, but she never moshed in a circle pit", reinforcing the message (such as it is) of the anti-porcupine-in-the-pit PSA Strike the Spike, in the This Is Rad 7" version of that same tune the line is ""Cover your tits in the pit" my mother said, but she never moshed in a circle pit" referencing that release's far more realistically helpful Cover Your Tits In the Pit. But really the point is that your friends constantly bitching sarcastically about some fantastical prevalence of porcupines at punk shows to the bemusement of those not in the tight little clique, or shouting "COVER YOUR TITS IN THE PIT!" at each other constantly is exactly the sort of semi-secret garagewit argot that develops when you roll with a group of teenage punx, prickling with insecurity and violence and frustration.

They construct this little rebel world of fallabout thrashskate moments, living in the pit and in empty pools they cruise around, celebrating hotdogs and D&D, the little shared joys that make existence real cool for an evening or so, offering takedowns of bros and creeps and Megadeth and people who call the cops on houseshows (Don't Call the Cops also includes a bit where they make a silly siren sound, thus confirming that Rad are a good punk band), the annoying tagnuts that drag you down and make you feel extra bummed on life. Fuck those things, pound them down with the sort of worn-in LL Cool J reference that begins Creep-Out Crew that all your friends will love, drown them out with the sound of 30 second balls of righteous hardcorepunk about how your town is totally rad, and for a moment it totally is.

Friday, 24 January 2014

Guitar Wolf - Beast Vibrator

This is a message I received.
I recently received a message from someone who was keen to tell me that while they enjoyed my blog, I would be a better writer if I attempted to write more objectively. I am always open to constructive criticism and I will therefore endeavour to stick to the facts as much as possible in this review. Objectivity is the watchword.

Guitar Wolf are a band. Guitar Wolf are a band from Japan. Guitar Wolf have three members. These three members are named Seiji, U.G. and Toru and are sometimes known as Guitar Wolf, Bass Wolf and Drum Wolf. That is a combination of the word 'wolf' (taken from the name of the band) and the musical instrument that these respective musicians play. Beast Vibrator is the name of Guitar Wolf's new album. This album is their 12th album, following on from Spacebattleship Love, Mars Twist, Dead Rock, Golden Black, Loverock, UFO Romantics, Rock and Roll Etiquette, Jet Generation, Planet of the Wolves, Missile Me! and Run Wolf Run. Guitar Wolf are a band that play very loud. Guitar Wolf are a rock and roll band. Guitar Wolf are a very loud rock and roll band. Their new album, which is entitled Beast Vibrator, contains eleven songs.

The first song on the Guitar Wolf album Beast Vibrator is Beast Vibrator. The second song on the Guitar Wolf album Beast Vibrator is Mesopotamian Lonely. The third song on the Guitar Wolf album Beast Vibrator is Gasoline Lullaby. The fourth song on the Guitar Wolf album Beast Vibrator is Ghostly You. The fifth song on the Guitar Wolf album Beast Vibrator is Robot Maria. The sixth song on the Guitar Wolf album Beast Vibrator is Batting Center. The seventh song on the Guitar Wolf album Beast Vibrator is Saphire CITY. The eighth song on the Guitar Wolf album Beast Vibrator is Magma Nobunaga. The nine song on the Guitar Wolf album Beast Vibrator is Barf Night. The tenth song on the Guitar Wolf album Beast Vibrator is EARTH vs. ALIEN. The eleventh song on the Guitar Wolf album Beast Vibrator is Female Machine Gun.

The first song on the Guitar Wolf album Beast Vibrator, Beast Vibrator, is a rock and roll song. It is loud. Beasts is a word used to describe undomesticated animals. Vibrator is an instrument used to provide sexual pleasure. This song is a wild animal that provides sexual stimulation and release.

The second song on the Guitar Wolf album Beast Vibrator, Mesopotamian Lonely, is a rock and roll song. It is loud. Mesopotamian is an adjective pertaining to the inhabitants and culture of the area now known as Iraq. Lonely is the sensation when you are isolated from other people and have negative feelings due to this isolation. This song is painful desert solitude.

The third song on the Guitar Wolf album Beast Vibrator, Gasoline Lullaby, is a rock and roll song. It is loud. Gasoline is the substance that is used to power many machines, including cars, motorcycles and chainsaws. Lullaby is a song that is sung to children to help them go to sleep. This song is powerful song that will ignite to make children sleep.

The fourth song on the Guitar Wolf album Beast Vibrator, Ghostly You, is a rock and roll song. It is loud. Ghostly is a word that descibes things which resemble the spirits of dead people. You are a bastard. This song is a haunting bastard.

The fifth song on the Guitar Wolf album Beast Vibrator, Robot Maria, is a rock and roll song. It is loud. Robot is a word, originating from the Czech playwright Karel Capek's book War With the Newts, that is used to describe an automaton capable of performing tasks. Maria is a popular name. It is often associated with Catholicism, or the van which takes prisoners to jail, which is known as a Black Maria. This song is machine built from wire and steel that will take your ass to jail.

The sixth song on the Guitar Wolf album Beast Vibrator, Batting Center, is a rock and roll song. It is loud. Batting is the action of striking a ball with a bat. Center is a word for the middle of things. This song strikes at the core.

The seventh song on the Guitar Wolf album Beast Vibrator, Saphire CITY, is a rock and roll song. It is loud. Saphire is a precious blue stone. CITY is a large built-up area in which many people live and work. This song is the blues in lives and works.

The eighth song on the Guitar Wolf album Beast Vibrator, Magma Nobunaga, is a rock and roll song. It is loud. is the substance that consists of molten rock underneath the world. Nobunaga is the name of a man who unified Japan. This song is unifying burn. Out of context, the word Nobunaga may appear to some English readers to be a nonsense word such as flubtredderling, weeewoopapapapabipdaaaaaaarswuix, or gluttle. This song is hot squabaloo.

This is the album cover of the Guitar Wolf album Beast
Vibrator. This album cover depicts the members
of Guitar Wolf imprisoned and looking super cool.
The ninth song on the Guitar Wolf album Beast Vibrator, Barf Night, is a rock and roll song. It is loud. Barf is a word for when you expell food and fluids from your mouth through a series of convulsions. Night is the period when the Earth is turned away from the sun. This song is a convulsion that will turn the world dark.

The tenth song on the Guitar Wolf album Beast Vibrator, EARTH vs. ALIEN, is a rock and roll song. It is loud. EARTH is the planet on which humanity originates, vs. is a term used to denote a fight or contest, ALIEN is a word for sentient beings not originating on planet Earth, also used to describe anything which comes from outside our realms of experience. This song is a fight between all that we know and all that we do not know.

The eleventh song on the Guitar Wolf album Beast Vibrator, Female Machine Gun, is a rock and roll song. It is loud. Female is a word used to describe women. Examples of women include Alice Bag, Tabitha Tate, Khutulun, Laura Jane Grace, Kathy Acker, Trina, Pauline Kael, and, in fiction, Storm from the X-Men. Machine Gun is a type of weapon that fires a great many bullets in rapid succession and is designed to maim and kill. This song is a storm of grace designed to main and kill.

This is a Guitar Wolf album. This Guitar Wolf album is named Beast Vibrator. Guitar Wolf are the best band in the world. Guitar Wolf are literally the best band to ever exist. Guitar Wolf are the sun rising and the night falling. Guitar Wolf saved my soul.

This has been an entirely objective review of the new Guitar Wolf album named Beast Vibrator. I would like to extend my thanks to my original correspondent for suggesting this new writing style predicated on balanced factual information. My first draft for this review contained sections such as this: "Mashing together words with a sort of bloodied and beaten glinting glee, Beast Vibrator, Gasoline Lullaby, Barf Night, Female Machine Gun. The trainwreck joy of Beast Vibrator, "V-V-V-V-Vii-iibrator!", trashrock noise, flailin out, the flushing wildness of Robot Maria, the whispering fuzz and dancing guitar spikes on Barf Night, the insane thrashblues of Mesopotamian Lonely, rubbing along with those huge sweeping guitar strokes over the bassruns, the shiver and crash of Female Machine Gun." which I now see were gauche and overtly subjective. Guitar Wolf need no such musings. Guitar Wolf are Guitar Wolf. Guitar Wolf are a rock and roll band. This is a Guitar Wolf album. It is loud.

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Chaos Destroy - Lightning Strikes Twice

Chaos Destroy have always been a band that sounds like a band called Chaos Destroy.

On Lightning Strikes Twice, released by Olde English Spelling Bee Records, gone are the chaos-pogo mad-libs of titles like Damaging Anarchy Chaos Disorder, Damaging Damnation, Damaging Indignation, Damaging Nuclear Nonsense, Fucking Merciless Nuclear Chaotic Violent Noise etc. Songs now appear to be about something at first glance, even if that something is as jejune as It's Always Dinnertime (Somewhere) or NO PUNKS, NO MOUSTACHES. It even takes aim at Chaos Destroy's own Swankys-leanings with the song Dumbaging Noise. Song titles though are as close as you're gonna get to unravelling the intent of these songs beyond chomping noise.

They are catchy as fuck. Utterly incomprehensible, but more like People's Ausentic Oral Communication record than the scutterblasts of Collection Not Collection, rock and roll ruckus done-up all sparkling and party ready with the blinding sheen of shitkill distortion, chaotic and destructive, destructive and chaotic.

Mouth utitilised as chewing percussion, the noise employed as texture, heavy texture yeah, rough and grazeraw, but not like the huge tsunami of feedback that drowned all on earlier outings, these are songs that are maybe just deep deep down in their murderous misshapen heart carefree indie-pop songs, but made by the meanest weirdest kids you know, spitting and prattling on with nah-nah-nuh-nah-nah taunts, childish imitations of speech drawl and babble. Pissy smirking snot. Pop songs from the hate place, pop songs twisted into jabbering freakouts dripping with the radioactive pus of noisepunk, or coming the other way, the structureless sewage of noise songs crafted into sloppy crackling form with punchy pop sensibilities. Beautiful Sound (Ugly Noise) sums up this conflict in its title and proceeds to rock back and forth with its addlepated and anxious swoosh and shiver punk rock.

Noise (Here We Come) breaks with this danceable bassline and guitar scratch descending into pinhead noise, but never losing that shuffle and shake, even as the feedback squawks pierce and skitter like morse code. (Slender) and (Long) handclaps its way into atomic destruction. (The Shame) Till the Last Generation runs mid-tempo, complete with worn-out ooh-oohs surviving barely amongst its onwards march. (Greased) Lightning wavers between fast flat toxicpunk and a sad trudging amongst noise sweeps. Dumbaging Noise is a dissonant threatening pianocrash, a jarring amongst jarrings.  A Long Life of Shame (Noise Life) a real hell-dimension boogie, a dancefloor filler for cut-price b-movie monsters. This is the most fun you can have holding your hands over your ears and wishing for the idiocy and pain to cease with alleviating silence of death.

Sad Boys - Cry Now, Cry Later

Not to be confused with the stoned slurring of Swedish teen rap crew Sad Boys, the second of the New York Sad Boys's seven inches of 2013, Cry Now, Cry Later, continues their stamp and snap assault of inane pogo depresso-punx, but swaddles the songs in a blanket of light airy fuzznoise which the self-titled 7" did not possess. Still featuring the Lookout licks of simple infectious guitar snags, the bass bounce and the reckless runaway rhythm, all backing up the piercing vocals, a sort of grinning foxcall shriek, it matches to the most tearaway freeing musical sillyjoy to lyrics straight out of parody goth poetry, "I'm crying in my dreams/I'm always crying in the night/Suffocating/Loneliness my tears hold" wails the title track.

This juxtaposition of the maudlin and the madness isn't like the grit-pop singalong struggle of something like Arms Aloft or Off With Their Heads, where it's all choral catharsis, the happiness and pogosmiles are too transparent in the music, and the vocals don't lend themselves to a singalong, instead it's this blurry mess of goofily weaponised weepings, personal failings and lachrymal outbursts summed up in tight trite McGonagallian rhyme schemes ("Alone always in my head/Searching for the truth/Layers to be shed/In the end only end up dead") and smash/slip punk noise. It's about disjointed collisions, in the pit and in your life, emotions ramped up to ridiculous heights, or stripped down to uncomfortable naked honesty, in order to be blown up and discarded, kissed off, things crashing together and captured in moments of distilled hysteria, dancing like you're rubber and the world is glue, what sticks to its solvent-addled despair bounces off you. As you tumble about everything bounces off you. Laugh through the tears, tear through the laughter. Live this sadness, craft it as a blade, stab at cool smooth put-together lookin' kids with it. Shit-Faced with therapy bills, The Crested distressed and blue. Stay sharp, stay bummed, stay pogoing.

Pusrad - Modern Anatomi

More impossibly brief slices of panicattack hardcore from Swedish speedpunx Pusrad. Frenetic and jerky but scalpel clean, most songs raving themselves out in under 30 seconds. The 7" comes with songs listing Title, Lyrics, Time and then Chords per Second, to properly convey its deliberate dedication to punishing velocity. Paragraf 3 slows it down a bit, to 40 seconds of more mid-tempo punk that rings out sharply and closer Masskineri is a full 68 seconds long which, considering their 5 track Akta Dig 7" was 74 seconds in its entirety, is practically their version of Reoccuring Dreams, getting right mellow and even wistful. It's a nice gentle topper to the bullets that precede it, proving that this band is capable of existing at something other than the smooth lightspeed intensity that they've forged as their particular place in hardcore but still, this band is at their pure and best when they're tearing heads off with quickness and scything 3.91 CPS riffs.

Saturday, 18 January 2014

V/A - Ground Zero NYC 2013

"No other city is so spitefully incoherent." - James Baldwin, on New York

In 1977, The Randoms wrote the classic Dangerhouse clatter Let's Get Rid of New York, a west coast anthem calling for the destruction of the east coast behemoth, for a wiping of away of it's cultural and social taint, four years later, Fear, led by the country's number three Bill O'Reilly-impersonator Lee Ving, did a similar dance on the sneering New York's Alright If You Like Saxophones. New York was the enemy, its Ramones and CBGBs, Reagan Youth, No Wave, a suffocating presence that stole national attention away from the huge sprawl of punk rock across the culture, but by the time I got into punk rock, like twenty something years later, New York wasn't shit. CBGBs was on its way out, most of the Ramones were dead or about to die, Reagan Youth had dissolved in the most eyeshittingly awful way imaginable, No Wave bands had imploded or attained respectability. New York hardcore was shorthand for the dumbest most macho kind of hardcore, big bro-y meathead shit, breakdowns on top of breakdowns, songs about how tight you are with your friends and how they'd never betray you and songs about how all your friends betrayed you. The Randoms wish had been belatedly granted, and not by some cleansing wave or by a mass round of heroin overdoses, but by a bunch of bands that sounded like Madball. Sick of It All? Boy, were we ever. SKARHEAD WAS AN INSIDE JOB.

"Our way, our life, our scene. The definition!" gurned NYHC totem Roger Miret on 2004 sub-mediocre crossover thrash album Another Voice's song Hardcore! (The Definition), which is a song as subtle as the title would suggest. He probably wasn't wrong though, that is what punk and hardcore is about, about making these spaces for yourself and for likeminded others to express themselves through channeling noise, but these spaces don't have to be about stompy gangvox iterations of inane self-help books blathering on about, Pride, Faith, Respect, Blood, Honour, Truth, other intensely tedious palpably abstract concepts. So if, after all this time, you've got a scene on the rise in New York city, playing hardcore and punk rock, and you can't call it New York Hardcore, because of all the aforementioned Pride, Faith, Respect, Blood, Honour, Truth etc. associations then what do you call it?

Ground Zero hardcore, claiming to spring from the city's most obvious wound. Hank Wood and the Hammerheads' 2011 LP came with a poster of depicting the destruction of the twin towers with the phrase I AM BIGGER plastered across it. Agnostic Front's LP Dead Yuppies was released in September 2001 and had to come with a sticker expressing their sorrow and anger at the WTC attacks. Now here 12 years later, you've got a bunch of gleefully nihilistic punk chumps, treating that event like some sort of cultural eschaton, responding not with the panicked jingoism of Frank Miller, or the glib postcard humanism of Richard Curtis's Love, Actually, but with this explosion of punx invention, this attempt to revel once more in a city's dangerous bits, in its unsanitised dirty corners, to imprint new paths on old maps. "Raze this city deserving of death/Burn in agony, conflagration" as Perdition rage on their song Conflagration. That sort of desire, even in the warworld melodrama of d-beat, maybe couldn't have sat in place then. Now it nestles nicely between Goosebumps's guilty slime, Black Boot's interior conflicts. Not papering over the cracks with patriotism or economics, no pride or defiance, just picking at the scab of lowlife city existence, subway monsters and ratpiss alleys.
At any one time punk is in the middle of dozens of mini-revivals and reconstitutions, as older sounds are rediscovered, repurposed, bent into shape for the next attack, and it's really impossible to keep on top of all of them, so why you might see someone decrying 'this goth shit trend' that's they're tired of spreading through punk, at the the same time you might see someone praising 'the fresh wave of deathrock' that seems to be just springing up. Punk splinters and runs in divergent furrows, constantly crosscutting, doubling back on itself, reworking older forms, combining them. So in Ground Zero Hardcore you've got the gothy Anasazi, the pogo nonsense of Sad Boys, the garage slop of Hank Wood, the Japanese noisepunk worship of Nomad, the crashing d-beat of Perdition.

Yet despite these many subgenres, this comp does seem to have something of a unified sound. There's this chuntering punk rhythm, train track hardcore, scratching maniacally as it tumbles downhill, that you can find in the literate scramblings of La Misma's Saudade, the witchy mutant gallop of Crazy Spirit's Rough on Rats, in Murderer's Hush Baby, Don't Cry and it's driving despairing repetition, in Dawn of Humans comp-stealing in-and-out toddler whine and insectoid madness. And if they haven't got that particular shiver, they've got the hissing noise of sewer steam.

Noise and rhythm pull this together, Black Boot's The Ladder dragging equally from both, starting all crazed incomprehensibility, and then in the latter half descends from the more terrible noise, into this rumble and ruckus digging it's way through the murk. Bortgang seems to be some approximation of searing Japanese hardcore lost in the fuzzstorm. The noise blooms across the records, giving some tarnish to the shimmering goffpunk of Anasazi, wallowing Putrida's echo-drenched chaosbath, almost engulfing Sad Boys' delirious pogo runs. Each track offering a different take, each track burbling with spit, streaming out of this citystatic.

Another thing that happened in New York in 2013 was that the Metropolitan Museum of Art had an exhibition called Punk: From Chaos to Couture. I have a very important fully-formed lengthy opinion on this: lol. Celebrate the dead and appropriated culture from thirty years ago if you want, there will always be new scenes popping up, small groups of determined weirdos forging these places, doodling these doodles, crashing around in the ugly dark shitheart of the city, making what can be. La Misma, on the opener, sing of reinvention and refreshment "From what was is now only debris/Once reality faded thoughts have been/released to the sea", Perdition sing of destruction, Sad Boys of isolation. All the bands sing of New York, whatever it means to them, free to blast apart whatever has come before, free to build anew, or just keep destroying, chaotic and shitty sloppy. On Toxic State records.

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Nomad - 自殺

Raw punk from New York with it's spirit from Japan, learning from bands like Confuse and Contrast Attitude. Featuring members of Sad Boys, Perdition and Cervix, all the song titles are in Japanese, I think the vocals are too, the vocals are in punk rock language, where even if they were in English I'd have a hard time making out anything but the fury carried by the raging sandpaper shouts. Scorching through 10 tracks in 11 minutes, d-beat rushes that fight onwards only to be engulfed by noise-punk squalls. It's no gradual degradation either, the noise hits like a damn burst, sudden and total, flailing, the scream of a creature unleashed, each time a drowning shower. Unforgiving stuff, built from the sour squeaks of feedback, the searing force of distortion, and the flat relentless drum drive. On Toxic State records.

Prag demo

Razorback hardcore squealing and gibbering its way out of Australia, concerned with flesh and the precarious civility of modern society. In the six songs, there's a sense of a darker world threatening to consume, or already nibbling and scratching at, the places we live in. "Smiles and niceties/Until unstable exonomies/And religious extremophiles/Drag you down onto your knees" Moss Piglet rages, thrashing with the futility of small gestures of compassion lost in the face of war and more, "Winter we hungry" is the bare truth that humanity is reduced to. Soaring Ecco Homo wobbles off into space with it's mocking blast of "Master race?/Hahahahaha". Prag's is a world characterised by animal physicality and aggression, animal vengeance and animal vigilance: "The dogs will bare their teeth" in the brief thrash of Pillage Victim, "Subhuman/Not human/A pig to be fucked" in the repetitive run of Prag, "Bleaching probing mandibles" in the push/pull punk rumbler of Concentrated Visuals, where the clean bass dances, jabbing like a boxer, under the smudged guitar, holding it down amongst the drum flurries, until the guitar slides into a dragged out solo, which pinches and slithers along before degrading giving way to a breezy whistle solo, a carefree shuffle in the face of ugly problems rising towards us, or the haunting sound of the blithe evil of oppression?

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Caves - Betterment

This album starts with silence, longer than usual, then you hear it, the sounds of a band walking into a studio and setting themselves up, the little creaks and shuffles before they get stuck in. Then they begin figuring out a riff, this slightly bent and battered thing that they lock down and then mirror in doubletime and the vocals kick in: "I don't care! I don't care! Go fuck yourself." That's this band at their best, casually direct lyrically, soaring vocally, ramshackle and runaway musically.

Caves have that straining, that repetitive distended skid dragged forward by the dynamic bellow of the vox, that slap against the music, rather than playing with them. Everything aches, everything is shot in deep and held just long enough to break upon the fringes of discomfort.

Caves play a bit like a less burnished RVIVR, moving with a similar pop-punk cascade, bits of brightness amongst the dust. Fortunately they avoid the go-nowhere momentum-stealing plodders of the RVIVR album, but they do fall victim to another classic pop-punk misstep: acoustic songs. ACOUSTIC. I've come to see acoustic songs on punk albums the same way as skits on hip-hop albums, sometimes okay, often skippable, colouring the album's aural texture, as a rule more bearable when they're about crime rather than fucking. Here at least it's pleasingly awkward, retaining a certain sharpness, but acoustic songs just feel like a naked play for feeling that this album doesn't need.

Theyre's so much already here, in the fuzzrumble and ghostcalls on <3 Koala or Rubino's nervy tumbledown energy, the vocals intercutting desperate/snotty. The crashing up-ended love song of Build Against, "Sometimes, sometimes leaving is hard." The bluntness of Babyccino ("Feelings, no-one cares about your feelings/No-one cares when you need to make a change") and it's shivering feedback runout. The wallop of Ender, which Belushis its acoustic intro to bits and gets huge. It's an album of messily built music, full of gravelly bass and slippery sweet guitar lines, solidly stated emotions run aground, pain dealt with, softer more perfect moments embraced when they can be, punk rock reaching forward, towards betterment.

Nuclear Spring - s/t 7"

Taut scuffed-up punk rock, male/female vocals trading off verses of violence and confrontation, biting and sneering amongst half-buried leads, and jaunting. Run Me Up the Flagpole strikes a rebel pose, daring attack, with a guitar part that sort of dances away and reminds me, of all things, of Boney M's Rasputin. Far Away moves in a bit slowly, but then rattles into life with snotty scraped-throat despair, but it's wish for self-oblivion is less total, and more like a tossed-off fucked-off moment of failure. Berlin Night Life flips rapidly through a procession of history, bloodshed and panic, "Riots in the air/Night of long knives/Smash up all the houses/Steal my neighbour clothes", society breaking down, repeating through the years, wrong lashed upon wrong and moving on with it. Lost Decade hits flatter at first, a circular little riff, the vocals matter-of-fact "They'll pull your number sometime/When you least expect them to". There's a DK surf bit, rolling with tension, snapping back into chorus and these choruses aren't communal singalongs, they not cathartic, they're deliberate and ruthless, uncompromising truths of the inner pain of Far Away and the rampages of Berlin Night Life drawn together. Punk rock, poking with the catchiness and swerve of poppier forms, skatepunk, gruffer pop-punk, and the grit of darker moments.

Sunday, 5 January 2014

The Love Triangle - Clever Clever

Rumbling propulsive 77 punk punch. There are bits of power-pop smoothness, bits of garage-punk snot, closest in make-up maybe to straight-up punk bands like The Pigs or The Radiators, all those little first wave hangers on cranking out jumpy punk runarounds, or KBD soulpunk flashes like The Law's Hole in my Heart, in terms of more modern bands, it recalls stuff like the Exploding Hearts and their throwback rock and roll edge, but while bands like that are built more around the jab and itch of the guitar, Clever Clever for the most part tumbles along in the wake of the throb of the bass, scampering this way and that, hitched to the low-end. Yeah there are aggressively infectious guitar lines like on the vituperous Just You Wait  ("Just you wait til I get cancer!"), or the suave spikepop of The Wait, the grubby needling of Swift Exit, but really this album feels meaty and blocky in its construction, feels deep and gutsy and bolted confidently to its own engine.

The Wait, Just You Wait, the chug and pump of I'm Still Waiting for the Buzz, tension infects this album, the songs woundtight and cramped, pushed together and ready to snap, ready to spool out with snaking chaos, degrade and roll over the hill sad and old, like the promises of Just You Wait and Be Old Soon, it's an album aware of what lays ahead, so it crackles and dances with what life it has now.

It still slows down now and then, I'm Still Waiting for the Buzz, the dragged out cynicism of Hollywood Sleaze, the chilledout fuck it of The Situation is Excellent  ("Are we living in the end times?/Have a drink and take a rest") and those are nice change-ups, but when this album really hits its full pace, on Tangle or Future Tense or others, there's nothing like it.

Dancepunk does not mean what it could mean, it means all new-wavey stuff, cleaned-up funk-punk, echoes of Gang  of Four and what not, art and keyboards and disco shine, which can be cool, can be a good time, but then it leaves me struggling to put words to the physical sensation of Clever Clever. But maybe that's a good thing, shutting off one linguistic alley makes you scramble and search for a new one, a more refined descriptor to pin into the music. Dancepunk, what it could mean are these sort of wriggly Lurkers-lumped punk rock numbers, that shuffle and step quickly and purposefully, that move like you want to move, that pull you out of yourself with every tossed-off riff or bass turn or drum shiver, punk for dancers. Move yourself to this beat, pop like a broken bass-string, find yourself, draw yourself, make yourself, punk melodic and guitar frantic.

On Static Shock records.

Perfect Pussy - I Have Lost All Desire For Feeling

You've got like three seconds of choppy indie guitar on the first song before this thing betrays its true colours, noisy, not crush and burn oppressive noise, but chaotic, shambling noise of collision and inept makings, where distortion pops and gurgles between the melodies, synthlines a little to sharp for comfort, vocals getting swept away in the crash and blare, the songs take flight with stumbles and rips, flinging themselves finally into the air, then crashing down like the gaunt rumblings that end III and IV, the sickly sweet moments that tried to make themselves known giving way to an industrial buzz and clang.

The lyrics carry the weight of trauma and the broken world that cuts and bludgeons and chokes, capable both of the dry depictions of pain and emotion, "she must have been desperate; she acted so lonely. she is deserving of affection, i am glad that she found love." on I, and knife-edge collocations that break through these flatter ruminations and then dart away in the noise, stuffed with power, "there is a sick grace inherent in healing, i had finally choked that down." on III. The way these two tones sit next to each other, struggle with each other, illuminate and colour each other is the key to that power, rooting the poetry in the reality, the trudge, pulling the ugly facts into brighter light with the darker/sweeter/lusher/more symbolically loaded imagery "i'll kiss myself to prove that i'm not afraid of snakes."

Like hallucinatory shifting of Grace Krilanovich's teen/punk/hobo/vampire novel The Orange Eats Creeps, the songs often cycle rapidly through identities and experiences, discarding bits of themselves each time as they struggles for a rock to hold fast to "all things pass through me, i'm a tough boy, wild and innocent and dangerous as hell. i'm awake and awakening. i am here and i have died. i killed the parts of me that said that i know. i killed off all the parts that keep me awake." on II, "first i was softer, then i was stronger, now i am frightened, would you look at me now?" on III.

IV opens with a sort of sticky rockabilly riff before it bursts with anguish and rage, feminist noise thrashings, righteous in the furious punk churn, biting at its own torment. "i'm a real piece of shit, i'm a real lost cause. dare to act like you're surviving and get thrown to the dogs." I'm really terrible about writing about real shit, but this is real shit. Music capable of confronting the worst of the world, the worst of ourselves, the murk and bloodiness, the flesh and the cardinal humours, the personal and the pain of it, in its noise and words, Perfect Pussy captures and confronts, twirls with and twists away from, the violence and the shit, blackened memories. In the way the sheen of the riffs and melodies and vocals are blown apart, tarnished by the reckless noise, you get a sense of how ourselves, our bodies and minds are cracked apart by the awfulness that lives snickering in the unchecked wants and uncaring desires of society and social interaction, but despite the noise, the roar, the melody remains there, in the clatter, battered and struggling not to fall behind, the soaring parts still live, and you feel despite losing the desire to.

Friday, 3 January 2014

Cremalleras - s/t

Buzzfast punked-up two-piece thrashpop from Mexico. Curt punk songs that rattle around and hit with the quick crack of a dislocated joint being thwacked back into place. One of the first words I used to describe the band was 'zippy' and upon googling, turns out that Cremalleras is Spanish for 'zippers', much as I would like to take credit for some Joycean multilingual pun, I am not that smart, they just named their band well. From those sharp rising aaaahs on Ex-Novios and the shakearound shuffle of En Todos Lados to the rise and fall rumble of No Me Importa and the burntout caterwaul of Todo Esta Perdido, these songs pop with thin venom, danceable as much as they are aggressive, seducing and shimmying as much as they spit and crash, built from stark snippets of rough punk and sweet bouncy guitar thrum. On Cintas Pepe records.

Zyanose - Why There Grieve?

I am way into into when bands insist on coining their own subgenres to describe their music, that act of marking out your sound as something different something not quite containable is an act of meaningless artistic bravado that always makes me smile, the Taxpayers with goofpunk for example, on Why There Grieve? Zyanose have dubbed their twin-bass fury DITCH CRUST NOISE CORE, at once a descriptor for their sound and a herald of their attack. Zyanose make punishing stuff, deep, burbling, biting noise that crashes with the force of buildings falling.

While their last 12" Insane Noise Raid focused on sin, Why There Grieve? moves slightly outside these classical interior failings to deal with more modern pressures. Keep Yourself is a punx on punx song, namechecking Gloom, Confuse, the forerunners of Zyanose's ugly sound. "I beleave in punk" it screams. Maybe the one thing that Zyanose do believe in, the rest of the album torn through with looming nuclear spectres and smaller quieter forms of oblivion, drudgery of work, the venal machinations of politicians, apathy creeping like frostbite, irritation, anger, all drawn in chaotic blasts, as the noise swirls in panic on Silent or F.O.A.D., rumbles then bursts on Snapped Pappet, clangors in incomprehensible conflict on the Die is Cast (while the liner notes give lyrics in both Japanese and English, the long string of kanji that is The Die Is Cast is translated into English as Aaaaaarrrrgggghhhrrrr!!!!).

Nihilistic squealings. Pulse is a 13 second wordless, well, pulse, that ends off the first side of the record. The sound of a countdown, or a time marker, an underwater bloop, like a baby version of the rest of the records explosions, a short snap of the worldbeat that Zyanose feel down in the corroded bones of the world, that they explicate on in the militaristically underpinned Camouflage or the anguished vocalisations of Options for the Fool.

Before the album runs out to a stop with the drums on Keep Yourself, Zyanose construct an awful world of awful noise, few releases from its pain, just the slightly longer bite and rumble of that final track and its strength in punk, strength in the noise that's ripped out of the earth in order to mirror the noise that's pressed down on you. F.O.A.D. Fuck off and die. Fuck off and dance.