ABADDON: Jarocin ‘84: LP

“Jarocin” was a series of festivals held in the titular Polish town throughout the ’80s and ’90s as a showcase of music the kids were grooving to. It became crucial to underground music because Poland at the time was part of the Warsaw Pact, which meant its government was effectively a totalitarian state. Punk and other types of music were not played on official radio stations and, thus, one of the only avenues bands had to be seen—as people were able to witness live performances of this kind of music—was at these shows. Kids would tape performances and trade them, and so on. What we have here is a recording of the band Abaddon performing at the festival in 1984. Their set is largely thrashy, energetic, and very much live, warts and all. The recording itself sounds like it came from a pristine, first-generation soundboard recording. I do wish there was more info included in the gatefold sleeve or some sorta insert to provide context, but even a cursory web search can provide much of that in a pinch. –Jimmy Alvarado (Warsaw Pact)

ABE PARTRIDGE AND THE PSYCH PEAS: Lackluster: LP

This album leans toward high-octane blues rock with some fuzz riffs attached. Abe Partridge has a back catalogue of acoustic music. Here he yell/sings monologues over these heavily distorted riffs. That sort of thing gets old for me quickly. It’s competent in the groove-blues-rock sphere. It’s well executed and well recorded. If that’s your scene or if you’re a fan of his older stuff, it’s worth checking out. –Billups Allen (Self-released)

ABRAXAS: “Left Behind”/“Enough”: CS

Fierce and unrelenting hardcore with reverb-drenched vocals that sound like the singer’s been forced to bellow with a bucket over his head. It’s a little distracting, but otherwise there’s plenty of ferocity here. A release shrouded in mystery—there’s, like, no information here beyond the band name and song titles. I’m certainly a fan of tapes, but with only two short songs, this essentially amounts to a cassingle, which is a drag. –Keith Rosson (Self-released)

ACID BABY JESUS: Selected Outtakes: 7” EP

Acid Baby Jesus from Athens, Greece sounds ritualistic, psychedelic, and folkloric all at once. The songs pull you along like a death march and feel like the part in the movie where you realize the devil/witches drugged you. I cannot exaggerate how sick these songs are. I don’t know how I missed this band until now. –Liz Jones (Slovenly, [email protected], slovenly.com)

ADORNS: With What Sacrifice: 7”

Post-punk with cover art by someone named Mildred Pierce—I’m in. The songs are very minimal and electronic in the vein of Cosmetics. It sounds like all the music was done on keyboards but it could really pop if they decided to add bass and guitars down the line. I’m interested to see how the band develops over their next record. –Ryan Nichols (Self-released, [email protected])

ALICE BAG: Sister Dynamite: LP

Another banger from Alice Bag and Co. This record has everything that Alice has been serving us for the last thirty-plus years, full of political and subversive anthems. She continues to develop new sounds and delivers a more than relevant message time and time again. My personal favorite on the record is “Gatecrasher”—really dark and pretty with iconic Candace Hansen’s drumming coming through fast and loud. –Emily T. (In The Red)

AN UNEASY PEACE: Self-titled: 7”

The proof of concept from a convergence of spirits that took place in Austin, Texas in 2005. Four tracks that were spearheaded by one of the West Coast punk’s shining lights: Lance Hahn. On guitar and the board, Stan Wright, who in his own right helped shape crust punk for the new century. And rounding out the band is Dave Wuttke from Drunken Boat, and Mikey Warm of the recently disbanded Observers. The first track could fit in on any J Church album and no one would think anything of it, but the remaining three are definitely a change of pace. Down stroke riffage with menacing, crescendoing verses that erupt into circle pit, fist-pumping choruses. Hardcore punk by punks who aren’t bogged down by the confines of predetermined genre limiters. There’s a certain personality to it that instantly reminded me of Mea Culpa’s They Put You in a Gas Mask LP, which came out around the same time. And the more I listened to this 7”, the more bummed I got that it wasn’t an active band with an extensive catalog. Truly spellbinding conviction from believers of the form unleashing holy hell and having a good time doing it. –Daryl (Dirt Cult)

ANTHROPIC: Architects of Aggression: CD

I spend so much time whining about how much I hate metal that I forget that I actually like some of the punk subgenres with metal connections. Anthropic from Buffalo plays classic early grindcore, akin to Sore Throat or Phobia. It’s their debut full length, and it’s great. Proficient musicians and a scary vocalist carry the hooks, with discernably socially conscious lyrics peeping out at the surface. Available on CD from various distributors or directly from the band, this inauguration warrants LP treatment as soon as possible. –Art Ettinger (Self-released, [email protected])

ANTICITIZEN: Warmachine: CDEP

Also available as a four-song 7”, this six-song EP from New Jersey’s Anticitizen is a perfect exemplar of 1990s-styled crust. Similar to hits by Dis Sucks, these raw, political tracks are full of rage, with faultless growled vocals searing into the mic. I’d imagine they slay at a basement show, which is no small feat in these troubled times. What distinguishes Anticitizen from so many others is that they’ve stuck to it, with 2020 serving as their ninth year as a band. This isn’t my first exposure to them, and it’s an even better release than the ones I’ve heard before. A split release between the band and longstanding label Wiseass Records, Warmachine is a must for fans of the best in crust. –Art Ettinger (Wiseass, anticitizen.storenvy.com)

ANTICITIZEN: Warmachine: CDEP

I just reviewed an international comp in this issue where this band had the standout track. This is real throwback gear to the ’90s Squat or Rot days of NYC with bands like Public Nuisance, Jesus Chrust, and the like—head to toe in studs and spikes, belting it out in some hellhole in the Lower East Side. It’s spiky punk, but with a raw, drunken edge and anti-war lyrics. Pretty sloppy but I can dig after a 40oz. –Tim Brooks (Wiseass, anticitizen.storenvy.com)