Record Reviews

1125: Tysiac Sto Dwadziescia Piec: 2 x LP

Monstrous double disc retrospective of one of Poland’s premier straight edge hardcore bands. Going since 1996, they have been sticking to the NYHC blueprint: tough hardcore with more than a nod to Madball and later Agnostic Front. All the lyrics are in Polish so they could be singing about eating cats, but judging by the photos of high leaps in sports gear I’m guessing it’s songs about friendship and vengeance. This compiles the band’s earliest records from ‘97/’99. It’s pretty raw, fast, and hardcore. If you are a fan of Polish stuff or a hardcore super nerd, dig in. For me? I don’t need it. –Tim Brooks (Pasazer)

156: Memento Mori: 10” EP

True “industrial” music is a bit of a challenge to review—how does one assess what is often essentially a collection of noise, some occasionally culled from recordings of working machines, hunks of sheet metal being bashed, and the like? Still, I must profess a fondness for the stuff, and this is no exception. A collection of recordings utilizing only instruments made from human bones, this howls, whispers, squeals, and clangs in a variety of deliveries that are at times fascinating and unsettling. Not the kind of listening that involves bobbing heads and singing along, this is more about introspection and mood evocation. It ain’t for everyone, but it is worth the effort for those interested in something a bit off the beaten path. –Jimmy Alvarado (156, onefivesix.bandcamp.com)

99ERS / DARLINGTON: Split: 7” 33

Christy Darlington was an enigmatic minor star of ‘90s pop punk; nobody could really figure out what that dude was all about (or was sufficiently mobilized to inspect the matter in depth), and I got to admit I giggled a little when I saw they/he were/was still at it, lo some twenty years later. Be that as it may, “Mars Rover” is like a dirty Archies song, so stupid and catchy and infectious that you’ll be singing it to yourself all the while you beat Christy’s face in with a waffle iron for writing it. “Dress Code” is a bit more on the nose, but still serviceable. On the flip, the 99ers—just two points off the torrid pace established by the 101ers!—sound like a newly-excavated link between Helen Love and the Queers, trading off girl/boy vocals not at all unlike the contents of a Fay Fife/Eugene box of Rezillo-flavored Nerds®, managing to name-drop Das Kapital, North Star Roller Derby, and the Mr. T Experience in the span of two songs. I hate to say this, but I think I love this. BEST SONG: 99ers, “Rude Girl T-Shirt.” BEST SONG TITLE: Darlington, “Mars Rover.” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: The first WFTDA playoff tournament game I ever announced was North Star vs. Grand Raggidy. ¬–Rev. Nørb (Man Della / Ratgirl / Jerkoff, mandellarecords.com)

ABORTTI 13: Kansa Tasiteli: 7”

The note this Finnish band included says they’ve been at it for thirty-five years. Based on the songs herein, I believe it: throughout, Abortti 13 prove masters of the form, whether playing mid-tempo 1977-style punk or blistering hardcore. It’s a joy to hear such love for the genre coming through in the music, which concerns itself with war, fear of the unknown, and (you guessed it) Christopher Lee. –Michael T. Fournier (abortti13@gmail.com)

ACRYLICS: Despair: 7”

“Despair” starts off stompin’, gets artsy-weird, gets a bit thrashy, then backs out in reverse order. “Reassurance” vacillates between full-bore thrash and slower, more structurally complex parts that brood and burn. Sound’s appropriately blown out, the delivery is on point, and a good single is in the offing. –Jimmy Alvarado (Iron Lung)

ANDY PALACE AND THE COOLHEADS: Self-titled: 7”

Typically I’d say that this is your standard garage-y punk or vice versa, but there’s a little more going on with the instrumentation here. After all: there are six freakin’ people in the band! The new wave-sounding synths go along nicely with the tiny bit of glam swagger and wailing guitar leads. Bad Sports meets the Lost Sounds, if that makes any sense. There’s a little something for everyone who likes punk and there’s even more in store for you if you like fully naked men on the cover. –Juan Espinosa (Jonny Cat, no address listed)

AQUARIAN BLOOD: Last Nite in Paradise: LP

It took me a bit to remember that before Aquarian Blood there was Moving Finger, featuring future members of Aquarian Blood. Then I remembered that I slept on the Moving Finger 7”. Then I remembered I missed both Aquarian Blood 7”s. I’ve had to make all sorts of adult decisions with my money, and it’s put me super far behind in my record buying! I’ve seen Aquarian Blood a few times and grabbed Last Nite in Paradise when they came through my town. Live, Aquarian Blood is all intense energy, a bit psych-y but not wholly psych. And more than a little creepy and intimidating at times. I wondered how this would translate to record. The first few spins of Last Nite in Paradise had me thinking the recording was a little too lo-fi to capture all the background subtleties. This ain’t no dig, ‘cause I really dig Aquarian Blood, and I almost never prefer something regular-fi over lo-fi. It’s the creepy extra sound effects Aquarian Blood use that puts them over the top, and that stuff can be lost in lower fidelity recordings. Subsequent spins reveal new textures, all the better played louder. There are a few garage punkers (“Get Wet,” “Cold Foreign Advisor,” “Sex Is Pure/Love Is Blind”) but the more haunting songs (“Skinsuit,” Won’t Forget to Die”) add an uneasy quality that maybe make you question your moral compass for liking this record. Vocals are slurred by reverb, so it’s hard to make out all the words, but frontwoman Laurel’s delivery is powerful, in a “how does she not burst a blood vessel?” kind of way. I’m still not sure if the chorus to “Blood Chant” is “she drinks Aquarian blood” but maybe it’s better not to know. –Sal Lucci (Goner)

ARTEFACT: Votive Offering: LP

Alongside Sweden’s Vånna Inget and Hurula, Artefact, from Cardiff, Wales, provide a noteworthy entry in the goth-kissed post-punk revival on their debut LP. The ten songs sonically fuse contemporary bands like Arctic Flowers and Wild Moth with ‘80s anarcho such as The Mob and Zounds. The sparse verses tensely build to cathartic choruses, giving vocalist Hannah enough room to croon among the best: Siouxsie Sioux, Exene Cervenka, Peter Murphy. Her vocals exude a cool, fearless swagger that accentuates the swirling guitar, taut rhythms, and hypnotic bass lines. The lead riff on “The Morrigan” sounds like it could be right off The Cure’s The Head on the Door, and “Witching Hour” and “Libracide” speed up the tempo and turn on the attitude, exploring territory previously traversed by Lost Cherrees and Rubella Ballet. But “Boudicca,” a sprawling epic, opens with a harmonic-laden bass intro and anguished lyrics (“Thrown to the wolves / Howls echo still”) before engulfing the listener in a wave of distortion. Artefact’s marriage of post-punk, goth, and anarcho is a match made in heaven. –Sean Arenas (Adagio 830, adagio830.de)

ASTEROID NO.4, THE: “Ticking Tome Bomb” b/w “Broken Moon”: 7”

Two fuzz treats with harmonies and organ riffs reminiscent of later pop psych when meringue ran over the edge of the plate. LSD vocals float along without taking itself too seriously. The bass fuzz in “Ticking Time Bomb” is massive and catchy. The song doesn’t rely on catchiness; it has a handle on the waviness some people call “atmosphere” when a band is bad. “Broken Moon” has a bit of shoegazer in it. I’m not versed in shoegaze much, but I do like the song. If you ride the psych/shoegaze line, it’s a good record. –Billups Allen (13 O’Clock)

ATLANTES: Adamastor: 7” EP

Oi of French/Portuguese extraction with the requisite football-chanty bits, gruff vocals, and so on. Its saving graces are some good guitar lines atop well-constructed songs that, while no longer my cup of tea, are nonetheless potent. –Jimmy Alvarado (Spirit Of The Streets)