Timed hot on the heels of their blow-out Thrilling Living EP, Neck Chop enshrines Mississippi’s JUDY AND THE JERKS’ formative daze to wax with Friendships Formed In The Pit. Through their passionate touring and Hattiesburg-hosting schedules, these Jerks achieve a highly-endearing, from-the-jump frothy obsessiveness via classic-yet-spastic hardcore --- a sound centered on now-time freakiness, hyper-accelerated punky riffs and infectious F-U-N rather than faux-tuff posturing. Friendships Formed In The Pitcompiles the inaugural 2017 demo tape, the follow-up Three Songs From Us To You and a handful of exclusive cuts, including a really raucous all-directions take on a sugary GO-GO’S classic. Truly vibrant and infectious USHC recommended for every punk with a pulse.
Our take: I love everything about Judy & the Jerks, and I couldn’t be more stoked to have a 12” record to play the crap out of. Friendships Formed in the Pit compiles previously released (on cassette) material and throws in some exclusive tracks, devoting the a-side to six originals and the b-side to five scorching cover versions that are well worth hearing. While hardcore can be grim and humorless, Judy & the Jerks is proof that it doesn’t have to be. Like the Big Boys, they’re all about fun, fun, fun, and while they’re as ripping as any po-faced bunch of twenty-something boys wearing fancy sneakers and/or a denim vest, their music makes me feel excited and alive rather than agitated or angry. I’m sure part of that is the members’ personalities coming out in the music (I don’t know as I haven’t met them), but it takes a ton of musical skill to articulate that vibe so perfectly. The string of covers that closes the record—the Go-Go’s, Die Kreuzen, and the Buzzcocks—is the perfect example of the Jerks’ exquisite taste and flexibility as players, not to mention a good approximation of the band’s own originals if you put those three groups in a blender on its gnarliest setting. Friendships Formed in the Pit is a shoe-in for my year-end favorites list and one of the most remarkable hardcore punk records of 2019.