When the debut album of Syndey’s Royal Headache dropped, it possessed a special balance of effortlessness and strain that turned it into an unexpected cult classic. There’s something sort of naturally economic and immediate about their style of garage rock, and yet it felt as though it was spurting out of gritted teeth and sweaty palm— as the story goes, the instruments were tracked in a couple of days, as opposed to the vocals which were done in about eight months.
Now, the band are following up on high expectations with their sophomore LP High. "Another World" is the second single from the album, following the title track about a month ago, and rips along with the same sort of last-minute-on-the-podium desperation we've come to crave from the Aussie quartet. You can stream the track below via What’s Your Rupture’s Soundcloud.
The modern wave of NYC hardcore birthed in the mid-aughts by bands like Crazy Spirit, Dawn of Humans, and Hank Wood & The Hammerheads, though still in tact, started to shift a little over a year ago. In the time frame between the 2014 and 2015 iterations of New York’s Alright, the scene essentially drew and quartered itself, symbolically bookending a vital chapter in the contemporary scene on what would end up (supposedly) being the last year of the fest. Some found the light mangled at the altar of classic rock (Cheena), others soldiered on faithfully down the bung horrorshow short a six-string (Mommy), and, in the case of L.O.T.I.O.N., they time-warped just past the apocalypse only to find it chronologically much closer to the present than we could’ve thought.
Started by local illustrator/designer and SURVIVAL member Alexander Heir, L.O.T.I.O.N. has evolved into a full industrial band, some cyborg of human angst and mechanical spasm melding punk guitar playing and blown-out e-drum into full tech-horror. It’s an aesthetic that could be construed as “futuristic” in a kitschy way, but it’s strangely, and rather scarily, relevant to our current era, one where we’re always being looked at and don’t really know what to look forward to. The post-9/11 dread of a budding police nation that Hank Wood espoused as street-level wisdom on their debut record, though serious and felt, almost felt like a game of cops and robbers by comparison. In L.O.T.I.O.N.’s world, the chances are slimmer and the stakes are more dire, as we’ve grown outnumbered and outmatched. One of the final lyrics of “Vid The Pigs,” a track from their debut full-length Digital Control And Man's Obsolescence lays it out most plainly: “Technology / is a weapon / use it / or be abused by it."
Digital Control And Man's Obsolescence is out soon on Toxic State Records. L.O.T.I.O.N. will be having their record release show this Saturday July 18th at The Silent Barn in Brooklyn, alongside Sadist, Aspects of War, Murderer, and Mommy. Physical copies will be available at the show.
Concealed Blade are a newer project from the Pittsburgh punk scene, tied to the city's Braddock Hit Factory crew and featuring members of Hounds of Hate and No Time. Earlier this year they released their demo, and recently followed it up with a tour tape preceding some summer dates around the U.S. and a forthcoming 7" on Beach Impediment Records. They strike a good balance between blood-drenched intensity and oi!-indebted melody that's not too dissimilar in spirit from recent Ad Hoc faves Pure Disgust, though the end result is still a style apart. You can stream the whole tape below via their Bandcamp, which also features their demo from earlier this year.
Cleveland post-punk group Pleasure Leftists will be releasing a new LP, The Woods of Heaven, in August on Deranged Records. The band (who share members with Homostupids, another band you should keep an eye out and ear for) released a collection of small releases for the likes of Katorga Works and Fan Death Records, but this will be their first proper full-length. Single “You You” plays out gracefully but covered in spikes— its propulsive groove has an immediate jolt, making the chorus-drenched guitar riffs and vocal lilt light up with a sort of delicate urgency. You can listen to it below via Deranged Records’ Soundcloud.
Danish musician and Posh Isolation affiliate Frederikke Hoffmeier makes haunting industrial noise as Puce Mary. She performed at Baby's All Right in Brooklyn on April 18th as part of an Ascetic House after party for this year’s edition of New York’s Alright, the NYC hardcore festival that draws from an international pool of punk’s best and local favorites like Dawn of Humans, Warthog, and Anasazi. Sex Magazine recorded the performance, and it’s available for stream below via their Soundcloud.
Ren Schofield has a knack for the distorted and the disturbing, whether as a member of Form A Log or with his solo project Container. In his remix of Panda Bear’s “Mr. Noah,” (his contribution to Panda Bear’s PBVSGR Remixes EP) Noah Lennox’s vocals morph from the rhythmic affectations of the original into nervous zoo-cage taunts over his thumping, blown-woofer drum programming. You can stream it below via Animal Collective’s Soundcloud.
Musician Mykki Blanco’s work has always had a rabid appetite: unpredictable, multidisciplinary, and off the beaten path throughout a series of albums and performances since breaking out a few years ago. Though it’s relevant to look at Mykki as a symbol of a more modern concepts of gender or race, his work transcends those interpretations. With his latest project, the Dogfood Music Group label, he bands together with like-minded peers to offer a cohesive, collaborative visualization of this:
"We are a group of friends who have created a release that represents a slice of what we're into, our culture and what we want to show the world.
People all over the world are only fed this singular image of "African American Music" and we want to disrupt that. We all come from backgrounds outside of the black American norm, and the world deserves to see our culture as much as anything else."
The label’s first release, following its inaugural party with AdHoc last weekend at Palisades in Brooklyn, is the C-ORE compilation made with the help of Yves Tumor, PsychoEgyptian, and Violence.
It’s due out September 18th on Dogfood Music Group / !K7. You can pre-order it here.
Mexico City-based punk band Muerte released a self-titled LP last month in advance of their US east coast tour. They share members with Inservibles and Tercer Mundo, but the gnarled guitar work, propulsive toms, and shout-along vocals of the title track would sit better alongside the Mass Media Records roster (i.e. TX/MX border punks Annex or Richmond’s Lost Tribe), retaining the creepy mystery of death rock but supplementing that mood with a fist-pumping kind of braggadocio and fearless snarl. You can listen to the title track below, and stream the whole album at Muerte’s Bandcamp.
The Muerte LP is out now on Cintas Pepe, Cabeza de Vaca, and SPHC. US east coast dates available after the jump. The tour ends in NYC on August 8th for the second day of Latino Punk Fest 2015.
NYC noise rock outfit Clean Girls recently released Despite You, their latest LP on Accidental Guest Recordings (who’ve put out albums from Jail Solidarity, Dark Blue, and Roomrunner, among others). “No New Friends” is a track from the new record (don’t worry it’s not a Drake cover). It spills out like a desperate, adrenaline-fueled sprint made on shattered ankles, powerfully distorted but feeling like the slightest breeze could blow it all away. Today they premiere a video for it, built off spooky intimacy— almost voyeuristic shots of casual, familial privacy. It’s a strangely touching counterpoint to the song’s frenzied presence. You can stream the video above.