ALL: Pummel: Porterhouse Records
ALL were originally designed as a vehicle for three quarters of the Descendents to vent while vocalist Milo Aukerman was off establishing himself as a scientist. Vocals were initially occupied by Dave Smalley of Dag Nasty, Down By Law, and DYS, while guitarist Stephen Egerton, bassist Karl Alvarez, and drummer Bill Stevenson pounded out songs similar to their established repertoire. Cruz Records put out six releases by ALL from 1988 to 1993, at which time the band parted ways with their second vocalist, Scott Reynolds. Their definitive singer, Chad Price—who still occupies that position—gripped the reigns that same year. In 1995, ALL found themselves on Interscope, whose roster ranged from Helmet to Tupac Shakur, and released Pummel, a big album that swept through the pop punk world. Due to changes in management at Interscope, Pummel was never re-pressed or made available outside the original release 20 years ago. Porterhouse Records fills that void with a stellar 180-gram 12” version to quell the raucous youth. Catch up on some missing history.
Uniform Choice: Screaming for Change: Southern Lord
In 1986, when many hardcore bands were infusing thrash and metal into their sound or doing straight rock songs, Uniform Choice came out of the O.C. to channel the spirit of Minor Threat. Proudly waving the banner of straight edge with convincing arguments, Uniform Choice presented an honest plea with Screaming for Change. The record is dazing in its speed and seductive in its passionate sincerity. This 1986 Wishingwell Records release is extremely moving while maintaining a hard, brash musical foundation. Vocalist Pat Dubar gets the credit, as he truly is screaming for a change in the society he sees collapsing around him.
Southern Lord has been reissuing old hardcore such as Poison Idea and Brotherhood. Now, Uniform Choice’s Screaming for Change is blessed with a deluxe treatment. The elaborate packaging includes an eight-page, 12” by 12” booklet bound into a stoughton tip-on gatefold jacket. Many never-before-published photos from personal archives of the band and their friends allow any fan to delve into UxCx’s world. RevHQ.com offers an exclusive gold vinyl version, limited to 300 copies; Southern Lord’s webstore has blue and black. Many old-school shirt designs have been resurrected as well.
No Idea: Jag Hatar Punk 12”: Beer City
No Idea were a Swedish band in 1986. Most people never got to learn that. Beer City provides crossover fans with this skate-punk classic, a reissue of the band’s collected works: 13 ripping tunes. Unknown or little known, No Idea prove that, if given exposure, they would have conquered the world. The musicianship and precision of lightning fast riffs and drums demand attention. Jag Hatar Punk is tight and rough. Somewhere between early Corrosion Of Conformity, Agnostic Front, and Nardcore, No Idea laid groundwork for bands like D.S.-13, A.N.S., and Vitamin X. Track names like “No Straight Edge,” “No Nuke,” “Rape Your Master,” and “Teenage Suicide” paint a stark picture. The vinyl LP contains liner notes by the band as well as pictures and flyers from back in the mid ‘80s.
DESTRÖYER 666: Defiance: Season Of Mist
Australia’s DESTRÖYER 666 revisit their 2009 triumph, Defiance, after proving their 20 years of blasphemy deserves recognition with new 2016 full-length, Wildfire. Season Of Mist celebrate their legacy by re-pressing Defiance. Unfortunately, the band’s antagonistic posturing may cause potential fans to miss this beauty of a beast, but true fans of blackened death metal will find it tough to resist and skip past the provocations to embrace this masterpiece. These Aussies blend taut guitars with melodic hymns and feral atmospheres of danger and brooding. The Defiance reissue is presented as a gatefold LP with a poster, limited to 200 copies on clear vinyl and 500 on black.
M.D.C. / Restarts: Mobocracy: Beer City
This 2009 split LP is technically a split and a reissue. This puppy has been out of print for years. Beer City provide a step back in time with eight tracks by each band. Drenched in hardcore anger and subversive rhetoric, each band incite fury with political venom. Oh, if only we had 2009’s problems again! M.D.C. continue their legend here with a heavier, thicker sound embracing frenzied riffs. They hold the same sardonic condemnation. The Restarts have a cleaner—but still snarky—sound. “Square One” has a skank-influenced feel that bursts into thick, crunchy surges. Their production is crisper and cleaner but still vicious. The majority of their songs are that thick ‘90s English sound pushed to a fretboard’s speed limits. The visceral rage from the end of the Bush era will feel fresh as we welcome in Trump with this re-press.
Jaye Jayle / Emma Ruth Rundle: The Time Between Us: Sargent House
Louisville’s Jaye Jayle—fronted by Evan Patterson of Young Widows—released a debut full-length this year, House Cricks and Other Excuses to Get Out. This sedating token of contemplation, playing with feedback and sparse note structure, eludes definition. The neo-folk tendencies—basking in equal parts Nick Cave and Earth’s Dylan Carlson—directly engaged audiences as Jaye Jayle confronted them while supporting Daughters, Freakwater, Sumac, and others.
Refusing to slow down, Jaye Jayle offer The Time Between Us to begin their Sargent House relationship. The band continue to channel dead spirits and disquieting skeletons on vast plains of uncertainty. The shoving drums and reverb-soaked guitars wreak of leather and dust. The split with the equally haunting Emma Ruth Rundle features three songs from each artist and is available Feb. 24.
Violent Society / External Menace: Split 12”: Violated Records
This is exciting. External Menace began in 1979, in Scotland. With many EPs and splits under their studded belt, but only one lone LP in their catalog, these lads continue to scream and rant over punk rock ‘n’ roll—including a live album on Violent Society’s label, Violated Records, in 2015. Violent Society were from Philly, 1990, and have played off and on throughout the last 27 years. They had brilliant LPs and many splits with Brutal Truth, Suspects, The Boils, and Special Duties. Here we have the return of both bands with new material: three tracks by Violent Society, two tracks by External Menace. The leather and spikes are worn with a “no sellout,” still immensely pissed agenda. The mohawk brigade will line up for this, I’m sure. Tough, crunching guitars and fast drums fuel this GBH-style hardcore with the two bands addressing their anger issues about this mess of a world on a split 12” LP. Expect this in early 2017 via Violated Records, who have been re-pressing External Menace, Parasites, and Eater.
Peter Murphy: Bare-Boned and Sacred: Metropolis Records
Bauhaus frontman, chilling presence of the alternative underground, and goth pop master, Peter Murphy, engages a live audience on his Bare-Boned and Sacred album, out on March 10. In 2016, Murphy excited crowds with his Stripped tour, on which he pared down his live presentation to just three performers, including himself. Bauhaus classics such as “King Volcano” and “Silent Hedges” are revisited in this new approach, as well as “All Night Long” and “Marlene Dietrich’s Favourite Poem” from his solo years. Murphy’s command of his somber bellows and powerful lungs is impressive. The sheer magnitude of his sullen but impactful vocals are attractive without the dancey synth garnish. This deconstruction sounds like Bowie meets Neil Diamond produced by Rick Rubin
Mayhem: De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas Alive: Self-Released
In 2017, the globe will be scorched by black metal gods, Mayhem, as they play their classic De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas in its entirety for fans of these Norwegian heathens. January saw Mayhem defile North America with Black Anvil and Inquisition. To initiate this unholy mass, Mayhem released De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas Alive on Dec. 15. Recorded live in Norrköping, Sweden, last year, the show marked Mayhem’s first time ever playing De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas in full.
This masterpiece is late guitarist Euronymous’ last recording with Mayhem, as he was murdered in 1993. His killer, Varg Vikernes, plays bass here. Euronymous’ last offerings of brutality seep vengeance in each riff. The LP was finished and released in May of 1994. Drummer Hellhammer trudged forward with other musicians to ensure the band’s vision and prove the vile enmity of Mayhem. With all the past turmoil and repulsive live shows, De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas was birthed to praise and reverence. This live release is available on CD, LP, and DVD; the first 1,000 copies are numbered.
Aversions Crown: The Erebus | Parasites 7”: Nuclear Blast
Aversions Crown spew tech-metal in tech-metal-savvy time signatures and rattling blast beats. These Australians pair with Nuclear Blast to release these two songs for the first time on vinyl. The haunting and slithering atmosphere is broken by guttural and mechanical growls. Both songs are onslaughts of sweeping brutality, engaging melody, and low-end destruction. The Erebus | Parasites 7” is limited to 1,000 copies and divided into four different colors: 250 each of grey, blue, clear, and magenta. Nuclear Blast also issued Aversions Crown’s third full-length, Xenocide, on Jan. 20.
Memoriam: The Hellfire Demos II: Nuclear Blast
Memoriam: what an appropriate name. Nuclear Blast Records have embraced the band who celebrate the remnants of death metal’s favorite war-torn sons, Bolt Thrower. While a full-length, For the Fallen, due out March 17, Nuclear Blast tease us with an EP, The Hellfire Demos II. Memoriam—comprised of Bolt Thrower vocalist Karl Willetts and drummer Andy Whale, bassist Frank Healy of Benediction and Sacrilege, and guitarist Scott Fairfax of Benediction and formerly of Life Denied—formed to honor late Bolt Thrower drummer Martin “Kiddie” Kearns, who tragically passed in September 2015. The EP will be available on 7” EPs in white, white and black splatter, green, and clear. The band salute the Bolt Thrower and Sacrilege history by continuing on with a battalion of old-school death metal riffs and lyrics about battle and loss.
LO-PAN: In Tensions 10” EP: Aqualamb Records
In Tensions is not just a record. While the sky blue 10” is striking, it is but one aspect of this release. LO-PAN and Aqualamb Records also provide a 100-page book to accompany the band’s fifth release, which boasts five new tracks. Building from a foundation of four previous releases filled with catchy, mammoth riffs and captivating rhythms, LO-PAN succeed in surpassing their previous songwriting. The Columbus, Ohio, band strikingly illustrate their road-seasoned attitude; the years of shows have honed their guitar licks into a viper’s strike.
Fans of Kyuss, Fu Manchu, Saviours, Kylesa, and Torche—and Jonah Jenkins!—should know this band already. If not, they will mark more territory with this true milestone. The guitars fire off mind-splintering leads over churning beats and twisting riffs. In Tensions was recorded in Columbus by Joe Viers, with mixing duties split between Jonathan Nuñez (Torche, Shitstorm) and Ryan Haft (Wrong, Capsule) in Miami. The EP was mastered in Chicago by Carl Saff (Big Business, Helms Alee, Russian Circles). “The band also hit a major touring milestone this year, having logged over 250,000 miles on their original van since 2005,” per Aqualamb. “A full U.S. tour in support of In Tensions is expected this winter, along with a European tour in the spring of 2017.”
In Tensions is restricted to 500 sacred vinyl discs. The book features artwork by Chris Smith of Grey Aria Design alongside tour diaries, flyers, and a complete collection of lyrics from LO-PAN’s previous releases: 2007’s Sasquanaut, 2011’s Salvador, and 2014’s Colossus.
Aim Higher (Kevin Seconds): Homemade 7”: Rise Records
Aim Higher is the moniker under which 7 Seconds frontman Kevin Seconds released four tracks of home-recorded hardcore in December. This 7” EP, named Homemade, is available on a splatter vinyl version, limited to 500 copies. Seconds’ voice reflects the instruments, fuzzy and lo-fi, but the signature sneer is there. Seconds shows his passion, as he does with his many acoustic shows. His content is saturated with affection and urgency. The reason for a separate name is clear, as Aim Higher purposefully lacks the clean, crisp production of 7 Seconds. The flare is present, but this even more immediate in its delivery.
Less Than Jake: Sound the Alarm: Pure Noise Records
Since 1993, Less Than Jake have provided a snotty pop punk sound for people to joyfully skank to. The band have been residents of major labels such as Sire, Warner, and Capitol, indie stalwarts like No Idea and Fat Wreck Chords, and have even self-released material. Still equipped with punchy, poignant horns, the band plan to release an EP entitled Sound the Alarm on Feb 3. Excluding live albums, it is Less Than Jake’s first release since 2013. Embracing a big sound and crisp production, these Florida chaps supply seven sunny tracks soaked in optimism. Resigning to a lamenting tone, “No Matter the Weather” still pushes away the pessimism. “Welcome to My Life” echoes the slower introspective vibe. The speed returns for other tracks, reminding the kids how they adored Less Than Jake 20 years ago.
Polyvinyl 4-Track Singles Series, Vol. 3
This is the third volume of Polyvinyl’s popular 4-Track Singles series. The idea behind this movement is to utilize a traveling Tascam 4-track cassette recorder as it is circulated between musicians. Prior acts have included Of Montreal, Cloud Nothings, David Bazan, Deerhoof, and many more. If you subscribe, each month, a limited edition two-song 7” pressed on colored vinyl and packaged in a jacket featuring custom artwork by legendary Midwestern artist Jay Ryan of The Bird Machine will land in your mail receptacle. Volume 3’s artists include Beach Slang, Twin Peaks, Japanese Breakfast, Mothers, Diet Cig, Tim Kasher of Cursive and The Good Life, Jay Som, Joyce Manor, Modern Baseball, Owen, Ra Ra Riot, and Sonny & The Sunsets. It guarantees to be unique and collectible. As with previous years, these 12 artists will record their offerings to be released one per month. Only 750 subscriptions are being made available!
Read more of The Shortlist here.