Featured Release Roundup: April 23, 2020
Uzi: Cadena de Odio 12” (Discos MMM) Cadena de Odio is the debut vinyl from this Colombian punk band featuring members of Muro. As with Muro, Uzi’s gritty DIY aesthetic belies how rich and varied the music on this record is. I hear elements of UK82 punk, straightforward hardcore, and a little modern pogo-hardcore, but Uzi has digested these influences and incorporated them into their sound. The aesthetic and vibe is like Muro, but while Muro gravitates toward the epic feel of classic Japanese hardcore, Uzi’s street punk influences are their main calling card. A lot of Cadena de Odio doesn’t sound too different from the Casualties (particularly when they throw in a simple, melodic lead guitar line), but filtered through the prism of raw, modern DIY hardcore. If you’ve been feeling the recent spate of Muro records, this shares the same sense of excitement and urgency.
P22: Human Snake 12” (Post Present Medium) We last heard from Los Angeles’s P22 when they released a tape on the excellent Beat Sessions cassette series. P22 was the band I was least familiar with from that entire series, and I didn’t give their tape time to sink in. I need to revisit it, though, because Human Snake has blown me away. P22 doesn’t sound like anything I can think of. The speak-sing vocals, thoughtful, eloquent lyrics, and experimental music make me think of Poison Girls, but P22 is its own thing. While everything about the band is great, I’m particularly taken with the drummer’s style. They have a unique sense of rhythm and while they break into a full rock beat a few times over the course of the record, most of the drumming is more minimal, glancing across the main rhythm rather than underscoring it. The songs’ arrangements follow a similar pattern. In most punk bands, all the musicians are playing pretty much all the time (with perhaps one instrumental break for a bar or less), but the members of P22 often hang back, playing quietly or remaining silent for long stretches. The sense of restraint makes much of Human Snake resemble modern classical music, but there are stretches of full-bore punk too. While there’s plenty more I could say about this one, I’ll stress that if you’re into this kind of intellectual, artsy, underground punk (and particularly if you enjoyed the recent Slender LP) you should listen to this and make up your own mind about it.
Whip: Don’t Call Me 7” (Electric Heat) Don’t Call Me is the latest 4-song EP from this Canadian band with a previous 7” on Neck Chop. These tracks remind me of my favorite Bikini Kill stuff, but not in a cosplay kind of way. The singer’s raspy, snotty tone bears a resemblance to Kathleen Hannah, and the band also shares Bikini Kill’s ability to take a big, catchy riff and totally own it. The production is gritty but not shitty and the performances are loose without being sloppy… it’s right in that pocket where you want snotty, catchy punk like this to be. It’s a timeless style, and Whip makes it sound as good as ever.
Neutrals: Rent / Your House E.P. 7” (Domestic Departure) Neutrals is a band from the Bay Area, California featuring Allan McNaughton, whom you may remember from the bands Giant Haystacks and Airfix Kits. While I haven’t revisited those bands’ records recently enough to explain how Neutrals compares, I’m enjoying these five tracks. Neutrals’ songwriting style seems steeped in the straightforward, punky pop of bands like The Shop Assistants or the Primitives, but I wouldn’t say that Neutrals have a retro sensibility. They build the songs on a Ramones-y foundation, with the vocals carrying the melody and the lyrics tackling contemporary issues in a plainspoken style. All five tracks are winners, and I love the unaffected, unpretentious presentation. It feels like a band getting up and saying their piece about the world without pandering to the audience, which is part of what made me fall in love with DIY punk in the first place.
Cold Feet: Punk Entity 12” (Feel It) We carried the self-released debut 7” from Baltimore’s Cold Feet a while back, and now they’ve moved up to regional institution Feel It Records for their debut 12”. The style here is raw and fast hardcore with a noticeable Pick Your King influence. The riffs are short and clipped, and the band plays ahead of the beat, leaning into their velocity so hard it feels like it’s all about to fly apart. As befitting a 12” release, there’s a bit of variation, including a breakdown in “Good Book” and a No Trend-style downer intro for “Peyote Death.” However, most everything here is so fast that when they slow things down for “Mommy” and “Not Again,” the Blood Guts & Pussy-era Dwarves pace feels like a reprieve. If you’re into the fast and wild USHC of bands like Loose Nukes or west coast groups like Electric Chair, Punk Entity is well worth a look.
Disjawn / Besthoven: Split 7” (Ryvvolte) It’s been a minute since I’ve heard from Brazilian Disclose disciples Besthoven. There was a stretch in the late 00s when it seemed like there was a new record from them just about every month. Not much has changed since the last time I heard them, though. Disclose is still the obvious inspiration, but I dig the primitive recording quality and the odd, melodic lead guitar on two of their three tracks here. It’s a new wrinkle in an otherwise straightforward iteration of the style. As for Disjawn, this is my first time hearing them and they have a faster, Anti-Cimex / Shitlickers-influenced style with USHC energy. Their recording is also rough, but pleasingly so. This one is for the true d-beat crusties, but I think those people will find plenty to enjoy here.
B.E.T.O.E. / End Result: Nuclear Stockpiles 7” (Ryvvolte) South American crusties B.E.T.O.E. give us three tracks of total Victims of a Bomb Raid worship, with a raw, fist-pumping style. There’s not much to say beyond that… punks playing punk and doing it well. End Result from LA are new to me and while the label’s description references D-clone and Gloom, I hear a lot more going on than that. While it’s noisy, I hear elements of d-beat and noisy anarcho punk, and a thread of catchy USHC that reminds me of Direct Control. The extra catchiness and variation in the rhythm go a long way, and I’m looking forward to hearing more from this band.
Sorry, I can't find a stream for any of the songs on the End Result side!