The Unfit - The Unfit

This Seat­tle group has been around for quite a few years now, but it took them just as long to come up with their de­but LP. Thus, it's no re­al sur­prise this thing sounds rather ma­ture for a de­but record, with a firm grip on this par­tic­u­lar sub­genre some­where be­tween the garage-lean­ing zones of the post­core spec­trum and some con­tem­po­rary noise rock - right in the neigh­bor­hood of bands like ear­ly Video, Hot Snakes, As­cot Stab­ber, Da­vid­i­ans or Flow­ers Of Evil.

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Wax Chattels - Clot

Two years af­ter their promis­ing, though at times some­what un­der­cooked de­but LP, we get to hear a way more con­sis­tent sopho­more ef­fort by this Auck­land, New Zee­land trio. Their rather ab­stract yet al­ways catchy com­po­si­tions some­where on the fringes of Post Punk and Noise Rock - plus a hint of In­dus­tri­al - at sev­er­al points re­mind me of Acts like Girls In Syn­the­sis, Haunt­ed Hors­es, Ice Bal­loons or Tu­nic - with a small dose of Light­ning Bolt sprin­kled in for good mea­sure.

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Shifting - It Was Good

Hav­ing on­ly re­leased one 7" be­fore, the ma­tu­ri­ty of this Dublin group's de­but al­bum is quite stun­ning - noth­ing less than a ful­ly re­al­ized, ver­sa­tile and in­ven­tive take on Noise Rock, Post­core and Math Rock clear­ly tak­ing some cues from clas­sic 90's and ear­ly 00's acts like Un­wound, Bas­tro, Chavez, Fro­dus, some ear­ly Shel­lac, while still stand­ing on its own two feet. In the cur­rent genre land­scape, Mul­ti­c­ult might al­so be a some­what use­ful com­par­i­son.

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Brandy - The Gift Of Repetition

It's quite fit­ting that the first-ever 12" record on US garage über­la­bel To­tal Punk starts with a thump­ing groove rem­i­nis­cent of ISS, whose most re­cent EP might have been the last 7" ever to be re­leased on that la­bel - the tran­si­tion in­to a new To­tal Punk era couldn't feel any smoother re­al­ly, re­as­sur­ing us that de­spite a change in for­mat, the label's spir­it is still the same, is alive and well. Grown up a bit, maybe. New York garage noise group Brandy sound their most com­pact and force­ful on their sopho­more LP af­ter hav­ing cut their teeth al­ready on a rough and bril­liant de­but al­bum and on an­oth­er 7" - guess on what la­bel that one came out… More ever be­fore you can feel some dis­tinct Feed­time in­flu­ence, while in their most ab­stract mo­ments there's some kind of a Spray Paint vibe go­ing on. But even more than that, i'm re­mind­ed of con­tem­po­rary post punk acts Know­so and NAG, both of whom had re­leased records on To­tal Punk in the past - just amaz­ing how things come full cir­cle here.

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Help - 2053

Their de­but EP a year ago al­ready was an ex­cel­lent rack­et, but what this group from Port­land (i think) pulls off on their new full length is just plain awe­some, a punchy as fuck piece of noise rock/​postcore bliss of the high­est cal­iber. Re­gard­ing their sound, they're cer­tain­ly root­ed in the present day, re­mind­ing me of acts like Tu­nic, Death Pan­els, John (timest­wo), USA Nails, Girls In Syn­the­sis. Athough this record doesn't ex­act­ly break new ground, as a genre piece - helped by every song hav­ing an elab­o­rate and ro­bust com­po­si­tion at its core - it suc­ceeds at every step along the way. A per­fect mael­strom of propul­sive rhythms, wicked bass grooves, in­fer­nal noise erup­tions and - as they al­ready show­cased ear­ly on their EP - a wise­ly mea­sured and thus ex­tra ef­fec­tive sense of melody, well ca­pa­ble of el­e­vat­ing all that dra­ma to the next lev­el.

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Brain Bagz & Blood Bags - Split LP

Thor­oug­ly en­joy­able shit, this split LP on Big Neck Records.
Blood Bags from Auck­land, New Zee­land sure know how to trig­ger a de­li­cious­ly blown out garage-/fuzz-/s­ton­er punk ri­ot evok­ing com­par­isons to The Cow­boy and ear­ly The Men, com­plet­ing the fun with some raw stooges pow­er, strong Fun­house-es­que propul­sion.
Salt Lake City's Brain Bagz then pro­duce a Sound that feels close­ly re­lat­ed in spir­it and in its pri­mal en­er­gy, but casts a much wider net in its choice of in­flu­ences - start­ing off with a kin­da Cramps-meet-Scratch Acid vibe and sub­se­quent­ly tak­ing many cues from the 80s pro­to noise rock com­plex in­clud­ing the likes of No Trend, Flip­per, Live Skull.

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Glen Schenau - Jhumble​/​​Jearnest 7"

Glen Schenau, oth­er­wise prob­a­bly best known as the Front­man of Bris­bane group Kitchen's Floor, has so far re­leased two EPs of bor­der­line-avant garde art rock, con­vinc­ing by virtue of its sheer weird­ness, marked by dis­so­nant, hy­per­ac­tive gui­tar strum­ming - kin­da like an out-of-tune funky al­ter­nate re­al­i­ty ver­sion of The Wed­ding Present - com­ple­ment­ed by crude pots-and-pans style per­cus­sion. On his newest 7", the lat­ter gives way to an ac­tu­al drum kit as well as a full band sound and as a whole this takes on a slight­ly less ex­per­i­men­tal, way more tan­gi­ble form on the fringes of post punk, noise rock and 90s in­die rock while re­tain­ing the quirky, in­ven­tive qual­i­ties of its pre­de­ces­sors. Melk­bel­ly-meets-Live Skull? Nah, not quite… but not too far off ei­ther.

DeStructos - Blast!

A flaw­less de­but EP by a Philadel­phia Duo, de­liv­er­ing four pre­ci­sion blows of a quite smart and ver­sa­tile mix­ture lo­cat­ed some­where in the con­tem­po­rary post­core-/noise rock-/post punk neigh­bor­hood and rem­i­nis­cent of such di­verse acts as Dash­er, Cutie, Donors, Lit­tle Ug­ly Girls, Hit Bar­gain, Street Eaters, Xe­tas.

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Still /​ Form - Still /​ Form

Isn't that the Mar­riage + Can­cer guy groan­ing his vo­cals? Yep, same guy. The mu­sic on this Port­land trio's first EP ain't all that dif­fer­ent ei­ther. Noise Rock of an ul­tra-clas­sic 90s va­ri­ety with a hint of math, pret­ty much in the mid­dle be­tween the more smar­tass Touch & Go and the more sludge- and met­al-affine Am­phet­a­mine Rep­tile uni­vers­es.

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Flat Worms - Antarctica

Al­ready a hand­ful of re­leas­es in­to their discog­ra­phy, we kin­da know what to ex­pect from a new Flat Worms record by now. How­ev­er, that doesn't mean they're stand­ing still ex­act­ly. Rather, with every new re­lease they man­aged to fo­cus on and ex­pand up­on a cer­tain facet of their garage-, psy­che­del­ic- and fuzz punk sound, keep­ing things fresh and in­ter­est­ing at all times. This time, record­ing with Steve Al­bi­ni at Elec­tri­cal Au­dio, the re­sult does not on­ly show Albini's trade­mark son­ic char­ac­ter­is­tics, but al­so their over­all sound seems to em­brace some of his lega­cy as a pro­duc­er au­dio en­gi­neer, veer­ing in­to a dis­tinct­ly noise rock/​postcore di­rec­tion that, once again, was al­ways sub­tly present on their pre­vi­ous records but nev­er as much on dis­play as here and might be com­pared to con­tem­po­rary bands like Meat Wave, Metz or USA Nails. Oth­er small but pleas­ant sur­pris­es come in the form of the ti­tle track - a garage jam you could al­most de­scribe as re­laxed - as well as the 90s in­die rock vibes in Mar­ket Forces.

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