Some really great releases this time around. The Devour LP is a top contender for LP of the year for sure. There's some great reissues from Mob 47, Paintbox and Die Kreuzen, and a bunch of new demos. Thanks to Josh from Barbarossa Records for hooking me up with the Culture Shock and Daggers Rule records. The next reviews post will most likely be the Best of 2008 post... get psyched!
Violent Arrest- Criminal Record
A double 7" release from these old dudes. At first I wondered why they didn't just make another LP, but the 7"s flow real well as 2 separate records. If you've been sleeping on VA as just another "old dudes trying to relive their glory days" band, you're an asshole because this record is fucking awesome. I like this way more than the LP they did. It's like buying an LP, but it's cheaper and you have to flip it more.
Mob 47- s/t
What can really be said about this classic record other than Havoc rules for reissuing it, and making it much more widely available. Seriously, anyone into raw full speed d-beat thrash needs this. Now you have no excuse.
Retainers- Lose It
In the realm of current bands doing garage punk, the Retainers are one of the best in my opinion. There's the right balance of rock and roll guitar, punk and shitty recording quality. I'm eagerly waiting for their LP to come out.
Libyans- Welcome to the Neighborhood
I guess I'll start off by saying "Welcome to the Neighborhood" is one damn catchy song that definitely got stuck in my head for a few days. This record is sorta like a single for that one song, which I'm totally fine with. It reminds me of Tilt, if Tilt was a halfway decent band. The B-side is 2 much faster songs that are also really good, but very different from the mid-paced punk of the A-side. Also you can apparently play "Welcome to the Neighborhood" in Rock Band 2, but I don't play video games.
Born Bad- s/t
I thought the second Born Bad EP was ok, so I picked up the first. I'd say the second is a bit better, but that makes sense. Still the same fast/pissed hardcore, kinda like a more stripped down Under Pressure. It's ok.
Middle America- s/t
After a solid demo, I was excited to finally get an EP from these boys. It's definitely a lot more raw (in a good way) and has some weird parts. Reminds me of Die Kreuzen a bit, though not nearly as tight. Pretty good debut EP.
No Peace?- Zombie Brains
I was expecting something a little more crazy seeing as it's coming from Cleveland. This sounds a lot like Disclose though, which is pretty cool at any rate. Ugly maniacal d-beat.
Sinks- Beat Out My Brains
Some more low-fi garage rock w/ members of the Retainers. Only 3 songs on this one, but a little better recording quality than their first 7". "Beat out my Brains" is pretty catchy. There's also 3 different covers for this, but I got mine from the label and got all 3 on 1 record.
Homostupids- the Edge
If you read this blog, I've reviewed all the other Homostupids records before, so you should know what you're getting into. Sounds like their other EPs: loud, poorly recorded, and awesome. You're not getting anything different with this one.
Black Mark- Wrecked
Solid debut 1 sided 7". They play some 80's style hardcore punk with a more brutal/ tough sound, similar to Life's Blood or Violent Minds. It's loud and angry, the way hardcore should be played. Hardware Records does it again...
Civil Victim- Mehr Krieg!
First of all the only place that says "Civil Victim" is the A-side label, which is kinda a dumb idea. Anyway, this record is pretty cool, reminds me of D.S.-13 a little. Real fast full speed thrashy hardcore.
Don't know too much about Culture Shock other than they 're from upstate NY. There seems to be a heavy Infest/ Lack of Interest influence, but this definitely stays more on the hardcore side of things. I'm even hearing some early Born Against influence in there too. Pretty cool thrash with heavy parts that straddles the line between more traditional HC/punk, crust and powerviolence.
Daggers Rule- Gleaming the 'Cuse
Well they sold me with the name, since it's a reference to the best movie ever- THRASHIN'. What it looks like is that you get 2 recording sessions (1 on each side) by an now defunct band from Syracuse. The music reminds me of the earlier eras of Bones Brigade and Municipal Waste before they turned into shitty metal bands. The vocals however are a lot more brutal and NYHC influenced.
The No Jons
Found this in a used bin, and I had read that it was like Descendents/ Screeching Weasel styled pop-punk. I was real into that stuff in high school, so I figured I would give it a chance. It's more like Crimpshrine, but I'm not really into it. Maybe I've just gotten too old and grumpy to listen to pop-punk anymore... or maybe this just stinks.
Violent Arrest- s/t
Finally picked this up right before posting this (that's why it's so far down). Fucking great EP from these old dudes. Awesome Fix cover as well. Definitely get this one too.
For The Worse/ Kids of Carnage
For the Worse is back again with 2 new songs. The first one is standard FTW fare or Boston style hardcore with high pitched vocals. The second track however is almost Bouncing Souls sounding. Kinda weird, but cool. Kids of Carnage play a more riff heavy style of hardcore, that's I guess more NYHC influenced.
Fun Fact: I did the cover design/layout on this one!
HOL-E-SHIT! Going straight to LP without a demo is risky maneuver, but I'll be damned if Devour don't prove that theory wrong. This really reminds me of Animosity era Corrosion of conformity mixed with some Totalitar styled D-beat, and some Japanese hardcore rage. After listening to this it inspired me to listen to Judgement if that gives you any indication of where they're coming from. The packaging is also top notch, BIG fold out poster insert, and you get a CD of the whole LP (plus a 46 minute bonus track). GET THIS!
The Libyans LP picks up where Side 2 of their 7" left off- fast early 80's style punk. I would imagine that a lot of people compare them to The Avengers. "Empty Mornings" is the only real mid paced song on here, but the rest of the record speeds by. The cover art is interesting, the sleeve is just a brick wall, and there's a piece of acetate w/ the artwork spray painted on it. Plus it comes with a wooden airplane!
Die Kreuzen- s/t
Another hardcore classic reissued. I don't think this record gets the respect it deserves. It's just as good as Cows and Beer, and there's even a few songs from that record re-recorded here. Touch and Go even gives you a coupon to download mp3s of the record when you buy it. This is a classic hardcore LP which I highly recommend.
Nightstick Justice- s/t
After 3 raging 7"s (one of them being their demo though), it's about time NJ released their 7". When playing fast early 80's styled hardcore punk, it's sometimes hard to make the leap from 7" to LP. Nightstick Justice pull it off, and I think the recording quality is a bit more raw than their last 7", Claustrophobic. That's a good thing. If it matters, I'm reviewing the European pressing. I hear the US pressing will be re-mixed/mastered or something.
Loser Life- I Have Ghosts and I Have Ghosts
A pretty interesting record here. I hadn't heard any other Loser Life releases before this one, and was pleasantly surprised. There's elements of Husker Du styled punk, or maybe you'd call that melodic hardcore. I even get a slight emo vibe, kinda like Boy Sets Fire's earlier material. It's way too fast to be considered emo, and it's too dirty to be pop-punk. I'm gonna stick with the Husker Du comparison, fast tempos with occasional screamed vocals.
Paintbox- Earth Ball Sports Tournament
The fine folks at Prank have reissued this spectacular LP by one of Japan's greats. I've had this in mp3 form for years, but it's great to see it get an awesome vinyl treatment. Gatefold cover, colored vinyl and English translated lyrics make this a great package. I had no Idea that the cover art even wrapped around. This LP is great because it combines the Burning Spirits Japanese styled hardcore with rock and roll elements. There's trumpets, recorders, harmonica and some other non-conventional punk instruments. Normally I'd think that would be a bad idea, but damnit if Paintbox don't make it work. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! (RIP Chelsea)
Poison Planet (tape)
Maybe I'm just biased, but any non-jock meathead straight edge band always gets high marks in my book. Poison Planet definitely fits in with modern sXe bands such as Blank Stare and Coke Bust. Their sound is more influenced by Negative Approach, but with some slight youth crew influence. I even get a little bit of fellow Chicago dwellers, the Repos. The lyrics cover more interesting topics. Easily the best demo of 2008, even my non-edge friends like it.
Fun Fact: I play bass on their upcoming 7" and comp releases.
Video Disease (tape)
A pretty good demo, though real short it packs a punch. You get 3 songs and a sloppy DYS cover (if they're actually a straight edge band I'd be psyched). Really raw chaotic early 80s styled hardcore similar to Koro. I really hope they named their band after the Beaver song.
Black Kites- Advancement to Ruins (3 song sampler) (CDr)
Normally this isn't my bag, but I'm friends w/ some of these guys so I snagged their demo/sampler. This reminds me of some of the metal-core I heard in the late 90's, kinda like Converge and Cave In. The music doesn't have the things I hate about metal hardcore though- double bass drums and cookie monster vocals, so that's good. These 3 songs will be on their upcoming LP, which should be out in January I think.
While I normally hate CDs, this has a real interesting package of the lyric sheet folded to surround the CD with the band's name stamped on the outside. Transitions plays what I guess people would call "modern hardcore," similar to bands like MLIW and Ruiner or B9 bands. For that style, it's pretty good, though usually not my thing. The recording quality is really good for a demo too.
No Illusions (CDr)
Being named after a State song is a good way to get my attention. Musically I get a vibe similar to Career Suicide (but without the annoying vocals) and Government Warning mixed with the classic Boston HC style. Real solid demo, I'd like to hear more from these guys.
Bad Habit (CDr)
We played with these guys on tour. They sound like a more ballsy Kid Dynamite, but a lot faster. I don't know what any of the songs are called since this was just a CDr that said "Bad Habit" in a clear sleeve. One of the songs fades out though, which is a no-no. They have a split 7" coming out soon.
Four Fingers- 69 Dudes (tape)
It's kinda hard to pinpoint the sound on this one, it's like a mix between pop-punk and alternative I guess. Seems kinda like everyone's into something different in the band, so the sound's being thrown in all different directions. The best song on here is probably "Monster Headache," but they get bonus points for doing a cassette.
Also since I'm talkin music, my band WORMEATERS just released our second E.P. entitled Cattle Cannot Choose. You can get it from us or American Waste Records.
SPG is about 75% done recording our first 7", it's gonna be GOOD.
Video Nasty has been playing some shows lately. Hopefully recording a demo in early December.
I Hate This has been busy writing a new EP, and will be touring down to FL for TIFY fest at the end of the year.
I'm starting 2 more bands, but nothing solid to report yet. No job or girlfriend leaves me plenty of time for hardcore.