Record Reviews

BAD COP / BAD COP: Warriors: CD

After incessant touring, one member’s battle with substance abuse, and a garbage human being elected president, Bad Cop has returned with eleven songs that are dagger sharp. There is so much concentrated power and vitriol on this record compared to their debut full length, Not Sorry. The first track “Retrograde” kicks off with laughter before Stacey Dee’s gruff yet melodic voice screams through. Singing duties are largely left to Stacey on this record, but there are a few helmed and written by Jennie Cotterill and Lihn Le. Those tracks from the latter two ladies fit right in with the themes of not backing down, demanding equality, denouncing domestic violence, and highlighting issues of body dysmorphia. Bad Cop is not afraid of being angry and loud about it, all the while accompanied by powerful guitar riffs, breakneck speed, and heavy beats. “Amputations” slows things down quite a bit but might be my favorite track. It’s an anthem for being a badass and pushing past the bullshit parts of life. Plus it has this rad lyric coupling: “Run along, find some other prey / break a tooth on my thick skin.” Some other major standouts on this record are “Wild Me,” “I’m Done,” and “Brain Is for Lovers,” which all quickly became earworms. Everything about this record is stepped up a notch. It’s one of the first collections of songs in this terrible administration that staunchly promotes feminist values with a message and voice that I absolutely prescribe to. This record is strong as hell—slightly over polished in parts, but that’s just how you get a diamond. Well that and amassed pressure and heat, which this band clearly knows how to handle. –Kayla Greet (Fat)

BADASS MOTHER FUZZERS: Heartbreaker: CD

Power trio from Toulouse, France! Looks like they have already ventured to the East Coast for some shows earlier this year, so the commitment is there. I’m hearing fuzzed-out garage rock in the early Saints and Nomads wheelhouse. Not a bad place to start. A minor quibble would be that a couple song titles are “borrowed” from the Ramones and (almost) the Stooges. The songs are energetic and rock for the most part. They have the soiled map in hand; let’s see if they find the treasure. –Sean Koepenick (Pitshark, badassmotherfuzzers@gmail.com)

BARBED WIRE BRACES: Self-titled: CD

Barbed Wire Braces makes gnarled street punk suitable for getting drunk in a gutter to. It’s fast and growly stuff, for UK82 fans, similar to the Exploited. Nothing too groundbreaking here but an ably-made take on a classic style of punk. The individually screen-printed CD case is a nice touch. –Lyle (Self-released, barbedwirebraces.bandcamp.com)

BARE TEETH: First the Town, Then the World: CD

This French band is carrying the torch for the ‘90s Fat Wreck Chords-style skate punk. The musicianship is excellent all around and there’s some killer riffage, a la Strung Out. The songs are a little predictable, with their fast-slow-fast template and solo sections. With time and writing experience, these things can be improved upon in the future. But, ultimately, what’s really keeping Bare Teeth from rising above, is the vocals. The lead vocalist just doesn’t have that unique, strong voice that propelled bands of their ilk to the forefront in times past. Do you remember Osker? 98 Mute? Maybe the names, but certainly not the music. Those bands just didn’t have the songs or the vocals that Strung Out, Lagwagon, No Use, et al had in spades. Same deal here. This is only their first release, so there’s plenty of time to improve. –Chad Williams (Pro Rawk, prorawk.com)

BIG MESS: I Am American: CD
I was fully prepared to hate this. With its glossy digipack cover featuring an American flag guitar, logo pulled directly from one of the free font websites, and the sticker proclaiming “Winne

BIG MESS: I Am American: CD

I was fully prepared to hate this. With its glossy digipack cover featuring an American flag guitar, logo pulled directly from one of the free font websites, and the sticker proclaiming “Winner Indie Music Channel Awards 2017: Best Alternative Band.” You can imagine how surprised I was when I put the disc in and… Nope, I really fucking hate this. Super polished mid- to late-’90s style alterna-rock with vocals that remind me of the DJ at a seedy strip bar. The members of Big Mess cut their teeth in an early ‘80s L.A. punk band called Easter (that apparently, Mike Ness was in at some point) and, I shit you not, the fucking Doobie Brothers!? Most of the songs here are clocking in at three, four, and even five minutes long, with the shortest being a Ramones cover. I just don’t have the attention span. In the end, I did like the riffs on a couple of songs, but those ones came off more like a less fun Gas Huffer, at best. –Ty Stranglehold (Lord Cash Pockets)

BLACK COMMUNION: Self-titled: CD

Not sure if Black Communion should be considered death metal with some toes in the crust punk puddle or vice versa, but both the name and lyrical content (graveyards and darkness) shove the scales in the direction of the former. The tunes are generally catchy in terms of the genre and, overall, it’s a short burst of tuneage: a half dozen songs or so. A longer record might leave me getting bored, but this one stops before that happens. And now that I think about it, Black Communion remind me of a more gothic version of Unsane. Good stuff. –The Lord Kveldulfr (Trip Machine Laboratories)

BLOTTERS, THE: Eat the Sheet: CS

This record starts out with a pretty jarring collection of strange sounds in a sci-fi-like audio collage. This goes on for three minutes. But after that is some straight-forward punk with a heavy interest in garage rock. I’m hearing everything from Black Flag to The Mummies. It might be a weird thing to comment on, but I really enjoy the lo-fi recording quality. The whole record sounds like it was recorded in their basement, though that might mostly stem from the reverb-heavy, echoey vocals. The songs are all about things that fit squarely in the punk wheelhouse: being poor, hating the police, and shitting on the Trump administration. My main criticisms are the real lack of nuance in the lyrics (“Grab ‘em by the pussy if you really want / But I’d rather see a bullet in your head / I’d rather mask and smash your fucking face”) and that some of the tracks drone on longer than I expected from an angry, political hardcore punk band. That being said, the guitar work is angular, piercing, and has a lot of good distortion on it. They seem like a young band just getting their feet wet, but I feel like in six months to a year they’ll be swimming laps around the band they used to be. –Kayla Greet (Self-released)

BOMBANGREPP: Maktmissbrukande Svin: EP

Out of control Kangpunk from Sweden. Straight out of the Totalitär/Wolfpack rule book. Killer. Eleven tracks. No solos. No bullshit. Pure d-Beat. Hail Sweden. –Tim Brooks (Phobia, phobiarecords.net)

BRAIN-BATS: Double Feature: 7”

I remember a band called the Brain Bats from the Boston area in the late ‘90s, and from the artwork and song titles I figured this was a new release from that band. However, once this record plays, it is evident that this is a new band with a completely different sound. The vibe here is like Electric Frankenstein crossed with somebody off of the AmRep stable. Pretty solid noisy, spooky hardcore with harsh vocals and a record with cover art by artist XNO. –Mike Frame (Atomo-Guano, brain-bats.bandcamp.com)

BROMURE: A La Roquette: 7”
Before Rixe were a band, and before Lion’s Law took off, there was a mostly under-the-radar Parisian band called Maraboots that played with the styles of early French oi and punk in a way t

BROMURE: A La Roquette: 7”

Before Rixe were a band, and before Lion’s Law took off, there was a mostly under-the-radar Parisian band called Maraboots that played with the styles of early French oi and punk in a way that was catchy and exciting. Members went on to form the aforementioned bands and a few others and have gone to receive considerable praise for their efforts. Maraboots always held a special place in my heart that was never quite filled by their later projects (as much as I enjoy them), and this is as close to that Maraboots style which that group of people has come to in the last several years. The songs are catchy but not anthemic; they’re cold without sounding sparse. The saxophone on the songs rounds out the sound in that distinctly French way (though many have tried, no one outside the originating country of the oi sax has ever really nailed it like they have). Highly recommended. –Ian Wise (UVPR, uvpr.fr)