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Webcomic Wednesdays #223

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NIP DRIVERS: Fox on the Run: 7”

The Nip Drivers were one of those early ‘80s L.A. punk bands that managed to disarm any hostility caused by an offensive name—and often even more offensive lyrical content—with smart, slyly poppy hardcore that straddled a line drawn between Redd Kross and, say, Bad Religion. The two comp rarities here—a cover of Sweet’s “Fox on the Run” from the Desperate Teenage Lovedolls soundtrack and “E.Y.O.B.,” from the When Men Were Men…And Sheep Were Scared comp (though technically the latter also counts as a track from their second, and final, album, Oh Blessed Freak Show)—are a nice, brief showcase of the band channeling both sides, making a glam classic their own personal punk classic and turning a chorus of “eat yourself out baby” into something of an anthem of its own. Once existed a time when punk reveled in its own irreverent obnoxiousness, when folks knew the diff between being a nazi prick and working overtime at pissing people off for the sheer entertainment value. This band is of that time, and this “new” single is the band at likely their most accessible. –Jimmy Alvarado (Slope)

NO HEART: Scum: 7”

I must admit that I have been pretty burned out on oi/street punk in the last few years. There was a point where I was reviewing a lot of oi records and it was all blending together. I’m not sure if I am fully over that, but I did enjoy this two-song blast from Victoria’s own No Heart. I heard that these recordings were only meant to be demos, but in this case, it really works in their favor as I get a cool, Templars kind of lo-fi feel from it. Having seen them live recently, I can say I am looking forward to hearing some new recordings from these guys. –Ty Stranglehold (Longshot)

NOISE: Demo Tapes 1991-1995: LP

Noise is one of those super underground nerd tape trader golden gods. From some tucked away spot in Brazil they put out these hyper obscure demos of absolute face melting grind. Anti-cop, anti-capitalist, anti-state – these demos have been dubbed across the globe finally appear on vinyl. The packaging is neat, with lyrics and scans of the original cassettes. The “music” is just a literal wall of noise. This means absolutely zero to me, but fans of Lotus Fucker, Rupture, and the like may want a look. –Tim Brooks (SPHC)

NOSEBLEED: Lowlife: 7” EP

Four tracks of blown-out, pissed-off thrash. There’s maybe just a hint of Discharge buried in the bleak caterwauling, but nothing so overt that this falls into hero worship. Some nice work here. –Jimmy Alvarado (Vinyl Conflict)

NOT A PART OF IT: Don’t Let the Bastards Down: CD

Oregon’s Not A Part Of It released their first full length, self-proclaimed as a “‘77 influenced punk rock record that will make your butt hairs stand up and dance.” I get some Clash vibes from the bridge on “It’s Been a Cwazy Week Weatherwise” and “Contemporary Charismatic Criminals.” This album is heavy on the Stiff Little Fingers influence, with catchy sounds of street punk and hints of oi throughout. ¬¬–Cynthia Pinedo (notapartofit.bandcamp)

OLVIDO: Demo: CS

Things are still gelling for this Mexico City band, but they’re off to a good start, playing simple punk with melodic leads and a sorta snotty woman singer. I hope they stick around, because I’m excited to hear what’s next. –Chris Terry (Richter Scale)

OPEN CITY: Self-titled: LP/CD

With band members who have served time in the likes of Kid Dynamite, Worriers, Ceremony, and Ted Leo And The Pharmacists, the expectations for Open City’s debut album were high. The outcome does the band justice as it tears through a bunch of songs that have me thinking of a mix of Fugazi, War On Women, and Dag Nasty. When the band is raging full-on, vocalist Rachel Rubino sounds as if she is channelling a rabid grizzly bear, such is the effort she puts in to venting her wrath and frustrations. There are calmer moments and these find Rubino shifting to a more subtle delivery, helping highlight a band not as musically confined as I first thought. This is a quality album. –Rich Cocksedge (End Hits, endhitsrecords.com)

PALLBEARER: Heartless: CD/ 2 x LP

For Pallbearer’s third full-length album, this quartet from Little Rock, Ark., is once again in the doom metal camp. Yet their sound seems to showcase further influences than on previous releases. On the hour of music that comprises Heartless, I hear the band exploring their melodic side, with hints of Explosions In The Sky and Jesu. Lead singer Brett Campbell’s vocals are changing in a pleasant way. While they’re still reminiscent of Ozzy, he reaches for some higher, more angelic notes from time to time. It’s unfortunate, then, that backing vocals from his bandmates take away from the melodic tone of both the music and Campbell’s lead vocals. The lead guitar work, by contrast, sings with beauty—hopeful and triumphant. As I wrote in a review for the band’s album Foundations of Burden, this is a release that requires you to put on some headphones and let the sound wash over you. Despite the backing vocals disruption, this is Pallbearer’s strongest work. It’s also a great place to start if you’re not familiar with the band and want an entry point. –Kurt Morris (Profound Lore, profoundlorerecords.com)

PARDON US: Self-titled: 7”

Jaunty power pop with a punk edge straight from the city that gave us The Beatles. This trio reminds me of The Gain, with crisp guitar work being prominent from the get go and some memorable choruses adding to the fun. Fans of Gentlemen Prefer Blood—also featuring Todd Smailes of The Gain—could do worse than check this out, given a similar propensity for being heavy on the melody and doing it extremely well. –Rich Cocksedge (Everything Sucks, everythingsucksmusic.com)