Tag Archives: punk

London’s Snob demand your attention on their self-titled, debut LP.

Snob, S-T LP (La Vida Es Un Mus)

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.

Highlights include:  “Sex Contract”; “Jeremy Kyle”; “Punisher”; “Stuck”.

Fayetteville’s Ten High Announce Debut Full-Length, “Self-Entitled”

Ten High, Self-Entitled (Rare Plant Records)

Ten High are a new (to me) four piece based out of Fayetteville, AR.  To date, the group has released three EPs, played shows will tgh faves like Aquarian Blood, and have name checked as inspiration several others, including the Blind Shake and Ex-Cult.  Recently, drummer/vocalist Devan Theos was kind enough to pass along a link to their debut full-length, Self-Entitled (get it?), and I’m glad she did.

Self-Entitled finds Ten High tearing through an eleven-song set chock full o’ straight up r’nr, hints of psychobilly, 60s beat, hardcore, garage, psych – basically anything that sounds great played loud – all chewed up and spit out on a platter.  Primary vocalist Cat Owens’ shredded pipes recall Reverend Beat Man’s gruff screed, pairing like a fine ripple with the jagged-edged guitar and short/sharp drum and bass combination of Theos and Aaron Smith (as a former – terrible – bassist, I love the thick, rubbery bass sound).  Theos takes the mic sounding like a young Kate Pierson on the stomping “Skin Crawlers”, which comes off like a psychobilly take on Walk Among Us-era Misfits.

As with the best of so-called ‘noise’ rock, these tracks come based on infectious melodies residing dead center in the maelstrom.  “Royal Blood” employs a bit of blues boogie, while “Fakers” had my brain checking to Three Dog Night, for fuck’s sake.  Brilliant, even though I blame them for having “Mama Told Me Not to Come” for a full day…bygones.

Self-Entitled is available digitally and on cassette on April 5, courtesy of Rare Plant Records.  Ten High will be on Greenway Records’ upcoming showcase at SXSW, for all you lucky mallards heading to Austin.  There’s also a few dates before that, as well as a west coast US tour planned for the summer – check out the Ten High fbook for the dates.

Highlights include: “User’s Choice”; “Skin Crawlers”; “Fakers”; “The Trouble”.

Mr. Airplane Man Announce New Album, “Jacaranda Blue”. Listen to lead track “I’m in Love”.


Mr. Airplane Man, beloved crafters of garage-blues finery, returned to the scene after a multi-year hiatus in 2014, clearing out the vaults to release two fantastic album’s worth of unreleased material (Lost Tapes and Bits and Pieces), a live EP (Geneva Session), and playing shows all over the US and Europe.  The promise of new material has hovered for a bit and, happily, the duo recently announced brand new long-player, Jacaranda Blue, due for digital release March 16.  This announcement was preceded by a single – “I’m in Love” – which also serves as the lead track/taster for the album.

“I’m in love” shows Mr. Airplane Man returning no less smoldering than when they left.  A trippy take on blues, sashaying along a slow-burn, ‘Baby Please Don’t Go’ kinda groove, the track has a way of expanding and retracting in your head.  It’s a long-distance phone call to a love through a whiskey-induced fugue state, a rapturous profile in the glowing embers of a cigarette drag.  Margaret Garrett’s vocals – punctuated here and there with otherworldly coos and moans – emanate from somewhere down the other end of the line, faintly tethered by the gossamer light drumming of Tara McManus.  It’s a dizzying, seductive cut.

In addition to the digital release, which you can pre-order here, look for Jacaranda Blue on vinyl, courtesy of the mighty Sympathy for the Record Industry in the US, and on french label Beast in Europe.  Mr. Airplane Man – a live force not to be missed – have a few upcoming dates as well, which you can find on their website. You can also wander the woods with them on fbook.

“LA Women”, from New Orleans’ Patsy, is a Fantastic Debut

Patsy, LA Women (La Vida Es Un Mus)

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*).

10/11 Rochester
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

Check Out “Soul Mender”, the New EP from Zerodent.

Zerodent, Soul Mender (Almost Ready)

“Soul Mender” cover. Photo credit: Igor Coko.

Zerodent is a four-piece band out of Perth, Australia.  Formed way back in 2015, their excellent self-titled debut came out last year on German label, Alien Snatch! and, lo and forsooth, a new three-track EP, Soul Mender, is upon us…and it is good.

There’s a righteousness inherent in a lot of the best punk, and it’s on full show here.  Mixing classic ℅ ’77 sounds of bands like The Saints and Buzzcocks (the opening riff of the title track reminds of “Harmony In My Head”) with garage, SoCal h/c gnarl and a bit of maximum r&b, the EP is an absolute rush from start to finish.  Vocalist Lee Jenkins spits, snarls and wails, driving the service to completion with the rollicking “This Time” (personal fave, though it’s hard to choose).  Pass the fucking plate.  The only gripe is it’s too short.

Soul Member is out now, via Almost Ready.  You can catch up with all things Zerodent on their fbook, and peruse their catalogue on bandcamp.  Don’t see any tour dates up yet, but hopefully that will change soon.

Obnox Return with a Niggative Approach

Obnox, Niggative Approach (5/30/2017, 12XU)

Obnox is the musical alter ego of vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Lamont ‘Bim’ Thomas (pictured).  Having released five long-players under this moniker in the last 3 years, the word ‘prolific’ seems apt.  I must admit that new release, Niggative Approach, is the first one I’ve fully sat down with – and now I’m both damn glad I did and in a hurry to dig deeper into the earlier material.

The title might be a wink and a bow to Detroit hardcore godheads Negative Approach (whose singer, John Brannon, makes an appearance on the album’s intro and outro), but the album is far too diverse, dense and interesting to damn with the faint praise of a hyphenated ‘punk’ or other descriptor.  Frankly, there’s so much going on in this record, it can be giddily overwhelming.  Jazz, psych, garage, soul, blues, punk, funk, r&b, hip hop, Beastie Boys, Funkadelic, Rudy Ray Moore, Kid Congo, D’Angelo, Shabazz Palaces, Sun Ra, War, Curtis Mayfield, MF Doom, sky high riffs, heavy funk bass, kick drum grooves, eye of newt and a partridge in a motherfuckin’ pear tree – all this and more await across the album’s 14 tracks (excluding intro-/outro).

I found it best to just strap in, give in, and let it all wash over me, repeated listens bearing ever sweeter fruit.  The spy theme raga of “You”.  The hot, humid synth feel of “Hardcore Matinee”.  The wide lapel groove of “”Beauty Like the Night”.  The diamond amidst the rough of the beautiful “Carmen, I Love You”.  Exhale.

Niggative Approach is out now, on 12XU.  Monitor M. Thomas’ (social media) movements on fbook and the twitt.  No tour dates as yet, but here’s hoping.

Highlights include: “Audio Rot”; “Afro Muffin”; “Carmen, I Love You”; “You”; “Niggative Approach”; “Beauty Like the Night”.

“Typical Girls, Volume 2” is the Comp That Keeps On Giving

Various, Typical Girls, Volume 2 (Emotional Response)

Compilations. “Comps”.  They come with a higher risk/reward factor than your average long-player.  Like soundtracks or anything filed under “V/A”, they can be a veritable goldmine:  a place to unearth new aural treasure; discover heretofore uncharted styles and territories; find a new band worth obsessing over.  For all they promise, though, comps are often fickle beasts.  Lured in by the inclusion of new or unreleased tracks from old favorites, you often find more coal than diamond in the rest.  Disillusioned, you create a playlist of the 3 or 4 good cuts and ignore the rest, cursing the heavens that you’ve been duped …again.  [Ok, that was a bit melodramatic, but it’s the first day following a long weekend]

All of which makes Typical Girls, Volume 2 – named for The Slits’ song and presented by the Emotional Response label as a “global celebration of female fronted bands” – such a satisfying listen.  Where the presence of tracks from bands including Flesh World, The World, Sex Stains and Cold Beat (this last a recent discovery) drew me in, what kept me hooked throughout was an impressively curated group of tracks showing a breadth of styles loosely grouped as ‘indie’, including post-punk, surf, punk, hardcore and straight up rock/roll.  New discoveries that had me running to the interwebs for a back catalogue listening party include:  the dizzying “Space is Bent” by Bent; the punk “La Bamba” of Midnight Snaxxx’s (yes, three exes) “No Time to Spend”; “Vallecas” by Juanita y los Feos, the now defunct – argh! – goth wave precursor to Rata Negra; the Wire-infused “Machine” from Naked Lights; the slinky mud-boogie of Soft Tug’s “Toys are Not for Children”; and the off the leash, old school hardcore of “Eat It“, by Patsy.  While I can’t say that every track here is my new favorite, and should be yours, as well (and, gentle reader, you wouldn’t believe me even if I did), what I can say is that each of these 16 tracks has something great to discover.  Explore.

Typical Girls, Volume 2, is available now from Emotional Response.  Once you’re done purchasing that, take a look through the label’s impressive catalogue (new and back) on bandcamp.  As for the bands, let your fingers do the walking.

Settle in and Submit to the Debut from Taiwan Housing Project, “Veblen Death Mask”

Taiwan Housing Project, Veblen Death Mask (Kill Rock Stars)

Thorstein Veblen was a late-nineteenth, early-twentieth century economist known for coining the term ‘conspicuous consumption’ (not, sadly, ‘priming the pump’) and lending a name to a “Veblen good”, one whose demand corresponds with its high price – a status symbol.  So, basically, Veblen was an early identifier and critic of the douchebag economy.  Which brings us – hard segue – to Veblen Death Mask, the debut long-player from Philly’s own disrupters, Taiwan Housing Project.  We’ve previously extolled the virtues of this particular project following release of their fantastic self-titled EP in 2015, and Veblen does nothing to mute this adulation.

As a statement of intent/table-setter, you’d be hard pressed to do better than “Salt Sugar Fire”, as Kilynn Lunsford’s multi-tracked, warbled and distorted voice projects the album’s overarching feel of an image deconstructed and rearranged in a room of fun house mirrors.  Threads of punk, no wave, glam, industrial, jazz; Wire, PJ Harvey, Diamanda Galás, Girl Band – core duo Lunsford and guitarist/feedback shaman/dial-up modem impersonator (“Authentic Alien Perfume”) Mark Feehan fleshed out the group with new members and new instruments, including violin, synth and everyone’s new/old fave, spazzy tenor sax grunts.  “Authentic Alien Perfume” is a heady brew of Cramps-y strut over a Peter Gunn rhythm, “Ideal Body Alignment” a fuzzed-up take on Pink Flag-era Wire, dissolving into a cacophonous rush of a chorus.  It’s a stunner from beginning to end, a series of disorientating soundscapes seizing control of the transmission to your TVs, smartphones, tablets, etc., that, despite flirting with the oft-derisively used “arty”, never succumb to self-indulgent wankery.  In fact, a less cruelly bland musical universe, the ‘rip her to shreds’ glam-stomp belter, “Multidimensional Spectrum” would be your go-to summer hit.  Request lines are open.

Veblen Death Mask is available now from Kill Rock Stars.  According to the press release accompanying the album, THP will be on tour in the US in July/August and in Europe in October/November.  In the meantime, you can stalk the band on fbook and the twitt and check the video for the title track, above.

Highlights include:  “Authentic Alien Perfume”, “Multidimensional Spectrum”, “Ideal Body Alignment”, “Eat or Be Eat”.

Institute has a New Album Coming on Sacred Bones, Shares “Powerstation”

Institute, “Powerstation” (Sacred Bones)

Teasing new full-length, Subordination – the follow-up to 2015’s stellar Catharsis – Institute return with last track/first single “Powerstation”.  If you were expecting an homage to the ‘80s supergroup of the same name – all mulleted, bespoke leathered, cocaine-addled, overproduced glam – fear not.  For, despite (cheekily?) opening with a beat straight outta the Glitter vault, this “Powerstation” is all spit and no shine, quickly morphing into a snarling mid-tempo Sabbath riff, vocalist Moses Brown’s delivery evoking a blindfolded captive swinging wildly in the dark.  Sacrificing the jittery post-punk angularity found on much of Catharsis, it feels simultaneously heavier and more tuneful.  It’s a great listen, stoking the fires of anticipation for the new album.

Subordination is due June 2, on Sacred Bones, and can be pre-ordered here.  The band have a few upcoming shows listed on the label’s bandcamp page – including a set as part of a stacked Sacred Bones’ 10th anniversary showcase at Brooklyn Bazaar – here’s hoping for more.

Check Out “Oído Absoluto”, the Debut Full-Length from Madrid’s Rata Negra

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.