Hello motherfuckers - how’s your journey towards the end of life as we know it going? Oh what’s that, the sound of an enormous door slamming in the depths of hell? The possibility of life’s destruction?
It certainly feels like it as more legends spiral off this mortal coil, the bastards keep winning, and everyday feels like a struggle to keep a firm grasp on what little scraps of sanity remain.
As the god, Kathleen Hanna, once said “I will resist with every inch and every breath I will resist this psychic death” and so towards that end, here are some crucial slabs of hardcore and punk which you might have missed.
Barcelona, Residuos Del Ultrasonido EP
Barcelona is a sonic car crash – a cacophonous barrage of notes, rhythm, and noise careening across your cerebral cortex. Eight tracks that in one moment flirt with purposeful tunefulness then quickly descending into confused chaotic madness – like playing a Wretched record and an Ornette Coleman record at the same time.
A lot of folx blather on about “noise not music” but Barcelona delivers on the promise.
Cement Shoes, A Love Story Of Drugs & Rock & Roll & Drugs EP
Richmond’s Cement Shoes should get a lot more props than they do – brilliantly snotty, abrasive and just fucking weird at times, they project an genuine outsider vibe in a sea of bands trying to sound like Disclose or Youth of Today or Turnstile or whatever…
On this three-track platter, the winner for me is the closing track “Going Off the Grid” which is equal parts Process of Weeding Out-era Black Flag and Radio Birdman – drug addled jamming meeting '70s style Aussie hook laden rocknroll sensibilities. Great, great, great.
Heavy Discipline, Heavy Discipline LP
Let’s be honest, something magical is going on the glorious city Pittsburgh - is it the dirty water of the three rivers? Is it something magical they slip into the pierogies at Gooski’s? Is it the steady diet of rust belt blues?
Heavy Discipline are everything I want in a hardcore band - brutal, stomping breakdowns interspersed between blazing velocity and some of the finest drill sargent vocals on the planet. This shit smokes, it slaps, its a fucking hammer to the face, a punch in in your junk, just push play and crank the fucking volume and stage dive off your couch.
Krigshoder, Krig I Hodet EP
Krigshoder needs to beat up Black Uniforms to take title of Splatter Punx on Acid from them because that phrase sums up this project from the brilliant mutants behind Blazing Eye and Negativ.
Absolutely wonderful, frantic blasts of thrashing hardcore that hints of many nights smoking illicit substances while consuming a steady diet of classic Norwegian hardcore - Barn Av Regnbuen, Svart Framtid, etc. Alt for Norge!
Mass Arrest, Power LP
A powerful uppercut of Bruisers style hardcore punk melded with tinges of danceable, hook laden, '60s garage-inspired backing up a rough’n’tumble vocal delivery which paints a poignant lyrical tale of being Black in America.
It’s a brilliant release on all levels. Pure street fighting music.
Persecutor, Demonstration: 2020 CS
Brutal hardcore from Australia that alternates between No Tolerance/Infest style go for the throat speed and the more boot to the throat stomp of the Flex. The dirgey second track “Vicarious” reminds me of an outtake from an Impact Unit recording session.
Rolex, Rolex EP
This is so fucking good that you don’t deserve it - twistiy turny weirdo hardocre that is at one moment the Minutemen on speed and one part Cheetah Chrome Motherfuckers - though some might just say they’ve been mainlining the first Die Kreuzen via live wires in the brain.
Minimally distorted guitars riffing out a chaotic note salad with a rhythm section providing a sense of stability and a nearly out of breath vocalist inviting you to a sonic orgy of madness. Fucking brilliant.
Stray Bullet, Stray Bullet EP
Well then, this is fucking brilliant, right? Utterly ferocious hardcore from the UK that channels those spirits that gave us Cleveland bands like Upstab, H100s, Inmates, etc. Gritty but full production, snarly vocals – this just rips.
Sub-Legals, Bastard Beat CS
This fucking rips – more ripping, raw, hardcore from the crew of Florida maniacs that bring you Armor, Protocol, etc. Hammering beats, rough guitars and maniacal gravelly vocals. This rules. More please.
Uniform Operator, Kinds of Light CS
This is outstanding – aggressive melodic punk in that way the more assertive Sugar or Bob Mould solo stuff comes off. The production just nails that fine line between polished and retaining a rough edge which allows you to hear everything but it doesn’t vaporize the power.
Honestly, it’s insane to me how good this is – the song writing, the production, the riffing, just everything is so perfect. How is this just a tape?
Vile Spirit, Scorched Earth LP
This sounds very mid 90s to me – heavy, violent hardcore that takes the more traditional form and marries it with disparate influences for something more unique. Think Remain Sedate-era Rorschach, Coleman if they had a bassist, Hatchetface, etc.
Snarling, desperate vocals wailing over a dissonant, intense soundscape. Super into this.
Did you enjoy reading Michael's picks? Pick up the latest copy of his superb zine, Razorblades and Aspirin, at this link.
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