The Shortlist: Demos, EPs, Splits, and Reissues (Issue 47)
Fixation | Into the Pain | WAR Records
Fixation crashed the hardcore scene in 2018 with their first EP, Marked. Back on Andrew Kline’s WAR Records, the band returned with another EP on May 3, Into the Pain—this time on flexi disc! Representing Philly, Fixation play short, fast, loud hardcore with a vicious tenacity. Driving straight edge values into your face, Fixation come hard and brutal with four newly recorded tracks of ferocious, demanding old-school hardcore applied within five minutes. Into the Pain was recorded, mixed, and mastered by Wyatt Oberholzer at The Knife Lair—who has worked with Year Of The Knife, Struck Nerve, and Drowse—and finished with artwork by Linas Garsys, who has created art for American Nightmare, Ceremony, and World Be Free. The flexi is available on green or orange. –Hutch
Hands Of God | Blueprint for Self Destruction | Flatspot Records
Hands Of God are a hardcore band out of San Jose, California—five dudes out to punish dancefloors with lyrics of purpose and chaotic riffs. Beatdown brilliance with metallic sophistication, Hands Of God bring the noise à la Stigmata, Wake Up Cold, God’s Hate, All Out War, Ringworm, Buried Alive, and Merauder and boast their adoration for metal acts like Dying Fetus and Sepultura. Flatspot Records announced their signing by issuing Blueprint for Self Destruction through all platforms on May 10. Among the metallic calamity, pounding percussion, and intense, charging riffs, the lyrics are confrontational and brazen in their disgust for the racism in and destruction of this society. Hands Of God deliver a reckoning with words of passion and foreboding about the corrupt, the greedy, and the murderous. One-sided 12” EP has a silkscreened B-side and is available on black or blue vinyl. –Hutch
Haunt | Mosaic Vision | Shadow Kingdom Records
Fresno, California’s Trevor William Church must be petrified of the devil, because he never lets his hands sit idle. If you know his first band, Beastmaker, you know they released a barrage of records even after Haunt formed. Haunt began as a side project to Beastmaker’s horror-soaked doom, and a quick EP in 2017, Luminous Eyes, led to an LP in 2018, Burst Into Flame. Now that Haunt are diving into their second LP, If Icarus Could Fly, on May 17, Church and co. have dropped a supplemental EP. Mosaic Vision is not a single with one song from the LP and some rehashed, vaulted track: This is four new songs spanning 17 minutes. Haunt triumph with their version of NWOBHM adoration infused with speed metal. No irony, no polish—Haunt just crank out blistering heavy metal with scorching guitars. Mosaic Vision was available to stream in January, but it’s out April 24 as a 12” mini-LP on black vinyl or cassette. –Hutch
Neolithic | Neolithic | Self-released
On April 12, Baltimore’s Neolithic presented their sonic debauchery with five songs, all under five minutes. Produced by Kevin Bernsten at Developing Nations Recording Studio, who has worked with Noisem, Genocide Pact, and Full Of Hell; mastered by Brad Boatright at Audiosiege, whose other credits include Integrity, From Ashes Rise, and Vastum; and completed with stark, stunning artwork by Justin Stubbs of Encoffination and Father Befouled, Neolithic also features mind-bending manipulation and noise-driven assaults from Bernsten and Full Of Hell’s Dylan Walker. Big, thick riffs and blast beats share the stage as they calculate their roles for best outcome. The atmosphere is that of a firefight in the trenches. Neolithic’s chaos coupled with pulsating rhythms gathers influences from Bolt Thrower, Napalm Death, Tragedy, Amebix, The Swarm, Disfear, and others, though listing them does not quite do this EP justice. –Hutch
Self Defense Family | Performative Guilt | 6131 Records
Noisy rhythms and solemn introspection drive the undeniable catchiness and force of Self Defense Family. On Performative Guilt, the Cohoes, New York, band offer four new tracks of their raucous yet hypnotic vibe. The layered textures and incongruent harmonies of “Awaiting Acknowledgment” are captivating, leading into the meandering, sleepy, drunken stagger of “Future Girls.” Whispering some Joy Division, Quicksand, and Fugazi into their own indie concoctions, Self Defense Family treat their music as a somnambulant adventure into idle anxiety. Performative Guilt was released April 24 on 12” clear vinyl, limited to 700 units. –Hutch
The Shrine | Cruel World | Self-released
The Shrine have blazed through four full-lengths, traversing ’70s rock, punk rock, and Cali skate rock and blending their unique lysergic fury through a Marshall stack. Moments of genius vibrate loudly as critics try to nail down their influences; there are doses of The Briefs, Vitamin X, Fu Manchu, Motörhead, Circle Jerks, The Bronx, Annihilation Time, and now, ZZ Top and Black Sabbath creep into the texture. Embracing the tapestry of their home of Venice, California, these rockers’ fans and artistic contributors include legends like artist Shepard Fairey, Keith Morris, Dogtown Skateboards, Nik Turner from Hawkwind, and now, Corey Parks of Nashville Pussy and Die Hunns fame stepping in on bass. The single “Dance on a Razor’s Edge” accompanies three other bangers on their new EP, Cruel World, released April 22. The track is like a sleazy Sunset Strip callback filtered through a psychedelic stomp. The dirty, stoner rebellion embraces a dark, aggressive feel not often found in this fuzzed-out sound. Killer stuff. –Hutch
Western Settings | Agnus | A-F Records & Gunner Records
Getting a little antsy waiting for Western Settings’ new record later this fall? Lucky for you, the San Diego melodic punk band put out a surprise three-track EP, Agnus, on April 26 via A-F Records and Gunner Records, the same labels that will put out the LP. Early birds are able to snag the limited-edition—we’re talkin’ limited to 50 pieces in the U.S. and 40 in Europe—8” lathe-cut square vinyl EP via the band’s Bandcamp page, but Agnus is also available digitally for the slowpokes. Western Settings will be touring Europe for most of May and June, with more dates sure to follow after their album drops. –John B. Moore
Wound Man / Regional Justice Center | Split EP | Atomic Action! Records
New Bedford, Massachusetts’ Wound Man and Los Angeles’ Regional Justice Center join forces to punish eardrums with politically-driven, powerviolence-inspired hardcore that is short, fast, and loud. Both projects started with the vision of a single multi-instrumentalist before growing into full-fledged bands.
Regional Justice Center resulted from Seattle’s Ian Shelton of New Gods and Drug Culture creating an aggressive, concept-driven debut LP, World of Inconvenience, in 2018. Shelton’s brother’s incarceration led to this criticism of the corruption in America’s prison system. Eventually, Shelton relocated to L.A. and the band’s touring schedule demanded a full lineup.
Wound Man spawn from the frustration of Trevor Vaughan, known for The Rival Mob, Breathing Fire, Wolf Whistle, Clear, and more. The band began as a one-person recording project before Vaughan recruited Justin DeTore—who has played with Mind Eraser, Mental, Magic Circle, Boston Strangler, Righteous Jams, Innumerable Forms, and many, many more—to play drums.
Their split from Atomic Action! features three songs from Regional Justice Center and four from Wound Man, and was released on April 19 on blue vinyl, limited to 300 units. –Hutch
The Dickies ft. Monkey of The Adicts | “I Dig Go-Go Girls” b/w “The Dreaded Pigasaurus” | Slope Records
Longtime L.A. punk legends The Dickies return with a sexy, hot-pink 7” on May 24. Blooming from a friendship between the band and U.K. punks The Adicts, the A-side is a cover of Cheap Trick’s “I Dig Go-Go Girls” sung by Adicts vocalist Keith “Monkey” Warren. Both bands began in the mid to late ’70s across the pond from each other but have steadily released albums and toured throughout the decades. Road-tested and still charging, it makes sense to get these boys on the mic together. The bands’ sounds both blend power pop and chunkier punk over the span of their many albums, and while The Dickies will utilize a rubber duckie for a lead harmony if necessary, their approaches to punk music intersect brilliantly. The Dickies also supply their first original song to be released since 2001, “The Dreaded Pigasaurus,” on the B-side.
The Dickies have hinted that 2019 will see their final full album. The band are also touring the U.S. and set to play a Punk Rock Bowling club show at Backstage Bar & Billiards in Vegas on May 26, with Slope Records’ The Blankz opening. –Hutch
Protomartyr | No Passion All Technique | Domino Recording Co.
The Detroit mind-twisters in Protomartyr gathered in 2011 with no set direction. Shortly after, they had a masterpiece. Quickly out of print on Urinal Cake Records, the 2012 album, No Passion All Technique, became a thing of myth. Now, Domino Recording Co. resurrects this stellar piece of craft. Protomartyr delve deep into your psyche with their ominous, bluesy psych garage punk, recalling a wide range of artists such as Ty Segall, Bloodshot Bill, Mojo Nixon, Nick Cave, Iggy Pop, Dead Kennedys, Dicks, Warsaw, The Cramps, and Seaweed yet glorious in its simplicity. The rushed, four-hour recording session for the album is incomprehensible and wouldn’t yield the variety here in the hands of lesser musicians. Out May 3, the black vinyl LP reissue comes with a tip-on jacket, a 20-page zine, and a download card, which includes four bonus tracks. –Hutch
Seaway | Fresh Produce | Pure Noise Records
Ontario’s Seaway compile some previously unfound treasures on Fresh Produce, released via Pure Noise Records on April 24. Fresh Produce consists of B-sides, rarities, three cover songs—including The Cars’ classic “Just What I Needed” from 1978—and alternate acoustic versions of fan favorites like “Lula,” “Slam/Shy Guys,” “Something Wonderful,” and more. The track “Blur” is a catchy ode to indulgent nights and consequential hangovers, while “Pleasures” and “Your Best Friend” are perky punk with polished production. Fans can gather these 13 songs on a deluge of colorful vinyl: 200 on Easter yellow and highlighter yellow pinwheel with heavy royal blue and white splatter; 200 on clear with white, Easter yellow, and cyan blue smoke; and 1,000 on half highlighter yellow, half royal blue. –Hutch
The Aquabats! | The Aquabats! Super Show! Television Soundtrack Volume One | Gloopy Records
To celebrate their 25th anniversary, the world’s leading begoggled, bodysuit-sportin’ superhero ska band are putting out a brand-new album! Following their successful 2018 Kickstarter campaign, Orange County, California’s The Aquabats! are self-releasing the 27-track The Aquabats! Super Show! Television Soundtrack Volume One on CD, vinyl, and digital download on June 7. The music is a companion piece to their kids show, “The Aquabats! Super Show!” and their first new record in eight years. The crowdfunded album is coming out via their own Gloopy Records, and the band plan to spend most of July on the road touring the States with their buddies in Reel Big Fish. –John B. Moore