Featured Release Roundup: January 30, 2020

Fuga: Sin Frontera Sin Nacion cassette (self-released) A few weeks ago we had the second tape from Santa Ana, California’s Fuga and now we have their debut in stock. While Fuga’s combination of Discharge-inspired chaos and UK82 bounce doesn’t sound super original on paper, their way of combining those styles feels fresh and unique. The killer opening track, “Orgullo Idiota,” is a perfect example. It’s built around a catchy, major-key riff that wouldn’t be out of place on an early Casualties record, moves to a simpler, more Discharge-inspired riff during the chorus and the guitar solo splits the difference, taking a simple street punk-style lead and imbuing it with a heaping helping of Bones-inspired chaos. It all sounds seamless, particularly given that the raw and desperate vocals provide a consistent through line. These are just the comparisons that pop into my head because I’m a giant record nerd; the bottom line is that this tape is raw and vital hardcore punk the way it should sound.

Subversive Rite: Live in Japan cassette (Chaotic Uprising) Just like it says on the cover, this is a live set recorded on Subversive Rite’s recent Japanese tour. It sounds great; everything is audible, but there’s enough room sound to make it feel like a proper live recording. More importantly, the band is on fire. I love how live recordings can show a different side of a band or a song, and that’s the case here. The songs are noticeably faster than the studio versions and the band feels more vicious, with a lunging, unhinged energy that reminds me of Poison Idea’s Pick Your King EP. That this is a live recording might turn some people off, but it’s their loss; this thing rages.

Acute: _ みだら_ 12” (Desolate Records)New six-song, 45rpm 12” from this Japanese hardcore band that has been kicking around for at least a decade now. The tracks remind me of back in the early 2000s when Hardcore Holocaust was importing every title on Blood Sucker Records and I was buying as many of them as I could afford. A lot of it was ripping, but some of it was off the wall, especially to a young person who just wanted everything to rage at maximum capacity all the time. Acute can rage, but they have that oddball quality that I love about so many Japanese hardcore bands. These six tracks are full of quirky rhythms and changes, odd and unexpected vocal performances (a la what Crow was doing on some of their later records on Prank), and interesting production touches such as haunting backing vocals lurking low in the mix. While it’s not as confrontationally eclectic as something like Paintbox’s Trip, Trance, & Traveling, it’s on the quirkier end of Japanese hardcore. However, if you’re a fan of that style I’d check this out.

Secretors: Antidote for Civilization 7” flexi (Roach Leg) The debut four-song flexi from this New York band is a treat for those of us who love the early Japanese hardcore sound. Secretors’ primitive but catchy riffing style and straightforward drumming are a dead ringer for the great G-Zet, so if you’re a big fan of that band you’ll want to hear this. However, Secretors’ blown out, dirty production and harsh, delay-drenched vocals also imbue it with the sinister vibe I associate with GISM and Zouo. It’s dark and creepy, but rather than pushing you away with aggression, it seems to beckon you toward it seductively. More than just another good hardcore record, the unique feel of this one makes it stand out from the pack.

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