BEG – S/T 7″

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BEG – S/T 7″ (2016)

Superhuman chaos grind from a member of Art of Burning Water (‘PhD-beat‘ 10/10) and a member of The Afternoon Gentlemen – so restless and heavily encrypted it could be both bands playing at once. Beg churn out the most challenging spread of riff/blasts you’re likely to encounter this year, segmenting their tracks into hundreds of brutal hurdles that hurt the brain as much as the ears, and underneath the bursts of flak, a constant nauseous whirl of soft noise exarcebates the pervading sense of unease. Krupskaya and Narcosis both hit this level of rare intensity in years passed, but neither did it in this warped manner, bringing in serrated bits of repurposed AmRep sludge and maniac powerviolence and often executed as surgically as extreme metal. A truly brilliant seven minutes of mastergrind 7″.

REVENUE – CS

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REVENUE – CS (2016)

A glorious 5 goals scored by London’s new suave punks, Revenue, featuring members of Jackals, that little known band Fat White Family, No Coast and a few other acts (Boneyards? Easy Hips? Static Palm?) that probably ring zero bells to resolutely punk ears. This first demo is an excellent guide to making achingly modern updates on classic guitar music without coming across like empty-headed fashion mopes (the kind that huddled around Power Lunches until its closure) – the runaway bass pogo jaunts, covert rock’n’roll melodies and matter-of-fact vocals demand attention regardless of whether you’re coming to the band as a fan of Observers/Red Dons, The Adverts or The Walkmen. The unfussy production works so well applied to the lively nature of Revenue’s tracks, and consider it mandatory to pick up this tape from Whipping Boy Records if you’ve ever obsessed over bands like The Estranged or La URSS.

 

SEMI – GO VIRAL

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SEMI – GO VIRAL (2016)

London’s Semi only crop up once in a while, dishing out doses of repellent noize hardcore punk to confused audiences then skulking away again, but now they’ve got something posted permanently online in the La Vida Es Un Mus 7″ Go Viral. The four tracks are pickled in a piercing bitcrushed treble that renders everything positively inaudible, covering up their crashing pogo with torrential distortion and scrambled FX, and with dial-up breakdowns and complaining vocals, Semi tread the fine line between punk sophisticate and lowlife scum punk extremely well. An essential update for fans of The Wankys, as well as followers of semi-related capital city bands like No, Snob, Good Throb. Beware of this audio malware.

RECENT, DECENT: AUGUST

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A slow month on the site, blame it on the glimpse of summer and live music. Here’s a massive haul of new tracks – there’s a lot of omissions and some here deserve longer write-ups, but keeping up with such a hefty batch of releases is no easy task.

In the last few years there’s been something of a doom boom in the UK, and while the quality hasn’t matched the quantity across the board, there’s still a lot of innovators pushing open some breathing space by putting out heavy tunes that make your head feel like it’s in a giant garlic crusher. Belfast’s Slomatics are definitely one of those aforementioned experts in sadistic tone warfare, and their fifth LP, Future Echo Returns, is a long They Live style brawl of volcanic riffs and repeated decreases in tempo. The grand finale ‘Into The Eternal’ is a must if you were disappointed by Pallbearer’s recent cover of Type O Negative. Also out on the same label (Black Bow) are Tides Of Sulfur, who have a cadaverous death metal take on sludge that goes for the graveyard groove of Coffins, the indecent depth of Warhorse and Cianide, and the journeying inventiveness of Slabdragger, punctuated with inconsiderately heavy doom beatdowns.

Skinny Girl Diet have their new LP Heavy Flow coming out soon, and the tracks so far are confrontational, noise-drenched grunge future classics – ‘Yeti’ beats at least 50% of Nirvana classics at their own game, but they’re definitely a punk band and crucial for fans of Action Swingers and fellow Londoners Comanechi (RIP).

There’s another month or so until the remainder of On Strange Loops touches down, but stupidly advanced extreme metallers Mithras have two tracks out ahead of its release, ‘Between Scylla and Charybdis‘ and ‘The Statue On The Island‘. As before, their infuriatingly vivid technicality and huge, awe-inspiring atmospherics make Morbid Angel look like amateurs, and between his expertise in astrophysics and total mastery of multiple instruments, you wonder if Leon Macey is of this earth at all…?

You definitely don’t have to be freakishly gifted to make savage noise though, after all, we’re Only Human. This new Reagent Records band from Yorkshire have already been compared to YDI a couple of times, a fair comparison given they deal in blurry, cyclical, nightmare hardcore punk on their demo, though there’s also slobbering The Accused style yelling and hints of the Stupids and Cheetah Chrome Motherfuckers. Also digging up an ancient USHC sound and from Leeds or thereabouts are Whipping Post, and their first demo Taste The Whip is some seriously addled crawling fuzz hardcore that pretty much picks up off where Mob Rules left off, making miserabler improvements on later Black Flag and bands like Nomos – the track ‘Pull The Cord’ especially is a heaving sleepwalk stomp.

Not done yet… Also from the locality and leaning towards a classic US sound are Natterers, whose debut demo is made up of upbeat rock’n’roll indebted instrumentation (the kind that Regulations and Adolescents both were so good at utilising in their songwriting) and dominated by loud unabashed vocals.

London’s Dym might rub up hardened heavy fans the wrong way, but the dreamy, queasy, mesmeric melodies that lull, lurch and snap throughout their dead sick of trying EP are a welcoming mix of Hum, Mahumodo and mid 90s Dischord emo, all very introspective and art school – not that there’s anything wrong with that, and if you’re after more contemplative matter in the screamo vein, Nottingham’s Underdark present a very intricate, refined version of black metal on their first, Mourning Cloak. The slick post-rock production bolsters their pretty compositions immeasurably as they ascend towards strained emotional climaxes, but for the most part they knuckle down with swaying, negative riffs and intermittent blasts, placing themselves along established BM expanders like Wolves In The Throne Room and (inevitably!) Deafhaven.

 

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.

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.

 

 

SARCASM – TOTAL INSTITUTION

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SARCASM – TOTAL INSTITUTION (2016)

Excellent post-punk played with such an eye-rolling, nonchalant attitude that it comes across like they’ve been coerced into writing songs against their will. The drums are so washy and distant, like they’ve been lifted from a cassette wedged in to a car stereo for twenty years; the uniform downpicked guitar lines are like a machinist approximation of East Bay Ray; the vocals are sarky, androgynous and on the brink of giving up – and it all makes for a brilliant, aesthetically honed demo. The faux-Cyrillic logo and bleak, functional artwork work so well with the lethargic approach, although when they open up in to ‘Figure In A Landscape’ and depart from the rusty pogo, that’s probably when they sound most unique and intriguing. The rest of the time, it’s like a Peckham discount shop version of obscure French post-punk/disco, which is the highest praise and heartiest recommendation.