Been listening to this a ton… I said this in my webstore description, but this really is the perfect combination of Inepsy (with whom Proxy share members) and vintage melodic oi! like the best Blitz songs. The 12″ is a little expensive since it’s an import, but it’s well worth it… these songs stick to your ribs.
I’d been looking forward to Nazi Dust’s debut 12″ for quite some time, and I must say that it does not disappoint. Their earlier 7″ on Youth Attack was solid, but left me with the suspicion that the band was capable of even more. They finally deliver on that promise on their first large slab of vinyl (albeit a one-sided one).
I think the thing that jumped out at me first about this record was the guitar sound… while a lot of bands these days go for either a blown out raw punk guitar sound or a slick, metallic sound, the guitar sound here is totally dry, with an almost direct-to-soundboard quality. It feels both brittle and claustrophobic, which fits perfectly with the bleak atmosphere of Nazi Dust’s music and artwork.
The other strong suit here are the vocals, which have a ton of personality. There’s a lot more going on here than mere howling and screaming… there’s a snottiness to it that reminds me a lot of Void. While it’s not quite “get stuck in your head” catchy, it’s extremely memorable in terms of style and vibe, and that’s more than enough for me. This isn’t music to tap your toes to, it’s music to bash your face to.
Check out the first (and my personal favorite) track, “Suffering,” here:
I think one of the more notable and interesting thing about the punk scene of the past 10 years or so is how few bands seem to have fully digested their influences. Whether you see it as a good or a bad thing, it’s hard to deny the fact that so many bands these days are started with the goal of sounding like one particular band or record or (only slightly better) rudimentary combinations of “X meets Y.” I think that one of the main reasons why the debut full-length from Portland’s Deathcharge sticks out so much is that it’s nearly impossible to pin the band down with just one or two band comparisons. While you can certainly hear influences–Motorhead’s heavy, rhythmic chugging, Discharge’s unmistakable guitar sound, the riffiness of Kill ‘Em All-era Metallica, the dark vocal melodies of early Psychedelic Furs and first-gen goth rock like Bauhaus and Christian Death–none of those influences predominates here. Instead, Deathcharge just sound like Deathcharge.
Though the band released an EP way back in 2006, Love Was Born to an Early Grave is the first I’ve heard from them. I’d guess that they spent the intervening five years honing and perfecting their sound, systematically purging it of anything that seemed overly familiar or stock. What they were left with is simply one of the most phenomenal LPs I’ve heard this year. There are a lot of former crusties “going goth” (see Richmond’s Lost Tribe, for instance), but Deathcharge is so much more than that. This is just dark, gripping rock music made by punks.
All of the tracks on this record are untitled, so it’s hard to talk about particular songs, but I have two I want to talk about specifically. The second track (download here) is perhaps the goth-iest moment on the LP, beginning with a stark, tom-heavy intro that instantly recalls Bauhaus. Once it gets into the chorus part, the drums drop into the unmistakable beat from Joy Division’s “Transmission,” but this isn’t a rip-off… the guitars are atmospheric and shimmery, but they’re definitely doing their own thing. Then when they go back into that punk as fuck riff all of my mosh buttons get hit simultaneously. Pure genius! My favorite track, though, is the 4th one (download here). It begins with a gnarly as fuck riff that sounds like it could have come right off of the first Inepsy LP, but then out of nowhere comes one of the most killer leads I’ve ever heard… I’m not even sure whether it’s a synth or just a heavily effect-laden guitar, but that little guitar line has been stuck in my head for several months and it shows no sign of dislodging itself any time soon.
These are, however, just two isolated moments from this monument of an LP. It gets way more raging and it gets way more dark, and there are surprising little twists and turns buried all over this thing. I have no doubt that once word spreads about this record you are going to be seeing it on a lot of year-end lists, so grab it now before it’s too late. I’m not sure about pressing info, but it was pretty darn hard to acquire my distro copies and I’m not sure if I’ll be able to get any more.
I think it’s a great thing that, over the past few years, the international punk scene has stood up and taken notice of Spanish punk in a way that they hadn’t before. Thanks to this new attention to old Spanish punk like Eskorbuto, Vulpess, etc. and new bands like Otan and Glam many of us have been introduced to some truly great music that we never would have heard otherwise. However, in my opinion the international HC scene’s also-current fixation on all things “raw” has caused us to overlook (at least by comparison) some of the very best current bands in Spain. While everyone is (rightfully) losing their shit over the raw Barcelona bands like Otan and Glam, the just-as-exciting stuff by two bands in particular–Silla Eléctrica (from Madrid) and Sudor (from Toledo)–get overlooked by comparison.
I’m sure I’ll write about Sudor at some point (their Ganas de Vomitar LP is one of my favorites of the year), but since I have a solid stack of Silla Eléctrica LPs in the distro right now I thought I’d shine the spotlight on them. These guys released several EPs over the past few years and caused quite a little buzz, but the lack of availability of these releases kept things from really blowing up. With meaty, Dangerhouse-inspired guitar hooks and aggressive male/female dual vocals, the earlier stuff recalled Gorilla Angreb’s earliest material (collected on the Aborted 2000 7″) as well as old, catchy female-fronted punk like the Bags and the Avengers. Not a bad start for this group at all…
However, they completely blow that earlier material out of the water with Ritmo Suicida, their debut full-length on Solo Para Punks. It’s apparent that, like the rest of us, Silla Eléctrica have been paying attention to the more raw, visceral, and aggressive end of the Spanish punk scene, as on this release they get faster, harder, and nastier than they ever have before. Many songs are delivered with such a blistering intensity that the only thing I can think to compare them to is the first Bad Brains LP… just take a listen to “Esta Canción” (download here) and marvel at how the vocalist spits out his lines with all of the velocity and ferocity of HR on “Pay to Cum.”
The speed trials inform about a third of the album, with the rest given over to the kind of catchy, driving punk that the band were already known for, albeit with better production than they’ve ever had before. Personally, I’m utterly bored with the contest over who can make the shittiest-sounding record, and so are Silla Eléctrica. The guitar sound here is thin, but stinging… not thin because it’s under-produced, but merely so that the drums, bass, and vocals have ample room in the mix to do their thing. Despite the fact that the band has two guitarists, you can hear everything here… the mix is powerful but even, not wow-ing you with the studio sheen of stadium crust but not hiding behind walls of noise either. Check out Policía, in which the lead guitar delivers a spine-chilling, two-note siren call that makes you feel like the police are right on your back. (Download here)
In addition to all of the viciousness, there are a handful of moments of sheer songwriting genius that really propel this LP into “best of the year” territory. My favorite track on the LP, “No Hay Nada Mas,” is actually a re-recording of a song from their earlier Tension EP, but the sharper production really brings out the beauty of that simple, fluid guitar line that is the song’s centerpiece. “No Hay Nada Mas” is the band at their most Gorilla Angreb-ish, but it never feels like a rip-off or in any way insincere… it’s just a reference point, one of many you could make I’m sure. (Download here)
Speaking of those reference points, the total absence of any kind of retro mentality is another thing I love about not only this release, but the best of recent Spanish punk in general. While many US bands seem utterly beholden to their influences, either shamelessly aping the sound and style of a single band or, at best, assembling a pastiche of two or three different sounds, Silla Eléctrica feel like a product of this specific moment. Records like this make me excited about listening to music, about going to record stores and generally being stoked on music. In a word, this music is inspirational, providing hope that our generation is doing more than just shamelessly rehashing the past.
It’s been a while since I wrote about a featured distro record, but boy is today’s a doozy! From the moment I heard Video’s Leather Leather LP I fell instantly in love, and the dozens of listens I’ve logged over the past couple of weeks have just made this LP sink further and further into my brain. As of now, this is quickly coming to rival Total Control’s Henge Beat LP as my favorite long-player of 2011, which is no small achievement. While this has all of the songwriting genius of Total Control, it’s a fucking PUNK record through and through.
The first thing that laid its hooks into me with this record was the vocals. I’m pretty sure it’s the same guy who sings for Denton, TX’s Wax Museums. If you’ve heard that band the lyrics are completely absurd… I love that band, but one of my favorite songs by them is about being locked in the mall… not exactly the kind of thing you’d call your favorite band. Video, however, has all of the snottiness of the Wax Museums, but everything is just a little more straightforward. The lyrics are abstract but simple and fist-pump-ready… you’ll be screaming “Leather… LEATHER,” “we want the world” and “the hus-BAND!” by your second time spinning the record.
There’s so much more here aside from a few catchy choruses, though. The arrangements are just genius… the bass tends to drive everything, with the guitar occasionally dropping in to add a little extra punchiness, catchiness, or to take us on an extended wah-laden psych freakout. Perhaps the best example of this band’s ability to write a perfect song is the title track, “Leather Leather,” which pounds away with all of the immediacy of early Motley Crue, but way more punk:
Another favorite off the LP is “The Husband.” Every time this song starts I notice that the first four notes are the same as “Boredom” by the Buzzcocks, and the guitar sound is virtually exactly the same. After that creepy little intro, however, the song goes into some of the most hooky, rocked-out punk I’ve heard in years… when the song stops and it goes into that fucking HUGE chorus riff I lose my shit every time:
There’s actually a lot more to this LP than just riff-rockers, though. I mentioned Total Control at the beginning of this post, and there are actually musical similarities there as well. This is most apparent on the track “Red Pills,” which, aside from dealing with a similar lyrical theme to TC’s “Meds,” crawls along at a similarly creepy, claustrophobic pace as many of the best Total Control songs. However, Video can’t help but drop in one of those huge fucking choruses:
That’s just three of the twelve slices of brilliance that are on this record… if you’re intrigued I highly encourage you to pick up the LP… you won’t be disappointed. I’ve been raving about this to everyone who will listen, mostly because it’s good but also because it strikes me as the kind of sleeper hit that would normally sit collecting dust in the distro for six months until some fashionable blog writes about it, then it’s on EVERYONE’s want list. With only 500 pressed and some ridiculously expensive production costs (not only does this have gorgeous die-cut sleeves, but the whole thing was recorded to and mastered from tapes so it’s 100% analog), Leather Leather is bound to be the Secret Prostitutes LP or Sex/Vid 7″ of 2012. I highly encourage you to beat the rush and grab this brilliant fucking record NOW!
If there were some sort of last.fm-type service that catalogued the number of plays on your vinyl, you would no doubt find that the Saints’ Eternally Yours LP is one of my most well-worn and well-loved LPs. I just sort of happened upon that record when I was but a young n00b, and it immediately sparked a love affair with Australian punk that continues to this day. From the Radio Birdman collection LP on Sub Pop to the Murder Punk CDs to Bloodstains Across Australia to shitty bootlegs of the Victims’ “Television Addict,” I’ve roved far and wide to get my fix of punk from down under.
Naturally, then, I was excited to see that California’s Going Underground was reissuing the debut EP by the Chosen Few, expanding the original 7″ to a nice, loud 45RPM 12″. This thing absolutely smokes, and is pretty much exactly what you want from an early Australian punk record. The Stooges influence is extremely prominent, meaning this bears more than a passing resemblance to Radio Birdman (there’s even a song here that makes a jab at Deniz Tek), but there’s also the grit, energy, and sloppiness of the other Murder Punk bands. Raw guitars, simple but blistering riffs… raging, off-key vocals… this little beauty has it all. Just listen to the track above.
There have been a ton of great Australian reissues coming out lately, including material by X, Just Urbain, and Young Identities, but for my money this record is some of the very best. If you dig both Radio Birdman and raw 70s punk of the KBD variety, this is one that absolutely must be in your collection.
There are no shortage of bands playing noisy, Void-inspired hardcore right now, but as always there are a few bands that stick out from the pack, and Phoenix’s Avon Ladies are one of them. This band got a lot of hype right out of the gate because they feature Chris Erba from the H100s and Upstab on vocals, but honestly I could care less about that… while I like a lot of bands from that city, I’m not one of those Clevo fanatics that worships everything that comes out of that city. Avon Ladies, for me, stand on their own merits.
The reason I keep coming back to this 7″ and Avon Ladies demo tape (now sold out, unfortunately), is because Avon Ladies have this phenomenal ability to craft riffs out of noise. Most noise bands use noisy feedback parts as a sort of dramatic counterpoint to your usual riffy hardcore… while a tough-guy band might alternate the ripping fast parts with a breakdown or another band might go into a more melodic contrasting part, Avon Ladies actually build riffs out of noise. More often than not, the bass guitar propels these songs forward, building a driving, stomping rhythm while the two guitarists just freak out… however, the feedback and noise always sounds not only discernable but downright catchy. How the band manages this, I have no idea… but I can’t stop listening to it.
This 7″ also features some pretty great packaging that isn’t accurately conveyed by the image above. The cover artwork is stamped in REAL gold foil. This is why the 7″ is so expensive… have you heard all of the stories on the news about rising gold prices? Well, that’s reflected in the price of this 7″. Good thing there isn’t speculator interest in killer fucking riffs, or no one would be able to afford this ripper.