Record Reviews

AUTORAMAS: Libido: CD

This long-tenured Brazilian quartet sounds nowhere near as kitschy nor as Epoxies-esque as the neo-Ed Fotheringham cover art would lead one to believe – there are no songs about sex droids nor surfing on Neptune (as far as I can tell, but the only Portuguese I know I learned from Superzan y el Niño del Espacio, and most of that was telepathic). Instead, they weld a sort of dark Estrus Records surf-rock vibe to a throbbing ooziness that suggests hairspray and shaken booties and might not have sounded out of place sandwiched between Ned’s Atomic Dustbin and the Soup Dragons on 120 Minutes, although I might be remembering that entire era incorrectly. Phrased somewhat less frivolously, this sounds like a cross between ’90s surf/garage and not-too-light, not-too-dark ’90s alternative rock, but assembled in such a fashion so that if you were more about the surf/garage and not so much about the alternative, you might very well still dig it. I suspect the Brazilian aspect of things gives this a certain otherness that prevents quick and easy categorization, even though the component parts seem pretty obvious. Half the time I think this disc just wants to crawl around on my floor, biting its thumb and dripping weird fluids on the carpet, but when they really put the hammer down, it’s like they’re frying my face in a skillet full of butter and hard drugs. Oh, heck, you had me at “Brazilian!” BEST SONG: “Ding Dong.” BEST SONG TITLE: “Creepy Echo.” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: If you’ve ever wanted to hear what Blondie’s “I Know but I Don’t Know” sounds like in Portuguese, today’s your lucky day, Melvin! –Rev. Nørb (Soundflat)

BAKKARA: Self-titled: CS

The music isn’t really my thing—hardcore and grind stuff replete with wayyyy over-the-top Cookie Monster vocals that are drenched in tons of effects—but holy shit, this is some of the coolest packaging I’ve ever seen on any release, ever. It’s a beautifully assembled twenty-page booklet with a gorgeous layout and wildly inventive assembly. Feels a little weird to rant on and on about the visual aspects of a piece of music, but this thing is just so great looking. If these folks do zines, I hope they send them in. If they don’t do zines, they should. This EP is limited to one hundred copies, so grab one while you can. –Keith Rosson (Bakkara)

BANANAS, THE / RIVERS EDGE: The Bananas + Rivers Edge: CS

It’s been quite some time since the Bananas have graced us with any new tunes (New Animals came out a decade ago!) so I had to pinch myself when I found this tape in my review cubby. Only the Bananas can take ten years off from recording and still come through with two new songs of their patented brand of manic punk that makes you want to bounce off the walls and yell in people’s faces with excitement. The joke’s on me for initially having my doubts, but even the Bananas see the humor in all of this as their liner notes slate the year 2025 for the release of a new album. Hardy-fuckin’-har. Rivers Edge are punk rock lifers from Chattanooga with members from a plethora of great bands including Basement Benders, Sexy, ADD/C, and Future Virgins. Two songs of heartfelt punk from the South. Tough sounding, but not in a knuckle-headed way. Anyone who’s seen any of their previous bands play live know that they pour every ounce of blood, sweat, and tears into their performance and these studio songs exert that passion onto tape. Two wonderful surprises on one cassette. You can’t go wrong with this one. –Juan Espinosa (Lifers Tapes, liferstapes1.bandcamp.com)

BAR STOOL PREACHERS, THE: “Choose My Friends” b/w “Raced through Berline”: 7”

A Noah’s Ark of Hot Topic punk genres. “Choose My Friends” has singalong whoah-ohs, Lagwagon-esque SoCal chugs, sixth-wave ska, and even a guest appearance from another band still trying to make it big wearing two-tone and Docs. The flip side sounds like when the sad-sack indie bands of the early 2000s appropriated the “pop punk” moniker. Good luck. –Matt Seward (Pirates Press, piratespressrecords.com)

BASEMENT BENDERS: Shrapnel Songs: LP

I haven’t ever spent time listening to this band and I think I’m going to change that now. There’s quite a bit of Bent Out Of Shape, Needles//Pins, and Tiltwheel—that scrappy, messy, melodic punk. Songs that you can sound like the most pissed-off person in the world, yet still harmonize. It’s a kind of pretty screaming that early emo got right and modern punk is constantly imperfecting. Never goes too hard or too soft, just dips its toes in both sides of the pool to find a homogeneity while also making waves. Definitely digging this a lot and looking forward to more. –Kayla Greet (Dead Broke)

BEDWETTER: Flick Your Tongue against Your Teeth and Describe the Present: CS

Travis Miller is an underground rapper/producer from Virginia, best known for his early ’10s horrorcore albums as Lil Ugly Mane. This is the first album from his new Bedwetter project, which blends airtight rapping with experimental musical textures. “Man Wearing a Helmet” starts with pouring rain and soundbites playing over the top; too echoey to understand. After a minute, ominous washes of synth take over and Miller raps a tale of a kid dreaming of pajamas, blankets, and other comforts of home while being kidnapped. After two straight minutes of rapping, drums and the hook come in. Throughout this album, the shouted raps are in contrast to the calm music, and listening to it feels like losing your mind in a serene setting. Just because something looks okay on the outside doesn’t mean that it is. This is a harrowing and thoroughly engaging look at depression and mental illness, with fucking good rapping. I’ve never heard anything quite like it. –Chris Terry (vinylconflict.com)

BITE MARKS: Sucia: 12”

When I laid my eyes upon the hot pink vinyl silk screened with naughty girl themed emojis on one side, I knew something right might be going on. Bite Marks is everything good happening in the Gainesville punk scene: femme post-hardcore, perhaps comparable to EW, WHIP, with a grittier/dirtier Pylon tilt. With each listen I became more smitten. Sold. –Camylle Reynolds (Belladonna, belladonna-records.com)

BLACK CATHOLICS: Self-titled: 7”

Loud, dissonant tunes that lean towards both hardcore and death rock. Both tracks here pack a lot of punch and the listener barely feels the three and four-minute lengths. –Jimmy Alvarado (1407, 1407records.com)

BLACK MAMBAS: Moderation: LP

Local band—Bell Gardens, Calif.—just tearing shit up with an infectious mix of Briefs-meet-Boys punk rockin’ with heavy doses of pub rock tossed into the batter. They do the sound justice, managing to sound both authentic and not dated, thanks to some spot-on tunesmithing and delivery. –Jimmy Alvarado (Disconnected, disconnected-records.com)

BLANKZ, THE: I’m a Gun: 7”

This is the third Blankz single in a series of nine, another killer slab of vinyl from Phoenix’s finest Briefs-influenced group. Both songs here are great, with the title track having a corresponding music video to match. Hopefully these singles will be compiled into a full-length in the end, but I’m going to make sure to pick them all up in the meantime regardless. The Blankz are a genuine funfest, and I am hooked. You will be, too. –Art Ettinger (Slope)