Record of the Week: Neon: S/T LP + Staff Picks

Neon: S/T 12” (Square One Again) I was a huge fan of Neon’s demo tape, so I was looking forward to their debut vinyl. Thankfully it does not disappoint! Along with Mozart (with whom Neon share members), Neon is at the forefront of a new brand of hardcore that takes tropes that are big parts of the genre for certain fans—heaviness, tightness, and precision—and chucks them right out the window. There have always been hardcore bands that sound loose, raw, and wild (Italian bands like Negazione and Cheetah Chrome Motherfuckers spring to mind), but Neon’s take on the genre feels like an important political move. In a technology-obsessed world that demands humans act more like computers (a subject Neon addresses on the track “Bodies”), Neon’s music feels human, organic and alive rather than mechanical and regimented. Wrapped up with those tropes is also a long history of misogyny in hardcore, and Neon’s self-described “ugly girl music” does more than just reject that misogyny, it sees through it and finds the possibility for free and radical self-expression in a genre that can seem calcified. Moreover, the music just rips. The LP is full of catchy bass lines, inventive guitar playing, furious drumming, thought-provoking lyrics, and vocals as memorable as they are unconventional. Challenging politics, brilliant and exciting music, stunning packaging… what more could you want from a punk record?

Staff Pick: Jeff

So there aren’t really any records at the store this week that I wanna talk about this week, so I thought I’d take things a different direction:

Y’all know that Japanese 80s metal band Loudness? Maybe? Well I do, and I love ‘em. Akira Takasaki’s guitar playing shreds on classic albums like Thunder in The East. BUT, what I didn’t know is that on their 1989 album Soldiers of Fortune, Loudness replaced their original singer Minoru Niihara with an American singer! In this video for the song “You Shook Me”, it even features the band playing on top of the mountain in front of the Hollywood sign for the whole video. Now, was this in an attempt to become more accessible for a US audience? Who knows! But when I found this out, it blew my mind. The song honestly isn’t bad. Enjoy the video below:)

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