Snob are a London quartet. A bit difficult to find much info on them, as they’ve chosen the deep underground route (no fbook, &etc.), but it seems Snob features members of other bands we heart, like Good Throb. To date, the band have put out two long-form 7” (i.e., not just a-side/b-side singles), as well as a track for an issue of the Another Subculture cassette magazine – all available via their bandcamp page – and recently released an excellent self-titled debut long-player.
Snob (the LP) is a fine dose of old school (UK ’82, anarcho) hardcore; that familiar wall of noise as potent a message-bearer as ever. Here, the ferocity of the playing is further enhanced by the vocal tone, which veers from sneering disaffection (“Lycra Daddy”), to (barely) restrained contempt (“Punisher”), to outright desperation (“Stuck”). The lyrical sardonicism – the etymology of which may trace as “curling one’s lips back at evil” (at least according to wikipedia, and I’m going with it, since it seems apt) – is no more potent than on album highlight, “Sex Contract”, where the lead singer’s almost earnest tone while delivering lines like “my guy’s so smart/he suggested I give/consent via an app/so I don’t change my mind/and make accusations…/he’s so sensitive/I’m so respectful” makes them cut deeper, as much tear- as rage-inducing. It’s this kind of album that draws me back to this kind of music – not because it makes me feel younger (I wish), but because the issues covered are ever-present, many in arguably more insidious forms, and this kind of inspired raging is still needed.
The Snob LP is available now, on the ever fab La Vida Es Un Mus – buy it here. Snob also appear to have a show coming up in London on March 31 – deets here.
Patsy are a New Orleans-based quartet. After a series of excellent singles over the past couple of years, the band recently released their debut ‘mini’-LP, LA Women.
Where prior singles tended to stay firmly in the hardcore lane, LA Women finds Patsy blending an inspired mix of surf, garage, 80s hardcore, skewed 80s new wave, and garage. Their straight ahead hardcore jams – including a re-recorded version of “Nazis are so Plain” from their 2015 demo – bear a slippery quality that reminds of DKs, particularly in the woozy guitar work (see, in particular, album highlight “Society Ape”, which sounds melodically like a DKs/Damned mashup). Elsewhere, tracks like the excellent “Heathen” and opener “Count it Down” bristle with a-go-go worthy garage energy.
LA Women is out now, courtesy of the ever-excellent La Vida Es Un Mus (seriously, check the roster). Patsy have a few tour dates forthcoming, which can be found below and on their bandcamp. Here’s hoping for more soon (including a date closer to thegrindinghalt HQ – *cough*).
10/12 Montreal @ L’Escogriffe
10/13 Toronto @ Sneaky Dee’s
10/15 Detroit @ Help!
10/16 Chicago @ TCC Gallery
10/17 St Louis @ B Line
10/18 Memphis @ Murphy’s
Rata Negra, Oído Absoluto (La Vida Es Un Mus, 1/25/2017)
Violeta (bass, lead vocals), Fa (guitar, vocals) and Pablo (drums) make up Madrid-based Rata Negra. Following 2014’s Corasones EP, the band released their brilliantly confident full-length debut, Oído Absoluto, in January.
I think Oído Absoluto, in english, means something roughly equivalent to ‘perfect pitch’ (or having an ear for music/tone), but I don’t trust online translation and I don’t speak very good Spanish, so apologies if I’ve missed the mark. In any event, by whatever name (or any other name) the album is a killer set containing elements of skate punk, late 70s punk and new wave, even some surf and power pop, with an opening one-two punch (band manifesto “Ratas”; “Gente”) among the best you’ll hear this year. Visions of early Blondie (“Aguas Negras”), Buzzcocks (“Ellos Dicen”), and Agent Orange (“Lo Oscuro”) funning about, but with a darker production sheen underscoring lyrical themes of discontentment, alienation and death, surrounded by (actual and metaphorical) rats. The frustration conveyed through the shout/sung lyrics, and reflected in the stabs of guitar and cracking snares is palpable but unlike, say, the roiling indignation sometimes heard in hardcore, this anger feels more born of desperation; of observing and feeling but seeing no change. Possibly less visceral, but no less affecting, it should appeal to those who like their punk aggressive and those who like it with smart, tightly-crafted melodies. Why not both?
Oído Absoluto is out now, through a collaboration with Madrid-based Beat Generation and the great, UK-based La Vida Es Un Mus. You can worship at the altar of the black rat on fbook, and check out their other releases on bandcamp.
Highlights include: Ratas, Gente, Aguas Negras, Lo Oscuro.
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.
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.
“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).
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.
Primetime, “Going Places” EP (La Vida Es Un Mus, 5/16/2016)
Primetime are a four-piece punk band working out of Londontown. “Going Places” is the second EP, following 2014’s self-titled endeavor. Two word review: we likey. Want more words? Read on, then…
This is a seriously fun, poke in the eye of a record. In the tradition of folks like Billy Childish (and related acts), Stiff Records artists like Wreckless Eric, The Slits and more recent artists like Nots and Nervous Twitch, Primetime sing deceptively simple songs about everyday concerns: waking up/not wanting to wake up; relationships/not wanting to deal with relationships; being in control/feeling like you’re losing control; and pheromones, lots of pheromones. It’s as deliriously snarky as it is insidiously catchy.
Highlights are many, but think fast, as the whole EP isn’t more than seven minutes long. “Pervert”’s showcases a great, kind of inverted machismo, beginning with the line “if I’m a pervert/and you’re a stain on my dirty mind/…I want to tear off your shirt”, lead singer Claudia delivering a deadpan warning to an unnamed other that if he/she takes too long getting in da bed, she’ll “start without [you]”. “Anyway” starts with a beat reminiscent of The Go-Go’s “Our Lips Are Sealed”, with lyrics describing being distracted by someone while simultaneously not (wanting to) give a shit. The bass/drum combo is rock solid, allowing the guitar room to move and the vocals to strut with a cheeky grin and a one-fingered salute (or two, depending on your locale).
Flesh World, S/T MLP (La Vida Es Un Mus, 12/18/2013); A Line In Wet Grass 7″ (Iron Lung, 6/24/2014)
A band I first stumbled upon last winter through great Late Riser’s Club program on WMBR, and then again more recently via the MaximumRocknRoll page on Facebook – apparently, the universe was trying to tell me something (or just reminding me that I was going to write this review, like, several fucking months ago – but who’s to say, really?).
Flesh World is a great new(ish) punk band out of San Francisco, whose members are long-time denizens of that city’s diy punk scene (SF Gate went so far as to describe singer Jess Scott as a “scene figurehead”). Their debut self-titled mini-album is a prickly blend of Dead Boys styled punk, the JAMC, C86 distortion-blurred indie pop, Belly-style 90s indie rock (“Reckon and Know” sounds a bit like the Primitives pogoing with the Breeders) and newer “noire rock” bands like Rakta and (early) Raveonettes. One of those great records that manages to pack in the (right) hooks while making your ears ring.
Subsequent single, “A Line In Wet Grass” dials up the goth side of the band’s sound – the ritual drumming and guitar melody reminiscent of early Banshees. Another winner.
Highlights include: Reckon and Know, Sturdy Swiss Hiker, Lost My Heart in Transit Thru the Post, A Line In Wet Grass. Go like them.