Posts Tagged ‘Punk’

The Intelligence – “Auteur Detour”

New track dropping down today from The Intelligence’s tenth album, Un-Psychedelic in Peavy City. The band’s got Tim Green behind the boards, who is always able to pull some loose weirdness out of a band, and this glimpse behind the grooves is as delightfully mangled as any in the band’s oeuvre. “Auteur Detour” was described by the band as a “No Wave Santana Exercise” but its more than just guitar grind gone polygonal. Finberg and the band rivet their riffs to the rhythm, with the bass holding down front and center, underpinning a menacing vocal that drops non sequiturs like they were new wave mantras. Then the band let loose the moorings as the track progresses and, for all the assertions of the album’s Un-Psychedelic qualities, they wind up pretty heady, sweaty, and tangled by the time the track clicks to a close. Gonna want to see what else the album has in store (and you can) when this one barrels out into the world May 24th.

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Taiwan Housing Project – “Toxic Garbage People”

If you missed out on Taiwan Housing Project’s KRS debut in 2017 then you’re probably not ready for their next slice of noise heaven, but you might as well buckle up and brace anyhow. The band picks up where they dropped the din prior, with singer/guitarist Kilynn Lunsford’s strychnine-laced vocals acting as the centerpiece as she thrashes, lashes, and howls herself hoarse for our benefit on “Toxic Garbage People. The song is propulsive and primed, set to blow at any minute, and that volatile nature gives the band their draw. Lunsford’s previous band, Little Claw, will remain a forever favorite around here, but she’s no less vital and vicious at the helm of THP. The new album, Sub-Language Trustees lands June 21st from NYC’s Ever/Never and it should find its way onto your ‘need’ pile based on this song alone. 2019 has been a good year for music, but it needed a little push towards bile-soaked brilliance.


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POW!

SF’s POW! pick up the yolk from a generation of sci-fi scanners and jitter-blasted synth punks crawling out of the debris of ’79. The band’s been bubbling under the surface like a boil for years now, but this is the most crystalized and cracked version of their Vaseline-vibed visions yet, conjuring up some real Howard Devoto/ Magazine heat this time around. There’s an uneasiness to Sift, the band’s fourth record for Castle Face, and the band uses that to their advantage, pushing listeners away from any notion of bliss with their infected slink. Aside from the veneer of menace though, the band gives some substance to their doom with sketches of cybernetic chaos and a future ravaged by reliance on mechanical artifice.

Sure, they’re not the first band to slide under the vinyl veil and deify the vile image of dystopian drama via mangled metal riffs and well-oiled synths, but for fans of the aforementioned Magazine, Simply Saucer, Tubeway Army, The Units, or Chrome the band is providing a wormhole from their weirdness to the present day. Byron Blum’s blast furnace of guitar and pitch-perfect vocal warble has this feeling like more than just mere homage. The band’s vomiting oil slick bile and wires all over the turntable like they’ve lived in the muck for years. In the past there was a scrappier sense of, low-fi fizz, but by whittling it away the band has finally arrived at the perfect balance of crisp angles, crushed glass and rampant nihilism that this genre requires to thrive.



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Pinch Points – “Shibboleth”

Melourne’s Pinch Points fire back this year with another infected, squirming bout of post-punk poison. The first taster of their upcoming Moving Parts LP is an itchy-toothed bite into society that leaves blood on the bite mark. Hammered guitars herald their heavily coiled sound opening into a battery of drums and vocal venom that sees the band trading barbs between themselves shouting along on the chorus. The track ties the band’s tension around the listener like a steel-banded scarf, slowly tightening the pressure as they careen towards the close. The record is out May 31st through Roolette in Australia, Six Tonnes de Chair in France and Burger here in the States. Gonna want to keep an eye out for this one.



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The UV Race

Aussie unease squad The UV Race made the label rounds in the mid ‘00s and now they roll right back to the imprint that birthed them, pulling no punches a decade later on their newest racket for Aarght. Honestly this one’s a bit of a homecoming for me, as The UV Race’s eponymous debut was one of the records that pulled me into the Aussie underground way back in ’09. Truth be told, it’s been an enjoyable ride ever since. Montfort and crew are still acerbic as ever, wrapping their squelch-punk package in the brittle bristle of noise, repetition, and discomfort. They’ve never been a band bred to make the listener settle into any sort of groove and so it seems there’s a crawling itch that spreads out yet again from under the punk pocked veneer of Made In China.

Jangles are buried in pockets of synth, scratched with the woolen wonders of technology. Sax bleats buzz alongside harmonica and tangled twangs. Michael Reichsteiner continues to use his voice as a blunt instrument second only to maybe Dom Trimboli of Wireheads. Still beholden to the Mark E. Smith school of punk and despair the band continue spewing their atonal attack with the force and farce of an Electric Eels inspired Halloween costume. In the wake of their original run the continent has spawned a legion of post-punk pugilists, jilted janglers and pop invertebrates, but The UV Race taught them all how to spew. Eddy Current may have made the kids sweat. Total Control may have made critical darlings out of the underground, but UV Race still poke at the ear drums with a confidence and irreverence that make them true legends.



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Protruders – “Hydrophytol”

Canadian punks Protruders have an EP landing in a few weeks on Feel It and the first single from that slab is a savage shard of burnt wire pyrotechnics. “Hydrophytol” is bruised and bent, clinging to fidelity by its fingernails as the bastard son of Electric Eels and Pere Ubu, though inevitable Fall comparisons are welcome as well. Haywire squonks jut out in every direction from the track while the on the vocal front, the mood swerves from any touch of mania. Like a calm nihilistic walk through the streets of a riot, Protruders seems to be enjoying the chaos while never letting it get under their own skin. Gonna want to get into this one when it leaps to the streets on April 20th.



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Possible Humans

When the first crack listen off the debut LP from Aussies Possible Humans came rolling into the inbox it was marked by strums that brought to mind old guard South Hemi hitters like The Clean and The Go-Betweens – usual fare for the new crop of Aussie indies popping up all over the coasts. The band even contains a member of recent RSTB faves The Stroppies – and so it seemed all teed and set up for expectations of more of the same – but, this ain’t that record. Not by a long shot. While Possible Humans start their motor in jangle’s wide embrace, they don’t linger in its lot too long. They take a tub of roofing tar to The Clean’s fizz n’ strum dynamics and stick it onto a harder, knottier, more knuckled vision of indie that was spreading across the US. Shades of Dinosaur, before legalities gave them a youthful suffix, are at work here as well as patches that pull from Dino’s fellow Fort Apache alums Volcano Suns.

The band has a real reach, giving the record the kind of dynamic progression that often gets lost in bands who nail their niche with a great tune only to rinse and repeat over the rest of the record. There’s hardly a repeat feeling in the bunch save for a hangover of frustration, but it sticks together like a dingey bouquet picked out the puddle and pasted back together. The toughened skin of “Absent Swimmer” recalls R.E.M. at a time when you weren’t likely spot the whites of Stipe’s eyes on stage. Other places they’re muddying up Feelies riffs or flirting with the noisier nubs of the alternative nation, bending guitar growl through manic swings like a band who watched The Mats once and tried to memorize the stage moves.

The absolute highlight, though, is the lengthy second side workout “Born Stoned” which finds them at their gnarled best, threading repeated riffs through the woodshed and stuffing flannel in all the exits to hotbox their best grim grooves. It’s a hell of a debut, and like their fellow countrymen Mope City (who tackle Galaxie 500 glimmer) they’re branching out from the expectations built up among an underground that’s constantly intriguing, but has also cannibalized its influences a few times over. Though the LP was scant, this one’s worth it in any format. Recommended you get on that.



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Martha

Jumping up another rung from their superb and well-received sophomore LP Blisters In The Pit of My Heart, UK power pop shakers Martha are proving to be the piners to keep a constant eye on. The band’s latest infects 2019 with the kind of hearsick stomach ache that accompanies lost loves, long nights, dour days, and the terrible creeping feeling that you’ll never survive the next couple of months unchanged. Despite covering some of the bands most heavy territory, they make go down pretty easy, swishing down sweet hooks garnished with singalong swoons and whoa-oh choruses that help mask the bitter poison swimming below the in the band’s lyrics. While the hooks are noting to slough at, the band’s bare and bracing subjects elevate them from slipping into the punk undertow.

They’ve always had their hearts on their sleeve, tugging gently at the emotional tags that can sometimes be a brush off for folks. Yet they knot their wordy wallows into decorative lanyards that can’t help but win over listeners with the shared trauma of youth. Every song in Martha’s canon feels like they’re barely getting out alive and its hard not to nod along -whether the listener’s in the throes of high-stakes youth or just moisturizing the scars from it as part of a daily routine. The band is the embodiment of bittersweet, begging the listener back for more with earworms that nod the head but rub the soul raw.

To build those earworms they’re pushing aside the prattle of punk’s latter-day indulgences, keeping in the parachute lite pop billow, but discarding the repetition and cheeky charms. They supplant these with a touch of jangle stripped right out of the English tradition and the wistful cool that comes in tow with their clouded demeanor and introspective bend. While Love Keeps Kicking is easily a record that could facilitate any windows-down car trip for the summer, its just as likely to find you pulled over by the roadside crying off old wounds. For every tear they spill, though, Martha’s there to wrap an arm around and wipe it away. The record is knife and stitches all in one and despite my best intentions, its hard not to listen, lash and repeat.



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Gonzo

Geelong sweat merchants Gonzo offer up a sophomore LP, for Aussie garden of delights Anti-fade and its a twitchy whollop of an album that hits all the sweet spots like a sack of oranges to the face. The record jumps straight back into the battery-acid bash that surged through the synapses of their debut, only more refined and running a newer razor down the face with twisted blasts of guitar. Like US contempo’s in Uranium Club and Lithics or UK chord chewers Sauna Youth, they have a penchant for mixing mangled metal licks with a socially sour attitude that walks through the streets swinging the mic from the neck, begging to be beat, berated, or bested. The record is more than no-frills. It might actually accrue negative frills and owe a debt of audio drapings to the listener by the time the last bars click to a close.

Gonzo doesn’t seem fussed about it in the least, though. The band is comfortable at home scraping the sores for inspiration and they channel every inch of their chafed n’ chapped aesthetic into Do It Better. I for one have welcomed the caustic crush of the new wave of nihilistic rock action figures and Gonzo are a collector’s bunch (grab the four pack to trade with friends). The band spends the bulk of DIB‘s run licking the 9V for just a twinge of feeling. The record fizzes and flails just the right ways. It spends a good five minutes slamming its head into the cinder block basement to get enough blood to slide down the strings. Gonzo will chew wire for you. Gonzo will drive you to the airport, Gonzo will sit your kids and sell them back at market value. Gonzo will notarize your post-it notes. They’re living the mundane and spitting it back into grey lumps so you don’t have to. Its about time you locked in and appreciated it.




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POW! – “Here It Comes”

“Here It Come” is another infected vessel from POW!. The SF synth-punks dredge the shadows for a slinking dirge that crawls from the crevices of the nihilistic neververse. Byron Blum’s guitars vomit twisted coils of wire and chromium tape. The drums are bounced through hammered cardboard and tin and the synths skitter across the headspace like feral androids, crouched and hissing. Fans of Simply Saucer, Chrome and Starter have a new touchstone to scratch at when the band’s upcoming Shift is released, but for now this scrap of hot plastic will have to suffice.

Filling in the origins of “Here It Comes, Blume notes, ”I had the drumbeat in my head and punched it into a sequencer before i would forget it. When we were in the studio, I wanted to do something with it and Tommy gave me the idea for lyrics. He would say ‘ready? Here it comes’ probably every time before he would press the record button. I loved that so much and we made a ditty out of it. It’s about relaxing in space and feeling strength running through my body, ready to face the unknown and whatever is arising in the moment”

You too can face the unknown when the LP seeps out from Castle Face on May 10th.

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