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NASA SPACE UNIVERSE – BEYOND ICE EP

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It’s no big secret that hardcore (or any genre, for that matter) has the capability to get downright boring when in the hands of the near-infinite supply of bands willing to rehash sounds from the past. Though everyone certainly has a right to play whatever music they feel like, it’s always refreshing to hear a band like NASA Space Universe blasting through your speakers. As implied in their name, NSU’s particular brand of hardcore, which lies on some yet-undiscovered point on the spectrum that ties together harcdore, punk, and noise-rock, is some pretty far-out stuff. Their music, while always hard-hitting and intense, has an deep-seated intelligence to it; these guys know their stuff and thus understand exactly how to subvert your expectations from the genre. The stuff is certainly noisy as well, in the tradition of great, weird Midwestern punk, even though these guys are from sunny California. Speaking of the Midwest, Die Kreuzen is the most obvious touchstone for these guys, what with the manic and high-pitched caterwauling and the sense of compositional adventure on display. NSU do have a frightening skill for writing compelling instrumental parts; how many hardcore/punk/noise bands do you know that can easily pull off three instrumentals, two of which are around three minutes long, on a six-song EP? And, believe it or not, these instrumentals are some of the strongest tracks here, namely “EGM” and the album closer “SHO.” And if you’re looking for a taste of what they have to offer vocally, the opener “db” is definitely another hit. If you happen to have a taste for true punk weirdness, then these guys (along with their compatriots The Coltranes) are NOT to be missed.

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