Featured Release Roundup: February 25 2021

Prision Postumo: Amor, Salud, y Dinero 12” (self-released) We carried a demo 7” from LA’s Prision Postumo a while back, but Amor, Salud, y Dinero is their first proper release. While Prision Postumo is a punk band—and a raw and scrappy one at that—this record defies a lot of the hardcore / DIY scene’s conventional logic. Prision Postumo is melodic, their singer doesn’t shout, scream, or growl, and the record is quite long (the 30-minute run time feels epic when 45 RPM 12”s have become the norm). The thing is, though, these choices sound refreshing. It’s great to hear a band that has the energy level of a hardcore band, but doesn’t sound so grim and desperate. While my Spanish isn’t good enough to know much about what Prision Postumo is singing about, there’s a sense of joy in their music that reminds me of the Dickies or the Adicts, two bands cited as influences in the label’s description. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that Amor, Salud, y Dinero also reminds me of Rancid’s Let’s Go, which was similarly jam-packed with anthems and had every reason to feel monotonous but didn’t. I don’t think my description here articulates what’s special about this record, but I think it is special, and from the chatter I’ve seen online, I’m not the only one.

Mister: Espejismo 7” (Not Normal) Not Normal brings us the debut 7” from this band out of Milwaukee. To me, it sounds like Mister splits the difference between a rougher, 80s US hardcore style and the more jittery and catchier Midwest / egg punk sound. They're super fast and their vocalist is gruff, but the bass is bubbly and melodic and the drummer lays down grooves that make you want to jump up and down and get weird rather than killing your friends in the pit. In those ways, Mister reminds me of perhaps my favorite Not Normal release—the 7” from Menthol—and if you’re familiar with that underrated ripper, you know that’s a very, very good thing.

Tums: Old Perverts and Horse Fuckers cassette (Not Normal) Old Perverts and Horse Fuckers is the latest cassette from this Chicago band with two previous tape releases on Not Normal. Tums covers “TAQN” by LA’s the Eyes (very well, by the way!), and while the fast punk of the Eyes and the Dils figures in Tums’ stew of influences, they also indulge in punk’s wackier side. This comes out most on the opening and closing tracks, “Dumb Grandma” and “Griselda,” and while those songs sound like a bunch of in-jokes and silliness, they’re fun, like in-jokes I want to be in on. If you’re just looking to rip, though, Old Perverts and Horse Fuckers has plenty of that up its sleeve. If you’re into Judy & the Jerks’ lighthearted take on hardcore, this is a cool pickup.

Headsplitters: End Uniform Terror 7” (Desolate Records) Latest 7” from this New York hardcore punk band who released an LP on Desolate in 2019. While the aesthetic is very different, every time I listen to Headsplitters I can’t help but think about how much they sound like Direct Control. They’re even a three-piece! The singer sounds like Brandon, the riffing has a similar hint of thrash while leaning on Poison Idea chord progressions, and Jeff even says the drummer plays like Mike from Direct Control. I doubt any of this is intentional on Headsplitters’ part, but it’s kind of uncanny, and it’s also a huge compliment as Direct Control is very near to my heart. Putting that aside, End Uniform Terror is another ripper from Headsplitters. This is pure hardcore punk that avoids the cliches of subgenres like d-beat or USHC in favor of something that’s fresh-sounding and timeless. While the title is an out-and-out ripper, they pack the record with moments that reach for something more, like the brilliant, Toxic Reasons-esque guitar lead in “Distant Light.” I get the feeling this band flies under many people’s radars, but they’re a real gem.

Galore: S/T 12” (Rocks in Your Head Records) Debut vinyl from this pop band out of the Bay Area. I think it’s a pretty low-profile, small pressing release, and I hadn’t heard about it, so I’m grateful to one of our awesome customers for hipping me to Galore. Galore reminds me of bands like the Dolly Mixture and Young Marble Giants… like those groups, they play pop music that comes off as introverted and played with a gentle touch. While a faster song like “Cucaracha” revs up a little, most of the songs on this record sound pensive and tentative, like Galore is working through their feelings or even just what means to be a band as they go, and letting us in on that process feels intimate and special. Fans of the poppier, gentler end of the post-punk spectrum should give this a listen.

Cexcrime: Rip It If It’s Specific cassette (Deluxe Bias Country Club) We just got in a batch of tapes from the Deluxe Bias Country Club label, and while they’re all worthwhile, for my money this one from Cexcrime is the pick of the litter. Like most of the releases on this label, you get basement 4-track level fidelity and ripping fast tempos, but where Cexcrime separates from the pack is in the vocal department. The sound is like Big Zit or Lumpy & the Dumpers, a sort of constipated squawk, but oozing with personality. The riffs are simple but catchy and very punk, and the five tracks blaze by in about five minutes, climaxing with the “Institutionalized”-style rant in “My Way.” Excellent stuff.

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