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.
The Fireworks, “Dream About You” (Shelflife/Opposite Number)
London-based trio The Fireworks recently shared a new 7”, “Dream About You”, the first to feature the vocal stylings of new member Beth Arzy (formerly of Trembling Blue Stars and Aberdeen, amongst others).
The single’s three tracks breeze by in a bit more than 8 minutes but, like real pyrotechnics, need but a moment to make a lasting impression. Close your eyes and you can still hear the brilliant bass countermelody underpinning the title track’s delirious jangle; feel the drum wallop in the candy-colored psycho closer (see what we did there?), “We’ve Been Wasting Time”. For my money, middle child “Better Without You Now” is the gem, a droll kiss-off backlit by a shimmering, Murmur-era guitar hook. Fans of JAMC, early REM, Kinks, Shop Assistants, C86, Manhattan Love Suicides and/or well-constructed melodies, look no further.
The “Dream of You” 7” is available now courtesy of two fantastic labels – namely, Opposite Number (in the UK/EU) and Shelflife (everywhere else). Surveil The Fireworks on fbook the twitt and their site, and peruse their back catalogue on bandcamp. While you’re at it, have a look at the video for “Dream About You”, which premiered over at The Big Takeover.
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).
Girl Ray, “Trouble/Where Am I Now?” (Moshi Moshi Singles Club)
Girl Ray are a three-piece based out of (North) London. They’ve only been releasing music for a titch over a year now, gathering ‘blog hype’ (sorry, we’re late to the party) and scoring a session with venerable BBC6 deejay – and former Fall guy – Marc Riley. New single, “Trouble”, is due November 25 through the Moshi Moshi Singles Club.
Both “Trouble” and its b-side “Where Am I Now?” have a timeless quality that makes it hard to attach to a particular era or sound – there’s elements of 60s and 70s ballady power pop, as well as 80s and 90s indie. Each feature Poppy Hankin’s genial, yet insouciant lead vocals (her phrasing evokes folks like Nico, Laetitia Sadier and Euros Childs from Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci – a stated influence of the band), combined with sun-dappled harmonies over mellow, indie pop grooves. For a band apparently so young, there’s an assuredness on display that borders on the frightening. Can’t wait to hear more.
So, next steps, then:
a. pre-order your limited edition 7” vinyl copy of “Trouble” via Moshi Moshi, here;
b. check out more of Girl Ray on fbook, twit, and Soundcloud;
c. while on step “b”, make certain you also flatter your ears with the previously released tracks “I’ll Make This Fun” (personal fave) and “Ghostly”;
d. watch the video for “Where Am I Now?”, courtesy of the good folks over at Brooklyn Vegan.
Sauna Youth, “The Bridge/Blurry Images” (Upset the Rhythm, 1/15/2016)
Better late than never to touch upon this “new” (as of January) single from Sauna Youth, a four-piece out of London whose members also play in other bands we like, including Cold Pumas, Monotony and Primitive Parts.
A-side, “The Bridge”, is a blisteringly fun track, storming out of the gate with a guitar buzz that would sit nicely amidst gabba-neat c/o ‘77 punk , rougher Jam and “waster” Libertines. B-side (and personal fave), “Blurry Images”, blends the wry, ‘cheeky chappy’ bounce of Modern Life Is Rubbish-era Blur with the starker, repetitive groove-based post-punk of bands like ESG and Delta 5, shout-sung lyrics challenging the listener’s perspective to achieve focus. Something you can think, fight and groove to at the same time.
“The Bridge” features on new full length, Distractions, which is out now on Upset the Rhythm – so I guess I’d better get going on a review of that, too…oof. While you await that with baited breath, follow along with Sauna Youth on fbook and the twitt, check out their other musical offerings on Bandcamp and catch them on one of their upcoming tour dates:
9.22.16 – Chicago, IL – The Owl – W/ Kyle Kaos
9.23.16 – Milwaukee, WI – High Dive – W/ Platinum Boys, Midnight Reruns
9.24.16 – Detroit , MI – UFO Factory – W/ Fire Retarded, Growwing Pains
9.25.16 – Cleveland, OH – Now That’s Class
10.1.16 – London, UK – Kamio – W/David West, Score, Middex, General Echo Soundsystem
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).