The Celetoids - Optic Nerve

While their 2017 Pu­pal Stage EP still struck me as a bit un­der­cooked, their newest tape shows these croa­t­ian punks (fea­tur­ing mem­bers of Mod­ern Delu­sion) re­fin­ing their sound in­to some­thing way more con­sis­tent and en­joy­able, made up of straight-ahead punk rock that some­times veers slight­ly to­wards the KBD-in­spired garage sound of groups like Launch­er, Frea­kees… at oth­er times tak­ing some cues from melod­ic, post punk-lean­ing acts in the fash­ion of Red Dons, Xe­tas, Anx­ious Liv­ing or ear­li­er The Es­tranged.

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Super-X - Super-X

Hav­ing re­leased a strong de­but EP in 2017, Mel­bourne group Su­per-X now de­liv­er their first full length, once again packed with tons of spaced-out son­ic force. Clas­sic Stooges en­er­gy col­lides with psy­che­del­ic fire­works á la ear­ly Tele­scopes, some un­ex­pect­ed­ly high amount of post punk and a hint of MX-80, while they man­age to keep things in­ter­est­ing and ver­sa­tile through­out the whole jour­ney, evok­ing a rather di­verse clus­ter of com­par­isons such as Pub­lic Eye, Writhing Squares, De­struc­tion Unit, Faux Fe­ro­cious, Bail­ter­space, The Cow­boy or Open Your Heart-era The Men.

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Kaleidoscope - Decolonization /​/​ Straw Man Army - Age Of Exile

Two noisy new ar­ti­facts brought to us by New York's ex­quis­ite D4MT la­bel. First, there's a new ex­tend­ed play by hard-/post­core pow­er­house Kalei­do­scope on which their sound comes across a tiny bit more more sim­pli­fied and straight­for­ward than on last year's killer de­but LP, yet as in­spired, play­ful and in­ven­tive as ever.
Sim­i­lar things can be said about the de­but al­bum of Straw Man Army, a duo i can't find much in­for­ma­tion on, but at a quick glance they seem to con­sist of none oth­er than Kaleidoscope's drum­mer boy and some oth­er dude. Just as you'd ex­pect, this is an­oth­er quite ad­ven­tur­ous ride through the realms of dark post punk both clas­sic and con­tem­po­rary, some­times bor­der­ing on Crass-style min­i­mal­ism, Wipers-es­que melan­cho­lia while al­so re­mind­ing me of more re­cent ec­cen­tric­i­ties by the likes of Mur­der­er or Wymyns Prysyn.

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Warm Red - Decades Of Breakfast

As was to be ex­pect­ed, this At­lanta group's first full length ef­fort is thir­ty min­utes of pure post punk bliss, re­mind­ing me, at sev­er­al points, of some of the genre's best con­tem­po­raries - the rigid rhythms of Know­so and Nag come to mind, mixed with the more play­ful flour­ish­es of Pat­ti or Mar­bled Eye. Oth­er valid com­par­isons might be acts like Bruised, Sar­casm or La­bor.

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Lip - Commodity

Baltimore's Lip first won my at­ten­tion through a split EP with Nag a while ago. While there's def­i­nite­ly some sim­i­lar­i­ty to said At­lanta post punk group, i'd say what they're pulling off on their lat­est EP bears a much clos­er re­sem­blance to groups like Sieve­head, Rank Xe­rox or Crim­i­nal Code. At times, their sound has a more pro­nounced old­school goth/​death rock vibe to it though, bring­ing to mind Dis­joy or, more re­cent­ly, Clock Of Time.

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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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Diode - Diode

Some Los An­ge­les group con­sist­ing of a tru­ly all-star garage line­up de­liv­ers a pleas­ant­ly quirky mix of garage-, post- and synth punk, some­times com­ing across like a cross­breed of Nots and Pow!, or like Prim­i­tive Cal­cu­la­tors-meet-Use­less Eaters in oth­er mo­ments.

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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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Girls In Synthesis - Now Here's An Echo From Your Future

Af­ter re­leas­ing a true shit­load of EPs over the past few years and their sound show­ing a steady in­crease in ma­tu­ri­ty, it's re­al­ly no sur­prise that their de­but al­bum comes across as the most ac­com­plished batch of songs by this Lon­don group yet, their very own for­mu­la made up of post punk, noise rock and post­core el­e­ments fine-tuned and en­gi­neered in­to a smooth­ly run­ning, high pre­ci­sion ma­chine while still oc­ca­sion­aly ex­pand­ing their mu­si­cal vo­cab­u­lary - like some Wire-meet-Big Black-isms in Set Up To Fail for ex­am­ple or the bleak doom­scapes á la ear­ly Uni­form in Hu­man Frailty.

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Clock Of Time - Pestilent Planet

An­oth­er Berlin group whose mem­bers al­ready made some waves else­where in the 12XUniverse, name­ly in Bands like Diät, Aus­muteants or Vexx, al­though Diät cer­tain­ly are the clos­est match here in terms of sound - with a some­what more pro­nounced 80s death rock vibe, maybe. Al­so there's some sim­i­lar­i­ty to a slowed down in­car­na­tion of Pret­ty Hurts, Crim­i­nal Code or aus­tri­an col­leagues Red Gaze.

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