Record of the Week: Blemish: S/T 12"

Blemish: S/T 12” (Not for the Weak Records) Virginia’s Not for the Weak Records has made a name for themselves with a string of killer hardcore records, but this debut 12” from Montreal’s Blemish is a slight left turn for the label. By far the most melodic release on NFTW so far, Blemish reminds me of the anthemic, ’77-inspired punk of bands like Legal Weapon, UXA, the Avengers, and (more recently) Vexx. While they might sound more straightforward against the backdrop of the pure hardcore bands on NFTW, Blemish’s take on the style is powerful, with plenty of heft to the playing and the production. Blemish is blessed with both an outstanding vocalist and a great lead guitar player, each of whom vies for your attention throughout this all-killer, no-filler 7-song EP. While the stuttering vocal hook of “Paranoia” might get you one minute, it’s not long before a guitar line like the blistering intro for “You Look Like a Cop” pulls your attention in its direction. I also love the unexpected twists here, like the pulsating organ on “Paranoia” or the way “Reanimate” borrows part of its melody and chord structure from the Misfits’ “Cough/Cool.” If you’re a fan of melodic bands that appeal to hardcore punks—the aforementioned groups and bands like No Hope for the Kids or the Vicious—Blemish is bound to have you singing along after just one or two listens.

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