Featured Releases - March 31 2022
Televised: Human Condition 7” (Convulse Records) Convulse Records brings us the debut (I believe) by this band from their neck of woods in Colorado. Televised’s songs feature elements of different styles, the most prominent being an oi!-inflected take on fast US hardcore, but I also hear some fast power violence-type parts and some riffs have a street punk-ish sense of melody. The singer has a John Brannon-esque bark, but can carry a tune as well, sort of like Choke in his post-Negative FX bands. And the production is very rough and analog-sounding, the drum sound reminding me of the Neos. I’m more partial to the bits that are full on United Blood style, but other people might gravitate toward the more complex and melodic elements.
Brain Tourniquet: Brain Tourniquet 7” (Iron Lung Records) Washington, DC’s Brain Tourniquet returns with their second 7” for Iron Lung Records, offering another dose of blistering hardcore with an aesthetic grounded in early power violence classics by bands like Crossed Out and No Comment. While you’ll hear plenty of familiar power violence tropes on this EP, they don’t comprise the entirety of Brain Tourniquet’s playbook. For instance, I love the winding, COC-esque intro to “Machine Gun,” and the psychedelic twists and turns in “Darkness.” The playing on this EP is also breathtaking, with the rhythm section generating moments that make the hair on the back of my neck stand up. The fast parts aren’t just inchoate blasting; you can often hear the bass and drums lock together on these intricate little rhythmic runs they perform with jaw-dropping speed and tightness. And that Brain Tourniquet can pull that off while sounding like a band playing together in a room and not like a Protools Frankenstein creation is even more impressive.
CPU Rave: Mood Fucker cassette (self-released) The artwork on this one threw me a little. If CPU Rave’s tape had been dressed up in stark black with distorted and scrawled text like a classic Confuse layout, I’d have been a little more prepared for the music contained therein. That being said, while CPU Rave’s pogo rhythms, noisy guitar textures, and echo-drenched vocals (a lot like Lebenden Toten) are pretty on the nose, the actual songs are a little more unique. To me, there have always been two distinct songwriting approaches in noise punk: one based on dissonant chords and one based on bright and poppy chords. CPU gets around this distinction with more complex riffing that’s dark and aggressive, but with an ominous sense of melody. Remarkably, CPU Rave pulls these songs in that unique direction without losing that sense of off the rails craziness that is such an essential part of any good noise punk record. Excellent stuff.
Peace Decay: Death Is Only... 12” (Beach Impediment Records) Beach Impediment brings us the debut release from this Texas hardcore band featuring veterans from bands like Criaturas, Severed Head of State, Guerra Final, and many more I’m sure. If you’ve listened to much Japanese hardcore, you’ll see where Peace Decay is coming from right off the bat. Their galloping rhythms, gruff vocals, and melodic lead guitar place them in the tradition of bands who take inspiration from Death Side. Peace Decay’s ace in the hole is their shredding lead guitarist, whose style I’d describe as neoclassical thanks to the way it combines melodic complexity with rhythmic density, all of it executed with crispness and precision. You have to be on board with the shredding to appreciate Peace Decay, as anyone who finds the guitar leads too melodic will have a hard time ignoring them. However, if you’re into the more melodic end of the Burning Spirits continuum, you’ll agree Peace Decay can stand toe to toe with the bands who inspired them.
Deodorant: Aluminum Free cassette (Open Palm Tapes) We last heard from Chicago’s Deodorant when they released their excellent 12” on Not Normal back in 2018, and they remain a gripping and unique band. While Deodorant’s technical intricacy, the lack of self-seriousness in their presentation, and their flirtation with straight-up hardcore remind me of Warm Bodies, I think they’re digging a little deeper for inspiration. The first track, “Bunta Groovin’ / Boast Mk. II” sounds like the Big Boys’ punk-funk with rap vocals, while “Top” reminds me of the Minutemen’s tenderest moments, and “Vs. Son of Baconator” channels the prog-ism of the later SST Records catalog, albeit at several times the tempo. Then they end with a straight up hardcore ripper, “Guitar Hero World Tour,” that sounds like YDI or something. It’s eclectic, but Deodorant is adept enough to nail all of it. A must for those of you who value both originality and intensity in your punk.
Inyeccion: Porqueria 12” (Discos Enfermos) Well, this kicks ass. Inyeccion’s debut full-length, Porqueria, reminds me of one of my favorite records in recent memory, Morbo’s ¿A Quién Le Echamos La Culpa?, another record from a South American band whose music is as raw as it is infectious. As the label’s blurb notes, Inyeccion’s style combines elements of Japanese noise punk, UK82 street punk, and raw and crude vintage Latin American punk. While Inyeccion has hit upon an identifiable style, what keeps me coming back to Porqueria is how exciting it sounds. The band plays like they fucking mean it. The energy level is through the roof and the songs sound like classics… when Inyeccion launches into one of their chanted choruses, you have to sing along, and when they dive into one of their frantic noisy parts, you gotta thrash. The intensity and the vividness of expression also carry over into the packaging design. Porqueria is covered in killer, punk as fuck cartoon illustrations, and besides the full color cover you also get a two-color poster and an illustrated lyric booklet following the same aesthetic. I love everything about this record… essential 2022 punk.