Posts Tagged ‘Hardcore’

Wasted Shirt

Adding to the ever-growing list of Segall collaborators, Brian Chippendale (Lightning Bolt) joins forces with Ty to form Wasted Shirt. Though there’s probably a bit more of the Bolt in the mix than anything that crops up close to the surface of Ty’s catalog, Fungus II proves to be a fruitful collaboration. Built on the frantic drum damage that’s marked LB’s path of destruction for so long, the pair tear through nine cuts of calamitous punk pounce that leaves the listener heaving on the floor by the time the needle bounces off the record. Volume swells as we, the listeners are led into the cavern of Echoplex punishment at the core of their sound. Guitars squelch and tones are squeezed within an inch of life, distorting the air around them and giving off a sickened glow.

The two personalities involved have left such an imprint on their respective catalog’s that its hard not to hear the halves pulling at one another – Segall reaching for squeamish pop and Chippendale looking to push the songs hard enough to make the bolts pop. That tension drives Fungus II and propels it along with a sickening glee. This is a psychedelic album given hardcore’s hammerlock impulses. It’s a blunt force given the keys to reality joyriding through rips in the wormhole. Its also the work of two artists clearly having fun with what they’re doing. Despite some of the seething anger and emotion at the heart of Wasted Shirt, the two sound like they’re having a hell of a time bringing this monster to life.



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GØGGS’ Chris Shaw on Final Warning – “Out of Sight, Out of Mind”

Got another edition of Hidden Gems and this time I’ve got Chris Shaw digging into his record bin to pick out a treasure that’s been roughed up by the injustice of history. If you’re unfamiliar with Shaw, he’s been the enigmatic front man for Ex-Cult, who burnt through a run on Goner and In The Red in the last few years. Following that he’s paired up with Ty Segall and mems of Fuzz to bash out psychedelic heaviness with GØGGS. Their latest LP elevates the band to a heady, heavy level that’s enviable to say the least. Now Chris looks back to a perennial favorite from Final Warning, a record that rips as hard today as it did in ’84. I asked Chris how this record came into his life and what impact it’s had on his own music.

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Death Pedals

Gonna balance out a band beginning with a band ending today. London’s Death Pedals have been steadily accruing accolades for their live shows over the past couple of years, but for their third and final LP they match the sweaty brutality under the lights with an experimental furor between the spools. Echoing the cave stomp gut punch of bands like Big Black, Drive Like Jehu and Hot Snakes, the band now works its way further down the Albini lineage to incorporate some sonic stretch into Shellac territory, rolling noise in a sonic simmer. It’s a bump up the ladder from their 2016 heart-pounder Meat House, but no worries pit dwellers, the eponymous swan song is still built on the same noise floor bedrock that chokeholds its way through their early works.

No shortage of noise crusted bashers out there, but when you do it right, the result winds up less gym-workout-background-track and more barely constrained chaos. The latter is decidedly the case for Death Pedals and if this is truly their sendoff, then it’s with a bit of sorrow that this record is received. It seems like this is the band just finding their mooring, balancing power with dynamics for an explosive record worth using to test your speakers’ limits.




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The Cowboy

A short, but sweet rip out of Minneapolis’ bastion of punk permanence, Fashionable Idiots, this debut from The Cowboy doesn’t waste anytime getting right to the whipped core of things. The Cleveland band contains members of Pleasure Leftists and Homostupids, and while it has very few crossover tendencies of the former, there’s a certain brutal similarity to the latter. Though, The Cowboy (not to be confused with The Cowboys damnit) is not simply a retread of the terrain of Steve Peffer’s experimental past. Rather, The Cowboy is no frills punk with a hardcore heart. The band bashes shit out, wipes the sweat and gets on their way without so much as a “thanks.”

The sheer economy of this album makes it impressive. They do more in under a minute-forty than most bands do with whole albums. The Cowboy’s wrapped taut like ink black snake coils around the riffs in this sucker and pounding drums like they owe the band money. This is the kind of album that starts bands. The stuff that kickstarts the inherent need to work out frustrations through sonic assault in the nascent brain. Hell, it kickstarts the feeling in an aging brain. The members come from bands that found their own cult of purists and acolytes, but here they prove that crushed bone and anger sweat can be alchemized into brutal brilliance.



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Xetas

Austin’s Xetas have been carving out a gnashed and gnarled existence on 12xU for a couple of releases yet, but The Tower arrives as their most bracing and simultaneously fun album yet. The band toes the line between its hardcore entrenchment and a crack of pop punk simmering just below their veil of noise. The tug and pull between those two forces makes the bulk of The Tower a sweaty good time any any given night. The band’s packed the LP full of songs that push at the seams of their 3-4 min boundaries swollen with a fight that’s admirable in it’s tenacity.

When they spike the aggression into the redline, they’re sincere in their desire to burn down the forces that bind them. They lash out in sandpaper howls and high burn cardio workouts of guitar thrash. But as anyone who grew up with that particular strain of punk propulsion might attest, an entire album stuck on that setting can be as exhausting as it can be cathartic. So it’s with a cocked smile that I have to appreciate Xetas want to slow things down to the anthemic bounce of a Thermals cut to bash out some fun thrash poppers on “The Burden,” “The Jaws” or closer “The Machine.” The Tower serves as a palette cleanser for the mind, shaving off a layer of filth from the week and leaving the listener ready for another ten rounds with the world in the next working week.




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Like Rats

So normally my tastes in metal run more to those that have a bit of love for the complex; space rock flecks, doom breakdowns or proggish undertones, but there’s something to be said for sure for an all out brutal assault on the senses. Like Rats pulls from hardcore and black metal in equal cupfuls and while the vocals gargle gravel with the angriest of tormented souls, the aural barrage underneath is a taut and unrelenting in its attack. Its absolutely impossible not to feel beaten and bruised after one listen through II and from that beating springs catharsis. I’m a sucker for an album with cover art that perfectly encapsulates the feelings of the album it drapes and, here, the creeping mountain fog of II is an all too ominous nod to the overwhelming doom and despair that underpins tracks like “Gates” and “Grief Incarnate.” That sense of dread hits right at home here and elevates this album from the amassed pack of black metal growlers. By the closing strains of II there’s a physical toll on the body and mind and if that isn’t the sign of a great album, I can’t think of what is.




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Milk Teeth

Though they’ve been making a dent overseas in their native UK, I’ve heard paltry little about Bristol’s Milk Teeth here. For all the Dilly Dally fans losing their shit last year and the roll of 90’s nostalgia that’s swept through in the past couple of years, it would seem this release is tailor made for these times. The record is, as mentioned, rooted deep in its love of the Pixies/Nirvana/Quicksand axis of 90’s heavies, though there are certainly a few moments when they get near the velvet crush of Veruca Salt as well. The record’s got an explosive hold on punk and grunge and they wield hooks like bats in a street brawl, swinging wild for the fences and socking you hard in the chest with each beat.

Now admittedly my punk past comes more from the pop half than the hardcore half (hey we weren’t all that angry) so in the push pull girl/guy vocal dynamic I’m much more partial to Becky Blomfield’s Cobain/Kim Deal delivery than her counterpart Joshua Bannister’s sandpaper growl but put together the pair head up this record with a ferocity and range that feels like a snapshot of hazy high school nights and 90’s Sunday slumps. There are plenty of kids picking up their flannel and Converse combo second hand these days but not all of them are wearing it so well as Milk Teeth do.





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