Featured Release Roundup: July 18, 2019

Cortex: Spinal Injuries 12” (Sacred Bones) Reissue of this great 1983 Swedish post-punk LP. While the track “Mayhem Troopers” sounds so familiar I’m certain I’d heard the song before, mostly I’m coming to Spinal Injuries fresh, and I’m blown away. According to the booklet accompanying the record, Cortex were a little older than your typical punks, with their leader Freddie Wadling having followed underground music and art since the late 60s, appreciating landmarks like the Velvet Underground, Captain Beefheart, and Can as they happened. Interestingly, though, Cortex’s depth of knowledge doesn’t manifest itself in a self-conscious eclecticism, but as a confidence in Cortex’s own unique vision. While their 1981 debut single (included with this reissue as a bonus 7” with picture sleeve) was still formative, Spinal Injuries sounds like a band who has found their voice. By 1983 the world is well into the post-punk era and the record has some of the same trappings as the early Chameleons or Bauhaus, but it sounds like Cortex came to their sound honestly by combining campy pop of glam rock with proto-punk’s drive and UK punk’s heaviness. In fact, I wouldn’t describe Spinal Injuries as a post-punk record (and certainly not a goth record), but a work of idiosyncratic genius like Eno’s Here Come the Warm Jets or the early Television Personalities records. Spinal Injuries doesn’t sound like those records at all, but has a similar way of drifting between timeless and very much of its time. This is a fascinating record, and one I’m very thankful to Sacred Bones for introducing me to. This one will certainly live near my turntable for a good long while.

Kriegshog: Paint It Black b /w White Out 7” (La Vida Es Un Mus) Japan’s Kriegshog return with another two-song single. This time around Kriegshog bring in a new guitarist and, consequently, their sound changes subtly. Whereas before Kriegshog’s signature was the pummeling, Framtid-style wall of sound, these songs lean harder on the riffs themselves rather than on tones and atmosphere. Thus, rather than beating you over the head, these songs inspire you to move your feet, urging you out of your chair with dramatic dynamic shifts. Even on such a short record there are numerous highlights, like the odd, galloping rhythm of “Paint It Black,” the noise guitar popping up near the end of both songs, and the main, fist-pumping riff in “White Out.” And the packaging is beautiful, with clear vinyl housed in a clear printed bag.

Cyberplasm: The Psychic Hologram 12” (Iron Lung) Debut vinyl from this band out of Olympia, Washington, playing a potent combination of d-beat influenced hardcore and industrial music. If you’re thinking “that sounds similar to L.O.T.I.O.N.” you’re not wrong, but Cyberplasm’s music stands on its own and there’s plenty of room for multiple artists to explore these styles’ intersection. After a short intro track, The Psychic Hologram starts with its most d-beat moment, “Dopamine Machinery,” which centers around a killer, Inepsy-style d-beat rock-and-roll riff. From there, Cyberplasm plays with a lot of different sounds, with each new track offering some new stylistic wrinkle, whether it’s dropping a catchy, S.H.I.T.-type bass line, a blistering G.I.S.M.-style riff, wild noise textures, an inventive drum machine pattern, or a memorable synth line. Your ear might take a few listens to make sense of the diversity, but I’m happy to put in a little extra effort for a band so dedicated to pushing at the edges of punk’s musical boundaries.

S.A.G.A.L.: Suckup Aholics Gain Acrobatic Licks 7” (Hardcore Hard) Debut 6-song 7” from this Korean band that sounds exactly like Totalitär. If I would split hairs, I’d say S.A.G.A.L.’s vocalist has a deeper voice than Poffen and the snare sounds ping-ier than I remember the snare on any Totalitär record sounding, but for all intents and purposes this sounds exactly like Totalitär. I tend not to find soundalike / “worship” bands very interesting, but a few bands like Finland’s Selfish nail their tribute so perfectly they’re well worth listening to. I’d put S.A.G.A.L. in the same category. So, zero points for originality, but five stars for pretty much every single other aspect of this record.

GLO: Discoackel 7” (Ken Rock) Reissue of this 1979 Swedish punk rarity. Stylistically, GLO lives somewhere between the Lurkers and early Sham 69, with simple but memorable riffs with just a touch of Chuck Berry rock-and-roll flair. Discoackel is dumb teenage punk you’ll love if you like the sound of young kids going wild with no thought to making anything artful or progressive. GLO’s debut is raw, honest, and in the moment, reminding me of a great party. That’s about all I can say about this one… if you love this type of punk, you’ll get a kick out of this one.

GLO: NERW 7” (Ken Rock) Reissue of the second single from this Swedish punk band, original released in 1980. While their debut single was a great blast of primitive teen punk, GLO get some upgrades here. The recording is thicker and more powerful and the songs are faster, reminding me more of the Kids or the Rude Kids’ amped-up rock-and-roll than the more oi!-ish rhythms of the debut. The songs are straightforward but effective, and “Det Kan Jag Garantera Dej” adds some lead guitar, pushing the song over the line from interesting to “must-hear.” If you’re into owning reissues of obscure Euro-punk 7”s, this should definitely be on your list.

All New Arrivals

The Swankys: Rest of Swankys Demos / Wank Sessions 12" (Limited Punk Releases)
S.A.G.A.L.: Suckup Aholics Gain Acrobatic Licks 7" (Hardcore Hard)
GLO: Diskoackel 7" (Ken Rock)
GLO: NERW 7" (Ken Rock)
Mint: Cancer! Cassette (Slugsalt
Crudez: Jungle Jeopardy 12" (Byllepest Distro)
Ignorantes: Cona La Camiseta Puesta cassette (Byllepest Distro)
Raw Power: '83 Demo (limited white vinyl!) 12" (Ugly Pop)
Brujeria: American Czar 7" (Nuclear Blast)
Metz: Automat 12" (Sub Pop)
Cortex: Spinal Injuries 12" (Sacred Bones)
The Love Language: S/T 12" (Merge)
Imperial Teen: Now We Are Timeless 12" (Merge)
Parliament: Up for the Down Stroke 12" (Mercury)


Plasticheads: Nowhere to Run 12" (Ugly Pop)
Micro Edge: '83 Demo 12" (Ugly Pop)
Slaughter: Nocturnal Hell 7" (Ugly Pop)
Impulso: Costante Ossessione 7" (Byllepest Distro)
Primer Regimen: Ultimo Testamento 12" (Byllepest Distro)
Purple-X: S/T 7" (Byllepest Distro)
Brian Eno: Before and After Science 12" (Astralwerks)
Buzzcocks: Another Music in a Different Kitchen 12" (Domino)
Car Seat Headrest: Twin Fantasy (Mirror to Mirror) 12" (Matador)
Coheed + Cambria: Good Apollo I’m Burning Star IV Volume One 12" (Columbia)
David Bowie: Heroes 12" (Parlophone)
Death Grips: The Money Store 12" (Epic)
DJ Shadow: Endtroducing 2x12" (Mowax)
Eminem: Slim Shady 12" (Aftermath)
Entombed: Left Hand Path 12" (Earache)
Green Day: Nimrod 12" (Reprise)
Imagine Dragons: Origins 12" (Interscope)
Kanye West: College Dropout 2x12" (Roc-A-Fella)
Kanye West: My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy 12" (Roc-A-Fella)
King Diamond: Abigail 12" (Roadrunner)
Korn: Issues 12" (Epic)
Metallica: ...And Justice for All 12" (Blackened)
Metallica: Kill ‘Em All 12" (Blackened)
Metallica: Master of Puppets 12" (Blackened)
Metallica: Ride the Lightning 12" (Blackened)
New Order: Power, Corruption and Lies 12" (Factory)
Pavement: Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain 12" (Matador)
Possessed: Revelations of Oblivion 12" (Nuclear Blast)
R.E.M.: In Time, the Best of 12" (Craft)
Red Hot Chili Peppers: Blood Sugar Sex Magik 12" (Warner Bros)
Soundgarden: Badmotorfinger 12" (A&M)
Soundgarden: Superunknown 12" (A&M)
Stimulators: Loud Fast Rules 7" (Frontier)
Television: Marquee Moon 12" (Rhino)
The Gotobeds: Debt Begins at 30 12" (Sub Pop)
The Lumineers: S/T 12" (Dualtone)
The Strokes: Is This It? 12" (RCA)

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