Kaleidoscope: Vol. 2 No. 1 7"

Katorga Works Records


Kaleidoscope has quickly become one of the most fresh and exciting bands in the new NYC hardcore punk scene, quickly establishing its own sound that is both of its locale, yet uniquely “Kaleidoscope.” Touches of psychedelia and mind-melting guitar work are laid over a foundation of raw hardcore punk, coming off as the logical continuation of their previous work in Deformity, meaning limits of the genre are pushed in the most fascinating of ways.

Our take: I've been pretty obsessed with Kaleidoscope since the moment I first heard them, and this newest EP only deepens the infatuation. Looking over the (gorgeous) layout for this EP, I was struck by their resemblance to my favorite band, the Fall. The thing that made it click was the dense, cluttered, text-heavy graphics (which come off like a mix of the Fall's graphics circa Hex Enduction Hour / Room to Live and those old Situationist pamphlets that so influenced the first generation of UK punk), but the more I think about it the more similarities that I find. The thing that unites them most is the focus on rhythm. While you might very well call Kaleidoscope a hardcore punk version of the Fall, their drumming--and, by extension, their use of rhythm in general--is SO much more interesting than virtually any punk band out there. The kinds of drum patterns that they use sound more like what comes out of sampling, but they're performed with live drums... maybe the songs are written with sampled drums and then transposed over to live drums? I'm not sure if that's their process or not, but if it isn't then they easily have one of the most inventive drummers in the world right now. All of those staccato rhythms also make hip-hop a very present reference point for Kaleidoscope's music... there's something of the anarchic approach to rhythm of License to Ill and other 80s hip-hop, as well as more rock-oriented bands who picked up on those sounds... anything from Royal Trux to Stereolab. And of course Shiva's Hendrix-influenced guitar playing is still brilliant and reason enough to listen on its own. As great as Kaleidoscope's output is so far, it feels like you're peeking in through a tiny window and just seeing the corner of a room. If they release something that gives you the full vista, it could very well change the face of punk for some time. Needless to say, this one gets my highest recommendation.
Tags: 10s hardcore punk recommended