Gaffer are a new band out of Perth, Australia, featuring members of powerhouses like Cold Meat and Helta Skelta (the band). Having just formed last year (I think), the band recently released its self-titled demo via Helta Skelta (the label), and it’s a riveting debut.
Each of the tape’s seven tracks sound as if it was recorded live, such is the intensity. The set features raw, determined punk and post-punk sounds whose origins may sound from the mists of time but the tone of which remain sharply relevant. Frustration, isolation, the feel of being under the yoke – an anxiety made palpable by the arrangements and playing, with song titles like ‘Animal’, ‘Skin of Your Teeth’, and ‘Stuck’ serving as signposts. The demo has the diaristic feel of albums from early Black Flag (particularly, Damaged), The Mob, Flux of Pink Indians, or early Killing Joke. The vocalist inhabits a kind of younger Willy Loman character, one being told he’s “got everything to live for” while simultaneously feeling like he’s moving through life “with a noose on”. On ‘Skin of Your Teeth’ – one of many highlights – the not so quiet desperation finds form in lyrics like “can’t do this anymore/getting through by the skin of your teeth…/no real purpose/no real energy/no end product”.
Gaffer’s demo is available now, on cassette, from Helta Skelta. Looking forward to hearing what the band does next. In the meantime, you can check out the video of their first live gig here.
Bikini Cops, Three (Drunken Sailor; Televised Suicide)
Bikini Cops are a quartet hailing from Perth. The band have been putting out music since 2015 or so and Third, their third (the title should’ve tipped you off), is the strongest yet. Building on the momentum of the band’s first two releases, these tracks feel more focused and fully-formed, but without losing any of the raw energy. Musically, the album teeters frantically between barely hinged blasts of MC5-esque rock and fantastically blunt, ‘old school’ (™) hardcore. The band is both tight and constantly on the verge of collapse, in the grand tradition of bands like First Four Years-era Black Flag. Singer Chris Balch’s cracking yelp carries the feeling of desperate antipathy of that band’s Keith Morris or Ian MacKaye in his Minor Threat years.
The one-two crotch kick of opener, “(Not) My World”, and “Stupid System” is, alone, worth the price of admission – but don’t go just yet, or you’ll miss out on personal fave “Total Control” and epic (over two minutes!) closer, “Lost in a Dimension”. Three makes its point quickly and succinctly, six tracks careening by in under 10 minutes (by my math), providing little time for assessment or breath, but eff me if it didn’t get more exciting with each repeat. Do circle pits go counterclockwise in AUS?
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.