Hard Skin: To dumbasses (and children—no offense), it was a razor-thin world of difference between Blitz and The Casualties, from Cock Sparrer and Total Chaos, from The Partisans to Cheap Sex. (And in case you came late to the conversation, the first of each of the couplings, well, they don’t suck and have actually put out some great punk rock.) Hard Skin somehow exploit that coont hair of plausible “Yeah, rough life. Work’s lousy, but I do it all the time. I’m mad. I drink. I fuck,” and the weird cartoon that followed a couple decades later with punk suits, over-ample hair products, and a fanbase mostly based in junior high aged kids. Wow, that early ‘00s wave crashed like a tidal wave onto an empty beach… and Hard Skin continue to be the Wat Tyler of oi. Or the street punk Dickies. Or whatever you fancy to call it. Great stuff. Blotto: In that slightly delayed semaphore that bandies back and forth between Japan and America, Blotto took all the best of the Modern Machines’ songs, took out the wigouts, took out the sound of constantly flipping through a record collection, and have finely whittled down a precise, intricate ornament that says both “Made in Japan” and, yet, smaller, “We’re better at doing this than you are.” And damn it if they aren’t more right than wrong. Weirdly appropriate pairing.
–todd (Snuffy Smiles)