Brand new release from one of Boston’s top punk bands. As ever the vocal approach sets this band apart immediately, as Shannon keeps the screaming to a bare minimum. This never takes away from the intensity of this melding of hardcore, peace punk, and first wave punk though. As simple a move as this is it’s nevertheless refreshing as hell in the often uninventive world of hardcore punk. PANDEMIX chug and rip through these ten tracks, guitars shimmering fiercely. Another win for recording engineer/master-er of the punks Will Killingsworth. “Downward Trend” is my favorite track off IN CONDEMNATION. A mean slice of hardcore riffage, some gang vocals, a little weirdness, and all of it somehow catchy as fuck. And I can’t overlook “Can’t Assimilate”, a true ripper of a punk anthem. I can’t assimilate either… same for you if you’re reading this I bet.
ARTHUR is a melted pop dreamer. London’s PLZ MAKE IT RUINS recently released his WOOF WOOF. 16 tracks of sparse experimental pop landing somewhere in the JIB KIDDER/earlier-OF MONTREAL zone. The bass tone is very excellent throughout, jumping out at the listener and creating that “bopping along” feel when placed against the beats here. That bass almost imbues some of this weird pop excursion with a country feel (we’re not talking modern country here folks), especially when a wayward banjo appears as on the earworm “Ivy League”. I love the 1.5 instrumental minutes that conclude this one. Electronic dog yelps used to full effect. The songwriting is similarly wonderful across these tracks, employing classic pop tricks at will in this weird future pop context. The title track is short af, as many of these songs are. Smooth move though, just has you reaching for that repeat button. Girl group heroines of yesteryear are dancing in their mausoleums. “Make It Easy” drips of sickly adult contemporary-ness, synths abound, but something is quite wrong. And the guitar solo is beautiful. I was unfamiliar with ARTHUR until recently but it looks like we’ll be doing a show with him in June. I am now familiar.
This next one is a definitely curious release. It appears as if a compilation of one off side projects from some great UK/European bands (Subdued, BB and The Blips, Good Throb, Arms Race, are some of the bands whose members appear here) getting together to celebrate the voice of females in modern punk. STATIC SHOCK being the modern punk hub that it is makes this seem like a very plausible reality. Poke around a little though and it turns out that this is an odd companion piece record to the Toronto band FUCKED UP’s latest record. So I guess they recorded all the music and invited a bunch of stellar women of contemporary punk to front the tracks? Ok. CRASS-feel is strong, but the tracks are quite varied, coming across as very believable that these are different bands taking part from track to track. Bryony Beynon (formerly? of GOOD THROB) starts the whole thing off with “Black Cardigans”, a ripper to be sure. Eve Libertine aesthetic looms over the proceedings. The whole record is a good listen, but another killer track is #2 on the record, “In Carnation”, this one fronted by Manuela Iwansson (formerly of Sweden’s Terrible Feelings). A relentless, roiling punk tune running on late 70s fumes, it would be a shame if many folks don’t end up hearing this weird record as it’s pretty fantastic. Hopefully these words help a few more people find there way to these sounds.
The latest release by Boston’s stellar PROPERTY MATERIALS is this twisted experimental electronic batch created by a Scottish ex-pat up in Salem. That’s RADIO SKOTVOID of course, who has been meddling with electronics in these parts for years now! This is the best release I’ve heard by RS yet. These tracks breathe melancholy, visions of broken, man-made creatures knocking against the limits of their containers, unable to escape their innate (designed) defects. Glitching samples protrude from an ambient landscape creating a modern alien atmosphere most broken. “Memory Lane”‘s got that ill beat though.
Dan is one of the founders and directors of the 501(c)(3) non-profit BRAIN Arts Org which runs this Boston Hassle site, of which he is the EIC, or just the Chief. He loves his wife and his 2 boys very much and they live together in Jamaica Plain. When he’s not hanging out with them, or working at one of his 2 non-BRAIN jobs, he writes for this site, plays in the band THIGHS (currently recording), and DJs soul, gospel & rnb music every first thursday in JP @ JESUS DRINKS FREE. Listen to some slightly older music of Dan’s HERE.