Featured Release Roundup: March 14, 2019

Science Man: S/T 12” (Swimming Faith) Debut vinyl from this new project which is an alter ego of John Toohill, whom you might also know as the singer for Radiation Risks. While Science Man features a prominent drum machine and might sound at first listen like S.B.F., Race Car, or other drum machine punk bands from the past few years, they have their own thing going on. When some bands use a drum machine, it can sound like a poor stand-in for a live drummer, but Science Man does a good job of playing to the instrument’s strengths, namely the big sound and the ability to create fast and precise rhythms. While the vibe of the music is very different, the way Science Man uses the drum machine as effectively as a band like Big Black. As for the songs themselves, they range from quirky, Warm Bodies-esque weird hardcore (“Love Potent”) to a punky take on 90s noise rock (“Victor”) to Dead Kennedys-esque surf punk (“Before You Know You’re Dead”). The record is super high energy, sounds great, and it’s packed with memorable moments. Definitely a recommended listen, particularly if you’ve enjoyed a lot of stuff on labels like Neck Chop and Erste Theke Tontraeger.

Preening: Gang Laughter 12” (Digital Regress) Preening has put out a slew of records over the past few years and Gang Laughter is their first 12”. It continues with the format the band has honed on those previous releases: a catchy no wave / post-punk sound with locked-in bass and drums a la Gang of Four, a skronky saxophone, and two vocalists, one furious and one more deadpan. If you liked those earlier records, you’ll enjoy Gang Laughter, but what’s more exciting is how this record pushes at the edges of the band’s sound. Specifically, there’s a This Heat-style experimental streak that seems to run through the middle part of the record. The a-side’s closing track, “Red,” double tracks the sax for an eerie effect and the only vocals come from a sinister-sounding laugh track. Then the b-side opens with “GL,” an instrumental that sounds like it features both a regular piano and a toy piano. “GL” is the most This Heat-esque moment on the record, a spacious and winding composition that serves as a perfect counterpoint to the record’s more aggressive tracks. Genre-pushing bands like Preening always walk a fine line between pushing their sound forward and maintaining a consistent voice, and Gang Laughter balances those adeptly. The beautiful screen printed packaging is a nice bonus too.

Toyota: S/T 12” (Digital Regress) After a flexi and a bunch of cassettes on Discontinuous Innovation, Inc. (who also brought us releases from Wonder Bread, Erik Nervous, Acrylics, Landline, and many more) here’s the proper vinyl debut from Toyota. While I hope that the term “Devo-Core” never catches on, you could do a lot worse than that in describing Toyota’s sound. Like certain Devo tracks, Toyota's music is tightly wound, with lots of unintuitive time signatures that highlight the robotic precision of the playing. Far more than just ripping off Devo, Toyota take the sound to its logical limits. While I doubt it’s an influence, the sound reminds me of the Japanese band Polysics. It’s so quirky, inhuman, and dense with ideas that the record can overwhelm on first listen, but if you’re looking for the perfect soundtrack to downing a quintuple espresso, this is it. They slow things down a hair for a few tracks on the b-side, and these are my favorite moments on the record. When they back off the manic tempos a hair and find the groove the catchiness in these songs comes out. Toyota has demonstrated their ability to play top-notch spazz punk, but they’re already dropping hints they have more tricks up their sleeve.

Geiger Counter: Nuclear EP 7” (Ryvvolte) Latest 7” from these Minneapolis punks. These tracks come from the same session as the recent split tape with Zudas Crust I wrote about a few weeks ago and has a similar Japanese hardcore-influenced crust sound. The big chord changes on tracks like “Nuclear Solution” and the melodic guitar solos betray a Death Side influence but there’s also a punkier element to their sound that reminds me of old Pusmort Records bands like Final Conflict and Christ on Parade. This is true of the two tracks on the a-side, which remind me a lot of Final Conflict’s Ashes to Ashes LP. While a lot of bands influenced by Japanese hardcore can sound too slick, Geiger Counter keep things super raw and punk.

UFO Dicatator: Jackhammer EP cassette (self-released) Debut 10-track(!) tape from this band who, if I’m not mistaken, are from Philadelphia. The music reminds me of Career Suicide and Formaldehyde Junkies with its thin guitar sound, short songs, and the way they litter riffs with quick little rock-and-roll licks. They sound like a band whose members have listened to the Kids just as much as Poison Idea, and they do a great job of combining the best aspects of both sounds. I think I recognize Zach from Gas Rag on the mic, and his harsh yet catchy vocals keep everything firmly on the hardcore side of things. These ten tracks fly right by, and if you’re a fan of the catchier end of the No Way / Grave Mistake spectrum (Career Suicide, Social Circkle, Acid Reflux) you’ll play this over and over.

Organized Filth: demo cassette (Don’t Wanna Talk) Demo cassette from this new project featuring (or maybe even composed entirely of) Cody from Booji Boys / Negative Rage / a zillion other bands. Cody seems to have a lot of projects going at any given time (in fact we got a tape from his electronic project Proper Suggestions in at the same time as this), but the sound here is influenced by Killed by Death-style punk. The tape ends with a Mentally Ill cover and the mega raw guitar sound and snotty, (fake?) British accented-vocals would have me scrambling to the KBD/Bloodstains section of my records shelves for the perfect points of reference if I weren’t already way behind on this week’s update. While this tape feels a little tossed-off, that’s part of the beauty. It’s a loose and raw experiment, and there’s something cool about listening to the bedroom recordings of some person from Halifax, Nova Scotia influenced by a whole tradition of raw outsider recordings that has come before.

All New Arrivals

UFO Dictator: Jackhammer EP cassette (self-released)
Organized Filth: Demo cassette (Don’t Wanna Talk)
Proper Suggestions: Recording 1 cassette (Don’t Wanna Talk)
The Beast: Power Metal EP 12" (Mono)
Roy Garrett & Man Parrish: Hot Rod to Hell 12" (Dark Entries)
Il'ithil: On This Day We Were Reborn in a Shroud of Light and Shadow 12" (Vendetta)
Low Life: Downer Edn 12" (Goner)
Mournful Congregation: Book of Kings 12" (20 Buck Spin)
Noisem: Cease to Exist 12" (20 Buck Spin)
Pissgrave: Posthumous Humiliation 12" (Profound Lore)
Plutocracy: Civilized...? 12" (Alimentary)
Spectral Wound: Inferno Decadence 12" (Vendetta)
Steve Adamyk Band: Paradise 12" (Dirtnap)
Tropical Trash: Southern Indiana Drone 12" (National Waste Products)
Denis Wise: Wize Music 12" (Finders Keepers)
Children of Bodom: Hexed 12" (Nuclear Blast)
Dido: Still on My Mind 12" (BMG)
The Promise Ring: The Horse Lattitudes 12" (new)
Caetano Veloso: S/T 12" (Third Man)
Thor: Metal Avenger 12" (Deadline)
Black Crowes: Before the Frost Until the Freeze 12" (Silver Arrow)
Potty Mouth: Snafu 12" (Get Better)
Earl Sweatshirt: Some Rap Songs 12" (Sony)
Flogging Molly: Swagger 12" (Side One Dummy)
Various: Escape from Synth City 12" (Numero Group)
Brainiac: Electro-Shock for President 12" (Touch & Go)


Devil Master: Satan Spits on Children of Light 12" (Relapse)
Devil Master: Manifestations 12" (Relapse)
High on Fire: Death Is This Communion 12" (Relapse)
Angel Olsen: My Woman 12" (Jagjaguwar)
Bon Iver: 22, A Million 12" (Jagjaguwar)
Bon Iver: For Emma Forever 12" (Jagjaguwar)
Bon Iver: S/T 12" (Jagjaguwar)
Mac Demarco: Salad Days 12" (Captured Tracks)
Shellac: At Action Park 12" (Touch & Go)
Shellac: Terraform 12" (Touch & Go)
The War On Drugs: Lost In The Dream 12" (Secretly Canadian)
The War on Drugs: Slave Ambient 2x12" (Secretly Canadian)
LCD Soundsystem: S/T 12" (Parlophone)
Crimpshrine: The Sound of a New World Being Born 12" (Numero Group)
Negative Approach: Tied Down 12" (Touch & Go)
Die Kreuzen: S/T 12" (Touch & Go)
Queen: Bohemian Rhapsody OST 12" (Hollywood)
Wu-Tang Clan: Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) 12" (RCA)
Foo Fighters: S/T 12" (Roswell)
Foo Fighters: The Colour and the Shape 12" (Roswell)
Social Distortion: S/T 12" (Music On Vinyl)
Kanye West: My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy 12" (Roc-A-Fella)
Tyler, the Creator: Scum Fuck Flower Boy 12" (Columbia)
Uncle Acid: Blood Lust 12" (Rise Above)
Dead Kennedys: Give Me Convenience or Give Me Death 12" (Manifesto)
Dead Kennedys: Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables 12" (Manifesto)
21 Savage: I Am I Was 12" (Epic)
Black Flag: Damaged 12" (SST)
Bright Eyes: I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning 12" (Saddle Creek)
Jimi Hendrix: Electric Ladyland 2x12" (Columbia)
XXXTentacion: 17 12" (Bad Vibes)
Nirvana: Unplugged in New York 12" (DGC)
The Avett Brothers: Magpie and the Dandelion 2x12" (Universal)
Various: The Harder They Come OST 12" (Island)
Alice in Chains: Dirt 12" (Music On Vinyl)
Misfits: Legacy of Brutality 12" (Caroline)
Misfits: Die Die My Darling 12" (Caroline)
Pink Floyd: Dark Side of the Moon 12" (Pink Floyd)
Khalid: American Teen 12" (RCA)
Lord Huron: Lonesome Dreams 12" (I Am Sound)
Beastie Boys: Check Your Head 12" (Capitol)
Darkthrone: A Blaze in the Northern Sky 12" (Peaceville)
AFI: Black Sails in the Sunset 12" (Nitro)
Nick Drake: Pink Moon 12" (Island)
Swans: Filth (official reissue!) 12" (Young God)
J Cole: 2014 Forest Hills Drive 12" (Roc Nation)
Carbonas: Your Moral Superiors: Singles & Rarities 12" (Goner)
Iggy Pop: The Idiot 12" (4 Men With Beards)
Melvins: Bullhead 12" (Boner)
Silver Jews: American Water 12" (Drag City)
Marked Men: On the Other Side 12" (Dirtnap)
Poison Idea: Feel the Darkness 12" (TKO)
Poison Idea: Kings of Punk 2x12" (TKO)
Crucifix: Nineteen Eighty Four 7" (Kustomized)
Wire: 154 12" (Pink Flag)
Wire: Chairs Missing 12" (Pink Flag)
Sleep: Volume 1 12" (Southern Lord)
Solid Space: Space Museum 12" (Dark Entries)
The Fall: Hex Enduction Hour 12" (Superior Viaduct)
Jawbreaker: Unfun 12" (Blackball)
NOFX: The Decline 12" (Epitaph)
Surfbort: Friendship Music 12" (Fat Possum)
Tomb Mold: Manor of Infinite Forms 12" (20 Buck Spin)

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