Tag Archives: hardcore

Slimy Member Craft Spellbinding Goth-Punk on Ugly Songs for Ugly People

Slimy Member, Ugly Songs for Ugly People (Drunken Sailor; Occult Whispers)

“depression/is so real/consuming my brain”

Slimy Member is a four-piece based out of Dallas, Texas.  Named for a Rudimentary Peni song, the band has been active since 2013, having previously released a demo and an EP.  New LP, Ugly Songs for Ugly People, serves as their debut, full-length release.

On Ugly, Slimy Member comes across to these (aging, constantly ringing) ears very much of a part with 80s punk/hardcore – hell, there’s even a two-fer song (“Bomb Blast/Age Old Time”), how 80s hc is that?  Their sound incorporates not only the urgent anger of bands like RP and The Exploited, but also those who, like TSOL (check the galloping bassline on “Age Old Time” and the morbid imagery of “A Sight to Behold”), Christian Death and current fellow travelers like Institute and Anasazi, cloak their abrasions in goth atmospherics.  Heavily reverbed vocals and flanged guitars amplify an almost suffocating tone of angst, stress and tension, a tension and energy that the band carry all the way through the fantastic closer, “Always the Victim”.  It’s a thrilling reminder of just how exuberantly visceral these sounds were, are, and can be.

Ugly Songs for Ugly People is out now, via Drunken Sailor (in the UK) and soon via Occult Whispers (in the US).  You can also snap up a digital copy through the Slimy Member bandcamp page while you check out their earlier releases.  The band is on tour soon for you lucky chucks on the west coast of the USofA – dates here.

Highlights include: “Oceanic Feeling”, “Bomb Blast/Age Old Time”, “Always the Victim”.

Sprain Your Neck to the Debut, Self-Titled Set from Brisbane’s Pious Faults

Pious Faults, S/T (Tenth Court, 12/20/2016)

Photo credit: Glen Schenau

‘There ain’t/ no future/here”

“Complete Disregard” – the opening song on the self-titled, six-track debut (I never know if that’s an ep, album, or ‘mini-lp’ anymore) from Brisbane’s Pious Faults – begins and ends with a short, sharp feedback stab in the earhole.  It’s a fitting way to start off a set of intense hardcore with an ear to the past and an eye on the present.

Many new bands are using the visceral aspects of early to mid-80s hardcore (American or otherwise), twisting and turning them to serve their own purposes. The applies, as well, to Pious Faults – several tracks here would’ve fit nicely on seminal 80s hardcore comps like Not So Quiet On the Western Front, Flex Your Head (as Vice also points out), or This Is Boston, Not L.A.  But there’s more at play here, with a rhythmic variety beyond blinding, four on the floor speed or d-beat rehash (see, “Rentrer à Quatre”) and a welcome lack of a predictable breakdown/‘mosh’ (does anyone still use that word?) bit or a shout-along chorus (really, choruses in general), all adding a welcome twist and the promise of future evolution.

As with any self-respecting h/c joint, it doesn’t overstay it’s welcome (only one (one!) track is over a minute long – someone tell D.R.I.!), and it’s all the better for it; points made, ears rung, move along.

Out now on the fab Tenth Court label (home, also, to tgh fave Chook Race).  Order here.

The Self-Titled Debut from Tropical Skin Byrds Staggers

Tropical Skin Byrds, S/T EP (Wharf Cat Records, 1/13/2017)

‘your pain is my pleasure”

Tropical Skin Byrds is a musical trio comprised of artist Nina Hartmann on vocals and bass, ZZ Ramirez (of tgh fav, Ukiah Drag) on guitar and Sean Halpin on drums.

Teaser cuts, “Cut it Off” and “Venus In Fury” set the tone nicely, with Ramirez’s chugging, Ginnesque lines pushed way up front in the mix, backed by Halpin’s sledgehammer drumming.  The overall effect is blissfully disorienting, the music buffeting as Hartmann’s insistent cries strobe from somewhere at the center of the maelstrom (something in her vocal delivery recalls Lydia Lunch, crossed with Kyle Toucher – ok, maybe just me).  Stylistically, there are touches of Sonic Youth’s SST years (think Confusion Is Sex and songs like “Death to Our Friends”) and more experimental hardcore like Flipper and Saccharine Trust.  It’s a great, arresting listen.

The EP is out now, courtesy of the oh so fine Wharf Cat label (seriously, check the catalog).  Not much to find on the band, for now, so continue to scour the interwebs for any info relating to tours, further releases, fan club meet and greets, séances, etc.

Yeehaw! A Punk Roundup Featuring The Lowest Form, Exotica, Good Throb, and Urochromes

Ok, so there’ve been a few punk/hardcore/whatever releases over the past few months that I’ve been trying to get around to and haven’t – so now I am.  I intended to write up something individual and special to say about each of these but, fuck it, I’m gonna just put ‘em all into one, shortcut “combo” review.  Since I said “fuck it”, that makes it kinda punk, no?  No?  Oh well, here goes…

The Lowest Form, Personal Space (La Vida Es Un Mus; Iron Lung)

Personal Space is the latest from UK hardcore punk band, The Lowest Form, and it slays.  It’s part old school hc (I keep hearing alot of Wattie in the vocals, and Black Flag in the crumbling guitar sound (provided by Michael Kasparis, also part of Anxiety’s brilliant debut)) mixed with just good ol’ noise, all to great effect.  Highlights are many, and include the repeated face punch of opener, “Interplanetary Bad Boy”, which slowly drowns in its own, rich stew of hiss and feedback, and the utter chaos of “Evol”.  This record is cathartic in the ways of many a great, viscerally angry records.  In years such as this one (have there really been any?), sometimes it’s more than worth it to swallow the bile in your throat, let it burn, then scream it out.

Fitting for a band that sound like they spend a lot of time ‘off the grid’, the band don’t seem to have much internet presence.  Be sure to go and grab a copy of Personal Space (digital or “Bad Boy” vinyl) via the band, La Vida Es Un Mus or Iron Lung (in the US).

Highlights include: “Interplanetary Bad Boy”, “Gak Attack”, “Personal Space”.

Exotica, Musique Exotique #01 Demo (La Vida Es Un Mus)

Exotica wield bludgeoning, 80s (to these, admittedly, old and tinnitus-riddled ears) reanimating hardcore (I hear some of the old NYHC bands like (pre-crossover) Agnostic Front or Kraut, as well as the churning guitars of Hear Nothing, See Nothing, Say Nothing-era Discharge on tracks like “Depresion”. Lead singer Lauren Gerig’s bilingual sing/scream/shriek is a revelation.  The members of Exotica are based in New York, but hail from Mexico, Argentina – play this loud enough to be heard through your own wall.

Like The Lowest Form, no real interwebs presence to allow fawning – grab a copy of Musique Exotique #01 (digital or cassette) from the band or La Vida Es Un Mus.  They also have a show coming up 12/29 in Guadalajara, MX – deets.

Highlights include: “Pesadilla”, “Passive Victim”.

Good Throb, Good Throb (La Vida Es Un Mus)

From earlier this year, the latest release from London quartet, Good Throb – and, regrettably, the last for a while, as members are now apparently geographically displaced.  Good Throb (the record) adds layers of noise and feedback to the rhythmic, punk-funk hc of 2014’s also great (and succinctly titled) Fuck Off, with tracks like highlight “SCUM” and “The Queen Sucks Nazi Cock” recalling Crass, early Butthole Surfers and Flipper.  Tasty.

Good Throb is available from the band and La Vida Es Un Mus (no, we’re not a label blog – honest!).

Highlights include: “SCUM”, “Welcome Break”.

Urochromes, “My Dickies” (Wharf Cat Records)

“I’ve got a queer theory…” so beginneth “My Dickies” is the new one from western MA, USofA band, Urochromes.  This 1 minute and change track bounces around like a kid hopped up on pixie sticks in a rubber room.  Light speed hardcore.  Cracked garage fuzz.  Avant-noise skreech.  Squirrel!  Do yourself the favor of being tugged along in its wake.  Here endeth the review.

Taken from forthcoming Night Bully EP, due January 27 from Wharf Cat Records (pre-order a copy and/or digital download here) – one more reason to be anxious for this year to end(eth).

“Negative Growth”, the New Album from Ex-Cult, Is a Must-Listen – You Must! Listen!

Ex-Cult, Negative Growth (In the Red, 9/23/2016)

We love Ex-Cult, so word of new music from them is always welcome.  In this case, that news comes in the form of a fantastic new album, “Negative Growth”.  Working again with producer Ty Segall (he worked on their self-titled debut, and Ex-Cult singer Chris Shaw fronts one of Segall’s many (many) side projects, Gøggs), the album powers and moves just like you want an Ex-Cult record to, but also showcases some newer tricks.

Previously shared tracks, “Attention Ritual” and “Let You In”, set the tone pre-release.  Both are furious reminders of the band’s punk/hardcore side, each swooping like a Crimson Ghost for the throat.  Shaw continues to possess some of the best punk pipes out there, his hoarse (read, not “hoarsely”) cries imbuing these new tracks with the same shadings of rage, confusion and angst as on earlier releases.

Where things get even more interesting is where the band stray a bit, rhythmically and vocally, from the punk foundation.  Lead track, “Mr. Investigator” begins with an almost Devo-like spazzy new wave beat – and if the title sounds, to you, like something from The Fall (and it does to us), listen to Shaw channeling Mark E. Smith in his intonation, particularly during the chorus.  “Dogs Roll In” (which also featured on the “Stick the Knife In” single) and “Panic In Pig Park” both feature a bit of cow-punk guitar twang, and the noise breakdown during the middle and end of the latter adds to the frantic tension.  “Hollywood Heatseeker” positively swings, while closer, “New Face On”, is a riotous conflagration of punk, no wave, death rock and just good ol’ noise in the tradition of bands like The Birthday Party, and includes a positively Stoogesian saxophone squawk, courtesy of Ty Segall Band member Mikal Cronin.  With Segall at the decks, the heavy superfuzz cream is turned to 11 – the only exception seemingly the snare, which snaps and spits insistently from underneath, like the shiny flecks in a piece of coal.

As with other Ex-Cult output, it’s as much about the energy as anything else – you can almost feel the band collapse on the studio floor at the end of each track.  It’s infectious, and it continues to make Ex-Cult one of the best bands out there today doing what they do.  Thrilling.

Negative Growth is out now, on In the Red.  Ex-Cult is on tour in the west/west coast of the US of A.  Check the dates here.

Highlights include:  “Let You In”, “Hollywood Heatseeker”, “New Face On”, “Panic In Pig Park”.

Debut Mini-LP from Glasgow’s Anxiety Is Satisfyingly Unsettling

Cover Art for Anxiety's Self-Titled MLP

Cover Art for Anxiety’s Self-Titled MLP

Anxiety, S/T (La Vida Es Un Mus, 6/29/2016)

Amidst the soul-crushing mix of braying (sorry, “commenting”) jackasses and unwanted personal hygiene pop-ups, it’s nice when the internet coughs up something new and interesting.

Such was the feeling a few weeks back when stumbling across Anxiety, a new “let’s just call it punk even though it’s more complicated than that” four piece out of Glasgow.  As far as I can tell – after some admittedly flimsy research – the band formed last summer, the members hailing from other Glaswegian bands.  Youtube also provides evidence for a particularly robust live set.

The record itself is a richly dark slab of 80s-leaning hardcore, which also packs elements of early, rawer post-punk (particularly on opener, “Dark and Wet”), crust and industrial into a tightly rolled and ready to explode package.  The rollicking, acid hoedown ring-a-ding guitar of “Human Hell” and “Sewer In My Mind” recalls Dead Kennedys; elsewhere, the band tap the experimental aspects of bands like Flipper and the visceral thrust of crust titans like Crass and Rudimentary Peni.  The vocals slap like the hoarsest, most out of fucks to give version of Rollins circa Damaged, at times using effects that recall early Butthole Surfers and even Ministry.  Musically, the songs teeter just on the edge of spiraling out of control – the brilliant “Sewer” being a prime example – held together by some very good guitar playing and a tight rhythm section.

Deeply moving in its stark unsettling vibe, tales of outsiders giving up and general disillusionment – pieces not fitting (a feeling mirrored by the cover art, above).  With titles including “Dark and Wet”, “Addicted to Punishment” and “Sewer In My Mind”, it’s fair to say this isn’t an “up” album, but as a wise man once said “anger is an energy” and there can be light (or, at least, catharsis) mined from bleak sources.

Anxiety’s debut is out now, on La Vida Es Un Mus.  You can also follow the band on Tumblr and Bandcamp.

Highlights include: “Delayed”, “Sewer In My Mind”, “Dark and Wet”, “Human Hell”.

Album Review: Empty Markets, Stainless Steel

Empty Markets, Stainless Steel (12XU Austin, 4/8/2016)

Churning, relentless, fantastic new hardcore/punk from Austin, TX three piece, Empty Markets.

Stainless Steel marks the group’s debut, lead singer/guitarist Drew Schmitz having previously been involved in bands like Cruddy and Hex Dispensers.  While there’s definitely a whiff of the old school – “Pink and Barren World” sounds like an interpolation of “Teenagers from Mars”, and the sonic energy recalls past masters like Black Flag, The Offenders and Die Kreuzen – Empty Markets, like other newer bands like Ex-Cult and fellow Texans, Institute, incorporate noise, post-punk and post-hardcore (think Drive Like Jehu) ambience into the punk template, elevating it past d-beat rehash or mid-tempo, street punk boredom.

Front to back, this is one of the best new punk records I’ve heard in years (coming from a somewhat jaded, ‘old school’ – like, early 80s – h/c guy).  The arrangements, as well as the playing, are both muscular and extremely tight throughout.  Schmitz’s guitar playing is inspired.  The rhythm section of drummer Jordan Rivell and now former bassist Wendy Wright create crisp, sharp rhythmic blasts.  Wright (replaced, since the album’s recording, by Stephen Svacina) has a driving, out front bass style that recalls folks like Mikey Offender, and her vocal interplay with Schmitz is a consistent highlight.  Loud.  Sweaty.  Cathartic.  Recommended.

Stainless Steel is out now, on 12XU, and can be purchased via Empty Market’s bandcamp page or the label’s site. Find out more about the band on their fbook page.

Highlights include: “New Religion”, “Pink and Barren World”, “Rash Decision”, “Bulging Affidavits”.

Album Review: SROS Lords, Rule

 

SROS Lords, Rule (Earyummy Records, 05/12/2015)

Debut long player from SROS Lords, a “reborn” (as of 2013, Alleluia!) garage/wave/punk trio from Motown.  We here at thegrindinghalt.com HQ received our copy directly from drummer, Jamie Cherry.  Thanks, man!

The band (named, according to this 2014 interview, in honor of the studio in Detroit, from whence they record) play loud, fast, twitchy music drawing as much to older punk, new wave and hardcore bands like Electric Eeels, The Ramones, The Misfits, Die Kreuzen and Devo, as well garage vets like The Gories, as it is to the more recent work of Jay Reatard (RIP), and thegrindinghalt.com faves Nots and Ausmuteants.

Churning, buzzsaw guitars trade shots with whipcrack drumbeats, accompanied by droney synth and the fuzzed out vocals of singer Morgan, the album whizzing by at break neck speed (“epic” tune “Erica”, the longest, boasts a 2:24 run time).  The energy on display across the album’s 13 tracks is both palpable and infectious; like going to an amusement park with a kid with ADD who wants to go on all the rides, simultaneously.

The group’s description of itself as “slimernetik” punk makes no sense and perfect sense – it feels like a kind of “back to the future” evocation of a time when punk kids and early punk/new wavers saw themselves as “alien” and made music designed for people who felt the same way, eff everyone else.  There’s a whiff of late nights in basements, gaming and gorging on B-movie horror, scifi and reruns – (“Dragonflex” sounds like a bizarro reworking of the theme from “Gilligan’s Island”).

“Music to make soylent green to” could work, too.  Equally, a great soundtrack to an afternoon doing lines of Cheetos dust and spazzing out on peach Faygo.  It’s your life, man; we don’t judge.

Rule is out, like, NOW on Earyummy and is available on iTunes. Check out SROS Lords on Facebook, tumblr and enjoy the seizure-inducing graphics on their website.

Highlights include: “Erica”, “Sniper”, “Dragonflex”, “Baby Centipede”.