Recent reviews

Our latest album reviews, featuring the records we've most enjoyed (or not) over the past few weeks.

Proud Parents

At Home With
Independent (2021)

At Home With Proud Parents caught me a little off guard, right from the start. While the debut showcased a variety of influences, this one is even more toned back and chill, in contrast to some members’ other work with The Hussy. The opening track on this sophomore album, “Cellophane” is more of a folk-punk or cowpunk vibe with some warbled vocals, an acoustic guitar and minimal percussion. While the whole of this 11-song record doesn’t maintain that exact approach, it does set the tone for jangly, off kilter indie-pop. The sound is driven by melodies, dynamic shifts, and well-placed tempo-changes. It’s poppy at heart, but delivered with that “kid in the corner” outsider tone. All three members sing: Tyler Fassnacht, C Nelson-Lifson, and Heather Sawyer. Sometimes they alternate verses, sometimes whole songs, and sometimes they harmonize. While each singer has “their songs,” it all connects well and sounds cohesive rather than disjointed. Unsurprisingly the themes on the record often explore that outsider perspective, intensified by a year of isolation. Many songs bluntly address feeling alone, trapped and isolated, while others reflect on the behavior of others. I have a few theories about the deeper meaning behind a couple tracks but I’ll spare everyone … Read more

Hangman’s Hymnal

Small News Travels Fast in a Bad Town
Snappy Little Numbers (2020)

Hangman’s Hymnal is a nice addition to the Snappy Little Numbers roster and every bit as archaic as the title … Read more

Jiffy Marx

She’s My Witch / Warning Sign
Snappy Little Numbers (2020)

Jiffy Marx' She’s My Witch / Warning Sign 7″ does not only look like a 45er from the late seventies, but … Read more

Travoltas

Back To The City
White Russian Records (2021)

Somehow it seems to me that Travoltas released Until We Hit The Shore only last year or perhaps the year before. But … Read more

Bootlicker

Self-Titled
Neon Waste, Static Shock Records (2021)

Rough and tough d-beat, oi-influenced punk with a boot on the cover. If you follow the scene you probably already … Read more

Stella Research Committee

A Proposed Method for Determining Sanding Fitness
Independent (2021)

Labels like Amphetamine Reptile and Skin Graft Records and the “now wave” and noise rock avalanche they launched has served … Read more

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One from the archives

Pash

The Best Gun
Exotic Fever (2007)

There are two basic guidelines to follow when being apart of the D.C. punk scene: the first is that it is absolutely necessary to be a vegan, straight edge, and a bike messenger, or at least a combination of two of those, or else you're going to feel a bit alienated. I for one think this is really fucking stupid, which is probably the reason why I only hang out with four or five people when I go to shows. The second guideline is really fucking stupid too, but it's one that I and the majority of people involved in the D.C. scene follow, and that is to not be negative about any band that comes out of the D.C. area. Granted almost all of the bands that do call … Read more

More album reviews

The Dumpies

Drunk Dial #8
Drunk Dial Records (2021)

A quick word on the Drunk Dial series. Basically, the label asks bands to get intoxicated, then record an original a-side and a cover b-side.On #8, we get The Dumpies, who deliver 4 songs at a total runtime of five minutes. It’s fast, catchy and harmonized rough-around-the-edges garage-punk goodness. Take some of your favorite garage bands and speed them up. … Read more

ZEPHYR

Don’t Worry About It
Snappy Little Numbers (2020)

It’s fantastic to still see label holding up the torch when it comes to being dedicated to the fine art of the analogue format, partly because of its sonic superiority, partly as a reminiscence to a time where it was de rigour.Snappy Little Numbers is a label that keeps pumping out quality releases, lovingly illustrated with attention to detail and … Read more

Inhumanity Vortex

Reverse Engineering
Independent (2020)

Inhumanity Vortex started life in Poland in 2008 as the project of Tomasz Dziekoński and has slowly evolved over time into a sort of cyber tech-death metal band that has grown beyond the initial seeds of inspiration from those early days. Having released a handful of pre-production demos and EPs prior to Reverse Engineering in the winter of 2020, Inhumanity Vortex have … Read more

Various Artists

Ink Bomb - No Breakfast Goodbye - split
Horn & Hoof Records/Dental Records/Concrete Head Entertainment (2021)

Two Dutch punk groups decided to join forces. 2020 saw their dreams of playing live go up in smoke. What to do instead? Write new music! Both bands bring three tracks to the table. Ink Bomb is the most experienced band of the two with an EP and full length under their belt. In my review of that full-length album I compared … Read more

Amenra

De Doorn
Relapse (2021)

Memories burn in the flames while onlookers stare on. Relief washes over those present as though cleansed in the fires and reborn. Screams of catharsis spill from the lips of the watchers, emptying their souls of all the hurt and pain that has brought them to this point. Letting go of the mistakes and agonies that tie us to this … Read more

Pierce With Arrow

Shatter
Dais Records (2021)

Troy Pierce has been creating off-kilter techno since the mid ‘00s, always opting for a non-conformist, adventurous output (just listen to his 2007 full-length, Gone Astray). Now, he is joined by another forward-thinking creative mind in Natalie Escobar, who has also stepped into the off-kilter experimental music realm with her project Poison Arrow. Their collaboration, Pierce With Arrow, finds them at their most dark … Read more

Billie Eilish

Photobook
hachette Book Group (2021)

Love her, hate her – the thing that cannot be dispute is that she has left an indelible mark on the firmament of contemporary popular music. To tide over the waiting period until the release of her new album, Billy Eilish has released a photo book showcasing how she was brought up from infancy and her evolution to the person … Read more

Jason Paul + the Know It Alls

Alien or Martian?
Broken Anchor Recordings (2021)

I’d seen the name Jason Paul + the Know It Alls around a few times but never really looked into them -- which is a shame, seeing that they share members with a personal favorite, Toys That Kill. It took ‘em four records, but I’m finally checking out the brand new Alien or Martian?, released this April.Suffice to say there are a … Read more

Needles//Pins

Needles//Pins
Dirt Cult (2021)

Needles//Pins have all the familiar elements of pop-structured punk. Yet, at the same time, it’s hard to distill their sound to a single scene or subgenre. It’s melodic; it’s gruff; it’s sing-along. But it’s not really angry, fist-in-the-air cynicism. There’s an uplifting vibe underneath the coarse offering that soars instead of cycles. Off the top of my head, there are … Read more

Monte Penumbra

As Blades in the Firmament
End All Life (2021)

Monte Penumbra’s obscure origin dates back to 2013. The project of one W.uR suddenly appeared in the underground black metal scene with a debut full-length in Heirloom of Sullen Fall. Released at the time through Deamon Worship Productions, a label with an excellent pedigree of extreme metal having released music from the likes of Devouring Star and Wormlust, Heirloom of Sullen Fall made for a very … Read more

thisquietarmy X Away

The Singularity, Phase I
P572 (2020)

Imagine a highway, stripped of all life and containing their minute particles, each one full of information and colour, sound and breath. Imagine the highway reaching to the sky, its steps as notes and stretches of sound as the straights. thisquietarmy have created such an image in their collaboration with Voivoid’s Michel “Away” Langevin, their rhythms bringing soul and a tangible “known” … Read more

Senyawa

Alkisah
Phantom Limb (2021)

Indonesian duo Senyawa are experimentalists of the highest order on Alkisah, a record the dives head-first into the strange and unusual through improvisation with homemade instruments from Wukir Suryadi and a voice that ranges from the manic to the beautiful from Rully Shabara. Senyawa link the traditional to the modern as Alkisah progresses through structures that are formed as if from a dream, … Read more

Electric Chair

Social Capital
Iron Lung (2021)

This is short, fast, loud; brutal, punishing stuff. Ripping straight into it with “Bastard,” the first verse is spit-shouted in a way that, to normal people who don’t listen to this kind of thing all the time, will literally sound like he’s saying “blah blah blah, fuck shit.” It’s damn fast, and damn angry.But speed and intense drumming isn’t enough … Read more

Neighborhood Brats

Confines of Life
Dirt Cult (2021)

Neighborhood Brats play punk as you’d expect it to sound – regardless of year or era. It’s angry, aggressive and timeless. A review doesn’t require hyphens and subcategories. But while they’re easy to pin into a genre, they remain full of surprises, which is exceedingly rare. For every political lyric, fist punch in the air and shout-along moment, there’s a … Read more

Reviews A-Z

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