Featured Release Roundup: December 17 2020
Nekra: Royal Disruptor 7” (La Vida Es Un Mus) Royal Disruptor is the debut vinyl from London’s Nekra, following a demo that made the rounds a couple of years ago. I love how the artwork on this one does a perfect job of getting across what the music is all about here… mean, minimalist hardcore punk without a lot of bells and whistles and no attempt to curry the favor of any subgenre / record collector clique. The riffs are straightforward but effective, with some songs leaning toward a tougher sound and others drifting toward punky catchiness, but the commanding vocals keep it sounding of a piece. If you like hardcore that makes image and aesthetic take a back seat to the pure expression of anger, this one’s for you.
Daydream: Mystic Operative 12” (Dirt Cult Records) Portland’s Daydream had an earlier 12” on France’s Symphony of Destruction Records, and they’ve moved to domestic Dirt Cult Records for this follow-up. If you’re into dense, angular, and inventive post-hardcore, this record is a stunner. The drummer and guitarist of Daydream are impressive, weaving dense lines around one another in a way that sounds chaotic but artful. Some riffing reminds me of Drive Like Jehu in how it sounds quirky and a little technical yet very catchy. The drummer only plays a straightforward rock / punk beat maybe 20% of the time, the other 80% devoted to more complex patterns that remind me of Bad Breeding’s fusion of noise rock and anarcho punk. While the drums and guitars are engaged in this lengthy game of bob and weave, the bass and vocals push the songs forward and maintain the hardcore punk intensity. The gritty recording and killer artwork push it even further over the top. Excellent record.
Junta: Død Tid cassette (Adult Crash Records) This band from Copenhagen, Denmark has released a series of tapes over the last several years (no less than ten according to their bandcamp!), and Død Tid is the latest. I’m not sure if Junta features any ex members of bands we Americans might know about, but they have the K-Town punk sound I associate with Kick N Punch and Hjernespind Records down pat. A track like “Timeglassets Tyranni” leans toward later Poison Idea or Toxic Reasons with its fist-pumping pace and catchy vocal line, while others like “O Fim Do Mundo” have a straightforward USHC style. Like those Danish classics I mentioned above, there’s a strong sense of melody whatever the approach, yet the gritty recording and looser, organic playing mean it never sounds too slick or polished. It’s punk, and like punk it rules.
Illegal 80: Den Endeløse Ende cassette (Adult Crash) Adult Crash reissues the 1983 demo tape from this obscure Danish hardcore punk band. I looked around for info about Illegal 80, but the only thing I could find was that (if my interpretation of Google translate is correct) they were from the same city as Electric Deads and released this cassette in 1983. If you love obscure old hardcore from this era, this will be a treat for you. Most of Illegal 80’s music reminds me of early Finnish hardcore like Appendix or Kaaos or super fast UK82 punk like Ultra Violent. Like all of those bands, they play super fast with simple but catchy riffs and snarling vocals that, despite their nastiness, still carry a hint of melody. This tape is 30 minutes long, and while most of it falls into that ripping hardcore mold, many tracks have intros and outros that bring in elements of other styles like anarcho punk and mid-paced, Pistols-esque punk. Presumably Adult Crash’s reissue replicates the original artwork (though if it’s an original design it’s “period appropriate”), and it looks and sounds great. Illegal 80 is the deepest of deep cuts, but if you’re into this era of snarling Scandinavian hardcore, you’ll love it.