Bad People // Pearls Before Swine
This crazy debut EP from Bad People came out earlier this fall, but it slipped past my radar until just a few weeks ago. Featuring members of bands like California X, Shoppers (shout out the Perfect Pussy homies), and White Guilt, Bad People make pop punk of only the snottiest caliber. The vocalist sounds unintelligibly unhinged and therefore reminiscent of all the best first wave punk bands. The instrumentation is also suuuper catchy with weird little moments thrown in to spice things up. The occasional surf-rocking guitar line, organs, phantom saxophone noises? All fair game. Overall it’s just a really zany, fun punk release that if nothing else should sufficiently piss off your parents.
Sirs // “Shellshock”
We’re less than a week away from the release of Sirs new self-titled cassette for Double Double Whammy. The EP follows on the heels of the band’s excellent, also self-titled 2012 album, which featured a louder, more punk driven band than you’re likely to find on this new release.
"Shellshock" is the second single to drop from Sirs and with it the picture of the EP becomes clearer. The guys weren’t lying when they said that power pop would be playing a huge role on the release, and “Shellshock” is further proof of that. Don’t worry though, this is still the same Sirs with catchy pop hooks and Justin Jurgen’s gravely howls. It’s just that this time around there is a little more bounce and a little less knuckle-sandwich.
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Shat Shorts // Shat Shorts
Yeah, the band name is Shat Shorts so you pretty much know right away not only what style of music these guys probably play but also whether or not it’s going to be your cup of tea. So either sip on or scram. Get the hell outta here!
Continuing in a very long and very loud D.C. tradition, Shat Shorts blast listeners with an uptempo, abrasive, yet really fun brand of punk rock. I’ve been seeing the “thrash” tag being thrown around a lot with reference to their music, but in reality there is not really anything truly thrash about it (other than probably the fact that the band members literally thrash around on stage while playing). No, what you’re more likely to get when you dive into the band’s self-titled debut album is a really crusty form of art punk with a serious case of ADHD. The tempos vary, the guitar tones waver around from goth rock to hardcore riffs and everywhere in between, all while the manic vocals hold the sticky concoction together.
It’s a free download on their Bandcamp (or if you prefer, you can just grab this link). It’s a fun release to veg out to especially if you just spent the last two hours wrestling with an unwieldy weed-eater (weed-whacker?) to no avail.
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Hoax // Hoax
Depending on how entrenched you are in underground hardcore, the name Hoax either means nothing to you or it is cause for great excitement. The Massachusetts band has been steadily making a name for themselves due to their intense live shows and hard-hitting, take-no-prisoners brand of hardcore. All of this surprisingly without a proper debut album… until now. The band has finally released their long-awaited, self-titled debut. The self-released album can be ordered from the band’s store or can be downloaded for free right here. I suggest both.
The self-released album is twelve tracks of blistering noise and bleeding vocal chords. The band’s preferred mid-tempo pace is the perfect blueprint for their grating, lo-fi harshness and they attack it with an adrenaline-infused fervor. This a no-frills kind of release that takes pleasure in berating listeners with its loud, good old fashioned, hell-raising hardcore punk. I’m putting it up there with Bad Noids, Raspberry Bulbs, Nails, and Full of Hell as one of my favorite hardcore releases of the year. It’s a simple pleasure that hits like a sledgehammer to the gut. Sound good? Yeah, I thought so
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Hand of Dust // “Without Grace or Glory”
A lot has been made about the music coming out of the diverse Copenhagen DIY punk scene over the past two years with bands like Iceage, Lower, Vår, and Lust for Youth getting loads of worthy press. But you’d be mistaken in thinking that that oyster is fully cracked. There are still bands from that scene worth digging up. Bands like Sexdrome or Girlseekers that are just as good as those listed above. So with that in mind let me direct your attention to yet another Copenhagen band called Hand of Dust who deserves to be making waves of their own.
Last year the band put out a really solid demo tape that, while rough around the edges, still had that Copenhagen sound in spades. It was good, yes, but it didn’t blow me away or anything. Well, all of that is hopefully about to change though with the band’s upcoming 7” EP Without Grace or Glory. Just today the band released the title track from the EP and it is a major step up in my opinion. Featuring a much more, uh, western sound from the instrumentals, the track sounds like something that could be featured in a Tarantino film if it weren’t for Bo Høyer Hansen’s aggressive vocals. For only being one minute and thirty-seven seconds, this tracks packs quite a punch. Mark my words, this EP is going to be one to watch out for.
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Cerce // Split 7”
It deeply saddens me to be writing this, but Cerce, for all intents and purposes, has broken up. The band maintains that they actually haven’t, but have instead just changed their name and lineup. Eh, semantics. Either way Cerce as we currently know it basically ceases to exist. Depending on how entrenched you are in the East Coast hardcore scene, you probably have at least heard of the band (I’ve featured them here a couple times). In my opinion they were one of the more promising hardcore acts to surface in recent years compounding the fact that they were helping make strides as far as gender equality in the scene goes. But alas, all good things must come to an end.
There has been talk of one final (debut) LP from the band, which should surface sometime next month, but in the meantime the band has put out this split 7” with Stresscase out on Mayfly Records. The three tracks on this split eschews the band’s usual powerviolence for some much more traditional sounding hardcore punk. Becca’s vocals are a little less frantic this time, something that always helped the band stand out. Who knows maybe this is all part of transitioning into a life where she isn’t Cerce's powerful voice. Lord knows I'll miss the band as they were, but I've still got them on my iPod so they'll never be too far from my ears.
If you’re interested in following the rest of the band as they carry on, they are now recording and performing under the name lovechild and actually have a pretty sick little EP on their Bandcamp already. This just in: It’s a shredder.
(via The Elementary Revolt)
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Morality Crisis // Boats
If there is one breed of music fan who is extremely concerned with the designations between genre tags, it’s probably the metal fans. Personally I don’t give a rip as long as the band can shred. But mislabel death metal or doom in certain circles and you’re likely to get your face kicked in. Which only makes bands like Minnesconsin (yeah, you read that right) bruisers Morality Crisis all the more thrilling. Upon listening to the band’s upcoming album Boats, the conversation shifts to the question, “What do we even call this?” Hardcore crust-punk-leaning sludge rock with death metal and prog rock tendencies? Nah, how about we just call it “amazing.” That fits.
The band, who happens to have a winking sense of humor, know how to come across as brutal as hell while having so much fun. The songs are jam-packed with some of the heaviest riffs around, the vocal growls and screams bring the edge, and yet the songs are snappy enough that you might want to just throw down with a giant grin on your face wherever it is you are listening from. Now following a modest and successful Kickstarter, the band is preparing to release this debut full-length on vinyl. Rad.
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Whatever Brains // “NPTO”
One of my most anticipated releases of the year will be the forthcoming album from from lovable punk weirdos Whatever Brains. It’s yet another self-titled release from the guys so we’ll just join their label Sorry State Records in calling it Whatever Brains (2013).
The band has released two tracks from the upcoming album so far on the Sorry State Bandcamp page. The first track “Companymen” is pretty much what you’d expect from Whatever Brains (and is why I love them). It’s slightly frenzied punk experimentation at its finest. The track that really caught my attention though was the second track to surface, “NPTO.” Compared to what we’ve heard from the band up until now this track sounds downright conventional in its structure and execution. It’s bass and percussion-heavy, but it’s also got a really catchy melody with enough weirdness thrown in there to remind you of who is behind the driver’s wheel. If I was excited for Whatever Brains (2013) before, I’m basically frothing at the mouth now.
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Brain F≠ // “Sailor Swim”
Brain F≠ (pronounced “Brain Flannel”, yeah I don’t get it either) is a rambunctious garage punk band from Charlotte, NC. On July 15th the band will release their followup to 2011’s Sleep Rough. The new album is called Empty Set and will again be released by Grave Mistake and the always stellar Sorry State Records.
Until that time, you’ll have to enjoy the first single to drop from that album called “Sailor Swim”. The track has a friendly face with it’s snappy tempo and melodic vocals, but underneath the track is a pretty snarly punk number with biting lyrics. Elise Anderson’s repeating chorus “I don’t give a fuck if you clear my name.” is almost a spiritual sister to Joan Jett's seminal punk rock anthem “I don't give a damn about my bad reputation.” It's that kind of classic punk or riot grrrl attitude that makes Brain F≠ so much fun to listen to. Just don’t forget to check out Empty Set in a few months. Or just check back here. I’m sure I’ll be yapping about it one way or another.
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Bad Noids // Everything from Soup to Dessert
Ask most people who are at least somewhat familiar with record label Kartoga Works which bands from their roster they dote on and they’ll probably say “well, I really like Merchandise.” And while it’s true that the Florida post-punkers have pulled a spotlight down onto the small label, there is a lot more to discover and love about the label than just one (buzz) band. Plus the label makes it easy for people to become versed in their output because they offer free downloads of the majority of their releases.
Take their most recent release Everything from Soup to Dessert from Cleveland band Bad Noids. Taking the hardcore punk formula and injecting it with radioactive snot and a twisted sense of humor, the guys have spit out an album of 12 blistering, blink-and-miss-‘em punk micro-explosions. Their music is fast and frantic with tons of youthful aggression, but most importantly it’s an extremely fun album. If you listen to more than a little punk then you’ll notice that Bad Noids aren’t taking themselves very seriously and they sound like they are having a blast doing whatever it is that they are doing. After a short pause following the last track the vocalist rants and screams “I have a headache!” over and over again through heavy breathing, and then finally uttering “Bad Noids…” These guys show their colors throughout the album’s short runtime, and if you stick around for its duration, those sentiments are cemented amidst maniacal laughter.
Everything from Soup to Dessert is unfortunately already sold out, but please do yourself a favor and download the tracks.
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Pig Welt // Root Porno
Sometimes I don’t think people realize just how much music passes through music bloggers’ hands. I get it from my email inbox (good Lord, you don’t even wanna know), on Tumblr, on Twitter, even on Facebook. That being said, I’m not complaining. I put myself in this position and it’s one that I’m happy to be in. It just gets a tad overwhelming every once in a while. All that serves to make it that much harder for artists to stand out in a crowd unless they are doing something legitimately insane. So on the heels of a cheeky Facebook message, I decided to revisit and share Pig Welt's Root Porno. Let’s just say he made himself stand out.
The solo project of Rochester, NY native Zachary Rooney, Pig Welt is a strange little monster. Not exactly punk, not exactly garage rock, but existing uncomfortably somewhere between the two, his music mopes around languidly at a very intentional pace. It almost sounds as if he is playing his stuff from the bottom of a swimming pool. But not just any swimming pool. More like one that hasn’t been cleaned in a while and it has like dirty leaves and twigs floating on the surface and maybe a couple dead toads with bulged, white eyes rotting on the silty bottom. And yet after all of that Root Porno is an appealing release. Just be prepared to get your hands a little dirty.
Root Porno is out now on limited cassette through Holy Page Records. Cheers to Christian for this one.
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Total Control // 7”s LP
Now this I really like. Like really really. Featuring members of prominent Melbourne rock bands like The UV Race and Eddy Current Suppression RIng, garge punk rockers Total Control have concocted something really snappy. I initially looked into them because I heard that they would appeal to fans of Merchandise, but as listening would show, that comparison isn’t exactly the most apt. While they do get a bit morose on some of these tracks, the 7”s LP is a much more energetic, firecracker sort of affair.
Much like OFF! did for their debut LP, Total Control has gathered all of their previous EPs and 7”s and released the collection as their proper debut. Looking to 1970’s and 1980’s punk weirdo characters like Devo, The Screamers, and Gary Numan's various projects, Total Control has assembled a collection of tracks that bleeds personality from every orifice. I don’t know if the tracks play out in the chronological order of release, but there definitely seems to be a metamorphosis going on from the front of this album to the back. The first half or so wallows in fast, gritty garage punk numbers with a vibrant youthful energy, but as the album churns its way to the back it incorporates a lot more experimentation with dark synth and post-punk weirdness. Needless to say it’s an interesting spate of songs from a band keen to show off their diversity.
So far the album is only available as a digital download on their Bandcamp, but the cover artwork is basically a j-card just waiting to be printed so… come on, now. Give the people what they want.
(via The Elementary Revolt)
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SOHNS // Haus Helle
You wouldn’t be alone if at first listen you thought that San Antonio hardcore punk band SOHNS had two vocalists; a guy and a girl. But no, it turns out that the vocalist Alex Mendez is just super dynamic with his vocal range. Wavering between blood-curdling, shrill screaming and low guttural moans and growls, he is just one reason to check out this awesome band. I suppose it doesn’t hurt that the instrumentation is great and the song structures are crazy either.
They deem themselves “doom-punk,” and although the doom elements are few and far between the punk tag is absolutely appropriate. Their latest EP Haus Helle is only two short tracks and a bizarre remix, but it was more than enough for me to want to go back and check out their previous releases. They play their unique brand of punk music with blistering highs, booming lows, and all with a spastic, frenzied energy. The guys surround themselves with a ton of dark imagery, which I suppose is par for the course, but I assure you that that doesn’t sum them up. They exude a ton of electric energy and are just a ton of fun. So if you like your punk music to be a bit, uh, weird, then SOHNS should be right up your alley.
PS - Oh, and don’t confuse them with the buzz artist S O H N. No, these guys have been perforating ear drums since 2006. Later.
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Slutever // "1994"/"Spit"
My favorite Philly ladies are back with a new 7” on (insert genuine surprise here) Jade Tree Records. I told them this last night, but seeing them next to Pedro the Lion on the Jade Tree Soundcloud made me so happy that my head seriously almost exploded. These ladies are really doing it and people are taking notice and it’s everything that I’ve wanted for them since I first heard the promise on their gritty Sorry I’m Not Sorry EP. That was three years ago and they’ve come a long way since recording angsty punk anthems straight to tape in dingy bathrooms.
The two tracks on this new 7” find Slutever at their loudest and surprisingly sludgiest. The B-side gets a little raucous in its final moments, but for the most part these two new tracks find the ladies adopting a languid, mid-tempo demeanor with sticky guitars, thumping drum beats, and their usual distortion and reverb-drenched vocals. If you’re worried that the girls are growing up though, you can those frets put that to bed. This is still the same I-want-to-throw-up-on-your-face Slutever we fell in love with. The high school obsession lingers as well as lyrics about Courtney Love, bleached roots, and detention. They are still loud and bratty and they don’t care what you think, it’s just that this time around they’ve tricked someone into giving them studio time. Now all that’s left to do is strap yourself in and get ready to see who these girs conquer next.
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Donovan Wolfington // Stop Breathing
This album has been out on Bandcamp for a few weeks now, but the vinyl release isn’t until later this month (on Broken World & Community Records). So I’m hitting it right in the sweet spot between the two. I’ve actually had the album in my iTunes for a few months since the band intentionally “leaked” it to me as a good-natured joke late last year. So since it’s now out in the open for everyone else to hear I have no reservations in saying: Donovan Wolfington, I love you. xoxo.
Now they aren’t tagged as “emo” on their Bandcamp, but they certainly fit in with some of the better emo revivalist band of the last few years like Grown Ups, William Bonney, Old Gray, and even Snowing. That might seem like high praise, but I mean it. The kids in Donovan Wolfington have done their homework, their sound is tight, they have youthful energy pouring out of every orifice, they aren’t afraid to push the genre a bit, and they have the songwriting chops to back all of this up. Their debut album Stop Breathing comes on the heels of a few promising singles and is one of the more rounded punk releases I’ve heard this year. They know when to push the noise, screaming, veins pulsing in their throats; but they also know when to take their foot off the gas pedal and embellish the tracks with instrumentation and melody. It’s got the goods and it’s in no hurry to lay them all out on the table at once. So grab a copy of this album, take it as it comes, and just enjoy what this fun-loving band has to serve up.
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