Asylum Is This The Price? 7″ (Demo Tapes)
It amazes me that after what, a good thirty years of hardcore-punk enthusiasts digging up and reissuing obscurities, there are still shocking new finds to be made. I’m specifically blown away by the 7″ vinyl reissue of Is This The Price?, the sole release from Stoke-on-Trent’s Asylum which originally came on cassette in 1982. Sealed Records describes it as “the missing link between Discharge and Japanese noise-core”, and while I can certainly hear that, I’m also reminded of outsider American ‘core freaks like Psycho Sin, Maniax, Chemotherapy and Siege. Asylum really pushed the limits of “music” back in 1982 and I’m thrilled to hear it now; they blast through these six songs with pure abandon. Drums, bass, guitar and vocals are all there, but they seem to rarely link up in unison – rather, they play as fast and gnarly as they can, with a guitar tone so feebly blown-out that it recalls my sink’s garbage disposal more than anything attributable to Marshall or Fender. I truly love hardcore like this, the sort of blink-and-you’ll-miss band of miscreants I’d expect to see squeezed onto a Bullshit Detector comp or some eighty-band hand-copied cassette curated by the members of Lärm back in 1984. Brings a tear to my eye.

Bashford Greener Grasses LP (Big Neck)
For some reason, Bashford went with a fairly bland painting for the cover of their record, as opposed to the back cover photo of a hairy belly with the album title written on it. That’s just such a classic grunge move, the belly writing; it’s the sort of thing Tad and Mudhoney did to amuse themselves as rock critics watched on with baited breath in 1989. It’s fitting too, seeing as Bashford sound exactly like when you’re in fifth grade and you find out that some high schoolers cover Nirvana songs in their garage down the street and you finally dig up the courage to step onto their driveway. This is pure Sub Pop 200 music, right in line with The Fluid, Green River and the unfairly-decried Cat Butt. Somehow, it doesn’t seem to be a nostalgic homage so much as the group’s natural inclinations, which is cool with me, no matter how Cobain-esque singer-guitarist Luke Peltonen’s hoarse croak becomes. I dunno, while there’s absolutely nothing new or noteworthy happening here, it warms my heart to hear some new band worship early Nirvana like this way more than the latest deconstructed hyper-pop project or paint-by-numbers goth-wave group. There’s apparently more fifth-grader left in me than I realized.

Body Cam EP 7″ flexi (Violent Pest)
Nashville hardcore! You don’t hear those two words together too often, but I’m here for it, particularly as this debut one-sided flexi from Body Cam brings an appropriate level of scrawny fury. It’s rare that a “five songs in five minutes” record has ever let me down, and this square flexi is certainly no disappointment. Think of those earliest Gang Green tracks but messier – Body Cam pretty much never stop flailing throughout, with nary a mosh part in sight or even a valid reason to stage-dive. (Let’s face it: all the best stage-dives happen when they’re not supposed to, anyway.) There’s gotta be at least a few traditionalists out there who believe mosh parts ruined hardcore-punk, and while I’m not in that camp, I respect that opinion and am certain they’d approve of Body Cam. While much muddier and less distinctive than Tennessee’s greatest hardcore export, Koro, Body Cam are certainly in the same league, which is not a bad place to start.

K. Campbell Breaking Glass 7″ (Poison Moon)
Another lathe-cut 7″ single from K. Campbell, a guy who’s clearly figured out a fun and appealing way to share his hobby with a small slice of the world. This is his fourth single on Poison Moon, all of which have been limited to twenty-or-so copies a piece with attractively designed sleeves. As far as I’m concerned, Campbell has a free pass to do whatever he wants on these personal totems – beatboxing, ocean noise, whatever – but he sticks with a highly pleasant form of poppy indie-rock here. “Breaking Glass” sounds like The Get Up Kids without the voice cracks, delivered casually yet confidently with a catchy chorus. “More Than A Memory” is a little more hushed and twee, a definite b-side that feels like something Merge would’ve offered up in 1995. Heck, if Merge released this as a slimline CD EP back then it probably would’ve sold ten thousand copies and been considered a modest success, but now there are actually fewer copies of Breaking Glass than kids in a standardized kindergarten class. Weird how that works, but K. Campbell doesn’t seem to mind one bit.

Eric Chenaux Say Laura LP (Constellation)
I meant to check out Canadian avant-songwriter Eric Chenaux after reading his Wire cover story a couple years back, but sadly forgot. Now I’m spinning his first solo album in four years, Say Laura, and appreciating the cozy warmth it offers on this particularly lengthy cold-snap we’re having here in the American Northeast. If you’re not familiar, he’s kind of a post-jazz, post-electronica, post-rock sorta guy, playing music that touches on ideas shared by Tortoise, Animal Collective, The Sea & Cake and Sam Gendel (to name but a few), but is clearly on his own trip. It’s a trip I’d describe as master noodling, as each of these lengthy five tracks spends significant amounts of time wiggling in free-form melodic bliss. He’ll noodle on his guitar, he’ll noodle with electronics, he even finds a way to noodle with his singing voice (and a harmonica, too). But much as noodles themselves vary from sixty-cent microwavable styrofoam cups to Michelin-starred ramen, musical noodling can greatly vary in quality, and Chenaux is instantly recognizable as a phenom, finding endless new patterns for melodies to converge and separate and take the long road home. His voice, a gender-neutral purr somewhere between Chet Baker and Caribou’s Dan Snaith, is the perfect foil. He could probably nail coffeehouse-friendly lite-jazz if he wanted, but bizarre and fascinating moves are preferred throughout, the guitar of “Your New Rhythm” being purposely detuned in real-time but one of them.

Crispy Newspaper Ой Дуораан 12″ (World Gone Mad)
I love stories of punks in realms far from your typical American and European cities, of which Crispy Newspaper are a prime example: this group resides in Yaktusk, Siberia, which is apparently Asia’s northernmost and coldest city. They sing in Sakha, a distinct Turkic language, and someway somehow their 2020 cassette has now been given a gatefold 12″ vinyl release care of Philadelphia’s own World Gone Mad. Nice! I will admit my ignorance to the existence of Yaktusk, let alone their punk scene, but it warms my heart to know that its young people are playing in bands, railing against power structures and probably having a bit of fun, too. Musically, I’d describe this as aggressive and poppy, modern-sounding hardcore-punk that reminds me of bands like Pandemix, Limp Wrist and I dunno, Night Birds maybe? None of those are spot-on references, but swirl them around and Crispy Newspaper would fit right into the mix. Yet another testament to the enduring universality of punk rock.

Crucial Response Puppets 7″ (Not For The Weak)
I giggled for an unreasonable length of time at the fact that this Indonesian hardcore band decided to call themselves Crucial Response, the name used by perhaps the most European of European youth-crew hardcore record labels. I both love and hate the way hardcore endlessly recycles the same few phrases; I shouldn’t be surprised when sometime in the future a new band from Florida or Portugal or Norway decides to call themselves Revelation or Judge or something, but I know I will be. Anyway, Crucial Response play some thick-necked hardcore, urgent and with a heavy metallic edge that all the kids at these mosh-em-up destination hardcore fests seem to enjoy. At points, I’m reminded of Wasted Time and Negative Approach’s Tied Down, though Puppets is a little more generic, for better or worse. Bruising hardcore with pictures of skull-spider spiked-chain weaponry (as rendered on the cover here) never goes out of style I suppose, no matter how many times it’s duplicated.

The Dead Space Chlorine Sleep LP (12XU)
No, The Dead Space isn’t a new social media platform for Jerry Garcia fans – okay, maybe it should be, but it’s also the name of this artsy post-punk trio out of Austin, TX. They’ve been around a few years, but Chlorine Sleep is my first exposure to the group, and the 12XU stamp of approval certainly makes sense upon listening. They’ve got a melodic-yet-discordant thing going on, sounding like a mix between the post-screamo noise-rock of Metz and the moody post-emo rock of Preoccupations, who coincidentally just co-headlined a tour together. The bass is heavy and tuneful, the drums deliver dramatic tom-based patterns, and the vocals are spoken-sung in a similar-yet-brighter register as (the rightfully-disgraced) Daughters. Songs might zigzag around like Wire’s least conventional tracks, but they fit in snugly with the other contemporary pro-‘tude noise-rockers I’ve already mentioned in this review – The Dead Space might gel best with folks who love At The Drive-In, not Unholy Swill. That bodes well for The Dead Space, then, seeing as there are roughly ten thousand At The Drive-In fans for every person willing to even acknowledge the existence of Unholy Swill.

Deaf Club Productive Disruption LP (Three One G / Sweatband)
It often seems like a safe bet that any given ’70s/’80s/’90s punk icon will eventually completely humiliate themselves via their own cluelessness or get rightfully cancelled by those they’ve hurt over the years, but I’m happy that Justin Pearson (of Swing Kids, Crimson Curse and most notably, The Locust) is a strong counter-example. Rather than resting on his glory days, being outed for abuse, or espousing some “edgy” form of conservative views, he’s as DIY and punk as ever, still putting out his own records and kicking against the pricks. One of his current bands is Deaf Club, and Productive Disruption is my first experience hearing the group. It’s pretty cool! This is very much in line with The Locust’s relentless and abruptly-changing grind; with a dearth of synths, I’d say I’m reminded most of early Dillinger Escape Plan in the way that mathematical time signatures are utilized for hardcore-grind blasting. Pearson yowls in a fairly continuous tone throughout, much in the same way he’s been doing in various bands for the past three decades, and with this extremely tight and well-rehearsed outfit, it sounds great. Kinda funny that they have a song called “Public Acid” – it can’t be a tribute to the band of the same name, can it? – but that just leaves the door open for Public Acid to write a song called “Deaf Club” whenever they’re feeling up for it. After all, true hardcore-punk isn’t a diatribe, it’s a conversation (or argument).

Eyes And Flys Asbestos Fiber In A Sunbeam / Sad Labor 7″ (no label)
On their sixth self-released seven-inch in three years, upstate New York’s Eyes And Flys are in full-band mode here, pumping out two songs about their working-class perspective. Bandleader Patrick Shanahan even includes copies of his OSHA and asbestos ID cards in the insert, confirming that this is the work or someone down in the trenches (apparently literally), not a rich-kid fantasy written from the perspective of the proletariat. “Asbestos Fiber In A Sunbeam” is the rightful a-side, a groovy garage-punk slam that pairs the vocal stylings of Mayyors with a rousing, guitar-driven sound that’s as Mummies-esque as it is Dillinger Four. “Sad Labor” is a little restrained, though the sentiment remains the same. The chorus repeats the lines “this is your roll (sic) / get in the hole”, which reads like it should be a Swans song, but it actually sounds more like a brief agitated moment located within Spray Paint’s back catalog alongside some lonesome guitar crumbs. Already setting my clock for Eyes And Flys seventh self-released seven-inch, probably due any day now.

Eyes Of The Amaryllis Sift LP (Horn Of Plenty)
Glad to be hipped to this new project from a few of Philadelphia’s post-noise-diaspora players – I’m talking about Jesse Dewlow (aka People Skills) and Jim Strong of Melkings alongside Esther Scanlund and Goda Trakumaite. They’ve put together an oddly compelling vinyl debut in Sift, which I’d liken closest to an American take on the communal domestic clamor of Enhet För Fri Musik, with a touch of the DIY swirl found within the deep discography of Ashtray Navigations. It’s also not far from the patient, brooding melancholy of a People Skills record, and there’s just enough “random objects being shuffled around” sounds on here to make the Melkings connection. Guitar is prominent too, and rather than being played in a discordant Sonic Youth-y style (as is the general tradition of noise-based improv bands), wistful melodies unfurl over many of these tracks. If you tried to imagine the Kye Records equivalent of “indie rock”, Sift might be within that orbit, though the Kye side of the equation is certainly weighted heavier here (much to my delight). As preciously odd as any given New Zealand avant-DIY lathe cut, but mass-produced on pristine black vinyl care of London’s Horn Of Plenty.

Gentleman Jesse Lose Everything LP (Beach Impediment)
Sad to say, the times seem to have gotten to the normally-precocious Gentleman Jesse – rather than posing for the cover with his guitar or alongside friends in snappy shirts and poses, Lose Everything features a black and white photo of some unremarkable underpass, the sort of place that has a “no dumping” sign where everyone illegally dumps anyway. And the album title doesn’t provide much hope either! Rest assured, this newfound moroseness doesn’t extend to the music of Lose Everything, though I wouldn’t necessarily call this “happy” music either… it’s sharp power-pop rock that is reasonably cautious about the future and wary of good news, which certainly makes sense given the era in which it was written and recorded. If anything, I find myself reminded quite a bit of Ted Leo here, in the way that Gentleman Jesse attacks his American guitar-pop with sincerity and energy, a firm believer in his own music (and rightly so). Kind of strange that such a nuanced, emotionally-mature album comes to us from Beach Impediment, a label I associate with muscular skulls punching through brick walls, though stranger combinations have certainly happened. Gentleman Jesse prefers to channel his discontent and malaise through chiming guitars and charming melodies (though a single ignorant mosh breakdown wouldn’t have killed him).

Geo Rip Geo Rip 12″ (The Trilogy Tapes)
It always felt like DC’s Protect-U received less admiration and praise than they deserved, but no one said making introspective experimental techno was a quick trip to fame and fortune. As Geo Rip (the pairing of Protect-U’s Mike Petillo and Aaron Leitko with Dope Body’s John Jones), they’re poised to turn at least a few new heads care of the reputation of the tastemaking Trilogy Tapes label, and rightfully so. They’ve always been on this path, an inquisitive, wonky-rhythmed adventure into the most tweaked sounds one could reasonably call electronic dance music, and on this vinyl debut Geo Rip display the fruits of their labor. I want to say “Drop-In Center” sounds like a badly heat-warped Vakula record, but that betrays the time and precision that Geo Rip clearly put into crafting it, which is evident even at its loosest moments. “Nah Press Fake Text” unexpectedly raises the BPM, ping-ponging across the sound-field with dazzling color… much like b-side opener “Tooni”, these tracks sound like the tropical bird room at the zoo both literally and figuratively. They wrap with “Underwater Bodycam”, which points towards a future in which Fennesz, The Field, Oneohtrix Point Never and the Hessle Audio roster are spotted running down a grassy hill together, arms entwined. The vaguely-anthropomorphic brain-teaser toy on the cover is a perfect match for the sounds within, as quizzical as it is simple fun.

Anne Gillis <<...>> LP (Art Into Life)
The Art Into Life label is full of understated, glorious surprises, and this new album from abstract-electronics lifer Anne Gillis fits right into that category. She’s been releasing odd, unassuming noise records since the early ’80s, and apparently sneaked in a trip to Japan in 2020 to play a live show in celebration of her retrospective box-set release, which is documented here. The quality here is great, and with a total lack of human interaction or crowd noise, it feels like a proper full-length. The label promo says that the works here are constructed from “primitive hiss noise and error sounds”, and well, I couldn’t have summed it up better myself. Low-level industrial thrum meets malfunctioning electronics in deeply hypnotic ways, not at all harsh but oddly soothing, at least if you’re the type of person who’s ever stopped what you were doing to listen to the air conditioner. Occasionally Gillis’s voice appears, but she sounds more like a rudimentary theremin than a human exercising their vocal cords. In a way, I’m reminded of Phew, but even Phew sounds downright poppy with her Suicide-styled synth patterns compared to the desolate and ruined soundscapes offered by Gillis here. The sole exception to the rule is “Appel À La Base”, which actually has some sort of cold-wave sway and a drum machine beat, draped in static though it may be. Impeccable album!

Good Looking Son Fantasy Weekend 12″ (Feel It)
Apparently unsatisfied with merely The Cowboys as a vessel for his songs, guitarist/singer/songwriter Keith Harman started Good Looking Son, another band based around his glammy power-pop dreams. This six-song EP features more of his American power-pop stylings; upbeat, courteous and slightly silly tunes that always go down smooth. Though hailing from Cincinnati circa now, these songs give me an upstate New Jersey vibe circa 1980, like that of a weekly-gigging bar-band whose songwriting aspirations exceed that of the Cheap Trick and Tommy Tutone songs they’re forced to cover. At least two different bands named The Boyfriends fit this description, and they remind me of Good Looking Son, though there’s a bit of a platform-shoe glitz to these songs as well, perhaps the remnants of a T. Rex love affair. Not sure if Feel It is interested in becoming the BOMP! Records of today, but records like this might earn them that distinction.

IbonRG & Enrike Hurtado oMOrruMU baMAt LP (Repetidor)
Chances are, you don’t know nothing about nothing when it comes to IbonRG and Enrike Hurtado, and let me tell you friend, I’m right there with you! This collaborative LP is my first experience with these two Basque artists, while I’ve yet to uncover a better section to file this than “experimental”, these two clearly have their own specific intents. It’s a duo (IbonRG is just one guy, if that wasn’t evident), but they seem to take turns throughout, with one of them playing piano or txalaparta (an “ancient Basque wooden instrument” used percussively) while the other sits it out, or perhaps augments the sound with electronic software manipulation. Mostly though oMOrruMU baMAt sounds like a seated theater performance, with lengthy vocal ballads sung with or without musical accompaniment (and if so, usually piano). The lyrics are taken from poetry by the artist/poet Joxan Artze, and while my understanding of the Basque language is non-existent, IbonRG and Hurtado have no trouble communicating beyond language, with songs that conjure an ancient mournfulness or an elusive beauty. It comes with a thick booklet that pairs abstract paintings/scribbles with each track, as if the artfulness wasn’t already seeping out of the album’s every pore.

Klon Dump KLON001 12″ (Klon Dump)
Sometimes you’re scrolling through the bins, be they in a record shop or digital, and a name just grabs you. Such is the case for me and Klon Dump, a name that immediately calls to mind Nico talking about a clown that pooped. That’s all it took! That and the kind of funny center sticker pic of some guy, presumably not Klon Dump himself, though I’d be happy if it was. Anyway, it was a serendipitous moment, as these two songs are pretty dope… smartly funky minimal techno outta Berlin. “Verklärte Dumpster” is kind of a glitchy, analog-sounding take on my favorite Perlon records. Snappy drums pair with an amusing vocal sample in a very Melchior Productions sorta way, the sorta combo that can fail as easily as it can succeed, but it’s a home run here. “Klon Mundo – Klon Domo” is the flip and it raises the energy level, a pile of twitching wires that eventually recall a particularly frantic round of Super Mario Kart. Very fun techno stuff, though it’s “Verklärte Dumpster” that demands the repeated playback for me. Say it with me: Klon Dump!

Man Eaters Twelve More Observations On Healthy Living LP (Feel It)
So often, I feel like Chicago hardcore-punk aims for a humble, gritty realness, whereas their natives Man Eaters are completely outsized and wild. From their art to their sound to their physical appearance (four out of four longhairs, three out of four mustaches, one out of four cyberpunk Al Jourgensen-style sunglasses), they go big, and that bigness is expressed with gusto on their sophomore full-length, Twelve More Observations On Healthy Living. I hope to see this band live someday, if only to verify that they’re as larger than life in person as they are on record. Much of Twelve More reminds me of Motörhead if they weren’t a band but rather a Robert Crumb comic book that got banned from most high schools. Drugs are rampant, denim is stained and the party never ends, no matter who’s still awake. The mix of bad-ass rock n’ roll and hardcore-punk that Annihilation Time promised is operating at full capacity here, and I’d say improved upon. Much like Toronto hardcore band Omegas exploded classic NYHC iconography to their own cartoonish ends, Man Eaters have taken their cues from late ’80s Poison Idea and dialed everything up to eleven.

Nameless Creations Pain-Powered Machine 7″ (Kill Your Parents)
Polish goth-rockers Nameless Creations follow their 2019 album with this new single, and with its cover drawing of a 1920s flapper with a naked devil-man on a leash, how could I not give it a try? I remember their album as sounding kinda raw, pained and morbid – to be honest, I haven’t spun it since writing the review back in the sweetly naive winter of 2019 – but “Pain-Powered Machine” comes bursting through the door. They probably sound more like The Hives than they realize here, albeit somewhat neutralized by the piano-led swagger I’d associate with Pleasure Forever. It’s not overly arena-sized, but I still can’t imagine that many obsessive fans of My Chemical Romance and AFI would snub their noses at it. “Things That Serve” allows the half-drunk bluster of the a-side to fully take over, swaying like a small boat in the wake of a larger one, which is emphasized by the brief violin solo. Vocalist Dorian Wiseblood quickly interrupts it with his tirade against (or for?) love, sounding as if World Inferno Friendship Society were booked for a controversial funeral. If your name is “Dorian Wiseblood”, you damn sure better be playing music in a band like this!

Nein Rodere Catch Up With What Party LP (Horn Of Plenty)
Berlin-based musician and artist David Roeder takes the step from tape to wax with Catch Up With What Party, his vinyl debut which compiles, re-works and adds onto material from two recent cassette releases. He operates in the “lonesome shadowy man with access to a few basic instruments and a tape recorder” vein, offering no fewer than twenty-three tracks on here. You’d think there might be some beam of light or human connection to be extended on such a lengthy outing, but these vignettes are pretty opaque, music that seems to be hiding from the listener as well as itself. A guitar strums aimlessly in a cul-de-sac, a pump organ hums in the corner of some Twin Peaks bedroom, vocals are intoned so ominously low that making out the words is near impossible… scrutiny is futile. The record often feels like a crime-noir without a plot; conflict and action are replaced with empty courtyards and vague muttering, excused as art for art’s sake. On one hand, I’m inclined to think that Catch Up With What Party could’ve benefited from some editing, but on the other, part of the point seems to be its large spread of musical mundanities, a sonic map smudged beyond recognition.

Reckoning Force Broken State LP (Not For The Weak)
Let’s see, a map of the US rendered in brittle soil and filled human silhouettes trapped in gears while old-timey plutocrats look on with murderous lust and big bags with dollar signs on them… precisely what I want to see on a hardcore album cover! Reckoning Force understands America’s failure, which, let’s be honest, is only missed by the willfully ignorant at this point, but they answer the call with a 45 RPM album of raging American hardcore. Hailing from Virginia Beach, Reckoning Force must be used to the endless fighter jets pointlessly patrolling over head (and costing us millions of dollars in the process), so they slam through these ten tracks in a punchy, not-too-raw style that will surely appeal to both hardcore kids and hardcore punks alike (you know the distinction). Reminds me of Virginia locals like Wasted Time and Government Warning alongside a clear working knowledge of the X-Claim! catalog, and probably a familiarity with some of the harder-edged youth-crew that Youngblood Records has produced through the years. Nothing game changing, or even particularly distinctive, but as a form of art and social protest, good hardcore-punk need not reinvent the wheel, it simply needs to slap spikes on that wheel and roll it full-speed into the police station and the politician’s mansion. Broken State does just that.

Adam Roth & His Band Of Men Down The Shore Original Motion Picture Soundtrack LP (HoZac)
At this point, I don’t begrudge anyone for curling up in a protective zone of nostalgia as a means of making it through the day. Things really stink these days, so if you wanna try to beat Metroid again or binge-watch Fred Savage’s movies from the ’80s and ’90s, I certainly won’t try to stop you! This reissue from Adam Roth & His Band Of Men is pure rock nostalgia, even if you haven’t heard it before, which I presume is the case for the vast majority of those reading this. I love me some first-wave power-pop but hadn’t heard of this album before, and it’s a very fun and teenaged romp, the sort of thing I’d expect to hear blasting during a scene where the cool-but-outcast main character walks into high school on the first day, avoiding stoners on skateboards and jocks playing catch. Very High School USA… as “Judy Won’t You Dance With Me?” hits, I’m picturing Michael J. Fox and Dana Plato dancing in the cafeteria while Todd Bridges looks on in admiration. One buddy of mine is obsessed with those movies, from Jocks to Prayer Of The Rollerboys, and I’m gonna give him my copy of this record. The only thing better than keeping a record you like is giving it to someone who’ll love it.

Total Hell Total Hell 12″ (Goner)
Who among us hasn’t fantasized about playing in an evil metal band? Directly lifting the visual and sonic aesthetics of Venom and Celtic Frost, wearing spiked gauntlets and black eye makeup and doing your best “invisible oranges” pose in the local graveyard. It’s an incredibly alluring proposition, but most of us tend to leave it at the fantasy stage, whereas the men of Total Hell acted on these morbid desires and started this band. Composed of DD Owen and members of garage-punk bands Trampoline Team and Buck Biloxi & The Fucks, these guys put on their heavy metal costumes and give it a go, to results both undeniable and unremarkable. I’m not saying you can’t play snotty pop-punk one day and evil blackened metal the next, but if you’re the type of listener who adamantly demands authentic heavy metal destruction, you might be able to sniff out the weekend warriors from the lifers. Regardless of your particular stance, Total Hell are all-in with this debut 12″, complete with fantasy lyrics, Satanic voice-overs and the whinnying of a black-winged stallion (check the intro to “Disfigured”). Venom worship brought to you by Goner Records in precisely the way you might imagine Goner Records would bring you Venom worship.

Wake Up Tigers Can’t Be Choosers LP (Paul Is Dead)
It’s funny how many aggressive noise-rock bands pride themselves on being a “downer”, thinking that their big ugly noisy riffs will stir up a negative mood for anyone in their vicinity, whereas it’s actually this upbeat indie-rock album from LA’s Wake Up that’s got me more sullen than the gnarliest Drunks With Guns clone. It’s because Tigers Can’t Be Choosers is dedicated to the memory of Carlo Gonzalez, the drummer of Wake Up at the time of this recording, as well as the memory of Thomas John Fekete, who sings and plays guitar on a digital-only bonus track. I don’t know if my peer group has simply gotten old and it’s always been like this for adults beyond their twenties, but it feels more and more commonplace to have our friends die in very recent times, and it takes me a moment to shake that thought once it’s entered my head. Sorry if I just did that to you now, too. Anyway, for an emo-adjacent indie-rock group, Wake Up don’t sound remotely morose here, preferring instead to weave their way through songs that are equal parts Promise Ring, Pavement and the basements where fans of those two bands congregate. Fun is clearly being had, and seeing as Wake Up recorded it back in 2013 before going on a tour with Surfer Blood (and seemingly self-released it on their own “Paul Is Dead Records” label – sheesh), I’m glad they go to share that exciting moment in their lives and capture the lazy happy songs that went along with it.