Jeff's SSR Pick: June 16, 2022

All I can think about as I’m getting ready to write this is that this might be my last “staff pick” that I’ll be writing for quite a while. This weekend, Scarecrow is playing the stacked lineup at SHOMO FEST 2022 in Philly! Then from there, the rest of Public Acid is picking me up in Philly, and then we’ll drive to New York and fly out on Monday to meet up with Warthog in Amsterdam. Warthog and Public Acid have a gig in Amsterdam, a couple dates in Germany and then we make our way to K-Town Hardcore Fest… So yeah, I’m losing my mind a little bit. But I’m diving into this trip with a positive attitude. I’m sure it will be a blast.

Anyway, enough about me. Let’s talk about records. Recently, I was obsessing over Sick Pleasure once again. Such a vicious and gnarly 7” that bridged the gap between early nihilistic punk and the blazing fast 80s hardcore to come. But Sick Pleasure isn’t what I wanna talk about. Listening to my copy of this 7” the other day had me looking back at other titles on the Subterranean Records catalog. While of course I love the San Francisco scene hardcore offerings like Sick Pleasure or Code Of Honor, there were also a lot of fringe and strange records released on this label. By weird coincidence, Sorry State recently purchased a collection from this dude that had a lot of old California punk and hardcore. While I was pricing this guy’s records, one of the titles that I stumbled on in one of these boxes was Music From Hell by Nervous Gender. I was relatively unfamiliar with this record, but it just happens to be on Subterranean Records. I was chatting with Daniel about it and he said, “Nervous Gender?? Oh, it’s great. I already have that record.” The record is predominantly a dark, synth-heavy and borderline-experimental record. Michael Fox from Sick Pleasure and Code Of Honor is credited as a producer, and also Don Bolles from the Germs seems to be involved with the production as well. I found myself intrigued. Now, upon first listen, I did find the record a bit challenging. It’s definitely a strange record. The layers of looping drum machine and synths patterns make me feel uncomfortable, but I also kinda feel drawn to it. It’s not unlike the Screamers or something, but the songs have even less traditional song structures, and the vibe is much stranger and avant-garde. Even a track like “Nothing To Hide” that has real drums and a more traditional, driving backbeat feels more like a stream of consciousness style rant than an actual song. I’ll be honest, I think I’m still grappling with whether or not I even like this record. I feel like I want to like it. It feels abrasive and confrontational in a way that tickles my interest. Like, maybe it’s supposed to freak you out? I could see how this record could be influential. And looking at the going rate for an original copy, it’s clearly a record that’s desirable and in-demand.

I’ll have to grapple with whether I need to take record this home. Maybe I’ll hide it before the synth/noise nerds have a chance to drool all over it at the store. I feel like I need a chance to throw this record on at home and listen to it super loud in the dark. Have a real weird time by myself. Maybe I’m enjoying a teeth-gritting, uncomfortable listen while I grapple with stress in preparation of international travel. I guess it’ll be a while before I have a chance to enjoy my records at home.

Anyway, if you wanna get have a real weird time this week, go ahead and give Nervous Gender a listen for me. That’s all I’ve got. As always, thanks for reading.

‘Til next week (or probably not),


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