Record Reviews

ABSOLUT: Demo 2013: EP

Y’all know how I feel about demos pressed to wax? It’s usually a waste. Sometimes I’m proved wrong. Here, your honor, is case number one: Ear-bleeding feedback, six tracks of crazed d-beat noise like the bastard children of Shitlickers, Cimex, and Lebenden Toten. Out of Canada, they already split up. I. Love. This. Shit. –Tim Brooks (No address listed)

ACCIDENT: Platinum Summer: CS

Snotty, loud, and esoteric punk/hardcore from Western Massachusetts. Germs abrasiveness and Saccharine Trust weirdness with a Reagan Youth fuck-it-all attitude. My fists are all bloody from punching on the concrete. The label will put out your tape. No, seriously! Punks, freaks, and outsiders only, please. –Juan Espinosa (More Power Tapes, morepowertapes@gmail.com)

AK-47: Burn the Rats Out: CD

This band has been a part of the fabric of my local scene almost as long as I have lived here (going on a quarter century now). It always puts a smile on my face to know that AK is still angrier than all of us, and have no qualms about giving you an earful. While it is a reoccurring theme with the band, it feels like police violence and oppression are taking center stage here. From the front cover photo of riot cops on fire, to the opening song “When Pigs Fly,” the message is clear. Fuck the police, fuck oppression, fuck cancer, and fuck you if you make excuses. This is as hardcore as it gets. Blasting riffs and beats to match the intensity in the vocals. Thirty-one songs in forty-one minutes! Full disclosure, this is a small city and these guys are friends of mine, but I was reviewing their bands long before I knew them, and it would be remiss if I didn’t take this opportunity to share one of the best political hardcore punk bands I have ever heard. –Ty Stranglehold (Self-released, ak47hardcore.blogspot.ca)

ANDY THE BAND: Carry On: 7” EP

Sometimes a band can be too good. Terrible Feelings were one those bands. Really proficient players, excellent songwriting and, yet, somehow they weren’t as big as they should’ve been. I thought they’d be colossal; on a Swedish major at least. Who knows why it didn’t happen, but Andy from Terrible Feelings/Satanic Surfers is on his own now, and this here record is to be in support of his upcoming tour supporting Vanna Inget in Japan. The music’s great. Not exactly far removed from Terrible Feelings, but not as “rock” as it’s self-described. It’s softer, but it still sounds like punk music to my ears. Looking forward to hearing more. Another fine releases on the always-consistent Sabotage Records. –Steve Adamyk (Sabotage, sabotagerecords.com)

ANTiSEEN: Obstinate: LP

Obstinate is the first ANTiSEEN full-length since the tragic death of the band’s cofounder, guitarist Joe Young. Mad Brother Ward does a terrific job of filling the shoes of Young by retaining Young’s signature sound, while adding twists that are all his own. To say that ANTiSEEN bounced back from heartbreak is an understatement, as this album is as vital as any in their extensive catalog. The LP version is on TKO and the CD version is on Mystery School. The vinyl ends with a lock groove that repeats the title of the album over and over, a hilarious treat for those of us who can’t get enough of one of the most unique voices in the history of punk. The packaging is fantastic, with a giant poster included with the beautiful marbled grey vinyl. The current band lineup puts on a mind-numbingly fierce live show, and these new songs fit in well with the nearly thirty-five years of ANTiSEEN’s back catalog. Stunning from start to finish, Obstinate smashes any and all notions that bands can’t sustain vivacity over extensive time periods. ANTiSEEN isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, and if this record is any indicator, they’ll continue to write instant classics year after year. –Art Ettinger (TKO)

ARSON PROJECT: Disgust: LP

Very competent grind/HC from Sweden that sounds good at both 33 and 45 but is appropriate at 45RPM (in case you’re keeping score). The songs have a d-beat edge and remind me a lot of their Swedish counterparts End Of All, though they sweep aside the melodies of the stadium crust bands and focus more on tempo changes, blast beats, and those simple but effective “chugga chug” riffs. For fans of Cursed, Ed Gein, and Deathwish/A389 catalogs. The songs are simple but effective, the recording is crisp, and the packaging is excellent. –Ian Wise (Power It Up, power-it-up.de)

AT BOTH ENDS: Wheels out the Window: CD

If Vinnie quit Less Than Jake and Fletcher Dragge of Pennywise joined up, I’d imagine it’d sound exactly like this. So much so that if I ever wanted to hear this sort of a thing, I would probably just be more inclined to grab the originals. This is about as satisfying as a lukewarm Coors Light in the middle of July. –Garrett Barnwell (Morning Wood)

ATERFALL / VANVETT: Split: 10”

Attention crust fans, here’s a great new split from two Swedish bands. Vanvett describe themselves as d-beat and “don’t give a shit beat,” this is pretty accurate for both bands. Grab some cheap beer, throw an arm around your closest, crustiest friend, and listen to this split. –Ryan Nichols (Phobia, order@phobiarecords.net)

AYE NAKO: Silver Haze: CD

It’s really difficult to review an album with so many layers of intentional magic moving through each part of it. Silver Haze opens with an intro that feels like an art installation, mixing children’s voices in conversation with ambient sounds, rhythm, and the echoes of awkward laughter. Those echoes of youth and unease, mixed with brilliant forward-propelling energy, set up the tone and intention of the songs that follow. They’re brooding and blunt with verses that fall into choruses that fall into sparkling instrumentals and hard stops, making for imaginative soundscapes rather than basic knuckle dragging bullshit. It may take you a minute to digest. It also may not be for you. Imagine Sonic Youth raised a crew of queer babes who grew up and made them irrelevant. Imagine the hard boundaries between emo and punk and indie were burned down and replaced with porous, astrological space filled with potential and prisms that reflect and redirect on new planes. Highly recommend. –Candace Hansen (Don Giovanni)

BABY SHAKES: Turn It Up: LP

I have yet to hear a record by this male-drummered quartet that I have not adored, even though putting the drummer’s face on the enclosed poster really musses up my pursuit of the prurient interest, although in terms of resale value I suppose it’s probably for the best. A presumably very floral smelling mass of checkers, stripes, and bangs, the Baby Shakes do a continually admirable job of grinding up and processing their influences (Bobbyteens? Nikki & The Corvettes with better guitar leads? Glam on a few songs?), without actually directly sounding like their influences. Everything kinda goes in one end, gets pulped into some manner of Rock Slurry by the creative process, and comes out the other end as the Baby Shakes, which is great—punky-poppy rock’n’roll, equal parts glitz and blitz, gloss and boss, glands and band. As pleasant as I find the whole sweet morass, the one thing that they really haven’t done—to my myopic eardrums, anyway—is to repeatedly create product possessed by some divine spark of band-defining originality; something that the Baby Shakes and the Baby Shakes alone could produce. I like pretty much everything they’ve done, but (and admittedly I’m picking nits here) nothing they’ve ever done has been dreadfully unique; it’s a well-crafted synthesis of influences but not really a brand leader. Ah well, I’m sure their forthcoming double-album rock opera about a deaf, dumb, and incontinent kid who plays Candy Crush exceptionally well is already half in the can. That said, please enjoy the best bangs in rock’n’roll, won’t you? BEST SONG: “Turn It Up.” BEST SONG TITLE: “Baby Blue”… IF YOU’RE BADFINGER. FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: Includes a cover of “Last Night” by the Scientists. ¬–Rev. Nørb (Lil’ Chewy)