Work Stress - Sever

In­cred­i­ble full length de­but by this St. Pe­ters­burg, Flori­da group that kin­da plays out like a com­pre­hen­sive roundup of pret­ty much any­thing that re­fused to fit in­to any of the neat cat­e­gories of eight­ies to ear­ly nineties hard- and post­core. So much great shit echoed here, from the more left-field seg­ment of the ear­ly '80s scene… think like, Min­ute­men, Sac­cha­rine Trust, Cru­ci­fucks, Re­al­ly Red, Dicks and Flip­per, al­so span­ning the clas­sic eras of both '80s (Gray Mat­ter, Em­brace, Rites Of Spring, One Last Wish) and '90s Dischord-re­lat­ed sounds (Crown­hate Ru­in, most of all…), al­so tak­ing some cues from the Touch & Go camp (say, Rape­man, Scratch Acid, ear­ly Shel­lac) and last but not least, freely plun­der­ing the lega­cy of Dri­ve Like Je­hu. And that's just bare­ly scratch­ing the sur­face here. In the cur­rent land­scape, i'd say groups like De­odor­ant, Op­tic Nerve, Big Bop­per and Straw Man Army are of a sim­i­lar spir­it. All the while, Work Stress are con­sid­er­ably di­al­ing up the un­pre­dictabil­i­ty and ap­par­ent ran­dom­ness even com­pared with most of the men­tioned acts (though ac­tu­al­ly i think they're act­ing quite de­lib­er­ate­ly here), a trait that pays off spec­tac­u­lar­ly in songs like Build­ing From Ab­ject Fail­ure, in which dis­so­nant, slow-crawl stac­cat­to rhythms al­ter­nate with un­ex­pect­ed­ly catchy punk hooks.

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Hammer and the Tools - Hamma

The ex­cel­lent de­but by this group from Jack­son, Mis­sis­sip­pi de­liv­ers a cou­ple fun and de­ranged lit­tle bangers made up of rock­et-pro­pelled, garage-en­hanced, fuzz-in­fest­ed hard- and post­core shit that's shure to get the ap­proval of sea­soned con­nois­seurs in the realm of oth­er more-or-less re­cent quirky hard­core phe­nom­e­na á la Fried E/​m, Mys­tic Inane, Cri­sis Man, Rolex, Head­cheese, ALF and so many more!

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D. Sablu - No True Silence

New Or­leans garage punk dude D. Sablu did make a quite pos­i­tive im­pres­sion al­ready with a string of demos and tapes in 2020-2022. On his full-length de­but via Yes We Can­ni­bal though, his artis­tic vi­sion comes in­to much sharp­er fo­cus, span­ning a good deal of va­ri­ety in his sound from the slight­ly noise rock /​ post punk-lean­ing open­er Bomber Stomp to straight­for­ward garage punk smash­ers like Too Much Of The News and the Dead Boys-in­fect­ed tune Stuck In A Rut, al­to­geth­er hav­ing a bit of a Kid Chrome, Sauna Youth or Teenanger vibe to them, some­times veer­ing in­to straight up har­o­d­core punk ter­ri­to­ry while det­o­na­tions á la Scan­dalous and World Peace go all-in on that ten­den­cy. What­ev­er shit D. Sablu touch­es turns in­to pure gold or at the very least cop­per on this al­bum. In some ways this thing al­so pos­i­tive­ly re­minds me of the most re­cent EP by Jean Mignon.

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Bootlicker - 1000 Yd. Stare

Bootlick­er of Vic­to­ria, BC, Cana­da re­main an un­stop­pable force on the fore­front of fair­ly con­tem­po­rary sound­ing, yet si­mul­ta­ne­ous­ly kin­da old­school har­o­d­core punk with a dis­tinct garage edge and just a smidge of Oi!, rich in catchy hooks and pen­e­tra­tive riffs. On­ly the finest ref­er­ences for this shit, some of which be­ing the likes of ear­ly Elec­tric Chair, Chain Whip, Il­lit­er­ates, Hood Rats, Cri­sis Man, Head­cheese and Im­ploders.

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Fen Fen - National Threat

This De­troit group made quite a bit of a splash al­ready with a strong EP in 2022 and now they're throw­ing an even bet­ter LP at us, once again com­bin­ing a bit of lo­cal (pro­to-) punk his­to­ry with flavours of garage punk, hard- and post­core, call­ing to mind a bit of Ner­vosas in Amer­i­can Lies and Doll­house in Kill Your Par­ents, while oth­er­wise play­ing out a bit like a good cross-sec­tion of a bunch of garage/hard­core-hy­brid groups like the some­what more garage-lean­ing, KBD-in­flu­enced stylings of Launch­er, Frea­kees, Liq­uid As­sets and Mys­tic Inane as well as the more hard­core-heavy side with groups such as Im­ploders, Head­cheese, Hood Rats, Alf and Ce­ment Shoes.

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Jimsobbins /​ Cindy7 - Split

Yet an­oth­er thor­ough­ly com­pelling load of new egg-ish garage- and synth punk good­ness comes to us by way of this crunchy split cas­sette fea­tur­ing two Prov­i­dence, Rhode Is­land groups. Jim­sob­bins are a duo com­prised of Adam and Lucy. Is that the same Adam who's al­so in Bal­loon Thief? Plau­si­ble but un­con­firmed. With the ad­di­tion of vo­cal­ist El­la, they then trans­form in­to the trio Cindy7. Jim­sob­bins are the more typ­i­cal­ly egg­punk-sound­ing of the two groups, call­ing to mind stuff like Daugh­ter Bat and the Lip Stings, Gee Gee, Bil­liam and Toe Ring… plus a slight sham­bol­ic touch of Neo Neos in Leop­ard. The lat­ter ten­den­cy then per­sists through­out Cindy7's side, ex­hibit­ing even more of that scrap­py DIY charm, with their open­ing track Gonna Break! even evok­ing a bit of an old­school no wave vibe while the fi­nal two tracks charge things up with an in­creas­ing amount of chaot­ic hard­core en­er­gy.

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Solvent - Mockery Of Life

A kick­ass de­but EP by this Brook­lyn, NY group. The open­er No Re­course evokes a dis­tinct mid-'80s to ear­ly '90s Dischord vibe á la Rites Of Spring, Na­tion Of Ulysses, Gray Mat­ter… plus a hint of Dri­ve Like Je­hu or more re­cent groups like Wymyns Prysyn, Beast Fiend and Launch­er. Fix­ate comes with a hard change of pace, most­ly re­sem­bling the spir­it of old aus­tralian punk and garage leg­ends like X, Saints and God. Scrap­ing Away then re­turns to the post­core stylings, some­how com­bin­ing a bit of ear­ly Sac­cha­rine Trust with the pro­to-noise rock of Flip­per.

Woodstock '99 - '99 Ta Life

This Cleve­land, Ohio group, named af­ter the in­fa­mous scum­bag nu met­al bros' very own sum­mer of love, has al­ways been kind of an, ahem… ac­quired taste, though al­ways a ton of fun as well, at least as long as they don't in­dulge too much in their weed, their Fred Durst, their oc­ca­sion­al ston­er rock flour­ish­es… and al­so, as it ap­pears now, their let­ting A.I. mak­ing crap­py mu­sic for them, a brand new vice in their ar­se­nal. That said, this pass­es eas­i­ly as their strongest re­lease to date and is noth­ing short of a must-have for any af­fic­i­na­do of in­ven­tive, un­pre­dictable and garage-fla­vored hard­core punk right up there with the likes of, say, Ce­ment Shoes, Cü­lo, Chain Whip, Head­cheese, Flea Col­lar… just to tick off a few of the most ob­vi­ous and thor­ough­ly flat­ter­ing ref­er­ences.

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OSBO - OSBO

This Syd­ney group brings a lot of lo­cal bag­gage to the ta­ble with its mem­bers hav­ing been, among oth­er things, in groups such as Bed Wet­tin' Bad Boys, Roy­al Headache, Tim and the Boys and Mun­do Prim­i­ti­vo. But hon­est­ly, they don't sound one bit like any of these groups. Rather, their ra­bid mix­ture of post- and hard­core re­minds me a quite a bit of At­lanta wreck­ing crews Nag and Preda­tor as well as oth­er US groups like ear­ly In­sti­tute, Acrylics, Tube Al­loys, Pyrex, Cork­er and Crim­i­nal Code or, al­ter­nate­ly, Sydney's very own Ar­se and Xilch. Add to that some ul­tra-raw pro­to-noise rock edge á la Flip­per or No Trend and you're rough­ly in the right ball­park. The un­hinged bark of the singer, how­ev­er, re­minds me a lot of UK group Akne.

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Hood Rats - Crime, Hysteria & Useless Information

Fi­nal­ly, a full al­bum of Montreal's Hood Rats who've been mak­ing noise for a while al­ready, al­though their sound re­al­ly snapped in­to gear on their two most re­cent EPs in the win­ter of '22 - '23. Now this one is com­prised most­ly of punchy new record­ings of songs al­ready known from said EPs and a 2022 de­mo, but that shouldn't dis­tract you from the fact of what a joy­ous and com­plete as­sault of ear­ly '80s straight-ahead, no-frills US punk- and hard­core en­er­gy this is, en­riched with bits of an­cient KBD- and con­tem­po­rary garage punk. Cer­tain­ly the de­fin­i­tive in­car­na­tion for this lav­ish set of killer tunes!

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