Featured Releases - January 27 2022
Glaas: S/T cassette (Static Shock Records) Debut 3-song cassette from this Berlin group featuring members of, among many others, Clock of Time and Idiota Civilizzato. At first listen I thought Glaas sounded nothing like either of those bands, but after spending a little time with these three songs, I’ve concluded that they’re a smashing together of the two groups’ sensibilities, taking Clock of Time’s brooding post-punk and applying the dense, maximalist framework of Idiota Civilizzato to it. Density is the word I keep coming back to when I listen to Glaas, because these songs are crammed to overflowing with hooks and interesting parts. This must have been a nightmare to mix, because there are often three (or more!) interesting melodic or rhythmic things happening at once, all of them contending for your attention. Consequently, it can be hard to parse on your first listen, but once you immerse yourself in Glaas’s labyrinth there’s so much to explore. The menacing vibe will play well with people who love bands like Killing Joke and the Birthday Party, but Glaas doesn’t sound retro at all… this sounds like music that only 21st-century information overload could have birthed. There’s a full-length coming in spring 2022. I can’t wait to hear it, and I’ll plan to block out a big chunk of time to digest it.
Suspiria: demo cassette (No Solution) Demo cassette from this band out of LA on the No Solution label. Right off the bat, Suspiria reminded me of Public Acid. Like Public Acid, their guitar and vocal sounds have a death metal edge, but the songs themselves seem like they’re built on more of a d-beat hardcore framework, with fast riffing leading into big, crunchy hardcore breakdowns. It’s a cool demo, but the quality of the dub could be stronger… I’d like to hear Suspiria with a big, imposing sound rather than the underground metal blur you hear here, but many of you may well feel the opposite. Limited to only 50 copies and I don’t see this streaming anywhere online, so if it sounds like your cup of tea, you’ll have to lay down a few bucks to take a sip.
Crucial Response: Puppets 7” (Not for the Weak Records) Virginia’s Not for the Weak Records lays another ripper on us with the debut 7” from this Indonesian band. I remember when a ripping hardcore record from southeast Asia felt like an uncommon event, but the scenes there seem to have a lot more visibility in the west now… at least increasing globalization has a few bright spots. I can see why Crucial Response caught NFTW’s ear, because they play the kind of hardcore the label has developed a reputation for producing… tough, no-nonsense hardcore with great riffs, well-constructed songs, and booming (but far from slick) production. NFTW’s description notes that Crucial Response’s dense but catchy riffing style reminds them of their favorite d-beat bands even though the drumming is straight up 1-2-1-2 most of the time. I can hear that, but even more Crucial Response reminds me of Out Cold, particularly their later-era stuff. While the vocals are a little tougher sounding, Crucial Response reminds me of Out Cold’s way of combining bulldozer hardcore with a slight rock undercurrent to keep the songs zipping along. Four fast ones, then one mid-paced number to clear out the pit. A killer, classic-sounding hardcore record.
Hacker: Pick a Path 12” (Hardcore Victim Records) Hardcore Victim Records brings us the debut vinyl by this Australian hardcore band. Hacker released a well-received demo a couple of years ago, but that didn’t show up on my radar, so Pick a Path is my introduction. Here at Sorry State we listen to a lot of demos and 7”s from hardcore bands who are just learning to play and/or figuring out who they are, and sometimes bands sound so loose they’re about to fall apart (sometimes this is on purpose; other times not so much). Hacker is like the exact opposite of that. It’s like someone genetically engineered (or a more pertinent analogy might be hacked together) a hardcore band that will prompt crowds to go the fuck off. The sound is massive without being slick or overblown, and the songs see-saw between manic pogo beats and bruising mid-paced parts in a way that’s not so much predictable as inevitable… as Hacker builds to those climaxes you feel the hair on the back of your neck stand up and you know the bodies are about to fly. The precision of the execution and the depth with which they realize these songs makes me think of Warthog, but Hacker has none of Warthog’s subtle rock-isms… this is full-bore meathead shit. If I go to a fest where Hacker is playing, I plan to stand in the back lest I lose any limbs in the melee.
What Goes On #2 zine Music zines have never been known for their punctual publication schedules, so we can excuse this Raleigh-based zine for taking a couple of years between their first and second issues. As with that first issue, this new installment of What Goes On is given over almost entirely to two long interviews, both of which are with folks who are part of Sorry State’s extended family. Skylar talks with Rich and Josh (who have played together in Whatever Brains, Das Drip, and Bodykit, among other projects) and Seth and Elizabeth (from No Love and Crete). The interviews are long and probing, avoiding the usual band interview cliches and getting at the deeper reasons these people have dedicated so much of their lives to music. This issue also features layout help from Alex Swing of New Body Tapes / Floor Model, and it looks as fantastic as it reads. If you’ve followed Sorry State’s discography, then you know these musicians’ work, and no doubt you’ll enjoy these conversations. However, even if you aren’t familiar with their musical output, these deep and very human conversations are interesting in and of themselves, and situate you to get even more enjoyment out of a lot of great music.
Hellish View: Demo 21 cassette (Desolate Records) Minneapolis’s Hellish View has undergone some lineup changes since the last time we heard from them. Maybe that’s why they’ve demoted themselves to demo status, or maybe they just don’t want to deal with the insane wait times for vinyl these days. Either way, Hellish View’s sound hasn’t changed much since their last few records. They still unapologetically worship Disclose, to the point of sounding almost exactly like them. I’d like to think I know my d-beat, but I’m not sure I could distinguish Hellish View from Disclose on a blind listen. Of course, Hellish View’s allegiance to Disclose’s template will be a plus for some and a minus for others. If you already have enough records in your collection that look and sound pretty much exactly like this, I don’t see anything here convincing you to change your mind. On the other hand, I can’t help but rage out when I’m blasting this. It’s not some off-brand poseur shit… it gets me going just as much as any of my Disclose records. Like Disclose, Hellish View isn’t trying to be anything they aren’t, even adopting Disclose’s habit of leaning into their intertextuality by weaving bits from Discharge (and Disclose) songs into their own compositions. Post-modern conceptual art? Dumb punk? You can decide; I’ll just keep listening.