Featured Release Roundup: March 26, 2020
Discovery: Earth to Fucker 7” (Erste Theke Tonträger) The band name, title of the record, and graphic design on this debut vinyl from the Bay Area’s Discovery led me to expect some ear-splitting noise-punk or d-beat, but that’s not the vibe here at all. Instead, this is nihilistic hardcore punk in the vein of early Poison Idea or 80s Bay Area miscreants like Sick Pleasure and the Fuck-Ups. Like the best of those bands, the playing here is tight and powerful, and while the songs stay within the standard USHC template, Discovery is talented enough to make that sound their own. There are even a few surprises like the wild, dissonant intro to “Nothing.” If you’re a fan of USHC that brings together catchy songwriting with a ton of fuck you attitude (i.e. if you have enjoyed recent releases by Electric Chair and Loose Nukes), this is something you should check out.
Zodiak: TKY 2020 7” flexi (Symphony of Destruction) TKY 2020 is the 3-track debut flexi from this new band out of Tokyo that features members of 2 Bay Area hardcore bands, Morpheme and Odio. The sound here is raw d-beat with a Disorder-style dentist-drill guitar sound. However, while the guitars are noisy, the rest of the instruments have a heavier, meatier sound more like Kriegshog or Framtid’s more bruising moments, which makes for an interesting juxtaposition. This might not be the most original thing in the world, but it’s powerfully played and well executed.
Masochism: Plague of Warfare cassette (Suck Blood) Debut cassette from this LA band on the Suck Blood label, who brought us notable releases from Hate Preachers and Cruelty Bomb. Masochism plays raw, metallic crust—not a sound I would have expected from this group—but they have a similar explosive quality as their labelmates. The guitar sound here is nasty, dense and biting, like a malfunctioning chainsaw hacking through your bowels. While the riffs themselves are metallic, there isn’t much in the way of lead guitar or metal posturing, just hardcore punk aggression. If you’re a fan of the previous releases on Suck Blood or a lover of gnarly metallic hardcore/crust, this is a must-listen.
Psykik Violence: demo cassette (self-released) Another week, another Erik Nervous-related release lands at Sorry State. You don’t see me complaining though! Psykik Violence is Erik’s hardcore project, and aside from a slight herky-jerky quality to some riffs, you won’t find much in the way of his trademark Devo influences here. Instead, the sound is pure US hardcore, raw and angry. The recording places the drums right up front (like any great hardcore recording should), making the driving rhythms and Minor Threat-style rolls the focus. While the vocals are nondescript and low in the mix, the guitar riffs are killer, their catchiness balanced by a Wire-esque angularity. This is definitely worth checking out, particularly if you’re into punkier hardcore like Big Zit or Fried E/M.
Smut: First Kiss 12” (Iron Lung) This record from LA’s Smut is a throwback to a time when hardcore didn’t mean athletic shoes and breakdowns… it meant PUNK AS FUCK. This one is all big, catchy punk riffs and vocals drowning in snot backed by a rhythm section with the power and subtlety of a jackhammer. I’m reminded of peak-era FUs and Gang Green or west coast equivalents like the Fuck-Ups or the Lewd… there’s no pretense, no trying to be something that it’s not, just punk rock played with a knife in hand, ready to lunge at any second. Grab this and that new Discovery 7”, crack open a 40, and light some shit on fire.
Vanity: Rarely If Ever b/w We’re Friends 7” (Beach Impediment) Hot on the heels of their recent single on Feel It comes two more tracks from New York’s Vanity. Given the proximity of their release dates and the similar artwork, I imagine we should take these two singles as a pair, and no doubt if you enjoyed the Feel It single you should pick this up. However, these two tracks aren’t just more of the same. “Rarely If Ever” relies on the same intricate lead guitar that sounded so great on the Feel It single, but ups the ante with the most confident, memorable chorus hook the Vanity has produced yet. “We’re Friends” is a harder rocking song that will please fans of the Stones-ish Evening Reception album, and its scorching guitar solo is a big highlight. If you’ve been picking up Vanity’s previous releases, I don’t see any reason you should stop here.
Hate Preachers: Live on KXLU cassette (Suck Blood) Live on the radio tape from this great band out of LA with two previous cassette releases on Suck Blood. I loved the recordings on band’s earlier cassettes—pretty much everything coming out on the Suck Blood label sounds incredible to my ears with the perfect balance of rawness, heaviness, and clarity—but this recording proves that Hate Preachers aren’t just a mediocre band adept at getting a good sound. It’s not that this recording sounds bad by any means—everything is clear, present, and good-sounding—it just doesn’t have that perfectly placed layer of grit the other two tapes had. That’s OK, though, because Hate Preachers is a killer band. It’s not a reference I would have reached for before (and maybe it’s because the band, which is a three-piece, is pictured on the cover), but on this recording Hate Preachers sound a lot like Direct Control. If nothing else, they have a similar knack for making hardcore punk catchy without being melodic and sound so classic that it feels like they could have made their music at any point in the last 40 years. If you’re a Sorry State regular, you should have a complete collection of Suck Blood releases. They haven’t made anything worth skipping yet, this included.