Hey it’s been a minute since we did one of these. Here’s some of our favorite records that came out in the last few weeks:
SHEER MAG – A Distant Call LP
Sheer Mag return with their sophomore album, A Distant Call. They’re still writing about surviving the current hellscape, but this time around, the politics get extra-personal. The album verges on being a concept piece, and the protagonist resembles frontwoman Tina Halladay. The songs document a particularly alienating time in her life when she was laid off from a job. Broke and newly single, her father passed away, leaving her with more wounds than it felt possible to heal.
It’s heavy power-pop so sleek it gleams. “We’ve been waiting to write these songs since we started the band and we were able to take these experiences and build a story out of them,” Halladay says. “A Distant Call makes an argument for socialism on an anecdotal level. We’re talking about how late capitalism alienates and commodifies whatever is in its path without using the term ‘late capitalism.’” Guitarist Matt Palmer and Halladay’s new approach to lyricism extended to the recording process, too. Once the brothers Hart and Kyle Seely had laid down the tracks, Halladay recorded vocals with producer Arthur Rizk (Power Trip, Code Orange).
DOTS – s/t LP
Psychedelic hardcore with pop riffs, theremin solos, space keyboard, and heavily distorted vocals. Dots are Camylle (vox/theremin/keyboard), Matt (guitar), John (drums) and Jason (bass). Oakland punk featuring members of Midnite Snaxxx, Bad Daddies, and FM Knives. (Dirt Cult Records #133)
KRIEGSHÖG – Paint It Black/White Out 7”
Tokyo powerhouse KRIEGSHOG returns with a two track 7” of distorted hardcore punk perfection. Facing a line up change the band sound was altered slightly after the previous guitarist quit. The new line up may have taken the guitar fuzziness a notch down in favour of a crunchier guitar tone but amped up the songwriting to the next level with a overdose of riffs, attacking each note with the same ferocious venom they have us accustomed to. These two tracks display both sides of KRIEGSHOG perfectly, a mid tempo bass driven 4 minute banger backed up by a classic destructive sonic jam with the gnarliest punk vocals out there. Quoting the band “Play Loud and DIE!!!” The high contrast black and white of their aesthetic and sound takes a new turn making room for a conceptual record. Housed in a heavy duty PVC pocket sleeve with artwork silkscreened on it the clear vinyl record with plain black and white labels. (La Visa Es Un Mus #192)
PINOCCHIO – s/t 7”
A new project featuring members of Crazy Spirit, Anasazi, Pregnant, Dawn of Humans, and CC Dust, is as singularly unique and fully-conceived as any of the aforementioned bands. Catchy, staccato post-punk instrumentation latches onto the formidable power of Mary Jane Dunphe’s singing for deceptively short, furious blasts of truly original and powerful punk music. Also hand silk-screened, with art by guitarist Keegan Dakkar Lomanto. (Toxic State Records #36)
CLITERATI – Ugly Truths/Beautiful Lies LP
Portland, Oregon hardcore punk practitioners CLITERATI will release their punishing Ugly Truths / Beautiful Lies full-length August 30th via Tankcrimes. Over a year in the making, Ugly Truths / Beautiful Lies is ripping fifteen-track/thirty-two-minut
JUDY AND THE JERKS – Friendships LP
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 Pit compiles 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.
LOST SYSTEM – LEFT BEHIND LP
With some distance now between their 2017 debut, LOST SYSTEM has honed their sound beyond mere impetus with Left Behind, doubling-down with measured swaths of suitably icy disenchantment, all tersely arranged to stride alongside the lauded heavies of the international post-punk cognoscenti. Goth-hued moments like “No Regrets” almost ache with phase and throb. “Discipline” flips toward industrial-informed synth-punk derangement, giving way to the closure of the title track, an epic semi-suite that begins as dour slow-dance that eventually speeds through the sleet. Discarded at the edge of the world—Left Behind.
MEAN JEANS – Gigantic Sike LP
Since forming in 2006, MEAN JEANS have become one of the better-known bands of the Pacific Northwest punk scene for their chaotic but relentless attack, raucous live shows, and fierce commitment to the art of partying. They brought the party to Fat in 2016 with their highly acclaimed Fat Wreck debut Tight New Dimension, followed by last year’s Jingles Collection—a 23-song assemblage of unsolicited jingles written for their favorite products. Gigantic Sike is the band’s’ fifth full-length and falls into the same category as their prior albums—three-chord, heavily Ramones-influenced party punk, but with a bit of a twist. While the songs are fun and fast, there is a darker story being told of the bleak existence of a party boy. Each of the 11 tracks have an element of sadness and cynicism to them. On the surface, opening track “Party Line” is about a hotline you call when you’re ready to party. The hotline is singer BILLY JEANS’ actual cell phone. No one is blowing up the party line anymore and everyone is moving on with their lives. “What the Fuck Is up Tonight?” describes the struggle between heeding the call to grow up, and the desire to live in the moment. Gigantic Sike’s mission statement concludes with its closing track. “Time Warp” is a fizzy, melodic number that serves as an exit strategy for the issues presented throughout the album—you have the ability to run away from all of the stupid decisions you’ve made in life, and take the time warp to start over again. It is a joke on the fantasy of sneaking out the backdoor on a crummy identity you didn’t necessarily mean to create. This underlying theme mixed with classic Mean Jeans like “Just a Trim (Don’t Buzz Me Alright)” and “I Fell into a Bog” has Mean Jeans at their best.
PENANCE HALL – Covered in Shit 7″
NOLA neg-vibing courtesy of TRAMPOLINE TEAM’s MICHAEL HE-MAN and our righteous lord, GIORGIO MURDERER/BUCK BILOXI. Abandon hope all ye who enter PENANCE HALL, lest ye get “Covered In Shit”—a brilliant and heretofore nameless opera of waddling synth-punk sludge, neo-classic despite the impending end of life as we know it. “Take Me To The Bar Fight” goes positively subterranean, extolling the virtues of neon-lit violence and taking unnerving pleasure in the consequences. In total, a brisk work of frightful din, sure to peel the punkest of scabs. Grievous, thuggish and essential sounds.
NOSFERATU – A Field of Hope LP
Austin, TX’s NOSFERATU are one of the most substantive and powerful hardcore punk bands currently in operation. Often likened to rage linchpins such as Void and Koro, Nosferatu’s too-good-to-be-true attack succeeds on all fronts: inventive & highly impressive drumming, tortured, piss-gutter vocals and excessively grimy riffs that unveil multiple hooks despite the concise nature of each breathless tune. Since forming in 2016, the gang have since amassed myriad short-run cassettes, stray compilation shards and one recognized ruler EP via Lumpy Records—each new entry building upon its predecessor, exhibiting a brand of winning and raw scuzz that’s too drool-inducing for punks to ignore. Timed to coincide with their debut album, Neck Chop is thrilled to present all of Nosferatu’s savage formative material on LP format—56 tracks total!!! Mandatory punk, no excuses, no snoozing.
MIKEY YOUNG – You Feelin’ Me LP
The path is finally revealed by a splash of light, and it is dazzling. You cover your eye-bones with a claw and can make out a reflection of the perfect being—there is a whiff of you in there. There is a bit of everyone in there. There are cars and bells and birds and fruits and water and night skies and laughter and heavy woe…motioning for you to dive in. All things are in this ethos swirling in its core. This album is the armored nucleus of sound and vision; it carries you along on its lumbering back, it tosses you through space and pulls you down a hole…a trip indeed! Mikey Young (Total Control, Eddy Current Suppression Ring) can do no wrong in our eyes and he has held the door open for you again (a gentleman, as always). Listen up, the higher power music hour has cracked their mighty knuckles and laid down some deep trips for you to view the city swaying and swarming like a field of grass flecked with insect transport.
COACHWHIPS – Night Train LP
THE COACHWHIPS (JOHN DWYER of OH SEES, JOHN HARLOW, MARY ANN MCNAMARA) Night Train remastered (in pure mono) and reissued on vinyl for the first time. Twnety-one tracks comprised of demos and outtakes from all four Coachwhips albums, along with some choice 7-inch cuts. “Listen to the tweaks on the title track and ‘Tired of Wasting My Time,’ and know that the engine driving the cacophony is one of genius.”—MaximumRocknRoll. Edition of 500 copies.
HISS GOLDEN MESSENGER – Terms of…LP
Songwriter and bandleader M.C. TAYLOR’s music is at once familiar, yet impossible to categorize: Elements from the American songbook—the steady, churning acoustic guitar and mandolin, the gospel emotion, the eerie steel guitar tracings, the bobbing and weaving organ and electric piano—provide the bedrock for Taylor’s existential ruminations about parenthood, joy, hope, and loneliness—our delicate, tightrope balance of dark and light—that offer fully engaged contemporary commentary on the present. And then there’s an indescribable spirit and movement: Hiss Golden Messenger’s music grooves. There’s nothing else quite like it. Having written upwards of 40 songs—in motel rooms, his studio in North Carolina, and a secluded cottage outside of Charlottesville, Virginia—Taylor winnowed them down to the ten works that comprise Terms of Surrender. With regular collaborators—including PHIL and BRAD COOK, JOSH KAUFMAN and MATT MCCAUGHAN—and new friends like JENNY LEWIS and AARON DESSNER (of THE NATIONAL), the crew decamped to Dessner’s Long Pond studio in upstate New York, Sound City in Los Angeles, and producer ROGER MOUTENOT’s Haptown studio in Nashville to create the most fully realized and genre-defying HISS GOLDEN MESSENGER album to date. LPs housed in gatefold jackets. Limited edition LP version pressed on coke bottle green vinyl with poster.
UV-TV – Happy LP
If one’s been keeping up with the melodic punk music of UV-TV, then their new album Happy will feel like a natural evolution to the stripped-down, sped-up gazey, twee sound of past releases, Go Away and Glass (2017). For Ian Bernacett and Rose Vastola, the masterminds behind the band, 2018 was spent writing and recording the 9-track LP while simultaneously uprooting from Gainesville and migrating north to NYC, where the album was finally mixed and mastered. The album thusly explores the tropes of letting go of the past, with an amicable catharsis. Despite the album name, the overall tone of the record comes across as a moodier interpretation of their almost jovial punk attitude—with the title track exemplifying that this is a much more personal and thoughtful album. Right out of the gate, the production is cleaner and more buttoned up, perhaps signifying that this record is more serious in nature. While Ryan Hopewell’s charged drumming kicks off the first track, giving us the familiar UV-TV energy, stylistic nuances quickly prove that the band has been drawing on some deeper influences, including The Pastels, Echo And The Bunnymen, and Slowdive, amongst others. As the arc of the album goes to a more vulnerable place, it becomes obvious there’s a new kind of sincerity in their choices compared to the last two releases. By the final track, the entirety of the album has conceptualized the personal and musical growth of the band since last heard in 2017. UV-TV was born in 2015, in the chaos of Gainesville’s thriving DIY scene. With Ian Bernacett’s driving riffs and Rose Vastola’s rock-steady vocals, the two have a knack for writing solid, energetic songs with a sweetness that sticks in the head. As the band continues to push the genre boundaries across their discography, their roots are still deeply embedded in the prolific punk movement they’ve grown from.
CIVIC – Selling Sucking 7″
“CIVIC are fresh meat, one of those rare bands that formed perfectly whole and with true urgency. They gathered momentum immediately, playing every week at a different pub or house party across Australia and releasing a 12″ and 7” in quick succession on Melbourne’s Anti Fade label. Their recordings exhibit song-writing virtuosity that moves from tough glam, power pop and fall down drunk pub rock, a style that the ancients dubbed GUTTER ROCK, and their live show propels the energy of these songs with the precision and discipline of backstreet hardcore. A relentless work ethic has them front and centre in the roster of modern Melbourne’s underground hustle, continuing the tradition of Australian rnr outlaws without any retro schtick. CIVIC is the real deal, the new generation of high voltage Australian rock n roll.”—Daniel Stewart
MUSK – Animal Husbandry 7″
While some bands are content to drag their knuckles MUSK have theirs completely submerged leaving trenches in their wake as they lumber through the wasteland. Here at Total Punk misanthropy is praised but Musk might have finally unseated ACTION SWINGERS from Total Punk’s misanthrope of the month title. Two tracks of swamp sludge skronk and their first release since adding fellow Total Punk JIM VEIL (FNU CLONE) to the fold insuring maximum guitar fuckery. 100% TOTAL PUNK!!!!Limited to 400 copies.
CONTROL FREAKS – She’s the Bomb LP
Slovenly Recordings presents the latest full length hunk o’ junk from San Francisco’s last standing Budget Rockers THE CONTROL FREAKS! You should know what to expect here by now, so don’t make us waste our bad breath trying to explain it to you, gum boy. But this time there’s not one, but TWO covers of ‘77 KBD genius—both from Australia, and both by BABEEZ! One of our most worshipped singles ever by a long shot gets the ridiculous(ly enthusiastic) GREG LOWERY treatment on “Dowanna Love,” with newly added C-Freak SHERRILYNN NELSON taking over vox doody for “Nobody Wants Me,” and smashing some cheap keys on the rest of the LP, adding a new layer of scuzz to the classic G-Lo beat! So yeah, like, the new LP is called She’s The Bomb, and IT is the bomb, and it certainly has more to offer than just two cool cover songs. This thing is loaded (and we know “loaded”) with hit after smash hit like “I Hate Your Face,” “Hate List,” and we wish there was at least one more song with “Hate” in the title, but “Creep You Out” is on the level, and you’re gonna need a “First Aid Kit” when this sucker’s done tearing you a new one. But what do we know? We make no claims about being any smarter than this LP.
CR DICKS – Dick Moves LP
The debut album from this noisy garage punk disaster squad led by ANDY CAFFREY of THE HORRORS and AUTODRAMATICS fame. Dick Moves is demented, dope, and has PETE BALESTRIERI (ex-VIOLENT FEMMES on sax). Creepy, ripping and blown to hell.
GINO AND THE GOONS – Rip It Up LP
It only took us over a year, but in true Goon fashion we think we’ve finally figured out how to get a proper version of the super limited, custom made and long sold out third LP from GINO AND THE GOONS into the filthy mitts of the general public. Originally manufactured in China and released in an edition of 300 copies on the band’s own SunWray Records label with photocopied artwork pasted onto garbage thrift store LP covers, the Rip It Up album is now available to the masses on MADE IN THE USA vinyl, with digital mastering handled by TIM WARREN at Crypt Records. Mark Twisitworthy at Razorcake Magazine writes: “…catchy yet snotty, fitting perfectly amongst the big name ‘budget rock’ titles of yesteryear. This is everything I want in a garage rock record in 2018. Listening to this is like having a full LP of only the Jon Von penned Rip Offs songs—raw as fuck but catchy enough to get stuck in your head an hour later. There’s no doubting their adoration of raw rock’n’roll… If you like your garage punk sounding like it’s straight out of the best releases from 1994, then this absolutely must be in your collection.”
SCIENTISTS – Not For Sale LP
The Scientists’ pre-Swampland days in Perth are brilliantly encapsulated on this collection of mostly unreleased live material from ’78 and ‘79. These were the days when former Victims and future Hoodoo Gurus drummer James Baker led the band alongside guitarist/singer Kim Salmon, and when their poster read “Rock ‘n’ Roll in the tradition of The Groovies and The Heartbreakers”. The Perth-based line-up recorded the brilliant “Frantic Romantic” single and self-titled EP highlighted by “Last Night.” They also recorded a posthumously released LP—the “pink album”—which came as a massive disappointment due to bad production and a reduced line-up. Not For Sale: Live’ 78/79 is a collection of live and rehearsal tracks that captures the band making the same noises as on those 45s, and presents live versions of the fan faves and vastly superior versions of most of the LP tracks as well as coughing up a bunch of hitherto unreleased originals and covers to boot. This is “The Legendary Scientists”—as they were dubbing themselves within months of forming—as they should be heard. The main set comes from late 1979: a live-to-air broadcast from Melbourne’s 3RRR. The same line-up is also present on a handful of primitive live recordings, made by a friend at one of the group’s regular haunts, the Governor Broome Hotel in ‘79. Play this really loud and it sounds like right there in the pub, shitty PA and all. Packaged with rare and unseen images, an original 1979 Roadrunner magazine feature by Kim Williams (of the Summer Suns, and co-writer of Swampland) and additional notes by Grown Up Wrong’s Dave Laing. This collection provides a thrilling glimpse into what an album by the “Legendary” Scientists might’ve sounded like if it had been recorded in 1979. With the current incarnation of the band touring the US again and performing the likes of “Last Night” and “Frantic Romantic”, this is an essential listen for all Scientists fans, no matter which line-up they prefer.
REDD KROSS – Beyond the Door LP
REDD KROSS invite you to explore Beyond the Door, an album inspired by the band’s “total commitment to having the best f*cking time we can have while we’re all still here” (what they like to call “the Party”). It’s a rock and roll record and a celebration of everything brothers JEFF and STEVEN MCDONALD love, from cultures both high and low. Musically, it’s guitars, bass, and drums topped with a generous portion of sweet vocal melodies often delivered with an ambiguous edge. Beyond the Door marks Redd Kross’ most collaborative record to date. Steven describes this evolution: “Jeff is still very much the driving force behind the compositions, but with more help from me than ever. Jeff and I haven’t shared this much of the writing and singing since Born Innocent in 1981.” Guitarist JASON SHAPIRO and drummer DALE CROVER (MELVINS, OFF!) are longtime members of the Redd Kross live band, but this album marks the pair’s recorded debut with the group. Mixed in Los Angeles by Steven McDonald, Beyond the Door includes notable guest appearances from ANNA WARONKER (THAT DOG), GERE FENNELLY, BUZZ OSBORNE (MELVINS) and JOSH KLINGHOFFER. Limited edition vinyl pressed on purple vinyl.
POISON IDEA – Pick Your King LP
Not only the greatest POISON IDEA record, but the greatest PUNK album of all time! Formed in Portland, OR in 1980, Poison Idea’s debut record features 13 songs in 13 minutes. Poison Idea were one of the first hardcore bands to inspire artists across multiple genre lines. On limited edition colored vinyl with sticker and inserts.
KING GIZZARD – Infest the Rat’s… LP
The planet is in trouble. Dire trouble. But fear not: Melbourne, Australia seven-piece King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard have returned with Infest The Rats’ Nest to save us all, this time armed only with blast beats, an arsenal of well-oiled guitars that are locked and loaded, and a desire to melt faces clean off. Their fifteenth studio album, Infest The Rats’ Nest is by far The Gizz’s hardest and heaviest album to date. How metal is it? Very Metal. Maybe even more. King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard aren’t mere dabbling dilletantes either. Their love of this ferocious music runs deep, and was previously explored on 2017’s apocalyptic concept album Murder Of The Universe, hinted at during 2016’s award-winning Nonagon Infinity’s more bludgeoning moments and elsewhere in numerous hardcore psychedelic freak-outs in their back catalogue. Infest The Rats’ Nest is the sound of King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard scratching the thrash metal itch, fully and unequivocally, ferocious and direct. Pressed on black and red split vinyl.
HAMMERED HULLS – Self Titled 7″
HAMMERED HULLS are a brand new band from Washington D.C. made up of some very old connections. MARY TIMONY (bass) and ALEC MACKAYE (vocals) grew up in the same Washington neighborhood and have spent the better part of their lives in each other’s somewhat distant orbit. Always aware of each other, but never able to play together. MARK CISNEROS (guitar) has been in D.C. for more than a decade. He cut his teeth in Los Angeles listening to both Mary and Alec’s bands, but also a healthy dose of free jazz and garage. He is the man who plays everything with everyone, but this is his band. Hammered Hulls are rounded out by CHRIS WILSON (drums), a monstrous drummer with no shortage of love for all three of his bandmates. Every person in this band is a fan of every other person in this band. Mutual respect drives this train. But to say they are an odd collection of influences is to understate the point. If you tried you couldn’t imagine what this band might sound like. This single was recorded and mixed in a single day at Inner Ear studios, appropriate home to everyone in the DC scene.
DIOCLETIAN – Amongst the Flames LP
Diocletian, who have always reigned at the apex of the extreme, unrelenting war metal movement, have resurged with founder / guitarist Atrociter unearthing the band with a new formation and sense of purpose. The result is the New Zealand unit’s most primal, barbarous, unhinged-yet-remorselessly-calculated and violent album Amongst The Flames Of A Burning God. Five years since their acclaimed Gesundrian album, which saw this war machine of a band reach a certain summit, this latest resurges their sound canvas with a newfound sense of ferocity, rawness, and artistry, all while regressing back to the impressions and atmosphere witnessed on their debut Doom Cult, from ten years ago. To achieve this regeneration, this new lineup aligning with Atrociter consists of vocalist / bassist R.W., drummer E. M., guitarist M. H., and none other than vocalist Impurath (of notorious Black Witchery fame) completing the stronghold.
STRUNG OUT – Songs of Armor LP
For anyone who has listened to punk rock over the past couple decades, STRUNG OUT needs no introduction. Their signature brand of intense, frenetic, metal-influenced punk has elevated them to elite status and played a significant role in redefining the genre. From their FAT debut Another Day in Paradise to 2015’s Transmission.Alpha.Delta, and 2018’s expansive acoustic EP Black Out the Sky; Strung Out’s consistency in pushing the envelope is unmatched. If you listened to their new album Songs of Armor and Devotion with no prior knowledge of Strung Out you probably wouldn’t guess that the California band has been together for almost 30 years—such is the intensity and fresh energy of these 13 songs. Produced by CAMERON WEBB, who was behind the helm of 2009’s Agents of the Underground, it’s a record that brims with the same ferocious fire the band had at the very start of its career, but which also demonstrates how far the California five-piece have evolved as songwriters, musicians and people.
TY SEGALL – First Take LP
It’s a year and a half since the release of Freedom’s Goblin. A winter of rain has buried the recent times of drought. Contradictions are rife. First Taste is an introspective set after the extroversions of Freedom’s Goblin—yet just as steeped in party beats somehow, even as TY SEGALL trails through his back pages, reflecting on family, re-encountering pasts, anticipating futures. First Taste is arch, full of high-energy jams, with a thing in each mix always insistently different. Ty’s song design’s all over the place—not even a surprise anymore—but unlike the freewheeling feast style of Freedom’s Goblin, these twelve numbers form a tightly revolving cycle of song and sound that focuses thoughts.
DEAD SOUND – Self Titled LP
The self-titled debut album by Dead Sound is out now on 1-2-3-4 Go! Records. The guitar-driven power pop quartet—whose sound is reminiscent of bands such as The Replacements, Hold Steady, Dinosaur Jr., Husker Du, and Teenage Fanclub—was produced and mixed by Grammy Award winning engineer Chris Dugan at O2 Oakland. Dead Sound’s release follows the band’s first year performing throughout the west coast including supporting several sold out shows for bands such as Billie Joe Armstrong’s side project The Longshot and other beloved Bay Area bands. Formed in the fall of 2017, Dead Sound is: Mark W. Lynn (Dear County, Uranium 9 Volt, The Devil’s Own, Monsula), Bill Schneider (Pinhead Gunpowder, The Influents, Monsula), Mike Goshert (Fifteen, Harvest Theory, Monsula), and Mack Narragon (Melba Cults). Energized by Monsula’s run of shows including supporting Jawbreaker’s first two reunion performances and headlining the Lookout Records / 924 Gilman thirty-year anniversary festival, Schneider, Lynn, and Goshert began writing new material. Through a stroke of luck Lynn met Narragon, bonding over a conversation about George Jones. New songs were fleshed out with the rest of the band and thus Dead Sound was formed.
DAN MELCHIOR BAND – Negative Freedom LP
Recorded in Philadelphia in late 2016, Negative Freedom encapsulates the moment when the horrible truth was just beginning to sink in. “Everything got broken while I was looking the other way” sings Dan Melchior on “Negative Freedom” and perhaps that’s a relatable sentiment. Elsewhere Melchior’s ever-withering gaze settles on prima donna self-googlers in “They Insulted Me In Mojo” and self-serving promoters get their own anthem in “A Nice Holiday”—”Be careful of enthusiasts who want you to play their island” sings Melchior, with a sense of weary experience that makes the song seem like it might just be autobiographical. The rhythm section on this recording consists of two former members of Taiwan Housing Project (Adam Charles Cooper on bass and Pat Ganley on drums). They manage to lay down a solid but decidedly streamlined groove that perfectly compliments the songs. “This Is One” utilizes a re-discovered drum track laid down by the legendary Letha Rodman Melchior to great effect.
IMPRECATION – Damnatio Ad Bestias LP
Imprecation rises again from the blasted lands of Texas with their darkest spell ever, Damnatio Ad Bestias. This album expands upon the themes of their 2013 debut Satanae Tenebris Infinita with deadly results. An aura of true Satanic majesty is unleashed in tracks like “Temple of the Foul Spirit”, “Morbid Crucifixion”, and “Baptized in Satan’s Blood”. Bludgeoning guitars, battering drums, and haunting keys create an experience that will terrify the unbelievers and convert the uninitiated. Formed in 1991, Imprecation has become a vaunted institution in the underground, with their now-classic Theurgia Goetia Summa compilation cited by bands across the globe. They have no need for trendy tags like “old school death metal”, for theirs is simply death metal as it it was intended—evil, dangerous, and crushing.
CFM – Soundtrack To A … LP
Charles Moothart is releasing his third album under the moniker CFM. It’s called Soundtrack For An Empty Room and keeps it cookin’ off 2016’s Still Life Of Citrus And Slime and 2017’s Dichotomy Desaturated. Moothart is a frequent contributor on many of Ty Segall’s solo ventures but also as a co-conspirator in bands like the blazing jam unit Fuzz, and a fantastic monster of a group called GØGGS, which throws Segall and Moothart in with Chris Shaw of Ex-Cult.
Something that’s immediately apparent on this album is that it’s a harder record than its predecessors. The shift isn’t subtle but it is tremendously cool. A lot of the material was written while Moothart was on tour with Segall and working on the GØGGS Pre Strike Sweep album. The first two CFM efforts gave Moothart the experience to work effectively on his own in the studio, the live shows infuse this with the confidence and attitude that comes from a lot of nights playing where there are no second takes. It is an exciting follow up and further proof that Moothart is one of those people with a lot of music in him.
“If I may speak completely for myself. It’s musicians like Charles, Ty, Chris Shaw, John Dwyer, Tim Presley and Mikal Cronin who are not only revitalizing Independent Music, but have forced the idea of the monolithic album, endless tour and then a year before another release to be but an antiquated and megaboring option. It’s a blast trying to keep up with their output. Super exciting. Lastly, all three CFM albums are great but Soundtrack To An Empty Room is the best one. It rips from start to finish.” —Henry Rollins
PLEASURE LEFTISTS – The Gate LP
Cleveland’s PLEASURE LEFTISTS return with The Gate, a new ten song album of cathartic, riveting post-punk excellence. The long-running group, comprised of veteran players in the Clevo scene, have turned in what is arguably their best recorded output—and the first since 2015’s The Woods of Heaven. For The Gate, PL ventured out to Portland, OR in March 2019 to record on tape with STAN WRIGHT (Arctic Flowers)—and the results are massive. Those familiar with previous PL material will immediately feel reacquainted with the group’s masterful arrangements and cool, confident execution—a style that draws from the early British post-punk classics on labels like 4AD and Factory Records, but retains an organic, original sound that few contemporary acts harness. While The Gate undoubtedly benefits from the best studio sound of any PL release to date, the musicianship is what makes this album feel like an absolutely classic piece of work. The tones are perfect—almost as though Greg Sage dialed them in for a Wipers record. You’ll immediately be taken by HALEY MORRIS’ vocal range and projection, which shines across the entire album and is absolute next level work. The sheer artistic quality of the songwriting is propelled along in perfect rhythm, as the guitar and bass play off of each other wonderfully.
NATURAL MAN BAND – Living In A Chemical LP
Seven Kansas City mavericks deliver a transcendent rock record for the working class. It’s a brew of punk, new wave, the chili peppers and thanks to the professional sax player even krautrock and jazz. The band is DIALED IN. Rock solid performance throughout, take the Iron Maiden harmonizing in “The Hammer” or the spectacular psychedelic sax noodling on “Holes in the Crust” as a couple bits in a pile of nuggets. Black Randy and Big Boys taught us to love Upbeat Danceable Hard Hat Rock and now Nat Man is respectably holding that torch very high. They’ve checked all the boxes – great sound, great songs, great lyrics, great artwork. LR is thrilled to bring you this truly incredible record.
CEMENT SHOES – Too LP
Richmond, VA’s CEMENT SHOES lay down eight new tracks on, Too, their debut album. If you’re new to Da Shoes, their debut 7″ single on Feel It in 2018 left both reviewers and punk/hardcore millenials utterly confused and divided. The sage journalists at Razorcake even exclaimed, “This is the kind of genuine hardcore punk that could reach a pretty damn wide audience if the world were a different place.” Well, it’s 2019 now and the world hasn’t changed one degree for the better, buddy! Thankfully, Cement Shoes have returned to drive the point home with their finest-and-fullest-sounding record yet. The Shoes are truly cooking with gas now, bringing the best elements of snappy ’80s punk/HC and ’70s hard rock to sonic fruition, with the necessary tongue-in-cheek sense of humor intact. Too presents itself as a sonic rendezvous where the ’83 LA cast of punkers from Suburbia, Funhouse-era Stooges, Alice Cooper Band, Totalitär, and Cider are all invited. The whole room reeks of cheap beer and reefer, wah pedals lie on top of dirty shag carpet, and Joe Pesci is there to emcee the whole thing. Confused yet? So are we. But screw it, here’s an album that sounds as timeless as the precious tape it was recorded on. A smoldering effigy to the way rock music used to simply exist and excite, and a shining example of where the unlimited data of the aughts can actually be stretched.