Grimly Forming & Rolex - Split

This spec­tac­u­lar new split LP fi­nal­ly brings us new ma­te­r­i­al of two Los An­ge­les Groups - both of 'em stub­born­ly re­fus­ing to con­form to the es­tab­lished rules and con­ven­tions of hard­core punk - af­ter a cou­ple years lack­ing any "prop­er" re­lease from both groups.

Rolex come across as pow­er­ful as ever in their un­pre­dictable and in­ven­tive-as-fuck post­core at­tacks which on one hand con­tain echoes of a cou­ple of fair­ly re­cent acts like Mys­tic Inane, Big Bop­per, Brandy, Launch­er and ear­ly Pat­ti, while al­so be­ing mod­er­ate­ly in­debt­ed to the likes of Min­ute­men, Dicks and ear­ly Sac­cha­rine Trust (whose first LP Sur­viv­ing You, Al­ways is in des­per­ate need for a reis­sue god­dammit… a crim­i­nal­ly over­looked clas­sic of ear­ly post­core, years ahead of the curve if you ask me). Add to that oc­ca­sion­al flash­es of cow­punk, in­fused with some Lumpy & The Dumpers-style may­hem chan­neled in­to an off-the-rails vo­cal per­for­mance and the re­sult is pure weird­core bliss, leav­ing no doubt they re­main the right­ful rulers of their par­tic­u­lar sub­genre for now.

Grim­ly Forming's side then mounts a way rougher, yet no less smart and un­con­ven­tion­al at­tack on the sens­es, coun­ter­bal­anc­ing un­re­lent­ing force with plen­ty of elab­o­rate struc­tures to build on and a healthy dose of garage-y un­der­cur­rent to keep things go­ing smooth and fun all the way through.

Al­bum-Stream →

Negative Gears - Moraliser

It took them over five years to fol­low up on their ex­cel­lent de­but EP from 2019, but at long last here it is, the first LP by Sydney's Neg­a­tive Gears, on which they present an even more pitch-black, stone-cold vi­sion than be­fore, fun­neled in­to sig­nif­i­cant­ly ma­tured and re­fined com­po­si­tions and arrange­ments. Com­par­isons to US groups like ear­ly In­sti­tute, Rank/​Xerox, Crim­i­nal Code and Nag still ap­ply, kind of… but al­so i can sense some kin­ship with the widescreen dra­ma of berlin-based duo Dead Finks and its sort-of pre­cur­sor group, New Zeeland's Trust Punks. Then again, songs like the open­ing track Neg­a­tive Gear and Pills car­ry some of the hall­marks of british post punk pow­er­hous­es like Girls In Syn­the­sis and Sieve­head while in calmer mo­ments like Ants and Zoned, a melan­cho­lia and el­e­gance rem­i­nis­cent of re­cent Mar­bled Eye or Tube Al­loys shines through.

Al­bum-Stream →

Subdued - Abattoir

Fu­ri­ous an­ar­cho punk from Lon­don that re­fus­es to be neat­ly filed away in a sin­gle genre crate, which is al­ways the most thrilling kind of punk shit any­way. Record­ed at New York's D4MT Labs, this does in­deed share some of the hall­marks of that par­tic­u­lar place's most well known ex­port Kalei­do­scope and, to a less­er ex­tent, Straw Man Army, while al­so ex­pos­ing some over­tones of the wider left-field am­bi­tious hard­core spec­trum with the likes of ear­ly Bad Breed­ing, Acrylics and Day­dream be­ing some of the names com­ing to mind at first glance.

Al­bum-Stream →

Brandon Monkey Fingers - Brandon Monkey Fingers

Bran­don Mon­key Fin­gers of St. John's, Cana­da feel kin­da out of place in this day and age and y'all know i'm a suck­er for that kind of shit. Their de­but al­bum cov­ers a son­ic range some­where in­be­tween old­school fuzz punk, '80s and '90s (pro­to-) grunge and in­die rock sea­soned with just a hint of sludge-y Am­phet­a­mine Rep­tile-style noise rock flour­ish­es. Among the old guard, you might con­sid­er U-Men and ear­ly Mud­honey among their spir­i­tu­al an­ces­tors or the rougher ends of the Se­badoh son­ic spec­trum. Of more re­cent ocur­rences, i'd name Dog Date and Hell­co as pos­si­ble ref­er­ences as well as ear­ly Pale An­gels or a less melod­ic Cal­i­for­nia X. Darth Vader's Bon­er car­ries a sim­i­lar vibe of garage-in­fused noise rock to The Cow­boy and Flat Worms. H.M.P. sounds a bit as if con­tem­po­rary noise rock­ers like Metz, John (timest­wo), Greys or Van­gas got im­bued with heavy over­tones of Angst-es­que psych folk while Nor­bit has quite some Di­nosaur Jr. and Cloud Noth­ings en­er­gy un­der the hood on its way to a '90s Weez­er-es­que melod­ic con­clu­sion.

Al­bum-Stream →

Disciplina Limitar - Yo tambi​é​n yo no

This group based in Al­i­cante and Va­len­cia, Spain (pre­vi­ous­ly al­so known as Dis­li on their first EP) cer­tain­ly has upped their game on their newest EP via Flex­i­dis­cos, on which com­par­a­tive­ly sim­plis­tic bursts of hard- and post­core al­ter­nate with more elab­o­rate post punk con­struc­tions - you nev­er know what's gonna hap­pen just one song lat­er. All the while, songs like the über-hymn Glamur In­te­ri­or skill­ful­ly coun­ter­bal­ance that trait with plen­ty of catchy melod­ic un­der­cur­rent and there's even a touch of Wire-es­que psy­che­delia on the clos­ing track Calam­bre Ex­quis­i­to. The open­ing track, on the oth­er hand, has a bit of a Sauna Youth vibe to it while over­all, you might catch some echoes of bands like Pyrex, Waste Man, Sieve­head, Tube Al­loys, Cork­er, Rank/​Xerox or Crim­i­nal Code.

Al­bum-Stream →

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.

Al­bum-Stream →

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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Machiavellian Art - Population Control

This Wal­sall, UK group comes at us with an in­ten­tion­al­ly over­pow­er­ing, un­com­pro­mis­ing and max­i­mal­ly nasty clump of dis­so­nant, kin­da mo­not­o­nous noise bridg­ing the gap be­tween on­ly the most con­fronta­tive fringes of post punk, noise rock and post­core. In­ter­est­ing­ly, al­most all of the com­par­isons i can come up with right now al­ready date a few years back, re­mind­ing me of how much of an un­ex­pect­ed­ly fer­tile decade the 2010s were for un­wieldy noise rock fare, a genre i strug­gle to find much ex­cite­ment in, look­ing at the cur­rent land­scape. This record takes me right back there, to the genre's sec­ond gold­en era of groups such as ear­ly Metz, USA Nails, Keep­ers, Over­time, Death Pan­els, Greys, Van­gas, Tu­nic or John (timest­wo). Well, at least a cou­ple of these are still around. Then again, the thick veil of con­stant, dis­so­nant blown-out noise tex­ture these songs stay cloaked in at all times, some­what re­minds me of the short-lived US post punk sen­sa­tion Dash­er, while the ca­coph­o­nous sax­o­phone parts call to mind Near­ly Dead and the kin­da ob­scure aus­tralian 1980s post punk act Fun­gus Brains or, when­ev­er they add some melod­ic over­tones like in Crime, i can even sense a bit of aus­tralian post punk /​ pro­to-noise rock pow­er­house X.

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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.

Al­bum-Stream →

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.