CRIMINAL OUTFIT: Time to Get Crucial: 7” EP

May 24, 2022

Criminal Outfit is in the tradition of the hard American oi that was developed in Atlanta in the mid-1980s by bands like Anti-Heros and Moonstomp. Taking skinhead tropes and applying U.S. hardcore elements, those groups are way more of an influence on this new Los Angeles band than any of the classic British boot bands. Pressed on slick swirled vinyl, this 7” is one of the releases on LSM, the label that formed from the ashes of the legendary Longshot Music. The razor-sharp vocals, fast pace, and rebellious anti-state lyrics gel nicely on the three original tracks featured here. Also included is a cover of “Skinhead” by The Strike. Time to Get Crucial is crucial indeed. –Art Ettinger (LSM, piratespressrecords.com)

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BONG MOUNTAIN: You’re Doin’ Great (For the Record): LP

November 29, 2016
The first thing that caught my attention about Bong Mountain was their terrible, terrible band name. It actually stopped me from listening to them when I heard clamors of their greatness earlier this year. But as luck should have it, I found myself in Pittsburgh playing against their drummer in the world’s largest pinball tournament and he sent me their record. It’s music by people who grew up on Avail and grew into Iron Chic. They pull no punches with their poetic lyricism and back it up with beautiful melodies laid over a punk beat. Much like Dillinger Four, they put their tongues in their cheeks when writing song titles. “Don’t Shred on Me” is the stand out track for me. While flipping through their lyric booklet (complete with awesome illustrations), I resonated with the words to that song before I even heard it. The song is unbridled motivation to stop moving through life in an unproductive haze and it touches on things that many people struggle with. Their depiction of depression in these lyrics is pretty striking: “You can sleep past noon again / no one will come and wake you up / You won’t have to see the sun all day with any luck / You can keep on doing just enough to live.” And these words are spouted, crooner like, over a jangly guitar with a Western kind of tone. There’s just enough fidelity in this recording that feels both like a sweaty basement show and a cozy afternoon at home. Pun intended, they rip. I guess there really ain’t no Bong Mountain high enough to keep me from loving them. –Kayla Greet (Stonewalled, stonewalled.ninja)
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