RAT CAGE – DEMO

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RAT CAGE – DEMO (2016)

Spirited outing of mid-00’s punky hardcore from Sheffield’s Rat Cage – you know the type, semi dbeat driven songs, crisp distortion and whiffs of salivating garage punk for bonus catchiness. Super easy to get along with if you’re a fan of Government Warning or Career Suicide (minus their hyper fast tendencies), as this debut demo nails the ‘three broad, bright riffs is all you need to make a song’ approach. The raw vocals are delivered atonally and angrily, turning to the bizarrely overlooked issue of nuclear armament in ‘Anti-Trident’, and the hectic drumming is fast and sweaty throughout – all in all, another top notch Lughole escapee.

DODGE METEOR – DODGE METEOR

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DODGE METEOR – DODGE METEOR (2016)

Mike Vest and Mike Vest fans definitely have a mutually beneficial addiction thing going on: there’s no way to stop him firing up his hotrod space-shred rig and dealing out new sounds (just look at the sheer volume of it all), and whatever product hits the streets gets lapped up fast. This latest one on Riot Season cassette imprint Swap Meat is another prime example of the versatility within his signature style – wah blizzards and psychedelic, doomed riffing – here found stalking around the superb hypnotic drumming of Matteo Dainese II Cane. Mean, muscly fuzz riffs groove hard under the flightpath of the nonstop blazing solos, so unrelenting they blur in to a mesmerising texture, like the doppelgänger antithesis to mopey shoegaze. All six tracks clock in around the relatively concise five minute mark, and the sudden shuddering to a halt comes as a surprise if you haven’t shaken the longform swells of Blown Out and Bong from your preconceptions. Maybe in years to come Vest will be thought of as the UK’s answer to Wino, a lead guitarist with a wicked one-off style, and if so, this Dodge Meteor tape will rank as one of many discography highlights.

ANXIETY – MLP

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ANXIETY – MLP (2016)

Anxiety’s first record is a welcome shot of druggy weirdness, crammed with twitching arty dance opportunities, thick coats of huffable reverb, and maniac punk freakouts. The bass shoulders most of the rhythm grunt work, which gives the shrill guitar permission to dislodge piles of feedback scree and tinker with creepy effects instead, going gleefully and sadistically overboard at every opportunity. The best tracks are when they surge faster in to a mashup of proto and post hardcore, best exemplified by ‘Sewer In My Head’, which sounds like a surf band trying to write a D-Clone song (or the other way round), or ‘Human Hell’, a loathing back-and-forth speedy number that finishes with space-age whooshes. ‘The Worst’ is perversely bouncy and good fun in spite of its sabotaging subject matter, although the same can’t be said about the final migraine, ‘VMD’. The whole MLP is outsider and then some, with self-deprecating and contradictory lyrics spat and howled out a mile a minute, and it’s no surprise to see La Vida Es Un Mus getting behind it when they sound in parts like Hank Wood’s nuts penpal from Glasgow, or the French Frustration without a sense of composure.

BASIC DICKS – DEMO

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BASIC DICKS – DEMO (2016)

Blown out lofi puke punk from Oxford with a righteous boom-cha approach and played way too loud on purpose. It’s verse, chorus, verse with no mucking about by characters from Undersmile (outcast funeral sludge) and Girl Power (sick duo fuzz d-beat, anticipating the new release Welcome To the Gun Show being available soon), with a feral catchiness, alluring monotony and duel screamed vocals oppressing you often in an anarcho fashion. The kick gets so submerged that all that can be heard is smacked snare and a swarm of abused cymbals at points, but the clog of noise and mutant guitar style is easy to get along with – ‘Clean Shirts’ feels blurry, bruised and like everyone is playing out of sync, and final track ‘Clameron’ tricks you in to thinking it’s about to drop in to Jerry’s Kids ‘Is This My World?’. The whole demo is over in less than ten minutes, by which time Basic Dicks will be wedged firmly down your ear for good.

BRUXA MARIA – HUMAN CONDITION

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BRUXA MARIA – HUMAN CONDITION (2016)

An absolutely terrifying, pummeling noisepunkrock full length from London that ploughs its own furrow straight in to a petrol station. Bruxa Maria are quite new, but their overwhelmingly negative and distinctive sound is so honed and callously loud, caked in filthy overdriven noise and about as approachable as a suicide bomber. After the pretty innocuous opener ‘The Hipsters and The Heathens’, it becomes apparent they’re alarmingly adept at finding oblique angles from which to punish as they implode in to a repetitive Framtid death roll, and throughout Human Condition, the eerie, vicious and manipulated vocals of Gill Dread surface in gushing torrents of monochromatic riff detritus which would smother any other voice. They offer up Unsane and Breach as references, and it makes sense, but you can hear anything from L.O.T.I.O.N. to Nailbomb in their freakish, roaming vehicle, designed to constantly aggravate, surprise and repulse. At points, Human Condition is just as abrasive as the Full of Hell/The Body collaboration, or the new Shit And Shine grindcore atrocity – at others, it settles in to an angular post-hardcore (or even grunge) style, and never does it feel forced or contrived. Gorgeously weird and definitely bad for you.

PERFECT BLUE – A WEEK OF FIRES

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PERFECT BLUE – A WEEK OF FIRES (2016)

perfect blue’s first recording is a considered, savvy rush of knotted chord changes, discordant harmonies and agonising emotions, all coming in at under eight minutes. It’s top quality lofi screamo, attained without resorting to any of the wincing, self indulgent idiosyncrasies of the style – instead, a week of fires has a real identity and consistency throughout. ‘palisades’ and ‘solitude/absence’ have dramatic, forceful riffs that jolt up and down, whetting their soft guitar tone in to a sharp weapon, and when the inevitable but loose jangles slither in to the mix during ‘altered state’, they’re despairingly dark and bookended with fitful blasts. ‘shattered skin’ brings the demo to a close with a wrenching melody that needs no punch behind it to be so memorable, but it’s worth skipping track four if you’re allergic to samples.

RECENT, DECENT: JULY

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RECENT, DECENT: a spree of where it’s at tunes from the abundance of excellent new things that keep cropping up.

Doe drop two videos in two weeks from their new record Some Things Last Longer Than You. They’ve got doubts about sincerity, but their punk-pop is bullshit-free and doesn’t patronise you at all – it’s adult and feelgood and catchy, especially ‘Last Ditch‘. It’s another lesson in understated drumming excellence by Jake (of The Exhausts, City Dweller, Tremors, and er TAT), and Nicola’s vocals have got some of the best vowel inflections ever.

Blown Out have served up a sliver of their new record, New Cruiser, which you can listen to here:

Last June they released easily the best psychedelic release of 2015, the Jet Black Hallucinations LP, listening to which was like inhaling space vacuum for kicks, and you can only hope the new one out on Riot Season next month proves to be as thrilling and fatal. Similarly lengthy, boggling and from Newcastle is Khünnt‘s new LP/song, the 38 minute long Failures, which you can attempt to digest at Echoes and Dust. It sounds like a demon sentenced to drown inside a giant church bell at the bottom of the ocean, being knocked about by evil whales.

Both sides of the split below have surfaced now, which won’t take long at all to listen to:

Leicester’s Nothing Clean are improving on their infuriatingly slippy and complex powerviolence with every release, Ona Snop on the other hand are a bit mincier and yesss come on, and the fact that they can use Broken Teeth as a cheap gag is great – still, horror grinders Chestburster make them both look like pensioners in the fast lane holding up the guy behind in the Ferrari. The Troma E.P is a visionary mini-epic that combines sound collage, studio-refined grind and horror movie aesthetics, with truly remarkable results.

Betrayer released the Demonstrating Aggression demo last month, promising thrash and duly delivering, but in a way which will definitely appeal more to fans of Unearth and other beefy metalcore groups from the early 2000s than old school purists – although Dan of Renounced absolutely masters the sneering villain vocals. Northern wolfpack crew Control are playing the exact type of bright, melodic hardcore that people like to champion, but only if it’s from the US… Something of a shame, seeing as they’ve patiently reared and evolved a youth crew sound over the past few years to the point where their own tracks come across stronger and more full of conviction than the Turning Point cover.

Manchester’s Big Machine are two ex Hammers members, and pretty much the only aspect they’ve kept moving forward from those heady crust days is their total refusal to do things in a straightforward manner. On the new demo Bigger Machine, Nick and Sacha break out contortionist punk that can’t decide if it’s seething or pleasant, with intricate folding riffs and perplexing direction changes around every corner. Only three tracks, but totally fascinating.

Last of all, if the JK Flesh and Sun Kil Moon collaboration at the beginning of the year rubbed you the wrong way, then Broadrick’s latest distort-techno LP Rise Above restores a sense of vitality to his work, as his dystopian, disorientating electronic flows and reveals at its own pace rather than serving as a diminished backing track. ‘Defector’ gives a good estimation of what the motorways of 2116 will sound like, while tracks like ‘Cast’ and’Conquered’ are like trudging through a marsh of slimy, burping bass.