Saturday, 17 August 2013

CRIMINAL DAMAGE - Call Of Death - lp - 2013

Though the innersleeve picture of the band hanging out on some nice park steps, as opposed to the more traditional "leaning against a shitty brick wall", could have been taking in the quiet East Sussex town known for it's high proportion of pensioners, this is not the same band who appeared on the 2nd A Country Fit For Heroes compilation. This is very much Portland Not Eastbourne. Though sharing the same name and many of the same influences, this Oregon-based band with the His Hero Is Gone/Tragedy connection have been a little bit more productive during their time as a band. On this, their third lp, they once again proudly display a very heavy debt to No Future era Blitz, packing it with the kind of top tier proper punk tunes which would have had their 80s namesakes drunkenly dance around to it in approval. Released by the mighty Feral Ward, always a mark of quality, this is definitely one you don't want to miss.

BURIAL - Renegade - 12" - 2013

BURIAL's new (2013) record might have only been released a few weeks ago, but it already has spent a lot of time on my recordplayer. I struggle being concise at the best of time, uttering the phrase "I like the sound of my own voice" at least a few times a week by way of apologyy, so will just quote you the extremely 
apt describtion I just read in a distro list so I can go back to watching the football; "minimal artwork bearing maximum power. BURIAL's best recordings to date developing their very own brand of mayhemic brutality!". Summs it up. I did a gig for them in Brighton the other year, foolishly thinking the punks wouldn't care about the consumer holidays like "valentine's day". I was wrong and turn-out was much too low for what they deserved. They still gave their all. Great band, good people, amazing record.

Monday, 12 August 2013

LAS OTRAS - 7" - 2012 more quick one for the night. Las Otras are a truly brilliant band from Barcelona, featuring at least one member of the equally amazing Crosta (who toured the UK some time ago and played a blinding set when we put them on with Absurdo at the Cowley Club in Brighton....but I digress). I just finished reading the Las Otras interview in issue #363 of MRR (August 2013) on my commute to work this morning and was very inspired to see a punk band, despite some of them being relatively young, proudly, unashamedly, sincerely and intelligently proclaim to be anarchists. That might not always have been that rare, but in a day and age where the wider scene seems to be somewhat overflowing with "punks" who are either already "jaded" despite not even having left their teenage years behind or with those who have not (yet) grasped there was once a community with radical ideas underpinning that noise they proclaim to love....I am hopeful proper punk bands like Las Otras can help shift the balance back a little. 
Intelectual (sic) punks?! Yes, please. 

UUTUUS - Everything Is Shit - 7" - 1997

...for a while there in the 00s some punk revisionists were propagating the myth there was no good fast hardcore in the 90s, "until the "Y2K thrash revival" kicked off"... Although it's definitely true hardcore punk veered off in a variety of directions in the 2nd half of the 80s and continued to do so in the following decade, it is a somewhat US-centred version of events...and even then still widely inaccurate at that. Following the coming of age of the internet, and a generation that can't remember a time without it, punk history is quietly being rewritten again, with downloading helping to fill in the blanks and bringing to the fore bands and scenes in parts of the world which some overlooked to their peril previously. 
Though Uutuus were (or seemed to be to me at least) actually relatively well known when they were around, releasing records which were traded and sold across the known punk world they don't yet appear to be all over the radar of the newer generation of punks. Somewhat surprising especially given the fact they play the kind of '82 Finnish hardcore punk which is all the rage right now and who's originators are household names even in the previously notoriously inward looking US punk scene.
Uutuus were one of those bands that helped keep their country's traditional sound alive by bringing it into the new, at times very different, decade. They are now rightly revered by many of my Finnish punk friends as hugely important. I loved hearing Markku Hirvelä from Toinen Vaihtoehto zine talk so enthusiastically about them on a recent MRR radio show. Hopefully it inspired some kids to check them out and pick up their records. If you're one of them; both their eps can be easily found for little money, especially in the US where I regularly come across copies, and though the lp is a little more difficult to locate at a very cheap price, it should still not prove too difficult. All of their stuff rules. I've been playing this specific 7" since first picking it up in the 90s, digging it out of the collection every so many weeks, and it never ever gets tired....not sure my neighbours necessarily agree mind.

PERDITION - 7" - 2010

The old joke, popular in an embarrassingly high number of European countries, used to be that the average American had so little knowledge of the world beyond their nation's borders most thought "Denmark was the capital of Amsterdam". Ignoring the fact this assertion usually said as much about the superiority complex of many of our continent's inhabitans, most of whom who'd struggle to pinpoint even the biggest US cities on a map themselves, as it did about some of our friends across the ocean, I would wager NY based PERDITION would definitely be able to point out Sweden and Japan at least. In fact, I bet they would be able to even name, and have a good humored crack at the pronouncation of, a few of it's cities, then proceed to educate the locals on some of the 80s bands that hailed from there they themselves might have missed. This, Perdition's 2nd 7" pays musical homage to the spikey haired Swedish and Japanese punks that took the early 80s UK sounds of Discharge, Chaos UK and Disorder (who Perdition might just have heard of as well...) and perfected it into something much harsher, much rawer and much more aggressive. It's another total winner on the ever consistent Distort Reality label, with actual proper tunes as opposed to noise for the sake of it...and to top it off sporting what must be one of the best record covers in recent history.

Saturday, 10 August 2013

PEROXIDE - Can You Hear The Sound Of Peace - 7" - 2012

Portland-based Distort Reality has consistently been releasing high quality punk since the early 00s. PEROXIDE's debut ep is no exception. The record cover will be enough for most to decide whether they're going to be into this or not and this 7" most definitely delivers on what it visually already promises on the metaphorical 'tin'; raw fuzzed out hardcore punk by folks who will surely own more than one Disorder or Atrocious Madness record between them. If you've been digging the re-awakening of the US scene to the distortion drenched punk sounds of Europe and Japan in recent years, via the like of Bloodkrow Butcher, Perdition and Nomand for instance, have a listen to this.

RUBBISH HEAP - lp - 1999

Rubbish Heap are often overlooked, probably not helped by the somewhat infantile name they gave themselves when they were young pups and just started out. Over the years they outgrew both said name ,and no doubt their own initial expectations, and turned into something quite special. Due to living close to the Belgium border, I got to see them a lot in the mid to late 90s, and especially in their final stages of being a band, they were noticeably improving all the time. Rubbish Heap did a fine 7" and a split 7" with their German friends Upset, but this lp remains their true masterpiece. I actually remember it coming out after or just when they were already breaking up, with somewhat surprisingly vivid memories of people passing it around excitedly at a gig in my old stomping ground of Horst rushing back just now. I have no idea what I did last week, but that I remember? Ah, the legendary priorities of punks...
Anyway, if you enjoy walks along the path carved out by Econochrist, Born Against, Eucharist and Hail Mary...have a wander down this lesser known, somewhat overgrown and unkempt, side-trail. I guarantee you won't be disappointed by what you find there.



This lp heavily featured in the MRR's "best of 2012" year lists of those punks I would consider as being "in the know". For good reason too as this rager sees the band graduate with flying colours at the '82 school of Finnish hardcore punk. I snoozed on this a little longer than usual, resulting in labels Kämäset Levyt and Paha Tukka Elämä already being sold out, and after a very panicked search around a string of distros, ended up getting a copy from Yannick's  Feral Ward in the US in the end. If you love hardcore punk and, like me, have a soft spot for Finnish hardcore especially, do pick this up sooner than later as they just released two more amazing 7"s, no doubt bringing them to the attention of a growing number of fellow freaks and fanatics.

HEAVY NUKES - 7" - 2012

Now here's a fucking rager. Give me all the uranium you got to the tune of cop skulls being cracked buddy! The studded up spirits of (Raped Ass era) Anti-Cimex and the Shitlickers loom very very large over this devastating slap of Swedish hardcore punk. A truly killer records that is destined to be considered a classic of the genre in no time. This was released by Rawmantic Disasters, who've not only been consistently amazing in their output after starting in 2011, but also released the fantastic ANGER BURNING lp whose drummer, as I understand it, is the man behind HEAVY NUKES. Hunt down a real life copy while you still owe it to your neighbours to drunkenly pogo around the room to this at full blast incessantly for years to come....

EBOLA - Imprecation - 7" - 1997

...some bands should need no introduction...but for some reason still do. Released by legendary labels Flat Earth, Enslaved & Refusenik Records, this is Ebola's masterpiece. The one record where everything came together. It's seven-inches of angry pissed off political sincere hardcore punk brilliance. The kind you can't fake or recreate. The UK had a fantastic DIY scene at the time of this coming out and, being stuck in a somewhat quieter The Netherlands at the time, we eyed it with envy and picked up most of what was released by it's string of active labels. I still remember getting this that year, reading the thick booklet cover to cover and the vinyl not leaving my record player for weeks. It's been a regular on the turntable ever since. A total classic which, due to not being 'hip' and being pressed in the thousands, can be picked up easily and cheaply still the way it should be.

LAPINPOLTHAJAT - Wahlroosin Unelma - lp - 2012

One of Europe's best kept secrets, this is one band who's releases I actively track down and buy as soon as they become available. After a killer first 7" and lp, this 2nd lp sees them add just a little more melody to great effect, losing none of their previous punch in the process. This channels the Finnish scene's more tuneful predecessors, the likes of Appendix, Mellakka and Treblinka, as opposed to say the more all-out buzz-saw distorted chaos of Kaaos & co. That said, LAPINPOLTHAJAT are not to be confused as one of the many retro bands rehashing an old style/sound that have become so prevalent over recent years. Firmly rooted in the Finnish hardcore punk tradition as they may be, LAPINPOLTHAJAT sound fresh and authentic, building on what came before as opposed to being a poorly photo-copied version of what once was. For any clues these guys are actual active participants as opposed to mere musicians, you only have to look at drummer Jukka. He has to be one of the more active punks on the mainland at the moment, running the fantastic Kämäset Levyt label (who co-released this lp together with the equally great Roku Records and Shogun Records), organizing a shitload of tours and playing in a string of other great bands to boot. Have a listen and check out the other releases by the three labels, they all maintain way above average levels of quality control.

Thursday, 8 August 2013

STOP VIVISECTION, USE YUPPIES - compilation lp - 1989

...I dug this out of the collection earlier today and reminded myself how good this is. Released on the legendary Hätäapu Records out of Turku, Finland back in 1989, this remains a fantastic compilation, packed with some killer late 80s Finnish hardcore bands. Not an era most new kids focus their attention on, foolishly only looking at the early 80s classics instead. The 4 bands on here are some of those that helped the Finnish scene move into the then new decade, at a time when many other countries' scenes were floundering; Attanas (also did some great eps, though the 1st was limited to 300 only, the last two can both still easily be found cheap!),  Sätkynukke, Perestroika and my absolute personal favorite Treblinka. The latter got the discography treatment recently on the very same Hätäapu Records and it's one album to definitely pick up, then hit yourself for not paying attention to them earlier. The label has actually been doing a string of great new records, reissues (Pyhäkoulu's Post Mortem) & other discographies (Mielenhäiriö & Mellakka) since re-surfacing in 2010, after a near 2 decade dry spell, so with a bit of luck this compilation lp will be one of the gemms of the past they'll make more widely available again to the punks.

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

LIFE - Violence, Peace and Peace Research - lp - 2013

Released on, what I believe is their very own, Punk Bastard Records, "Violence, Peace and Peace Research" is the 2nd album of this great Tokyo based band. Though at times overlooked, LIFE, has been going strong since the very early 90s, unleashing slabs of utterly devastating distorted hardcore crust punk at regular intervals. Though the noise punk revival/hype/fad can at times be a mixed blessing, it does mean that lifers like these are more on the radar of the wider scene, getting the recognition and attention they most definitely reserve. More tracks than most punks write in a life time, the pro-peace/environment message they have become to be known for and a tribute to a fallen comrade in arms by way of a cover of Disclose's "conquest", make this a mandatory beast of an album in my book.

INFERNÖH/EFFLUXUS - split 7" - 2013

A raging slap of hardcore punk brutality, released by the fine RUST AND MACHINE RECORDS to coincide with their "Chaotic Western Front" US tour. INFERNÖH hail from Malmö, Sweden, though they have some UK blood in their käng infested veins by way of Pancho who used to play in WARCRIMES and the (much underrated) SKIPLICKERS. After their brilliant 2012 War Tjard lp on D-Takt & Råpunk, this is more raw Swedish hardcore of the old school by and for the punks.
EFFLUXUS provide the more modern distortion and reverb drenched US take on this template layed down by DISCHARGE and perfected in 80s Scandinavia and do so with equally devastating effect. The 7" remains the perfect punk format and both bands bring their (circled) a-game to this collaborative effort.
Total fucking mangel indeed.