Dog Date - Zinger

This New York group is kind of a cu­ri­ous, zeit­geist-de­fy­ing beast in this day and age, wear­ing their fond­ness of late eight­ies to ear­ly nineties punk, grunge and in­die rock on their sleeves with the open­ing track even be­ing ti­tled Nir­vana, al­though i'd rather liken them to ear­ly Mud­honey and the noisy, ear­ly in­car­na­tion of The Pix­ies, maybe a hint of U-Men, Scratch Acid and Dri­ve Like Je­hu aswell. So ba­si­cal­ly, they're the kind of group that would've got­ten var­i­ous Pitch­fork writ­ers wet a decade-and-a-half ago, when the height of the first '90s nos­tal­gia wave hit. These days though, they're kind of an ob­scure odd­i­ty and that makes this record all the more en­dear­ing to me.

Al­bum-Stream →

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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Leaves - Leaves

Leaves are an eng­lish Trio bold­ly de­fy­ing any re­cent trends of their do­mes­tic scene, in­stead dab­bling in a sound in­be­tween the pa­ra­me­ters of post­core, noise- and math rock, all of which smells more of Chica­go, the wider Touch and Go uni­verse and re­lat­ed ar­ti­facts of the '90s US Un­der­ground, do­ing a thor­ough­ly con­vinc­ing job at re­vi­tal­iz­ing an aes­thet­ic that's be­come a bit rare these days. Slint are the most ob­vi­ous com­par­i­son to be made here but you might just as well pin­point some flour­ish­es of Tar, Un­wound, ear­ly Shel­lac and late Bitch Mag­net, a hint of Chavez or Pol­vo and even traces of '90s Dischord propul­sion can be found in Do Some­thing. Of more re­cent groups, ear­li­er in­car­na­tions of Pile and, even more so, Lug­gage sug­gest them­selves as close­ly re­lat­ed ex­am­ples.

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Unicorn Fart Sugar - Snack of Plates

An­oth­er mar­vel of covid lock­down-bred noise by a mul­ti-gen­er­a­tional british trio is ar­riv­ing here with a rough­ly three-year de­lay. A break­neck-speed mix­ture of brass-en­hanced garage punk, hard- and post­core, this stuff is com­bin­ing the traits of more re­cent phe­nom­e­na like, say, Ce­ment Shoes, Cri­sis Man and Mys­tic Inane with some equal­ly noisy gruff á la ear­ly-to-mid-eight­ies X, the aus­tralian group that is. Mak­ing the fun com­plete though is the in­fec­tious joy in the vo­cals of lead singer Eliza who, if my crum­my math and the sparse bits of avail­able in­for­ma­tion don't fail me, must've been around sev­en years old at the time of record­ing.

Al­bum-Stream →

Cartoon - Nyuck Nyuck Boing!

Now here's some bril­liant shit i've been to­tal­ly un­pre­pared for, cer­tain­ly hav­ing a mind of its own and be­ing de­light­ful­ly out of touch with the zeit­geist! Sure, the whole thing feels kin­da old. I'm kin­da old too, so i like that. Imag­ine the likes of Sac­cha­rine Trust, Min­ute­men, Swell Maps and The Pop Group par­tak­ing in an oc­cult rit­u­al to con­jure up an an­cient '60s acid rock de­mon, an un­holy cross­breed of psych- and math rock. This is quite ter­ri­bly self-in­dul­gent of course, but that as­pect kin­da comes with both of those gen­res, i guess. At this point i'm pret­ty sure you've al­ready made up your mind about it and know if you're gonna love or hate it. In my hum­ble opin­ion, what the Philadel­phia group hal­lu­ci­nates up here is pret­ty fuck­ing swell and to­tal­ly should be le­gal­ized!

Al­bum-Stream →

Arse - Kaputt.

It took the Syd­ney group like a half decade to come up with their third EP but here it fi­nal­ly is in all its glo­ry and spec­ta­cle. Their very own fu­sion of noise rock, hard- and post­core has re­tained every bit of their fran­tic en­er­gy while mix­ing shit up just enough to keep things in­ter­est­ing, for ex­am­ple in Shame Bomb, in which they con­jure up a pre­vi­ous­ly un­heard sense of melan­choly. Oth­er times, their speeds and lev­els of dev­as­ta­tion are reach­ing the ex­plo­sive force of their de­but EP in songs such as Lev­el Skip­per and Prick in the Franger, af­ter the slight­ly more for­giv­ing pre­vi­ous Safe Word EP, while tracks like Night Shift Blues once again su­per­charge all the grime and dirt of old­school Am­phet­a­mine Repile-style riff­ing with a re­lent­less hard­core at­tack.

Al­bum-Stream →

MKVulture - Terminal Freakout

A dense and noisy post punk spec­ta­cle un­folds on this Rich­mond, Vir­ginia group's de­but EP, its four elab­o­rate­ly con­struct­ed songs mak­ing a ful­ly ma­ture and con­fi­dent im­pres­sion al­ready. At times this has a cu­ri­ous vibe of, say, Straw Man Army plus a sub­tle trace of Poi­son Ruïn while in oth­er places this shit re­minds me a lot of some of the past decade's more melan­choly and song-ori­ent­ed post punk acts in the vein of ear­ly Es­tranged, Pub­lic Eye, Crim­i­nal Code, Bruised, VHS, Waste Man as well as At­lanta heavy­weights Wymyns Prysyn and Institute/Mothers's Milk.

Al­bum-Stream →

Knowso - Pulsating Gore

Cleveland's Know­so for sure have been among the most idio­syn­crat­ic and mem­o­rable groups of the past cou­ple years. Their newest full length shows them at the height of their strength once again, their amal­ga­ma­tion of post punk, noise- and math rock still com­ing across just as quirky and whim­si­cal as it is tight, rigid and an­gu­lar all the same, com­bin­ing a seem­ing­ly pro­ce­dur­al and ef­fi­cient, math­e­mat­i­cal ap­proach with an amount of fun and catchy­ness you wouldn't re­al­ly ex­pect in­side these rough pa­ra­me­ters. At this point, their sound is pret­ty much their own thing but if you ab­soiute­ly must com­pare them to oth­er groups, you might find some sim­i­lar­i­ties to stuff such as Brandy, Landown­er, Big Bop­per or maybe Nag in their more ap­proach­able mo­ments.

Al­bum-Stream →

Soft Shoulder - It's A Small World After

(…) as fo­cused as they haven't been in a long while (…) i wrote about their pre­vi­ous al­bum Smile Building's Ex­it. Tempe, Ari­zona group Soft Shoul­der then be like: "Hold my beer…" and come around the cor­ner with yet an­oth­er LP, record­ed around the same time as its pre­de­ces­sor and pre­sent­ing their sound in an even more snap­py and com­pelling light. Their unique blend con­sist­ing of both con­tem­po­rary and an­cient post punk mag­ic tricks, old­school noise rock and dis­tinct­ly no wave- and '80s The Fall-in­formed noise ex­per­i­ments has nev­er had more catchy ap­peal and sparkle than on this record.

Al­bum-Stream →

Luggage - Hand Is Bad

Chica­go trio Lug­gage have, over the course of the past eight years, proven to be a true bul­wark in the sec­tor of un­apolo­get­i­cal­ly ex­cen­tric, dis­so­nant and un­wieldy noise rock, post­core and math rock which they usu­al­ly hap­pen to throt­tle down to a slug­gish crawl. If any­thing, they've just grown ever more un­com­pro­mis­ing over the years, cul­mi­nat­ing in their newest de­formed lump of an LP, yet an­oth­er chal­leng­ing out­burst of noise heav­i­ly in­debt­ed to the likes of Slint, Tar, Shel­lac and if i had to name some­thing more con­tem­po­rary, i'd say the first two Be­hav­ior al­bums (es­pe­cial­ly the spec­tac­u­lar sec­ond one Bit­ter Bit­ter) make a close enough com­par­i­son as well.

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