AFI | The Marked Man | Ex Noctem Nacimur
There’s no love quite like winter, especially when winter brings new music from AFI. On Dec. 7, the California dark punk mainstays offered their fans an unexpected holiday gift in the form of a five-song EP entitled The Marked Man. Released via their own imprint, Ex Noctem Nacimur, and produced and mixed by guitarist Jade Puget, this is the band’s first EP in 16 years. It may be short, but it contains multitudes. Featuring the glittery banger “Trash Bat,” darkwave-y ode “Break Angels,” riffy slow-burn “Back Into the Sun,” dynamic rock anthem “Get Dark”—complete with guitar solo!—and moody, experimental closer “A Missing Man,” The Marked Man is the perfect complement to the cold, dark months ahead. –Kelley O’Death
Bayonet | Total Massacre | Indecision Records
Bayonet are San Diego hardcore in the vein of Boston Strangler or Violent Reaction: dark, short, and fast. Released digitally in spring of 2018, Total Massacre finally gets a vinyl release on Dec. 7. The record exemplifies metallic mosh—tough as heck and infectious—across 10 tracks, most clocking in at under a minute. Indecision Records has been bringing classics since 1992 and will remain engaged with stellar releases like this. –Hutch
Morning Again | Survival Instinct | Revelation Records
Although it’s been two decades since Florida’s Morning Again released a proper studio album, the band haven’t exactly been MIA. A handful of one-offs—included a reunion with original vocalist Damien Moyal—happened in 2000 and 2002, and Eulogy Recordings issued their compilation Hand of the Martyr. In 2011, the band performed at Groezrock in Belgium with vocalist Kevin Byers, and they later toured Japan and the States, including a stop at This Is Hardcore in Philadelphia in 2015.
Survival Instinct—a four-song 7” and a return to Revelation Records—was released on Nov. 9, and a tour of the U.S., Europe, and Japan is set to follow. With Byers handling vocals and core members, guitarist John Wylie and bassist Gerardo Villarroel, and latter-day guitarist Stephen Looker and drummer Josh Williams rounding out the quintet, Morning Again spew the same antagonistic vitriol they’ve long been known for. Additionally, they enlisted Strife’s Rick Rodney for the song “Backbiter” and New Found Glory’s Chad Gilbert for “Of Oneself.”
“There have been a few unsettling things we’ve observed over the years, and [it became apparent it was time] to write about them,” Byers shares. –Tim Anderl
Struck Nerve | Struck Nerve | WAR Records
Representing Philly straight edge, Struck Nerve burst a blazing new EP on Dec. 7, available on limited wax presented in captivating colors by WAR Records. Four tracks land at about two minutes a piece—plus an intro—with divebombs and heavy riffs. Struck Nerve intentionally call back to late ‘80s hardcore with fast tempos and mosh-inducing chugs. Their sound is tight and clean but still chunky and rough.
Members of Jesus Piece, Agitator, Uzi Kids, and Pain Strikes form this five-piece, birthed in early 2018. They quickly dropped a digital demo in July, and now, those songs—recorded by Wyatt Oberholzer, who has worked with Year Of The Knife, Fixation, and more—are on vinyl. Struck Nerve unleash monster breakdowns and blazing fast parts. The honest hardcore beckons bands like Ten Yard Fight and Floorpunch, Side By Side and Chain Of Strength.
“Me and [guitarist] Marty [Williams] really wanted to do something different than all the heavy shit we constantly see coming out of Philly,” vocalist Anthony Marinaro says. And done. Give us more.
Vinyl has four versions: 25 test pressings, 100 hand-stamped, 100 on gold, and 400 on clear with black smoke. –Hutch
Scolex / Mortuous | Split 7” | Carbonized Records
Death metal has had an amazing resurgence. The old guard of the late ’80s are turning in magnificent new albums, while a new crop of death-infested youth is matching their ferocity. Necrot drummer Chad Gailey has a new label in Carbonized Records and also plays in Mortuous—who released the killer Through Wilderness via Tankcrimes in June. On Oct. 31, we got a split between those San Jose death mongers and their brethren on the Bay—which is also home to Tankcrimes—Oakland’s Scolex. Scolex are no strangers to USDM talent, as they now boast guitarists Sonny Reinhardt of Necrot and Saviours and Paul Riedl of Spectral Voice and Blood Incantation. Each band weighs in with a five-minute scorcher of formaldehyde-saturated riffs. Vinyl is available, with 250 on gold and 250 on black. –Hutch
Swingin’ Utters / Nothington | Bird Party | Red Scare Industries
In spring, San Francisco punks Nothington sadly made the announcement that they are calling it a day. But those who look really hard into that ominously dark cloud can find the tiniest hint of a silver lining: Red Scare has released one final song from the band. On Nov. 9, Nothington and fellow Bay legends Swingin’ Utters released the split 7” Bird Party. “Don’t be bummed that this is our last song, because, hey, we get to do a split with Swingin’ Utters,” vocalist and guitarist Chris Matulich says.
Swingin’ Utters guitarist and vocalist Darius Koski adds, “We’re stoked to be on this release with Nothington, because we’re friends with both the band and the label and, especially, as it’s the last we’re gonna hear from Nothington. Not that we actually believe that,” he laughs. Could it be…? –John B. Moore
Choir Boy | Passive With Desire | DAIS Records
“There have only been a few nights where the crowds have booed us,” Choir Boy vocalist Adam Klopp jokes about his band’s last two years of touring, most notably with Cold Cave and Soft Kill. Mining a variety of sounds rooted in ’80s synth pop, Passive With Desire delivers pensive compositions that explore the dualities of faith and fiction, hope and morality. As a former member of the Mormon faith, and with a vocal range that perfectly suits the Salt Lake City band’s chosen moniker, Klopp’s sweeping and cinematic songs are polished and postured enough to play in a church as well as a barroom.
Originally released on Team Love Records in 2016, DAIS reissued an expanded deluxe version of the CD, which comes with a 12-page lyric booklet and combines the album with tracks from the 2017 Sunday Light 7” and the band’s Part Time Punks cassette. The vinyl edition comes in clear, black, red splatter, metallic red, and black vinyl variants. Both versions were released on Nov. 15.
While the reissues are welcome, Choir Boy aren’t resting on their laurels, and fresh blood is sure to lead them in intriguing directions. “[Recent addition, keyboardist Jeff Kleinman, formerly of Nervosas, has brought] the saxophone, which is a wonderful addition. I think that will be the main voice of his that comes through on future songs,” Klopp previews. –Tim Anderl
The Men | Hated: 2008–2011 | Sacred Bones Records
Gnarly, raw, angry punk driven by a snarling defiance and caustic bassline, The Men’s early years of challenging punk are now compiled for ease and disgust. The punishing fury of these 17 tracks is placed on two LPs, dubbed Hated: 2008–2011 and released Nov. 9. Smashing together their 2008 debut demo tape, 2009 We Are The Men 12” EP, a 2010 split with Nomos, 2011’s Think 7”, and other live recordings, Hated represents the most vicious chapter of this amorphous group of sardonic Brooklyn musicians.
Available as a double-LP on black vinyl or a limited-edition version: 400 hand-numbered copies with an alternate screen-printed wraparound sleeve, wax sealed, with the double-LP pressed on clear vinyl. –Hutch
The Odd Numbers | About Time | Beer City Records
Originally, San Jose, California-born band The Odd Numbers’ debut, About Time, was only available on cassette. A CD release followed in 2001. On Nov. 9, Beer City rectified this sonic injustice. For skaters and punks, 1990 came with this refreshing mod rocker, produced by Ray Stevens of Los Olvidados and The Faction. The Odd Numbers would go on to record a handful of albums, but About Time’s vibrancy and vitality rushed in on a Vespa and rang with mod charm and attitude. –Hutch
Rainer Maria | Past Worn Searching; Look Now Look Again; A Better Version of Me.; Long Knives Drawn; and Catastrophe Keeps Us Together | Polyvinyl
Rainer Maria officially became the first active band on Polyvinyl’s roster with the 1997 release of their debut full-length, Past Worn Searching. So, it seems rather fitting that the label would be the one to rerelease the bulk of the now-Brooklyn-based group’s catalog on vinyl. Along with that debut, 1999’s Look Now Look Again, 2001’s A Better Version of Me., and 2003’s Long Knives Drawn are all getting the rerelease treatment, while 2006’s Catastrophe Keeps Us Together is showing up on vinyl for the first time. “It’s amazing to have all of these albums on vinyl again!” guitarist Kaia Fischer says. “Polyvinyl really went all the way on the reissues, from Bob Weston cutting the vinyl to Matt Owens remastering the artwork.” The five albums were released on Nov. 16. –John B. Moore
Redd Kross | Teen Babes From Monsanto | Merge Records
Redd Kross started as a Los Angeles punk band in the heyday of hardcore alongside Circle Jerks, JFA, Circle One, and Bad Religion, but their psych-pop souls would surface by 1984’s Teens Babes From Monsanto. Finding the sweet spot between glam rock and vibrant L.A. punk, Redd Kross quickly grew to define themselves as idiosyncratic and fun as hell. Merge Records offers this reissue—along with fresh pressings of their 2016 collection of rarities, Hot Issue, on green vinyl and their 2012 LP, Researching the Blues—to resurrect some L.A. strut. Available Dec. 7 on black or limited-edition translucent pink. –Hutch
Sparkmaker | Products and Accessories | Indecision Records
1994 was a classic year for metallic hardcore, and one of the CDs submitted into that canon of abrasive music was Sparkmaker’s Products and Accessories. The Vancouver band originally saw their album issued on Canada’s Final Notice Records. Abrasive riffs collide with screams against ills of the sociopolitical realm and personal issues. The sonic tapestry and approach both challenge paradigms, influenced by bands like Fugazi, Quicksand, and Helmet but at home with the post-hardcore of Revelation and metalcore like Milhouse, Turmoil, 108, and Snapcase. Noise, passion, and atmosphere blend with crunching riffs and grumbly bass—captured by Don Fury, no less. Each edition is a double-LP at 45 rpm: purple with black swirls, red with black swirls, or clear with black swirls. –Hutch
Leftöver Crack | Leftöver Leftöver Crack: The E-Sides and F-Sides | Fat Wreck Chords
Over 20-plus years, Leftöver Crack have been churning out some of the most ferocious and ferociously powerful punk rock to come out of the East Coast. So, it’s not surprising that a few gems may have been left off their LPs over the years. The band rectified that on Nov. 30 with the help of Fat Wreck Chords when they released Leftöver Leftöver Crack: The E-Sides and F-Sides. The album, out on CD, vinyl, and digital formats, includes 30—30!—songs from long-out-of-print 7”s and hidden recordings. Shortly after the release, the band plan to hit the road, touring across the U.S. –John B. Moore
The Marked Men | On the Other Side | Dirtnap Records
It’s been close to a decade since the Denton, Texas-based punk band The Marked Men last put out a release, so any sign of new music is a massive relief for fans. On Nov. 23, Dirtnap Records released On the Other Side, an album’s worth of non-LP tracks recorded by the band between 2003 and 2010, coming from a slew of different indie rock labels. The album also includes two never-before-heard tracks. “All of the songs were released previously on 7”s except for the last two, ‘Go Cry’ and ‘Disappear,’” vocalist and guitarist Mark Ryan says. “We tried to be picky about what we put on albums. Even if it was a good song, if it didn’t fit on the album, we would cut it.” The selection process was pretty simple. “These are all of the songs that we recorded that were not on an album or another version of an album song,” he says.
Unfortunately, this is it for the band in terms of new-ish music, as the song vault is completely empty after this release. “We still play shows now and then. We really enjoy doing it, but we do not intend to do anything else,” Ryan states. “We all have other projects that we’re involved in now, like Radioactivity and Mind Spiders.” When asked about the possibility that The Marked Men might be lured back into the studio to record new songs in the future, Ryan is pretty adamant. “Nope,” he asserts. “Not gonna happen. I think it would be a mistake.”
But, fans rejoice, this doesn’t mean the band will stop playing live. They already played in Edmonton, Canada, at the end of November, with promises of more to come next year. “I hope people enjoy the record,” Ryan says. “It was fun for me to go back through all of those old recordings and put it together. Plus, going through old tour pictures and posters, I got a little nostalgic. I was worried that it wouldn’t be cohesive, but I think it works.” –John B. Moore
The Ratchets | Essentials | Pirates Press Records
Rock-’n’-roll-infused raucous punk purveyors The Ratchets have released a definitive collection of their work in the form of four LPs packaged in one stylish box set. This exclusive collection—released by the band’s longtime label, Pirates Press, on Nov. 9—includes a treasure trove of the New Jersey four-piece’s prolific work. Starting with the band’s initial EP, 2005’s Heart of Town, it continues through the years with 2006 powerhouse Glory Bound and features their sociopolitically relevant new album, First Light. If that weren’t enough, they’ve also included a must-have for any fan, old or new: a rarities disc called Odds & Ends, which features an impressive collection of early demos and B-sides. –Janelle Jones
Suedehead | Constant Frantic Motion | Pirates Press Records
Davey Warsop—formerly of Beat Union, currently of Sharp/Shock—was inspired and ignited by Mike Ness, who requested Warsop tour with Social Distortion. He gathered a superb cast of musicians to form Suedehead and emulate the U.K. mod scene for the kids to enjoy. Greg Kuehn of T.S.O.L., Korey Kingston of The Aggrolites and Hepcat, Nic Rodriguez of Fallborn, and Chris Bradley of The Distraction gathered in their home of Orange County, California, to craft some Hammond-drenched pub-stompers. Obvious nods like Elvis Costello and The Jam mix with Joe Jackson and Motown to make these soulful, smooth jams simmer. Pirates Press delivered the long-awaited LP version of Suedehead’s collected 7”s, plus three new burning tracks, on Nov. 23. –Hutch
Ty Segall | Fudge Sandwich | In The Red Records
In the midst of his latest solo acoustic tour, on Oct. 26, Ty Segall released a covers album with his full band. Fudge Sandwich, which was put out by the label In The Red Records, features Segall and his band ripping through 11 songs that are near and dear to his heart. Included in this collection are songs by John Lennon, Sparks, War, Funkadelic, The Dils, Grateful Dead, Neil Young, Rudimentary Peni, Gong, Spencer Davis Group, and Amon Düül II. –John B. Moore
Touché Amoré | 10 Years / 1000 Shows – Live at The Regent Theater | Epitaph Records
If there is a single message that Touché Amoré vocalist Jeremy Bolm is most adept at communicating, it’s perhaps that self-doubt, guilt, and regret are powerful, lasting, and transformative emotions, especially when they lead to catharsis, epiphany, and understanding. This messaging and modus operandi were in 20/20 focus in early 2018 when Touché Amoré performed their 1,000th show at The Regent Theater in the band’s hometown of Los Angeles. The sold-out Feb. 16 performance—which corresponded with the band’s 10-year anniversary—was captured for posterity, then mixed by Kurt Ballou at his GodCity Studio and released by Epitaph Records on Nov. 2 as a deluxe double-LP.
While the document demonstrates a band in their element and at a performance peak, it’s also a rock-solid argument that they are so much more than a run-of-the-mill Cro-Magnon post-hardcore band. While they’ve always been a dice-roll or two higher in the skillsets of honesty, artistry, and ambition, this live album demonstrates that the hot blood running the Touché Amoré machine is a breathtaking combination of radicalized empathy; keen, pop-savvy melodicism; and raw-power rhythm and dynamics. Vivre longtemps, Touché Amoré! –Tim Anderl
War On Women | Live From Magpie Cage (Acoustic) | Bridge Nine Records
Stripping down to the essence and the message, War On Women released a limited-edition live 7” on Nov. 9. The Baltimore punks go acoustic, distilling their emotional works into an intimate atmosphere at Magpie Cage, the studio of alt legend J. Robbins. War On Women rework five of their tracks to fit this unique environment and experience, playing two songs from each of their LPs—2015’s self-titled album and 2018’s Capture the Flag—plus an exclusive opener, “Predator In Chief”—a haunting and galvanizing declaration for these stark times. Vinyl is available with 100 on clear and 400 on white. –Hutch