Featured Release Roundup: April 1 2021
Child’s Pose: Eyes to the Right 7” (Thrilling Living Records) Third release from this London band featuring members of Woolf, Nekra, Sauna Youth, Snob, Sarcasm, and many, many others I’m sure, released on the Thrilling Living label, which has brought a lot of great music across the pond over the last few years. Child’s Pose reminds me of singles from the first few years of Rough Trade Records and like-minded bands like Alternative TV, not because they recreate the surface trappings of that era, but because they seem to come from a similar place in the world. Groups like ATV, the Raincoats, and Young Marble Giants were a little ramshackle, but what they may have lacked in technical precision, they more than made up for with an exciting sense of discovery that pervaded their music. It’s exciting for me as a listener, making it feel like the creators are inventing the song as they’re performing it. Of course they aren’t—at least not in the way of jazz improvisation—but it feels like it. These bands—Child’s Pose included—might even sound naïve if they weren’t so smart, even intellectual. Another way Child’s Pose resembles those earlier bands is that there’s a strong sense of songcraft in their music, which offers no shortage of earworm melodies. If you enjoy the older stuff I mentioned or contemporary bands like Woolf, Frau, or Scrap Brain, you shouldn’t miss Eyes to the Right.
Perspex: S/T 7” (No Patience) Debut release (I think?) from this hardcore band out of Sydney, Australia. The label’s description mentions a couple of X-Claim! Records bands, but Perspex is pretty far from retro 80s hardcore. The main two deviations from that playbook are the distorted and reverbed vocals and the electronic noise / power electronics elements that overlay the hardcore foundation. One band who shares those characteristics is Bad Breeding, and Perspex remind me of them, though whereas there’s a UK anarcho band at the center of Bad Breeding’s sound, there’s an 80s Boston hardcore band somewhere in Perspex’s noisy din. Note this is an limited pressing and an Australian import, hence the steep price, but the collector scene on stuff like this means you shouldn’t dilly dally if you want a copy. The physical version of this looks stunning, so you probably do want a copy.
Hakuchi: The Best Works: 1991-1994 12” (Black Water) Discography LP from this 90s Japanese hardcore band. This LP is a wild ride because there’s so much different stuff on it. Often for discography releases, the track listing will be in chronological (or reverse chronological) order and/or will also proceed in order of fidelity (usually from best to worst). Hakuchi’s collection LP, though, jumps around a lot, an issue amplified by Hakuchi’s stylistic restlessness. At various points they remind me of Burning Spirits-style hardcore, straight up Cimex/Shitlickers style bashing, and UK metallic crust (anything from Axegrinder to Amebix), and there are also moments (as with a lot of 90s Japanese hardcore bands) that are quite “rock.” If you’re just looking for one of those things, a lot of this might miss for you, but if you just enjoy Hakuchi’s crazy ride, there are a lot of great moments on this LP, and no moments I’d call skippers. If you have a taste for deep cut 90s Japanese hardcore, you’re gonna love it.
My War #7 zine Latest issue of this hardcore zine out of Belgium. We’ve carried previous issues of My War but they’ve been quite expensive thanks to the exchange rate, shipping, and the zine’s full color print job. This time around we printed copies here in the US, photocopied in black and white so they’re way cheaper. As before, My War focuses almost entirely on band interviews. However, these aren’t the poor quality interviews you see in a lot of punk zines. It’s clear Kristof puts a lot of work into his interviews. He understands the bands and their music and goes much deeper than you see in a typical interview. While some people may not like the format—I believe Kristof conducts the interviews asynchronously via email—these interviews allow for deeper and more thorough responses to the thoughtful questions. The highlight for me is the interview with Sorry State’s own Mutant Strain, but Kristof also talks to Oily Boys, Tom Moran (Heavy Discipline, White Stains, Loose Nukes, No Time, Blood Pressure, etc.), Plague 13, Crimes of The Crown, Mentira, and Cage Kicker. Obviously we believe in what Kristof is doing since we helped print and distribute copies in the US, and I think if you like the Sorry State newsletter and website you will enjoy My War.
Pilgrim Screw: S/T cassette (Impotent Fetus) Rich already wrote about Pilgrim Screw in his first SSR Pick a couple of weeks ago, so this is just to notify you we now have the tape in stock and that you should go to Rich for the in-depth analysis. If you’re too lazy to click a link, I’ll note that Impotent Fetus is an imprint of Olympia’s Stucco Label. While Stucco specializes in hardcore, Impotent Fetus seems to release the more left of center stuff. Pilgrim Screw sounds to me like they’re working in the tradition of bands like Throbbing Gristle, Butthole Surfers (this tape has strong Locust Abortion Technician vibes), and the Boredoms circa Soul Discharge, with a dash of The Fucking Cunts Treat Us Like Pricks-era Flux of Pink Indians. It’s weird, jarring, cut-up-sounding, obtuse, annoying, and a lot of other things. It is, however, never boring.
Spirit of Revolt: demo cassette (self-released) Spirit of Revolt is a project based in Colorado but with strong North Carolina ties. One member is Montgomery Morris, who was a fixture in the NC music scene for years before he moved out west. Spirit of Revolt is a leftist oi! band. We’ve encountered a few of those over the past few years, including Hard Left and Death Ridge Boys. I don’t know how I feel about the whole thing… I like oi! music and I sympathize with these politics, but it’s a bit like starting a Christian black metal band or something… the concept can get in the way of appreciating the actual tunes. While Spirit of Revolt is on the same page as the aforementioned groups conceptually and politically, their sound is different. If you’re familiar with Montgomery’s NC bands—particularly Flesh Wounds—you’ll hear his fingerprints all over this, though I don’t know what he plays in the band since he’s capable with at least a few different instruments, the credits on the j card are pseudonymous, and the band has no internet presence that I can find. Those hard-and-fast, clean-sounding guitars though… Flesh Wounds fans will be all over it. The songs run the gamut of oi! sub-styles (ranging from tougher sounding to more melodic), but I think Spirit of Revolt is at their best in the latter mode, particularly on “Seize the Means” and “161,” which remind me of faster 4 Skins songs like “Evil.” Fortunately there’s plenty of musical meat underneath the layer of ironic juxtaposition.