Tag Archives: hardcore

RATING: 7.7/10

The Greek are pissed off. Really, really, really pissed off, and this album is proof of it. Gay Anniversary are a Greek noise-rock band specializing in high-speed noise-rock assaults, anchored by pummeling programmed drums. The obvious comparison to make here is BIG BLACK or RAPEMAN, and St. Stephen of Albini’s influence looms large over this 10″. It’s all droning fuzz guitars, boom-chick-boom-chick drums, and jesus fuck – did they actually get a guy to play the Drill on “Cop City?”

The first two tracks are spit, fire, venom, and aggression – I don’t know really how to qualify the first track, “Lazy Boyz,” besides “fast,” “awesome,” and “will crush your stupid fucking face.” Then for track 3, things slow down (relatively), and there’s a cool little guitar solo. The whole affair moves forward with military precision, in lockstep with the drum machine, but then it’s right back to the races. “American Yard” is pretty cool as well, but “Choke This” approaches a new level of fury – hinting at cybergrind like AGORAPHOBIC NOSEBLEED, but…ya know…good – I keep Altered States of America around to play for friends as a novelty, like “you think that’s fucked up? well listen to this…”, but Gay Anniversary will easily merit actual plays for actual people who like actual good, extreme music.

By the end of the thing comes, and “Fat Punks” rolls around, I’m more or less tuckered out. It’s a short little thing, but that’s just fine. There’s few things I appreciate more than a band that knows how to leave you wanting more – Gay Anniversary certainly do. They know their trade and perform it well – if I had to fault New In Class for anything, it’d be its lack of diversity. GA have one gear – skullfuck – and they can work it, but I’d also love to see what else their capable of. They’re not reinventing the wheel, but maybe they just beat you over the head with a tire iron instead.

LISTEN: Bandcamp

BUY: Slovenly


Glorious Pettibon art

RATING: 7.7/10

‘Hardcore’ is a vile, nigh-meaningless term anymore. When we hear it, we can usually count on either getting some hilariously awful; pastel-haired scenecore nancies with synthesizers and 20-word album titles, or some huge sweaty dude with face tats for whom the music is just a sideshow for beatdowns. Seems like a lot of people (Double Negative is excused) forget that ‘hardcore’ used to be ‘hardcore punk’ – all the fun of the regular stuff, but stripped bare and sped up. Listening to the original Redd Kross EP, or Nervous Breakdown, it’s amazing to see that they’re actually sorta funny once in a while – not just breakdown/second breakdown/third breakdown/big cheestastic quadruple harmony chorus/fourth breakdown. Fortunately, Keith Morris is back with a vengeance after some mediocre flailings with late CIRCLE JERKS to remind everyone who did it first and best.

What is there left to say about a living legend like Morris? He’s nearly as old as my father, and still puts on a better, more energetic show than both of the aforementioned pretenders. His cohorts from REDD KROSS and Earthless are top notch musicians – even though Morris is center stage, the playing here, specifically the drumming, really is spectacular. He’s still got the white-hot, vinegar-and-broken-glass shriek down pat. He really does sound like he’s about to have a nervous breakdown here; without doubt, Off! remain one of the most exciting live acts I’ve seen in a while.

As for this record in particular, there’s also not much to say. This is bare-bones, high-speed punk rock. The 16 songs fly by scarcely before you blink; it’s highly similar to Morris’ work in his previous bands, but it’s not necessarily a re-tread – that would imply that it was diminished in some sense. Maybe it will be to some ears; to me, this album is 16 tracks of pure energy, which is what Circle Jerks were always about for me anyways. There’s moments of genuinely snarky and clever critique – as when Morris takes on his own scene in “I Got New For You” – it really does have a sense of a returning king. They’re not all great, but they’re all pretty good – the musicianship here is strong enough to carry less lyrically interesting songs along, and besides, they’re all barely 1 minute, so it’s hard to even dislike something that’s over before you can really form a thought about it. It’s true that this record breaks very little ground, but castigating a hardcore band for lacking musical depth and development is like criticizing the wind for blowing – that’s just the nature of the beast. It’s not the greatest album of 2012, but it’s a solid, workmanlike release that’s worth listening to; there’s really just not that much to dislike here. Morris and Co. are masters of this sound, and realistically, criticism of this album will inevitably end up being “bah humbugs” and “back when I was a young lads” from the fusty old punker-than-thou crowd. If it’s cool enough for Keith Morris to take up, it’s cool enough for you.

LISTEN: Off! Official Website

BUY: Off! at MerchLackey


RATING: 8.5/10

Is it punk? Is it post-punk? Is it no-wave? Is it hardcore? Doesn’t really matter. All we know is when you drop this on your turntable, you’ll hear a bit of static, which is your warning that you’ve got about 5 seconds before you’re punched in the face by the crunching, grinding force of NC’s Whatever Brains. Opener “Bad Dads” features howling vocals and seasick riffing, then in a flurry of drunken electronics, it’s gone, and you’re just kind of asking “what the-,” but before you get to “fuck,” the Brains have moved 20 miles down the road. As someone who has been a big fan of these guys since their 7″s, it’s really impressive to think how utterly unique this sound is, especially for a band with only a handful of releases. It takes the middle route between hardcore energy, garage snot, post-punk experimental sensibility, and No Wave’s angular, ‘fuck you’ approach – think if Jay Reatard had gotten really really really into later WIRE.

There’s scarcely anything that approaches a melody here, but somehow, the tracks manage to get implanted in your head, like the quasi-hardcore scorcher “Drink The Salt.” The singer’s in full lunatic blossom here – his maniac screech simultaneously recalls the obnoxious kid in your 5th grade class and a ranting doomsday preacher. What makes this record so fun to listen to again and again is the way it totally throws any sense of progression out the window, even in the same track. There’s a sensibility at work here similar to Jeff The Brotherhood’s classic “Castle Storm” – songs stitched together from little micro-songlets, somehow different, yet all belonging together in a really organic way. The tracklisting also zigs and zags with wild abandon – bouncing from monstrous fire-breathing numbers to delicate, tense crawls like “Marquee Warfare” we’re always expecting the entire thing to explode in a giant mushroom cloud of weirdo energy…and it usually does.

There aren’t many records out there, or bands that sound like this. Close analogues are the brittle tech-punk of the A-FRAMES or maybe a tighter, punkier version of THE FALL – it’s an instantly recognizable sound, but even as it’s one of the Brains’ greatest strengths, it’s also one of the things that disappointed me a bit about this record. They’ve cut out their own territory, but a lot of these songs are equally at home on any of their releases – though their sound is utterly their own, it hasn’t changed much at all from release to release. This of course, doesn’t take away from the fact that songs like “I Am A Tourist” rip no matter what, even if they do sound suspiciously close to other tracks on the album (aforementioned “Drink The Salt”). The tendency for the songs to smear together in a haze of shrieks and shuttling beats can sometimes work against the band, because it makes for a bit of fatigue by the end – after about 5 spins, it can be hard to pick anything out from the din, even if I consistently come back for repeat listens.

It should be said that this record’s not for everybody – it’s grating and abrasive, probably intentionally so. This means, though, that it utterly commands your attention, even if only to ask “what in the fuck are you listening to?” It’s an old, rickety wooden roller-coaster of a record – bouncing, shaking, jolting, as if the whole thing will simply come undone from the energy of rocketing around in circles, and when it comes to a close with “Syllabus Dot/Episode Rot,” there’s no closure – it simply stops, vanishing into itself with 6 seconds of silence. Whatever (Brains) you want to call it, this record doesn’t merely command your attention, it demands it – it’s not only a great record in its own right, this band is one of the few out there that’s actually breathing new life into punk, which is by itself something to marvel at.


PRE-ORDER: Sorry State Records

More! More! More!RATING: 7.75/10

Howdy folks

I switched to wordpress, but I won’t waste time on that, because Auxes aren’t wasting any time with this new LP. The first track, appropriately titled “I Can’t Pause It,” sets the tone – nervous scratchy guitars, rushing drums, and the seriously tweaked out vocals of Manuel Wertz. Wertz can’t tell if he’s crazy, you’re crazy, or he’s crazy for thinking your crazy, but it hardly matters when the Auxes is train is running straight into your fucking ears at 300 mph.

The record has touches of MILEMARKER, but it’s faster and stripped of the post-punk muddling that sometimes marred that band – this is all bones and barbed wire intensity. The endless churn of angular, yet oddly solid riffing, combined with the strange speak-y ranty vocals recalls NATION OF ULYSSES, but without the propensity for utter noise and winking irony.

The band has a knack for compelling chanted vocals, as on “Bad Cats, Nine Lives,” which features some really cool shouts of “control! control!” It’s really anybody’s guess what Wertz is getting at, but when it’s delivered with this such paranoiac energy, who cares? His vocals feel slightly more restrained than on 2010 effort “Ichkannichtmehr,” which is sad, but he’s still a cut above his peers.

Though Auxes have the right elements in place, their bag of tricks can be limited. The title track has great intensity, but it’s barely distinguishable from “Bad Cats.” Tracks like “It’s Not About You” or Side B standout “Paranoia,” with it’s bizarre “meow meow meow” bridge cut through the wall-to-wall spin-cycle riffs, but it can be hard to catch your breath with “More! More! More!” This is great for live shows, and I do really hope to catch these guys at some point, but it makes for an exhausting home listen.

The surging hardcore energy of “Tit For Tat” is reminiscent of a BRAIN F/ with a stronger melodic sensibility, as “Something’s Wrong” is straight from the playbook of punk elder squad OFF! (as is the Pettibon style cover art) – this band shares the instrumental competency lacking in most hardcore bands, and also benefits from lyrics that don’t read like half-baked political commentary. Auxes know their strengths, but I only wish they’d taken a few more risks – they do what they do really well, but this LP is a pretty similar play to their last one…sometimes there’s more energy and tension in a calm repose before the storm than  in all the world’s winds and thunderclaps.


Sorry for the absence. Wax Trash has been partying pretty hard celebrating the breakup  of garage-pop turdburglars JET. Anyway, we’ve got a slate of reviews, and we wanted to take a page from the Totally Awesome and Intelligent Dean Professor Mr. Sir Madame of Rock Critics and get them all out the door. Here we go.

1. SPIDER FEVER – S/T LP: Asskicking 70’s punk. It’s a solid meat-and-potatoes release; good, but not a must-own or anything. If you’re into the ‘old-guys-showing-you-how-it’s-done’ trip, you’re better off with drummer Mario’s other band, OFF!

Grade: B

2. THE GLORIOUS VEINS – S/T LP: Not sure the Veins’ publicist really gets our vibe here at WT. This is fairly tuneful herky-jerky dancey post-punk…i guess it’s like FOALS? do the kids like them? 

Grade: C-

3. SLEEPING IN THE AVIARY – EXPENSIVE VOMIT IN A CHEAP HOTEL LP: Standard issue folk-punk. There’s some good moments and good lyrics on here, and the singer’s got his style down pat, but it gets a little too sleepy at times.

Grade: C+

4. THE FUCKING HOTLIGHTS – HIGH SOCIETY TORTURE PARTY LP: Noisy hardcore influenced punk. These guys probably really like FUCKED UP, but thankfully aren’t as pretentious. There’s a few good moments, but 11 tracks gets tiring.

Grade: C

5. THE MOVEMENTS/ANGRY DEAD PIRATES – SPLIT 10”: European garage maniacs tear through 6 tracks of American garage. REIGNING SOUND vs. THE BLACK LIPS. The tunes are there, and so are the hooks, but the recording quality is a little exhausting. This is worth picking up.

Grade: A-


When the Nubians set up at Lulu’s in Brooklyn a few months ago, everyone was unprepared. Even the band themselves. Due to nonsensical customs laws, the Montreal trio were wildly short on equipment. One of the guitarists was using my amp and the other resorted to plugging in to the dreaded P.A. (which may as well stand for Pussy Amp, the way those things neuter guitar tones). But these shortcomings didn’t phase ‘em in the least; they seemed unflinchingly calm, even suspiciously unruffled about the sorry state of their inventory. I realized later that it was us in the crowd, not the band, who were the truly ill-equipped ones. No one properly braced themselves, not me or anyone else in that quaint little pizza bar for the wildest, loudest, most artfully unhinged, maniacal set this side of 1983.

Needless to say, the sound guy cut them off half way through. The only band that I’ve seen pull off this level of controlled insanity was a CRAZY SPIRIT set at Death By Audio a year ago. Both bands feature flailing powerhouse drummers, a crafty use of guitar feedback, and intelligently dumb, erratic compositions to ensure that punk isn’t a dead or hackneyed genre just yet. To call The Nubians “garage punk”, “art punk”, “noise” or “hardcore” is to belittle their bombastic, gigantic sound. The Nubians are an organism that lurches and lifts off with unpredictable vigor. I can’t even fucking review this shit properly. If you like music that blows your head off (in a REGISTRATORS/PUFFY AREOLAS/CHEATER SLICKS vein) than listen to the Nubians. They are the nicest guys ever playing mean, explosive music.

Listen to their tape here (for the love of god, someone, put this out on vinyl)

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