Posts Tagged ‘Post-Punk’

Red Mass – “Saturn”

Montreal’s Red Mass, the loose collective centered around Roy Vucino and Hannah Lewis, are preparing their new album for No Coast/Label Étiquette in March and have sent over a new peek under the hood. “Saturn” tumbles a driving post-punk pace into grizzled garage territory. The song is dingy and driven- streaked by night and looking for lust. The drums pound high, loud, and lethal, but like New Order or The Church before them, they don’t succumb to the tropes of paint-by-post-punk, giving the song a twist with an acoustic overlay and a weave of synths. The record picked up production credits from Mingo L’indien of Les Georges Leningrad and producer/engineer Martin Bisi (Sonic Youth, Iggy Pop) and they’re definitely pushing the band into crisper territory than Red Mass has explored before. Check the new cut below and keep an eye out for the LP on March 22nd.



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Chronophage

Austin’s Chronophage are straddling genre lines with the hodgepodge confidence of the all-stars of late-night college radio circa ’86. Their latest LP, Prolog For Tomorrow swerves between the amphetamine growl of Pere Ubu, the aloof allure of Kim Gordon, and the clangin’ twang of Meat Puppets with an ease that seems uncanny. They charge through the loose knit niches of Swell Maps at their most maligned and take a dirt bath in the discarded tape trails of Television Personalities. The record is a beast of many mantles, but they pull it off with a collage-core spirit that works as long as you don’t bend your brain too much trying to pin them down.

The record embraces a wet-towel-stuffed-under-the-door fidelity, crackling with electric energy, but also just crackling. Yet, warts and all, sounding like Sebadoh tapes left out in the rain and respooled with a pencil, they can’t help but warm your heart a little too. Everything about this record is brittle and bruised. It is imperfection come to life in black plastic wonder. Yet that imperfection is what makes it stick in yer teeth – gnawing at the gums until you’re forced to pay attention. There’s a kernel of pop rolling around in their dirt bin all right, but like so many muck scrapers before them, they can’t help but let it take a backseat to the glory of the din. Behind the bracing attitude and wild swings, though, there’s a ton of charm and some genuine hooks that’ll keep you coming back for more.




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Vital Idles – “Break A”

Last year Upset The Rhythm had a banner run, issuing great LPs from Terry, Primo!, Sauna Youth, and the affecting debut from Vital Idles. The latter was steeped in the best hallmarks of post-punk, churning slow-burn tension into the kind of album that winds up collector fodder for those with the right kind of ears. The band now doubles down on their sterling n’ sparse debut with a follow-up EP that’s got more of the rubber band snap of bass and bent metal beam guitars that make the best post-punk. Doing one better, though, the vocals of Jessica Higgens are tinged with just the right mix of aloof, angst, and accusations. Lead-off track “Break A” slithers through the speakers with a nighttime slink – icy, reserved, and brittle as crushed glass. The track proves that their debut was no fluke – its as good as anything that appeared there – and maybe even a head above. If this is only sharpened point of the EP, I can’t wait until the rest cuts deep and draws blood.



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Bench Press – “Respite”

Melbourne’s Bench Press release a blunt force blast of a single – the wiry, nervy post-punk nug “Respite” for Poison City and knock it up a notch with an excellently crisp infographic inferring video created by Defero Productions. The song is tough and sinewy, as their work has been in the past, but this time it’s got a breathless immediacy to it as well. The song huffs steam and belches bass, but it’s the solar-plexus-jolt of Jack Stavrakis’ vocals that draw the attention the most. His voice is an instrument of constrained chaos locked onto a song that singes like science – a perfect mesh of hi/low tensions that brings to mind a host of Dischord alumni and their own homeland’s heroes Eddy Current Suppression Ring. Check the design nerd eye candy above.

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Working Men’s Club – “Bad Blood”

UK post-punks Working Men’s Club act as a testament to the binge influence of the internet in 2019. Hailing from the tiny town of Todmorden, were it not for the heavy spread of access and rabbit hole drilldown of influences that pervades the tubes it seems unlikely that a group of seventeen-year-olds would produce a single that effortlessly echoes the rubber band snap of The Monochrome Set commingling with new wave keys and a touch of Medium Medium’s dance freak streak. “Bad Blood” shouldn’t sound like such a natural amalgam of the past while still feeling modern enough to drop in beside newer body shakers like Lithics, Future Punx, or School Damage but it does and we’re all better for it. This single certainly puts the band on the list to watch, but first it puts them on repeat, domineering the speakers with a brittle beat.




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Uranium Club – “Man is the Loneliest Animal”

Out on the tattered edges of punk Minneapolis’ Uranium Club sits chewing the glass that others discard and spitting it back at them as blood n’ bile rendered sonic. While Pere Ubu, MX-80 and Dow Jones & The Industrials left scattered shards of punk’s more frantic future to be ignored by the bulk of the movement in favor of a more melodic beast and greater accessibility, Uranium Club came and picked up the bent metal time signatures as their own. Their second outing for Static Shock launches out of the gutter with the greased rat chaos of “Man Is The Loneliest Animal,” a panicked jab into the collective ears of a less than wanting public. The song stumbles in unassuming, crouching, licking its wounds before slashing wildly and drawing blood hard and fast. Definitely don’t miss out on their upcoming LP, The Cosmo Cleaners.


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The Stroppies – “Nothing At All”

Bummed that not enough people have been prattling on about The Stroppies, but that’ll catch up to them later. The band’s proper debut is out in March on Tough Love and the second single clinches the quality of this jangle-high strummer. “Nothing At All” sees co-vocalist Claudia Serfaty take over and the keys that permeated their previous single, “Cellophane Car,” take a backseat. There’s more than a little love for Flying Nun in the driving rhythms and a boundless energy that’s beggin’ to break free. Perfectly swung pop that prickles with life over a bittersweet core. If you’ve been sleeping on the short format releases the band has proffered up to this point, then its time to get familiar with Whoosh.

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The Snakes – “Snakes Bday”

Melbourne’s Snakes draw from the ripped and ragged soul of old New York, rather than snagging the punk vein of their own hometown heroes. With the knocked askew sensibilities of The Voidoids, Heartbreakers, Electric Eels and in a decidedly non-NY grab, The Pop Group – the band’s debut for Anti-Fade has a split-lip edge that feels familiar but still dangerous. The band’s hardly been humming for six months, but there’s an urgency in “Snakes Bday” that feels like waiting longer would waste momentum. Sawed and sewn back up, the track jerks like its got a methadone drone in its soul and a freak furnace pushing it past the point of good taste. Doesn’t hurt that the band’s also got just a touch of the ol’ Jonathan Richman sneer in its delivery. For a first taste, this one has me coming back for more right away.



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Future Punx – “Want To Be Wanted”

Brooklyn’s Future Punx were a fun prospect, with their Gary Numan meets Medium Medium’s post-punk boogie bliss. Their album garnered some nice praise and put them on my year end list back in 2017. The band finally fires back with a few new tunes in for form of an EP for Modern Sky. The first cut, “Want to Be Wanted” clamps down hard on the Numan synth burble, hot gluing his disaffected futurism to the bounce of post-punk guitars and replacing his lonesome android isolationism with a note of hope as the members bounce the chorus back and forth between them. The track’s got a pretty heavy replay factor, digging further under the skin with each listen. Hoping the rest of the EP pans out in similar regard, but the band had more micro-influences working in their last album than average, so here’s hoping for some surprises as well.



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J. McFarlane’s Reality Guest

Without a doubt one of the great nests of underground Aussie gems seems to be emanating from Melbourne’s Hobbies Galore. The label, responsible for offerings from Blank Realm, The Green Child, The Stroppies, and Mikey Young, has a crack of 2019 debut from ex-Twerps member Julia McFarlane in her Reality Guest guise. The record is an extension of McFarlane’s work as Hot Topic (a positive naming move in my opinion), and she’s even got former Topic members Ric Milovanovic and Violetta DelConte Race along for a couple of track co-writes with some flute help from friend Ela Stiles. While The Twerps were borne out of humble strums and awkward pauses, they evolved into a properly breezy indie-pop outfit in due time. On TA DA, however, McFarlane seems to be sealing up the easy entry with a flair for bone-dry janglecore and post-punk that eats up crumbs trailed by Kleenex, Mo-Dettes, Oh-Ok and Confetti.

Despite its simple setup and economical hooks, the record isn’t batting for twee charms. There’s a darker tone to this than has previously seeped into even Hot Topic’s fuzzier confines. Like her ex-bandmate Frawley, the record chews on the raw ends of the dissolution of relationships and alliances. The album is full of contradicting impulses and melodies fighting one another for space. Julia’s vocals descend from a place of dreaming to take on the pang of forlorn while the musical accompaniment twists at the UHF reception with a dulled pocket knife. The record isn’t what might be expected of her as a closed chapter on The Twerps, but it’s a haunting and personal delight even when it’s at its most dour. As with most of those ‘70s and ‘80s touchstones previously mentioned, there’s more than a few kernels of pop underneath the whittled to the bone nature of TA DA and if you come with a head ready for humble hurt, then the record will not disappoint.




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