Record Reviews

ABOLITIONIST: The Instant: 12” LP

Been waiting for this one after finding 2017’s Pinnacle EP and it doesn’t disappoint. These songs are so fast that the 12” plays at 45 rpm. With most songs hovering around the two minute mark, Abolitionist gives everything they have in every moment. In that sense, there are songs like “Totally Bonkers” that remind me of Paint It Black or Kid Dynamite in that fast, aggressively political explosion. But the record isn’t rote or repetitive. It’s not trying to imitate, but makes clear its influences. Personally, I like that, because I like knowing the genealogy of how bands think. On this record, you get that along with some really biting commentary that I’m starving for every time I listen to music these days. –Theresa W. (1859, 1859records.bandcamp.com)

ACTIVE MINDS: The Freedom of the Borough: 7”

Brutal and combative left wing U.K. hardcore at its best—Active Minds make me want to go out roaming the streets to bellow, howl, and punch Nazis. Perhaps most interesting about this record, though, is that instead of a mere lyric sheet, each song in the booklet is accompanied with what is more or less an op-ed that explains why the ideas in the song are so vital. That kind of commitment should be applauded, as should the sonic beatdown that Active Minds deliver. –The Lord Kveldulfr (Looney Tunes)

ALEX WILEY COYOTE: Psychedelic Problems: CS

Alex Wiley Coyote is a one-man exploration into diverse musical territories that would typically never intersect—such as outlaw country, new wave, synth pop, and weirdo punk—presented in mixtape formula. Although wry and sometimes downright bizarre (“Mountain” sounds like a stoner rambling about Jesus whilst simultaneously smoking weed and inhaling helium… the fuck did I just hear?) there’s something about this bizarre collection of tracks that makes me wonder if even Lumpy sometimes just gets weirded out by some bands. I’m on my third listen so whatever Alex is doing it seems to be working because I’m hooked. –Juan Espinosa (Worry, alexwileycoyoete.bandcamp.com)

ALMATAHA: Kill the Leaders: CD

Fairly by-the-numbers hardcore that leans a bit towards modern street punk. Musically they’re not breaking new ground, but the lyrics are topical and not so amorphous that things end up sounding like a pose. They’re on a good foundation, but I’d be interested to hear where they end up a little further down the road when more of who they are—instead of what they might think is expected—begins to shine through. –Jimmy Alvarado (Major Letdown)

ANOTHER ONE / THE DISTRACTIONS: Split: 7”

Two sides of slick pop punk, which is not my thing, but I get that it’s a thing. Another One’s side is tougher and exceptionally bleak (an unwanted pregnancy, rape, death), while The Distractions maintain they’ll be partying hard forever. I feel obliged to tell them that a.) no, they won’t and b.) you don’t want to do that. –Matt Werts (Smoking Cat, smokingcat.bandcamp.com)

ARCH RIVALS: Constant State of War: LP/CD

Oi band Arch Rivals hails from Plymouth, U.K., where I live, yet it’s gone totally under my radar over the past few years. Admittedly, I’m not a huge oi aficionado but the band doesn’t seem to play much locally, which probably explains my ignorance. Constant State of War is the band’s second album and it’s got a really powerful feel to it, with punchy anthems, singalong parts and, of course, a plethora of opportunities to shout out “Oi!” Aggression seethes from the speakers, creating a boisterous experience aided by a really strong guitar presence, which, at times, reminds me of where Cockney Rejects are at musically these days. A pleasant surprise and a band I now want to see live, as it should be a good night out. –Rich Cocksedge (Randale, diana@randale.de, randaleshop.de)

BACK TO BASICS: Shaded Eyes: 7”

You’d think it wouldn’t be that hard for a band to put two or three of their best songs on a 7” record and have it be a really, really, truly great record. Back To Basics have done just that with this record. This is a near-perfect 7” of raw, catchy-as-fuck power pop-inspired punk. After a quick, moody instrumental opener, the following two songs are flawless gruff anthemic punk songs with big, catchy choruses that beg you to sing along. There are hooks all over the place, which all but guarantees these songs will undoubtedly get stuck in my head later today. I mean it; this is really, really good and gets my highest recommendation. –Mark Twistworthy (Secret Mission, secretmissionrecords.com)

BAD MOVES: Tell No One: LP/CD

I heard one song—“Cool Generator”—from this initially and had to immediately track down the album due to it being so good. The rest of Tell No One did not disappoint and managed to throw up a song which eclipsed my first encounter. “Spirit FM” provided power pop goodness so catchy that within just a few plays I was fully conversant with the tune and its wonderful guitar work. The guitars are exceptional throughout this album and they are one of the things I like so much about it, adding in riffs and leads that really help songs move along. There is a good fistful of belters providing many peaks on Tell No One. To be fair, there are no real lows to be found. This is damn fine collection of smooth melodies. –Rich Cocksedge (Don Giovanni, info@dongiovannirecords.com, dongiovannirecords.com)

BARSTOOL PREACHERS, THE: “Warchief” b/w “DLTDHYOTWO”: 7”

This is an advance single for their new LP Grazie Governo, and I thought it would be fairly straightforward, anthemic street punk, based on the cover art. Shame on me—the Barstool Preachers aren’t so simple. Instead of just pounding it out, these dudes from Brighton came off more subdued, subtle, and complex then I would have thought (“Warchief”), and then they brought in a thick river of ska and poppiness into their mix, which was an unexpected delight (“DLTDHYOTWO”). Moreover, press releases indicate these guys are consistently working for social justice causes, so musically and ideologically these guys have got my support. Comes on lozenge-blue vinyl! –The Lord Kveldulfr (Pirates Press)

BASEBALL FURIES, THE: All-American Psycho: LP

I remember The Baseball Furies as a show staple on the East Coast in the late ’90s. They must have played a lot for a couple of years. All-American Psycho is a repress of their first 1999 10” on a 12” record. The band continued until 2009, recording three more albums. The album is full-on speed freak pace with the distorted, sounds-like-they’re-shouted-through-a-megaphone vocals. The album doesn’t vary much, but is solid in its pocket. It moves fast and rides the garage/’90s punk border. –Billups Allen (Big Neck)