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Featured Release Roundup: August 30, 2018

Violence Creeps: Nephew Melting 7” (Total Punk) Presumably final 7” from this Bay Area band, since they recently played their last show. They had a great run, though, and put out a bunch of phenomenal records on a slew of different labels. As for this one, it finds them breaking new ground in their final moments as a band. “Nephew Melting” is a disjointed ride, starting with a bubbly, melodic part, then taking an abrupt left turn into a skronkier, no wave-influenced part that’s more akin to the bands earlier, Flipper-esque material. The song swings back and forth between the two modes, giving it an unstable, seasick quality that seems increasingly deranged as the song progresses. As for the b-side, it’s also Flipper-esque, the bass player improvising around a single riff while the singer delivers a biting rant against gentrification in Oakland. If you’ve been following Violence Creeps, you’ll want to pick up this final single, but just because they’re done doesn’t mean that their whole catalog isn’t worth checking out. They’re one of the realest and most vital bands to come out of the punk scene over the past several years, and their records will be worth revisiting long after their breakup.

Predator: No Face 7” (Total Punk) Latest single from this long-running (but slow-moving) Atlanta institution. A lot of the bands from Atlanta have a dark, pop-garage sensibility, and Predator fit the mold in many respects… if you’re a fan of other Atlanta bands and projects like GG King, Uniform, Näg, or Wymyns Prysyn then you’re virtually guaranteed to like Predator. However, Predator has their own take on the style. I’d describe them as “space garage:” Carbonas-esque, catchy, song-oriented punk delivered with the retro-paranoia of the Cold War. The voices sound robotic, the guitar leads hang in the air in a sinister way, and drums drive forward with the relentless, mechanistic thump of progress. The a-side is the pop hit (or as close as Predator get to one), while the b-side is mid-paced, jagged, and stomping. There are two little chords that remind me of “I Wanna Be Your Dog,” but instead of dropping into the expected third chord it snaps into staccato downstrokes that recall Devo’s “Mongoloid.” Predator knows their punk history, but they also know how to write a song that’s catchy and immediate, so you get the best of both worlds: something that’s dense and contextualized enough for the record collectors but still classic-sounding and straightforward enough to make the barflies wander over to the stage to see who’s playing tonight.

Khiis: Saboor 7” (Distort Reality) Debut 7” from this new band out of Oakland who might be the first punk band I’ve heard with lyrics in Farsi. I’d be interested in Khiis no matter what language they sang in, though, because this rips. Khiis has a dense, metallic sound that sits in a fuzzy space between punk subgenres. The mid-paced parts remind me of S.H.I.T. in their catchiness and pogo-ability, but for me it’s the fast parts where they shine. I might lose people with this comparison, but their fast parts remind me of the Cro-Mags. Like the best Cro-Mags songs, the riffing is straightforward and Discharge-influenced, but the drummer doesn’t d-beat, instead powering forward with a simple, confident 1-2-1-2 beat. I doubt that’s a conscious influence, but if you’re a crusty who acknowledges that the Cro-Mags up to and including Age of Quarrel are legit AF then you will love this. All three tracks are keepers and they’re different from one another, which makes me particularly eager to hear what’s next. I suspect Khiis has a killer LP in them, but I suppose time will tell. In the meantime, this will get plenty of play.

Beta Boys: Late Nite Acts 12” (Feel It) After a pair of 7”s, here’s the debut footlong from Beta Boys. To be honest, I liked but didn’t love their earlier records, but this one is a big step up. They seem to have found their voice here, or maybe their style just works better on the longer format. They’ve always had a chorus-drenched guitar sound, but here there are songs that sound more brooding, recalling the USHC-meets-death rock sound of the old Oxnard band False Confession. There’s flexibility in that style, allowing them space to do tracks as different as the brooding, Christian Death-esque title track that closes the record and “Red Devil,” the opening smasher. That song reminds me of the best 45 Grave songs or Dance with Me-era TSOL in the way it infuses Damned-esque punk/goth with the energy of early California hardcore. For such a short record there’s lots of variation in tempo and song structure, making this a quick and exciting listen. Plus, as soon as it’s done I can’t help but flip it over again because I have to hear “Red Devil” again.

Mosquitoes: Drip Water Hollow Out Stone 12” (Ever/Never) I rely on New York’s Ever/Never Records for a respite from my usual listening diet of punk and hardcore. Whether it’s the baroque post-punk of Patois Counselors, the chaotic no wave of Preening, or the cold, semi-industrial noise of Housewives, I know that the music coming out of a new Ever/Never release will be surprising and challenging. Their latest release is this debut from the UK’s Mosquitoes. The sound here is minimal, but the real watchword is "creepy." Listening to these tracks is like peering through the keyhole of an abandoned house in the country, glimpsing a dark, dusty, and sinister world that doesn’t revolve around the regular rhythms of the modern world. I don’t have a strong frame of reference for this type of music, but I’m reminded of the Eraserhead soundtrack, This Heat’s more abstract passages, or Duck Stab-era Residents, all of which share Mosquitoes’ unsettling minimalism. Like most Ever/Never releases it requires an adventurous and engaged listener, but it rewards that investment of time and attention with a listening experience you won’t get anywhere else.

Glue Traps: Future Shocks 2018 Promo cassette (self-released) Debut release from this new band out of Baltimore. When this came in at the store Jeff made an Instagram post describing it as We Got Power-style hardcore and he couldn’t have hit the nail more squarely on the head. Like the songs on the first We Got Power comp (aka Party or Go Home aka “Daniel’s favorite compilation ever”), everything here is short, quick, and very catchy. There are heaps of things you could compare this to: Angry Samoans, Acid Reflux, early Deep Sleep (who share a singer with Glue Traps), the Authorities, or anyone else you can think of who writes catchy as hell 30 second hardcore songs by the 7-inch load. Sure, it’s nothing new, but it’s a sound that is close to my heart and there aren’t a lot of bands doing it these days, so it sounds fresh and vital here. If you pine for the glory days of We Got Power and/or No Bullshit compilations, you will love this.

Innumerable Forms: Punishment in Flesh 12” (Profound Lore) Debut full-length from this death metal project out of Boston. Justin DeTore from Mind Eraser / No Tolerance / a bunch of other bands helms the project (and played most of the instruments on their earlier releases), but for this release he’s put together a hardcore supergroup, including (according to the label’s description): “co-writing partner/guitarist Jensen Ward (Iron Lung), guitarist Chris Ulsh (Mammoth Grinder, Power Trip), bassist Doug Cho (The Rival Mob), and drummer Connor Donnegan (Genocide Pact).” I hadn’t checked out Innumerable Forms’ earlier releases, but that lineup grabbed my attention, since it brings together some of the best musicians in the current hardcore scene. For all the musical ability of that lineup, though, Punishment in Flesh is not a flashy record. There are few guitar solos on the record (though when they pop up they’re highlights), and while the band plays everything with precision and power, no one shows off. Instead, the energy here is put toward establishing the vibe. If I had to describe that vibe in a word, it is “punishing.” The tempos are rarely fast, and the slow parts are agonizingly slow and heavy (in a good way!), like trudging through knee-deep wet clay. DeTore’s vocals are the centerpiece, and they bring new meaning to the term "gutteral." Every death metal band has low vocals, but DeTore’s are on another level. If this whole music thing doesn’t work out for him, he could make a solid living voicing Satan in Hollywood movies. The record is brilliant and listening to it alone in the dark is a great way to spend 40 minutes of your time. If I may be so bold as to venture one criticism, though, it’s one I have of several projects that come from DeTore’s crew of Boston musicians: it’s almost too perfect. For instance, when I listen to the Demigod cassette that was one of the band’s key inspirations(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ksdNoONKvlg), there’s an untamed quality, a visceral wildness that Innumerable Forms doesn’t have. I’d love to hear what this crew sounds like when they cut loose and throw out the rule book, but even if it's a hair stiff it’s still a great record.


All New Arrivals

Violence Creeps: Nephew Melting 7" (Total Punk)
Predator: No Face 7" (Total Punk)
The Cosmic Sand Dollars: Let's Go Nuclear Woody! 12" (Cold Vomit)
Uranium Orchard: Knife & Urinal 12" (Cold Vomit)
Glue Traps: Future Shock 2018 promo cassette (self released)
Khiis: Saboor 7" (Distort Reality)
Protomartyr / Spray Paint: Irony Prompts A Party Rat 7" (Monofonus Press)
Pedro the Lion: Control 12" (Epitaph)
Tom Waits: Foreign Affairs 12" (Anti-)
Alice in Chains: Rainier Fog 12" (BMG)
Mac DeMarco: Salad Days Demos 12" (Captured Tracks)
Mac DeMarco: 2 Demos 12" (Captured Tracks)
Gorgoroth: Destroyer 12" (Soulseller)
Gorgoroth: Under the Sign of Hell 12" (Soulseller)
Manowar: Fighting the World 12" (Metal Blade)
Manowar: Kings of Metal 12" (Metal Blade)
Manowar: Triumph of Steel 12" (Metal Blade)
Nothing: Dance on the Blacktop 12" (Relapse)
Joey Bada$$: 1999 12" (Pro Era)
EPMD: Strictly Business 12" (Priority)
EPMD: Unfinished Business 12" (Priority)
Faust: The Faust Tapes 12" (Superior Viaduct)

Restocks

Crown Court: Mad in England 7" (Goner)
Panic at the Disco: All My Friends 12" (Fueled By Ramen)
Beyonce: Lemonade 12" (Sony)
Kendrick Lamar: Damn. 12" (Interscope)
Damned: Damned Damned Damned 12" (euro import)
Damned: Machine Gun Etiquette 12" (Chiswik)
GZA: Liquid Swords 12" (Universal)
Slayer: South of Heaven 12" (American Recordings)
Nirvana: Nevermind 12" (DGC)
Son House: Father of Folk Blues 12" (Analogue Productions)
Lumineers: S/T 12" (Dualtone)
Meat Puppets: II 12" (MVD)
Kanye West: My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy 12" (Roc-A-Fella)
Bob Marley: Legend 12" (Island)
Velvet Underground & Nico: S/T 12" (Vinyl Lovers)
Tool: Opiate 12" (BMG)
Misfits: Collection 12" (Caroline)
Descendents: Milo Goes to College 12" (SST)
Butthole Surfers: Live PCPEP 12" (Alternative Tentacles)
Dead Kennedys: Nazi Punks Fuck Off 7" (Alternative Tentacles)
DOA: Hardcore '81 12" (Sudden Death)
Innumerable Forms: Punishment in Flesh 12" (Profound Lore)
King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard: Flying Microtonal Banana 12" (Flightless)
King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard: Sketches of Brunswick 12" (ATO)
King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard: Paper Mache Dream 12" (ATO)
Marked Men: On the Outside 12" (Dirtnap)
Neurosis: Pain of Mind 12" (Neurot)
The Urinals: Negative Capability 12" (In the Red)
Thee Oh Sees: Carrion Crawler / The Dream 12" (In the Red)
Thee Oh Sees: Master's Bedroom 12" (In the Red)
Thee Oh Sees: Mutilator Defeated at Last 12" (Castleface)
Portal: Ion 12" (Profound Lore)
Propagandhi: Less Talk, More Rock 12" (Fat Wreck Chords)
The Mekons: Where Were You? 7" (Superior Viaduct)

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