Remember punk rock? Remember when bands wrote songs before coming up with t-shirt designs? Remember when every shitty local band in your town didnt have a slick full-length CD after three months of playing together? Remember when DIY encompassed every aspect of being in a band rather than just which label to sign a contract with?
Like Robert Zimmerman once sang, the times they are a-changin. Or more accurately, theyve already a-changed. No matter how many stubborn punks resisted, technology has democratized the indie music scene, letting bands win publicity and exposure in ways that Black Flag could only dream of - at least most punk bands today dont have to dodge wiretaps and LAPD nightsticks on top of trying to get their records into stores. Do it yourself has given way to anyone can do it. And like middle-school blowjobs or text messaging, everybodys doing it.
Which brings us to the record in question, the Fuck It Up Fuck It Up Fuck It Up EP by Kamikaze Noise. Emerging from the lily-white Maryland suburb of Severna Park, where Academy Award-winning actor Robert Duvall went to prep school, Kamikaze Noise have delivered the most unapologetically punk rock record Ive heard in years. Rawer than a fresh skin graft, noisier than the proverbial bomb raid, and more single-minded than a sexually frustrated teenager, the Fuck It Up x3 EP simply destroys.
In our age of professional, ultra-compressed recordings, Kamikaze Noise sounds like robots biting each other inside an oil drum, underwater. While Lebenden Totens records at least feature consistent instrument levels amidst the lo-fi chaos, Kamikaze Noise sounds dangerously unstable, like at any second the volume might soar to deafening levels and incinerate your stereo. The liner notes inform: Recorded over spring break 07 on Laurens computer with 3 broken mics on home-made mic stands (like a pile of books). Singer had food poisoning. And how!
More than anyone else, Kamikaze Noise reminds me of the late, great H-100s. Its not just the raw, clipped hardcore punk, or the low-budget presentation, or the wicked artwork: like the H-100s records, the Fuck It Up x3 EP is a punk record made by punk record collectors. Only someone with a PhD in Japanese hardcore would pen lyrics like Wait for the sunrise, awake in the gray rain / The sound of stepping on wet grass / Have the strength to change your life / The lotus always blooms twice. (As if the bands name or the samurai on the cover didnt it away.) I also hear some serious echoes of Confuse: maybe its the gas-leak guitar sound, or the almost ridiculously loud bass - or maybe its just the pure, relentless awesomeness of it all. (The band themselves could probably provide much more precise points of reference, given the band patches on display in the hilarious cartoon on the back cover.)
Joe Carducci once argued that record collectors shouldnt start bands, but the Fuck It Up x3 EP gives that axiom the lie. (So did the H-100s' EPs, and what did Joe have against Sonic Youth anyway?) A raw recording is not a guarantee of punk authenticity, but Kamikaze Noise sound much more spirited than the countless merchandising companies currently masquerading as hardcore bands. I hate to sound like one of those embittered old-timers moaning about how punk today lacks a sense of adversity, but this record provides a potent reminder that punks not about how many Myspace friends youve got or how much cool merch you can accrue. Its about heart, goddamn it, and Kamikaze Noise have heart in spades.
H-100\'s, Confuse, The D-Beat Internationale
8.2 / 10
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