SSR Picks: Daniel - March 17 2022

The other night we canceled Scarecrow practice last minute so we could drink beers and spin records with a bunch of our hardcore-loving homies. I had a great time, and I was stoked to rifle through other people’s boxes of old hardcore 7”s. Of course, there were some items that made me very jealous, but it also made me come home and see my box of 7”s I’ve bought in the past year or two with fresh eyes. In honor of that, here are thoughts on four 7”s I’ve listened to recently.

Desperate Children flexi (1986, Joy Riders Records)

One-off flexi from this little-known band from the noise-core hotbed of Kyushu, Japan. Like Gai and Swankys, there’s more than a little bouncy, melodic punk in Desperate Children’s sound. While they don’t have the over the top intensity of those two bands, the two a-side tracks are odd enough to hold my attention. The b-side track puts the melody center stage, and even if you prefer the noisier stuff, you gotta agree with the sentiment of the track’s title: “I Love Punk.” I always loved the cover art on this one too… the crispness of the graphic design is eye-catching and makes an interesting contrast with the music.

Śmierć Kliniczna: ASP / Jestem Ziarnkiem Piasku (1984, Tonpress Records)

A handful of old Polish punk bands got EPs out on the state-run Tonpress label, and I always pick them up when I can. They’re usually cheap, and the bands are often super interesting. Like Dezerter, Śmierć Kliniczna had already been a band for several years when they released this single, and their sound is distinctive and complex… they can play their asses off! Of course I don’t know what the lyrics are about, but the dark complexity of the music reminds me of outsider hardcore like the Crucifucks or Power of the Spoken Word. Very cool.

The Expelled: No Life No Future 7” (1982, Riot City Records)

“Dreaming” is the best song in this little batch of 7”s that I’m looking at today, a dark and hooky track with memorable guitar and vocal melodies. The other two tracks are more aggressive, but the playing is looser. That gives these songs an off the rails energy that I like, but the hooks don’t land as hard as they do on “Dreaming.” I think I’m going to spin that again right now.

Riot Squad: Don’t Be Denied 7” (1983, Rot Records)

I’m a sucker for a beater UK82 picture sleeve… something about these records just feels right when they’re all bent and dog-eared like this one. This is the third Riot Squad single I’ve picked up, nabbing their first two records at shops over the years. I think Don’t Be Denied is the best one, though… just classic-sounding UK82 punk with chanting vocals, simple riffs, and a shit-ton of punk attitude. They put the mid-paced song up front and it’s cool, but it’s the three rippers that form the balance of the record that get me going. Exploited fans are particularly encouraged to check out this EP.

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