Tag Archives: feel it records

Reviews: Starchild and the New Romantic; Borzoi; Gen Pop, Rose Mercie; Datenight (US)

Our latest in a series of recaps of albums we loved from the last calendar year…

Starchild and the New Romantic, Language (Ghostly International)

Starchild and the New Romantic is the brainchild of New York-based Maryland transplant, Bryndon Cook. A multi-instrumentalist and vocalist who has also worked with fellow travelers like Devonté Hynes and Solange Knowles, Language is an exemplary slice of lush, 80s-inflected r&b. Drums don’t so much hit as disperse, synths probe longingly, guitars flicker and wane. While the purple one’s haze hangs thick over this set, you also hear the ambitious, heart-on-sleeve arrangements of bands like Force MD’s or the Blue Nile – Cook’s revelatory voice reminiscent of the underlauded Jesse Johnson or Melvin Riley in its plaintive tenor notes. As an added bonus, ‘Only If U Knew’ and ‘Hangin’ On’ might be the best ‘quiet storm’ summoning slow jams I’ve heard in an age. It’s a record that takes things back and pushes them forward simultaneously. Highlights include: “Hangin’ On”; “Language”; “Good Stuff”.

Web: label bcamp fbook soundcloud

Borzoi, A Prayer for War (12XU)


Austin-based trio Borzoi released their latest, A Prayer for War, last September. I’ve listened to it many times since and, though I find it absolutely stunning, I’ve no real idea what to make of it – and that, friends, is what makes it great. Sure, there’s elements of punk, acid-drenched post-punk, funk, a free kinda jazz, noise, dweebs, wasteoids, dickheads, righteous dudes, a fuckin’ partridge in a mother fuckin’ pear tree. All there. In the end, though, the record breaks down to a feeling – and that feeling is “tenuously hinged”. The skittery, jittery atmosphere is shot through, here, with bursts of melody (“Schlock”) and, in many other places, with a heavy boot to the face (“Lizard Men of the Third Reich”). Buckle up. Highlights include: “Schlock”; “Big Pink”; “The Tonsure Twist”.

Web: label fbook bcamp  

Rose Mercie, S-T (SDZ; Monofonus Press)


Rose Mercie is a quartet based in Montreuil, France. Their debut, self-titled album came out last March, and it’s intoxicating. Stripping elements of hypnotic psych, folk and dream pop to their bare essentials – there’s nothing adulterated in the arrangements or production here – then building them up again, with a layer of girl group in the rhythms and vocal interplay. Tracks like highlight, ‘Moyen-Age’, recall a less ornamental Broadcast; elsewhere, ‘The End of Love’ projects The Raincoats jamming in a hazy flat with the Velvet Underground. While largely bucolic in feel, there is a bit of welcome menace “In the Valley” – it’s an album to sit with, the eight tracks unspooling at a deliberate pace. Settle in and listen. Highlights include: “Moyen-Age”; “Floating”; “How Can I Talk”.

Web: label label bcamp fbook soundcloud

Datenight (US),  Comin’ Atcha’ 100mph (Drop Medium)


Nashville, TN trio Datenight (US) serve up garage-punk with a side of power pop hooks and classic, driving midwestern rock on last February’s Comin’ Atcha’ 100mph. It’s an apt title, with no more than half of the dozen tracks in the set clocking in on the high side of two minutes. Each cut, though, leaves a mark; the melodies linger long after the band has roared on to the next. Be it the straight up Sonics’ garage rumble of ‘While it Lasts’, the blissful lo-fi jangle of ‘Poor Exchange’ or the perfected combo of highlight, ‘Tennessee Rider’, the set drips with brio – it’ll have you singing along, even when you don’t know any of the words. Fab. Highlights include: “Tennessee Rider”; “Poor Exchange”; “In and Out”.

Web: label bcamp fbook  

Gen Pop, II (Feel It)


Olympia, WA-based Gen Pop released a six-track EP last May, entitled II. Lifting off from their devastatingly potent debut, On the Screen (released less than a year prior), II offers a virulent slice of old school hardcore for the modern world. Featuring MaryJane Dunphy and Ian Corrigan from the fantastic Vexx, the band manages to push a swirl of sounds into a tight timeframe. [Update: MaryJane Dunphy has left the band. Elle Svete both sings and plays guitar on “No Change”] features tepid vocals transposed over Flex Your Head-summoning musical righteousness, while tracks like ‘Waxing State’ and ‘Din’ inject a bit of post-punk jitter and Buzzcocks’ guitar melodiousness. Highlights include: “No Change”; “Waxing State”.

Web: label bcamp [check out On the Screen here and/or here]

Roundup, featuring BB and the Blips, CB Radio Gorgeous, Zerodent, Constant Mongrel, Corey Flood, Beta Boys, Pious Faults, Pink Thing and Permission!

We here at thegrindinghalt.com are often overwhelmed by the amount of great, new music that makes its way into our lives – whether via email or internet rabbitholing, it’s fantastic to make more and more discoveries. The consequence is that, like the proverbial magpie, we are often distracted by the excitement of the new, to the detriment of giving the written props existing discoveries are due. 

With that in mind, please to enjoy the following first in a (likely) series of mea culpas to the ones we didn’t write up, with a new year’s resolution to do better:

BB and the Blips, Shame Job (Thrilling Living)


BB and the Blips are based in Sydney, Australia, comprising members of bands like the sadly departed Good Throb (we wrote about them here) and Housewives. Following (quickly) on the release of a blistering, low-fi demo (on Blow Blood (AUS/US) and Nervous Energy (UK/EU)), last September’s full-length debut, Shame Job, shows the band adding an amazing amount of depth in such a short time. Everything’s great, from razor-sharp opener, “Matribuxy” to to the acid-surf closer, “Whinge and Whine”. The vocals, in particular, are a revelation – so much passion and energy transmitted, but rather than being all ‘in the red’, there are subtler shades. Highlights include: “Lucky Country”, “Matriduxy”.

Web: Thrilling Living

Corey Flood, Wish You Hadn’t EP (Fire Talk)


Philadelphia, PA’s Corey Flood released the four-track EP, Wish You Hadn’t, last February, and we’ve been coming back to it ever since. Combining insistent, post-punk rhythms with the vertiginous guitar/bass interplay of 90s indie pop bands like Breeders, the band crafted a subtly sinister mood piece. The arrangements charm like that snake in the Jungle Book, while vocalist/bassist Ivy Gray-Klein’s whispers of lies and deceit are like a wasp in your ear. Excellent. Highlights include: “Feel Okay”.

Web: Insta Fbook Fire Talk

Constant Mongrel, Living in Excellence (Anti-Fade; La Vida Es Un Mus)


Melbourne, Australia’s Constant Mongrel released one of the album’s of any year last September with Living in Excellence. A potent mix of post-punk, garage and darkly melodic early new wave (I kept hearing early Psychedelic Furs), shot through with psychedelic drone and sung-spoken vocals. The overall mood of cloistered angst is shot through with moments of beauty (see the synth middle in “Lifeless Crisis”), and if you aren’t up out of your seat when the drums crash in at about the :50 mark of the title track (punctuated by a Tom Warrior-approved ‘ooh’), you need some help. Highlights include: “Lifeless Crisis”; “Living in Excellence”; “Action”.

Web: Anti-Fade LaVidaEsUnMus Fbook

Personality Cult, S-T (Drunken Sailor; Sorry State)


Personality Cult, a project led by Ben Carr of North Cackalack-based Natural Causes, released a self-titled debut back in August, and it’s one of the most rapacious earworms this side of those gross things in that one Star Trek movie. “Fed to the Lions”, while sadly not an interpolation of the Adam and the Ants song of (almost) the same name, does feel like a kind of sequel. In fact, as much as there are shades of everything from Devo to Cheap Trick to Magazine to Jay Reatard on display here, there is a strong whiff of the early Ants’ (e.g., pre-burundi drumming) buzzy playfulness. The album practically throws out infectious melodies like so much cake to assembled masses. Punky, new wave-y, power-poppy delirium. Highlights include: “Brazen”; “Fed to the Lions”; “Motivation”.

Web: Drunken Sailor Sorry State Bcamp Fbook  

Beta Boys, Late Nite Acts (Feel It; Erste Theke Tonträger)


Olympia, Wash-based Beta Boys (we previously wrote about them here) continue to align themselves with a proud Northwest tradition of in your face, cheerfully perverse hardcore bands like Poison Idea and The Accused. The band’s debut full-length, Late Nite Acts, was released in August, and it’s a cacophonous thrillride of blunt, flanged riffs fused with a brutally tight rhythm section topped off by a voice that is the closest I’ve heard to the seared larynx outbursts of M. Blaine Cook since, well, zippy himself. It’s a belter, from start to finish. Highlights include: “Laugh/Cry”; “Red Devil”; “Already Dead”.

Web: Feel It Erste There Tonträger

Pious Faults, Old Thread (Feel It; Aimless Wander)


Old Thread, the latest from Brisbane, Australia’s Pious Faults (who we previously discussed here), was released last August. The album’s nine tracks are thrillingly disorienting, each threatening to spin off their loose axis off into the ether. A claustrophobic desperation envelops the record, with tracks like opener, “Cope” and “Worship the Surface pt. 1” making this a kind of Damaged for a new era. Summoning as much old school hardcore like Black Flag and Die Kreuzen as freeform industrial experimentalists Throbbing Gristle and newer post-punk noiseniks like Girl Band, it feels somehow familiar and completely singular at the same time. Amazing. Highlights include: “Worship the Surface pt 1”; “Field”.

Web: Feel It

Permission, Drawing Breath Through a Hole in the Ground (La Vida Es Un Mus)


Drawing Breath Through a Hole in the Ground, released last July from London, England-based Permission, is a relentless hardcore record. From the first peals of distortion on opener, “Ambition” through (about 17 minutes later) the bent notes closing “Sequence”, it’s quite a ride. The stop and go tempos invoke that invigorating, yet slightly panic-inducing, feel of being in a circle pit you can’t quite make it out of, reminding of bands like Christ on Parade, Crucifix or Void (DC). Highlights include: “Atmosphere”; “Sick Things”.

Web: LaVidaEsUnMus

PiNK THiNG, The Curtain EP


Following on their 2017 demo, Dallas, TX-based quintet Pink Thing released The Curtain EP last May. It’s a powerful mix of old school punk/hc and death rock, with the kind of dead-eyed, taunting vocals that make you want to throw your fist up. While the opening bars of “Avoid/Devoid” summon the Sex Pistols, there’s an overarching early 80s SST feel, which makes the band’s choice cover of Saccharine Trust’s “I Am Right” apropos. Highlights include: “Creamy”; “Natural Thing”.

Web: Bcamp

Zerodent, Landscapes of Merriment (Alien Snatch)


Perth, Australia’s Zerodent returned in October with Landscapes of Merriment, released on German label Alien Snatch. Landscapes retains the ℅ ’77 punk and buzzed, Stiff Records’ style rock of 2017’s fab Soul Mender (which we fawned over here), now burnished with greyscale shades of post-punk. The inclusion of more active basslines compliment Predrag Delibasich’s soaring guitar melodies and the classically earnest vocals of Lee Jenkins, particularly on (current) personal fave, “I Live a Lie”. Fantastic. Highlights include: “I Live a Lie”; “Utter Power”; “The Ring”.

Web: Alien Snatch Fbook Bcamp

CB Radio Gorgeous, S-T


Chicago’s CB Radio Gorgeous feature members of local bands like Big Zit and Negative Scanner. The band’s debut, self-titled full-length, was self-released last June (followed by a cassette release on Not Normal Tapes). It’s a relentless mix of driving hc, downtown punk cool and pogo/Buzzcocks’ new wave – sometimes all at once, as on highlight double-shot “Love Countdown” and “Shelley”. Highlights include: “Love Countdown”; “Shelley”; “Babylon”.

Web: Bcamp

Check Out “Brick Walls”, the Latest from Beta Boys, As Well As “Laugh/Cry” from Their Forthcoming LP

Beta Boys, “Brick Walls/Littered Streets” 7”; “Laugh/Cry” (Total Punk; Feel It!)

Beta Boys are a four-piece punk rock brigade whose current shop is set up in Olympia, WA. Since releasing a cassette demo in 2014, the band has been busy, releasing several singles and EPs on a variety of labels, each showcasing a fantastic blur of early 80s hardcore and death rock. 

Their latest 7” single, released in February on Total Punk, just may be their most explosive yet. “Brick Walls” rides in on a Suicidal wave, dashes you on the rocks and continues to churn. There’s more than a hint of the Poison Idea-levels of the musical nihilism you’ve come to expect from the band, the track winding itself ever tighter but without indulging in a full throttle release – it’s more endless circle pit than full-on slam riot. Fear not, though, as catharsis soon come in the form of b-side, “Littered Streets”, with its straight ahead hardcore chug, washed out guitar and peel the paint vocals, yips and yowls that remind me of Blaine from The Accused.  

It’s more fully-focused than anything else I’ve heard from Beta Boys, but doesn’t sacrifice their rawness. Anyway, sometimes you just need a punk record whose cover appears to feature Snoopy giving the double bird, right? You know you do. Go pick up a copy via the Beta Boys’ bandcamp.  

I’ve had notes going on this for so long (all 4:48 of it…I guess I’m easily distracted), the band in the meantime released a new track, “Laugh/Cry” – billed as the “shortest” on their forthcoming LP, Late Night Acts – and it’s another ripper. Look for that one in August, courtesy of Richmond-based Feel It! Records.