Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Brutal Youth Bottoming Out Review

Brutal Youth
Bottoming Out
Paper + Plastick Records
Release Date: Feb 27, 2015

Brutal Youth, hailing from Toronto, commit to blistering sound of frenzied hardcore. You can hear the spirit of youth in the urgency of the strained vocals and the crunching of beaten guitar strings.  The lyrics reflect this same need for immediate examination of our surrounding society.

Bottoming Out is a five track extended play coming in under eight minutes.  The production approach is fitting; keeping it loose and raw. The record sounds like I was recorded live, as member stood on hot coals. The energy is undeniable. You can hear the obvious classics like Gorilla Biscuits, Side By Side, 7 Seconds, Minor Threat, Wide Awake as an influence, with a splash of unpolished Kid Dynamite. Brutal Youth, however, are not a clone band. Their energy is impressive. It surfaces in the guitar work and vocal patterns of the title track.

“Rancour” is a killer track with four distinguishable sections. And this occurs in two minutes. The first section holds a frenetic riff that idles as a perpetual ping pong ball in a small space.  The second section is an angry, two-step part driven by a pounding snare and a sparse guitar. The third is a chaotic, desperate breakdown with classic sound. The ending employs a sing-along of “Woah-Ohs” that lift the feeling slightly with hope before it quits.

Each track is intense and enraged. Variety in the songs’ structures pushes Bottoming Out to diverge from predictable hardcore writing. There is never an element of pop that sprouted sporadically on their full length, Stay Honest. This record is angrier and harsher. Catchy gang vocals ensure enthusiastic crowd participation at live shows, and old men like me to finger point in the car alone. Brutal Youth ravage this piece of wax. I want more. Now.

RIYL: The Damage Done, Paint It Black, Trial By Fire, Kids Like Us, Youth Attack, Losin It, Test of Time

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Terveet Kadet Lapin Helvetti Review

Terveet Kadet
Lapin Helvetti
Svart Records

 Svart Records is an incredible. I always pay attention to their releases. They are an incredible resource for sludge, doom, psych, and stoner. When I pressed play on this though, all I heard was awesome thrash influenced d-beat punk. Unfortunately for me, my mind had lapsed. But as soon as it played I recalled the Musta Hetki LP from two year ago. Beginning in one form in 1980, TK have been putting put albums since 1983. These Finnish curators of fury have done it again.

Skilled guitar work and thick production reinforce the fast and tight rhythm section. The music is a soundtrack to an anxiety attack. Laja Aijala’s vocals are gnarly and pissed. He may have had some line-up changes behind him through the years but this version is amped and spews treachery on stages. They just wrapped a US tour two days ago.
A lengthy review of this is not needed. “Awesome” would just as easily sum this up. The band is just so friggin tight. And if I say, most songs sound the same, that’s a compliment. This is punk; no one is redifining anything.  TK is not deconstructing the punk paradigm to filter through post modern rhythms or some arty shite. There is Discharge, of course, in her. American noisey hate punk like AF and NA; and especially the darkness of a Poison Idea is an influence.

 And the band kicks a “thank you” to some metal riffing on “Mina Olen”. The opening riff conjures a solid swing riff before jumping into pure mayhem. Similar to Kill ‘Em All Metallica covering Discharge or Misfits, the sound is sinister. Again, the bass stands out, giving the sound a rounded out dirge tone. Two songs are over two minutes, none hit the three minute mark. Half of the tracks stay under one minute. “Brutaali” stands out to me with a crunchy riff over 4/4 drums and Aijala’s raspy snarls. “Verinen Jeesus” has some great chunky hardcore riffs they smash together providing a forty-nine second melee. Following is “Elamalle vieraita piirteita” which goes from blast beat to breakdown that Coke Bust would revel in. 
This band is amazing. Any skate thrash blackened hardcore punk should find an aspect that enthralls them in this harsh sound. Short Fast Loud; it describes many bands. Kadet have earned it proudly. I’ll take another thirty five years, please.

RIYKL: Heresy, Hard Skin, Vitamin X, Iron Reagan, Violent Arrest, Dead Stop, Victims, Cops N Robbers, Poison Idea, Negative Approach, Rattus, Raw Power, Venom, Okkultokrati, Minor Threat, Agnostic Front, SSD

Hudson Falcons Peace of Mind Review

Hudson Falcons
Peace of Mind
East Grand Records
It’s no secret that Hudson Falcons always called themselves a rock and roll band. They played for skinheads and punks, but they loved Bruce Springsteen. They had a great run for a punk band, being on the top labels like Outsider and GMM. But as the streepunk thing died or morphed or whatever; they ended. I had heard they had new line up and Mark Linskey (the singer/ guitarist/ writer would put out music or play acoustic shows). I lost track. I knew they had gone more rock and roll.

The last time I heard them was 2004’s LP, La Famiglia. A fifth album, Dancing Underneath the Moonlight, happened in 2011. This time, in 2015, Linskey and crew are back. Peace of mind is a more cohesive, focused album. Rock and roll is still the core of this band. They have added an organ. This sounds promising with an organ, but the opening track, “Live Right Now”, to me isn’t working class rock or a call back to Max RnB mod shit (a la Duffys Cut) or garage rock spasms (45 adapters)  this sounds like “The Boys are Back in Town”. This is disappointing since I have no love for 70s rock.

However, the second track, “Don’t Waste the Burn”, is a cool organ drenched solemn tune that triggers some anger (towards the world, not the song) and nostalgia. “Soul Salvation” follows with a tip of the hat to old Rolling Stones, one of my favorites. So my apprehension is dissipating quickly.
I can eschew the need for hard edge punk or the aggression of a band who used to unsubtle t-shirts like “Working Class Mother Fucker” and the Ireland unity slogan of: “26 + 1 …Over My Dead Body”. Hudson Falcons always were received well in working class cities like Providence and Boston (where I always saw them). Bands like Roachenders, Dropkicks and Ducky Boys fit right in. They had a split on GMM with Blood for Blood. Their absolute pro-union stance lyrics played well to calloused-skinned fists and tired faces chanting along. They held back no punches and were forward with their politics. That palpable honesty, in a sea of young bands crying the working class life, was undeniable.

Going through Peace of Mind, there are a few slower songs that I might skip, but all are heartfelt and are all good down home rock and roll songs.  These jersey heroes bring back many memories, especially linked up with split-mates, tour-mates, and friends, The GC5. But its fifteen years later and not every song will be a furious, raucous punk anthem. “We’ll Fight Back” is a boss song, brining a ska beat and championing a riotous chorus. The organ works well here in adding a layer of mood.

The thing about the first two HF albums was the speed, like sometimes the speed was more important than a crisp sound. Here we have a tighter band and medium paced songs with an organ. The Stones but tougher, the Springsteen meet MC5 love is apparent. Once I molted my OCD preconceptions and rigid nostalgia, I realized that it is not their fault I haven’t kept up with the band. I look at their discogs page. They have steadily put out records. That is admirable for a band who ain’t making money from it.

That said it is still a little slower and more open to other influences beyond SLF; but, holy shit this is good. “Scared” and “We Need a Union Now” pick up the pace in the middle and truly call back to the early Hudson Falcons’ sound. It is a good rock and roll album still wrought with defiance and rebellion.