Saturday, 29 November 2014

Arms Race - Gotta Get Out EP

Meanmugging rough London hardcore bursting with hoarse fury and Oi!-toughened conviction. 6 tracks of storming anger, packed with righteous violence, simplistic solutions for pederast politicians and corrupt cops. Hang the Scum, Kill the Bill, no words minced, just fury in scything guitars, stomps and leers, aggression unbound. Bastard a tear of online alienation, dropping into a muddy half-singsong trudge. Gotta Get Out thumping in like a terrace chant, ripping apart a life with fucked-off spit "HATE MY JOB/HATE MY LIFE", aware of it's own futility but also cognizant of the fact that that doesn't really mean shit when you're living in a blank hole of depression and drudgery, like a half-asphyxiated mutant digging out of the old Animals song. "SAME OLD STORIES YOU'VE ALREADY HEARD/IT'S TIRED, IT'S RECYCLED BUT IT'S FUCKING TRUE." On My Face showing up rage as a wild unhinged form of vulnerability, cos that level of guttural rage comes from a deep dark place, one usually sublimated in the day-to-day mechanics of survival, it gathers together the angers, personal and political and bites them off one by one. "IT'S ONE LAW FOR THEM AND ANOTHER FOR US/AND THERE AIN'T A CUNT ON THE STREETS THAT I CAN TRUST/GIMME A PEOPLE THAT CAN FUCKING FEEL/SHOW A CITY THAT'S FUCKING REAL."

What really pulls the songs here together though is the final track, Mongrel Crew, and its flailing leviathan of a fucking singalong, one of those huge gang-lore screamers that gets right down into your bones with its hooligan bundling, laying waste to the stress and shite drawn on the other songs just through the sheer obliterating power of that punk/hardcore communal violence, packed with self-mythologising, the city geography so loathed on On My Face marked as territory, a couple punk nods to past and present (Conflict's The Ungovernable Force, the band's own label Quality Control). A chorus that makes the personal anguish of Gotta Get Out and On My Face slip away, the societal wrongs-rightings of Hang the Scum and Kill the Bill be just a swing of a fist away, a tangible arm-in-arm possibility. "OI! OI! MONGREL CREW/WE'RE MONGREL ARMY AND WE'RE COMING FOR YOU!" While most of the songs here make you wanna break the world, rearrange it with kicks and glassings, 45 seconds into Mongrel Crew and you fucking can.


Monday, 24 November 2014

Replica - Beast EP

Another EP of faithful-to-the-line boot-tough fiery hardcore from these Bay Area's finest. Terrifying pace, dropping with unfuckwithable precision into rugged stomps and pulling out again, retaining a focused fury throughout. Trust a rage of betrayal, turning back in on itself, intoning the title with a sickened growl. Imagine Sisyphus burning with a stubbornness, turning over with just small requests in the face of a futile day-to-day, little nuggets of meaning grasped at "I ASK TO BE A FUCKING PERSON IN THIS WORLD. I ASK TO HAVE A NAME." Night Life struggles with obliteration, Beast with violence, chugging mean and dirty, racing with mach one desire, trudging to a stop. Six stone bullets of hardcore, dealing brutal visions of a painful world, through rugged vocals, all deep snarl and long-cultivated disdain, whirling along with the threshing speed.

Good Throb - Fuck Off LP

"SCORN. It is the opposite of the get-along, go-along, Jimmy Fallon kumbaya team comics gang. “Be more positive!” they say. “Nah son,” you say as you smile back, canines showing from ear-to-ear.

Let scorn into your heart. Sometimes you look at something and the most it’ll get out of you is a half-hearted smh. Sometimes the physical aspect of the thing is more useful than whatever pleasure you could glean from it. Sometimes you see something and the only thing you want to do is kick a hole in it for even existing in your reality." - David Brothers, in response to the question 'What is an emotion you think is undeservedly discarded? '

A band at the centre of London's sick punk scene, all the members taking part in other bands that combine to make the capital of this rain-drenched shit fascist island home one of the killingest punk scenes on the planet right now, No, Frau, Snob, Dregs, Semi, Personnel, all taking differing approaches to punk and hardcore and all tearing it up. And Good Throb, a teased and bent punk, as danceable as it is dangerous, tottering insistent basslines winding through springy scampering rhythms, vituperous guitar that shines with its teeth-bared, vocals spitting and scarring, tearing through contemporary life (inside and out) with swingeing wrath.

Piercing annoyances abound, shit blokes, mormons, morons, cut into snapshots and fleeting visions, caught in a strobe light, like Acid House's litany of nasty/ridiculous modern collocations. "CAT SHIT/WHITE GLOVES/FOLK PUNK/CHEAP DRUGS" the incremental pile-up of cultural and social debris, unraveling the stark viciousness of London living in cutthroat asyndetons, crashing out one after another in fierce clarity. The wobbly blur of nightclubs brought out on the shiver and snarl of Psycho Disco, "PSYCHO DISCO/BUNCH OF CUNTS/TRYING TO LAUGH/AT YOUR SHTITY STUNTS" broken down, the clinging heat of the tube on the stumbling Central Line "PUSH AND SHOVE/GOT TO COMPETE/AVOID EYE CONTACT/GET A SEAT". The broken stop-start rhythm of these accretions of tediously quotidian shit help the record reverberate with a nervy anxious energy, always on guard for another complication to rise and rip you from whatever brief moment of peace you were reaching for, no single outrage, just one more needle in the eye, one more tiresome chunk of angst on the stinking scrapheap of your day. This energy lives also in the way the music nags and clips at you, rickety catchy with that panicky post-punk shuffle, rawly wrought, jagged in its soldering, edges gleaming.

And these vexatious moments and situations eat at you, leaving you crawling with monstrous emotions to wrestle with, confronted and dissected here with smashgrab disbelief, Jealousy breaking apart into retching, Mummy I'm Ugly's manic self-loathing, Crab Walk's drunken embarrassment, No Taste's bile-drenched embrace of pariahdom, alternating puerile and splenetic, digging into the shit, the bare punk life, fucking the tone-police, getting into the ugly parts, the uncomfortable, the gauche and garish realness, Double White Denim's no-fucks-given cutloose triumph, You're Shit's unbridled anger, "STUPID FACE/ANNOYING TWAT/VACANT SMILE/JAUNTY HAT", Dog Food Dick's eviscerating rage, "PIECE OF SHIT MAN/SEES WOMEN AS FUCKS".

Sharing with Hank Wood and the Hammerheads' Go Home not only a two word imperative for a title, but a deep familiarity the pains and pangs of urban existence, the clatter and clash of too many lives shoved into an unknowable sprawl of concrete and commerce, Hank Wood bloodying up New York with blunt repetition, Good Throb doing a number on a London constantly under-construction with its own tear-it-up toughness, Fuck Off is the words under your breath as you navigate office politics, late night public transport, shit jobs, shitter parties, bad mornings, terrible empty nights, vocalised harshly and stuck into a reconfigured ricochet-snap sourpunk, it's the tension unleashed, the frustration exploding into a blur of fearless emotional shrapnel, skirring about the room, goin hard with phlegm to spare.

Saturday, 22 November 2014

S.H.I.T. - Generation S.H.I.T. 7"

The second 7" from Toronto's S.H.I.T., nailing down their place as one of 2014 hardcore's brightest burning fires. Four tracks of death and alienation, vacant scrapings gathered, soldered, shone up into a whirring fury of modern existence, with shivers of Gauze, Inmates, Gudon and the like. The war whip of Eraser II, the blankness of distanced violence ("HUMAN TERROR/COLD TECHNOLOGY/GOD'S OWN POWER/AT TERMINAL VELOCITY") brought home, close and smoldering. Fuck All a frustrated bite, the vocals a deep bloodied sneer, "OBLIVIOUS INCOMPETENT BELIEF/FESTER IN THE PRIDE OF THE NAIVE". Mockery 1-2 beat and shivering guitar butting into a simplistic jabbing punk fragment. Generation Shit's guitar scribble, constant clatter and smeared out thrum comprising a scuttering anthem of blossoming anger. "THEY ARE THE NEW WASTE/THE DISPOSABLE YOUTH/A GENERATION OF SHIT/NO FUTURE FOR YOU" it rips in a dragged apart bawl. Angry beyond measure, scoured and shaped into a fierce nihilistic violence. "NAPALM THE KIDS"

Thursday, 20 November 2014

DiE - Vexed EP

"Because what did it mean to say that something represented a cross between primitive insensitivity and chillingly inane emptiness in a bottomless pit of unbridled dark?!" - Laszlo Krasznahorkai, Satantango

Concrete cunt UK hardcore following up one of last years best seven inches. Eight tracks of grimworld negativity, enacted in tenebrous churning punk perfection, drawing on hardcore's many curdled corners. Monotony thrumming with Discharge fire, Exterminate wailing Pig Champion surly, throughout there are deep veins of Chaos UK bluntness, SSD waste-laying. A seemless melding of hardcore's hate-heavy highlights, its darkest distillations, all utilised to construct a EP of heady desolation, almost rejuvenating in its relentless punch, its unmitigated bleakness, a holistic disgust. Pressure all expiring gasps and claustrophobic panic, BTK searing with serial killer malevolence, Exterminate bitter and murderous, a brief existence of where "DEAD-EYED DEMONS PREY UPON THE WEAK" in Dark, "MIND IS MANACLED/BRAIN IS CHAINED" on Life Sentence, "NO LIFE'S WORTH LIVING WHERE MONOTONY REIGNS" on Monotony, just your purest nihilistic affectations made flesh, indulgent hate, all laid out together, the temporary joys of life blotted out by Life Sentence's knife-edge guitar flails, Pressure's hostile thump, your brow furrows, your lip curls into a sneer, your voice drops into a threatchoked deadness, your movements restricted into brutal simplistic bluster and temporarily become one with the gloom, living long minutes in that mean tough shell, ready to bite heads off, Ready to Rot.

That kind of unremitting dejection is unsustainable, but it's a place that a lot of us have lived in at times, have got drunk and dirty on in the worst moments, the panic attacks, the depressive episodes, the enduring anxiety and pummeling hopeless funks, and the tools used to deal with the shit, that abjection of self, that self-transformation into a self-named bastard, that concomitant desire to just listen to 80s hardcore bands singing about dead soldiers and suicidal ideation, killer cops and cop killers and heroin overdoses, to obsessively play that music from waking up at noon to sleeping at four, those tools call out to you, lie unused and rusting when you do finally move on, find a better place for your head to be at. DiE are built from that energy, they're crafting and carving with those exact tools, and for a ten minutes you can slip freely into that bastard mindset, into that hard cunt animus, roiling in malice and despair in a cathartic engagement with the worst of the world, for that ten minutes you breath the gagging smog, taste the blood on your teeth, scratch with the spite, devolve, swing and turn with the vigor of the falling, the luster of the damned, before you come up for air again, you can abandon that hard-earned hope like a dog-end tossed casually into the gutter, for that Vexed ten minutes you can feel the fucking hate.

Monday, 17 November 2014

L.O.T.I.O.N. - Second Audio Document 2014 CS

Brutal cyberpunk smearings, inept industrial thumpings, noisepunk static swirlings, voices like bugs in the machine given angry life. A broken fifth-generation corrupted rendering of Butthole Surfers digital growls, a lowdown lump of sub-basement Atari Teenage Riot electronic mess burbling and choking. "CELEBRATING THE NEWEST FLAVOR OF DIET COLA KNOWN TO GIVE RATS CANCER." The final track a long warnoise instrumental, drill screamings and oppressive helicopter throb.

Sunday, 16 November 2014

No Sir I Won't - The Whole Fucking World is Shit 12"

Goddamn No Sir I Won't are kind of a bollockache. After getting monstrously excited by their demo & first single their first 12" sent me into a tizzy where I got all worked up over the idea of the paradox of worship bands as resistance music before chilling myself out reconciling to the idea of repeated music for repeated struggles. Now their new 12" EP The Whole Fucking World Is Shit features some of their tightest stuff, really fulfilling that literate catchiness, that taut and sharpened rage that they hinted at with More Politicians and then it's got Radio Shit, Radio Shit, as tight a song as they've made, a real Subhumans sort of banger, clicking with sing-song rhythms, but lyrically dumb as dirt.

And okay, stupidity is fucking great in punk rock a bunch of the time, the puerile inanity of noisepunk, the pogo brain damage, the slackjawed monotony of a million generic d-beat crews and garage-punk knuckleheads, but a wordy anarcho band is hinged as much on making salient points about the power-structures it's kicking at as it is on successfully replicating the Bullshit Detector aural aesthetic.

Basically, there are certain modes of stupidity, certain types of idiocy that play and certain types that don't. A lot of punk (a lot of music? a lot of art?) is maybe trying to capture certain epiphanies and feelings that read as teenage. The pure warmth of feeling like there's a song/a band/a genre that is grabbing at your very soul, the coming up into realisation of how fucked the world is along with the conviction that you can make a tangible difference, but this growing up is an spikey uneven process. When I was 17 and reading Noam Chomsky, convinced I was some fucking real radical, I was still churning inside with unacknowledged internalised bigotries, born of a systemic indoctrination that I felt I was finally smart enough to see, but in reality I obviously was nowhere near smart or perceptive enough to grasp its true pervasiveness of and just how much it was still living inside of me.

Referring to anyone who makes pop music as 'scabs and turncoats', as Radio Shit does, referring to anyone who listens to it as 'fallen masses' in the savior-complex pompous condescension of a 17 year old who many doesn't have many real friends but knows an awful lot about death metal or jazz-fusion (or punk, obviously) to make up for it. That's fucking rockism at its height. There are certain modes of that teenage expression that ring true, the enthusiasm, the anger, but there's a lot of ugly shit, a pervading isolation that leads to the conviction that you're somehow different, which splits into two simultaneous feelings, one of self-loathing and alienation, and also of smug superiority and a million self-congratulatory "Still listening to this in 2014" and "You say Nicki Minaj/I say Led Zeppelin" YouTube comments.

You wanna capture that rawness, that feeling, maybe here trying to articulate and bring another life to the spit and fire that popped in your head the moment you first stumbled across Crass, overheard at a cooler punk friend's house, tucked away on the back half of some mixtape, in a youtube link thrown your way offhandedly and then replayed 18 fucking times straight. But you don't have to simultaneously roll with the snorting contempt for 'normals' or, the cackhanded dismissal or disbelief that anyone could have a genuinely transformative emotional experience with art that does not speak to you, that people who are blasting BeyoncĂ© or Taylor Swift can't be invested in the struggle, you're not radical there, you're Liam Gallagher farting on about Jay-Z at Glastonbury, you're a shit old man complaining that bands don't sound like The Beatles anymore. "Radio was once the voice of the people." claims The Third Step, Radio Shit's clattering chaotic intro. The fuck it was. That sounds a fucking Gaslight Anthem lyric, and you wanna be swerving as far away from that conservative tapioca-Sorkin vision of the past as you really can. Punk is very fucking susceptible to believing its own revolutionary hype, to playing into that media-narrative of itself as the TRUE REVOLUTIONARY MUSIC, punkism as a ugly offshoot of lazy rockism, and if you're making revolutionary punk, you should be about kicking that fucking myth to pieces.

It's a fucking shame, cos the songs on this EP really are killer. And a firm recreation first mindblowing epiphany of real punk attack is handily realised a lot of the time. Sharp barbs of anarcho-punk, like Radio Shit really closer to the Subhumans' compact bombs than the Crassic sprawl of songs like When You Gonna Realize? on The Door, these songs are stripped to their gleaming edges with no goth shiver that accompanies much of the modern day takes on the subgenre, just pure clear rage, throbbing and marching, herky jerky riffs bouncing like demented puppets, catchy basslines and itchy panicked guitar scrape, falling into and rising out of apocalyptic sound collages rippling with threat and chaos and doom. The vocals snapping with venom, slithering with demented hope, punching with power, asking real questions, playing characters, caricatures, carrying like crowd chants over police lines. Songs like Broadcast Tower with its 1-2 stomp, Bring the Boys Back Home with its peppy yelps, The Third World with its gentle guitar trickles filtering through the fury and indignance, are small masterpieces of restless punk shiftings, skipping from crash to shuffle, blunt messages of resistance delivered with real conviction, "MAYBE THE BOSSES DON'T GIVE A FUCK", creeping dawns of solidarity spotted somewhere off in the dark, making you keep fighting, dancing. And keeping fighting is important, just as keeping dancing is. Just don't be real fucking 100% oi-mate-i'm-punk punk dickheads about it, you know. Nicki Minaj fucking rules, mate.

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Brain F≠ - Empty Set LP

Brain F≠'s 2nd LP of shabbily-hewn punk rock, catchy and crunching, poppy but not pop punk, gruff but not gruff punk. Flatly sweet, demonstratively sharp, Nick Goode and Elise Anderson's vocals cutting across each other, erasing and supporting each other, in dry knowing drawls and spiteful snaps. Dangerhouse dirt, a thickened and filled-out Avengers, a dented and kicked-in Thermals. Evocative visions of human mess spiralling and zagging through, faded scenes, wasted wishes. "We used the city like a fulcrum/Were we dumb?/We used our arms we used our hands to communicate and bent and bent and bending we make it work it until our backs break" on Fulcrum. "You want everybody on the balcony, mais/Secret's wrapped in money in the bathroom doorway/Gotta throw some pocket change to play/We lie like kings, lay all day" on Dirty Realism. 10 punk cuts with the shine rubbed off, the bruises still visible.


Teledrome - s/t LP

Super-catchy synthpunk moving with the same clackety robotic precision as the Spits, but not kicking sparks, warbling with the futuro-nostalgia of Buggles, a wistful tune to hum as your spaceship spins into the infinite airless yonder. Robot silly, android hearts crackling with rust, learning, growing, jealousy/abandonment/lust just bugs in the program, unrequited alarm beeps, heartbreak does not compute but it still hurts. The drums flat and stark, the synths as high cutting prows slicing through, as tickling electric burbles running under, as skittering chirps or wide-open vistas for you to get sucked into as the whispers get to you on Boyfriend, the confusion roots you to the spot in Spirals, the life slips out on Blood Drips, those synth melodies whooping and warping through you with goofy cybersadness. Laserprecision bummerpunk for broken machines.

Absolut - Punk Survival LP

Crunching hardcore in the international mode, matching that Scandi-bombblast to the squeal and wail of Japanese legends like The Sexual or Deathside, thick gory riffs, vocals echoing back into the raw thunder and hail like deathhowls blown futile away in the night. Your Fraud chugs with motorpunk purpose, it's guitars bend gracefully above the storm before faltering and collapsing back into the roiling sea. Neo Fuckers gouges out thick rents in the pavement, its solo a slipping and squirming beast, the drums relentless, the vocals one more animalistic tear. Loveless Noise building out of one manic squealing into another, one chaos slips into a deeper one. 9 songs of full and bloodwarm hardcore punk, burning and bludgeoning, no rest, no quarter given, Punk Survival.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

The Repossessed - demo CS

Eye-scratching feminist hardcore punk from Sheffield, brief and biting,  bold and blunt, all the waste burnt off. The guitar a garage-raw scrape, the vocals a bitter scream. Shifting from crude thumps into searing choruses. "MAKE YOUR OWN UTOPIA/OR BURN EVERYTHING DOWN!" on Make Your Own Utopia, "TRY! TRY! TRY! OR DIE! DIE! DIE!" on Try "IT KILLS ME, KILLS ME KILLS ME!" on Falling Down. Lyrics reiterating struggles lived and lumped, the inevitability of failure running up into the impossibility of surrender. The Repossessed stamp with the repetitive chickenwire punk of Buck Biloxi and the Fucks, bloodied up with the sore savagery of Neopunkz or other early 80s hardcore cutting hard and fast.