WAR ON WOMEN: Capture the Flag: 12”

This is the long-anticipated (to me, at least) sophomore follow-up to 2015’s self-titled debut LP and an über-promising EP from 2012. Right now, I can’t imagine this won’t be one of my favorite records of 2018. It’s everything that you’d expect from War On Women—unapologetic and clever lyrics over fast and clean hardcore that is creative instead of derivative (surely, this is what makes some people reluctant to call it hardcore, like Pitchfork’s description of the band as “hardcore inspired alt-rock,” but they can bite me). Even with some lineup changes, they sound tight as ever, losing none of the exuberance of Potter’s live performance that makes the band such a force. The lyrics are as biting and aggressive as you’ve come to expect, but a bonus for this record is that the band also released a college-level workbook that is “based on the lyrics and themes” of the record. To my mind, this speaks volumes to the spirit of punk and hardcore that’s aimed at actually communicating with people on multiple levels. I can’t believe how much I learned as a young person reading the liner notes of records like Propagandhi’s Today’s Empires, Tomorrow’s Ashes and I’m stoked that this could do that for young people today. –Theresa W. (Bridge Nine, bridge9.com)