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THE CAR BOMB PARADE “FOR THE BRIGADE”
(Knuckle Down Records, Release Date June 5, 2020)
The Car Bomb Parade... “For The Brigade” 3 song EP comes complete with a rabid top hat wearing raccoon on the cover. If that doesn’t scream out punk fucking rock I don’t know what does. This band has releases that go as far back as 2014 with last years “Opiate For The Madness” full length being the one that kind of lured a lot of new fans (including myself) into the fold. “Opiate…” had Dan “The Family Man” on vocals but on this new one we see the return of their original singer in the Reverend Nicky Bullets. This one comes out on 7” vinyl on June 5th via Knuckle Down Records but in 2020 you get to stream that shit before it is officially out.
Up first is “The Purpose”, a lyrically chaotic tune set to a speedy hardcore punk beat. The chorus is catchy and that choppy drum beat that slides on in to the tune makes this one a keeper. Back in January they put out a video for this track… check it out HERE. “Be Your Own God” is more on the punk rock side of the fence as compared to the opener. This track features one of those guitar grooves that once you get it into your head you just can’t seem to get it out. This band does a really good job at straddling the line between punk and hardcore and from track to track (even more so on their last album) they keep you guessing as to what they will drop on you. “Murder Party” comes in at 4:07 in run time and no doubt this will be the side B of this 7’ as its run time is almost equal to the two songs on side A. This track is also more in the punk rock style with a mellow groove type of feel to it. When the chorus comes back around around the 2:20 mark of this song the instruments drop out and it’s sung live as the band claps along before the instruments come back in to rejoin the song. Although I consider myself a hardcore punk purist this track could sound kinda sick if it was performed acoustically but what do I know?
This band has gone through a lot over the last two years with multiple band member changes at really bad times. After surviving that they gained momentum through live performances in the NYC area and this 7” would have served as a good companion for all of the summer touring they were in the process of lining up. Despite the uncertain times ahead in regards to live performances I would bet that The Car Bomb Parade will be geared up and ready to roll on the other side of a global pandemic.. whenever that may be. In the meantime support the fucking scene and check out these new tracks by a band that is out there busting their buns to make some good hardcore punk music for you freaks.
MEGAMOUTH s/t EP
(The Team Records, Released April, 2020)
Listing influences that range from Bane, Rage Against The Machine to Bad Religion, Snapcase and Death By Stereo Buffalo’s Megamouth drop their latest in the form of a five song self-titled EP that shows a unique blend of musical styles that at the very least makes you sit up and take notice. Opening track “Megamouth” comes in at 1:17 length wise and is as simple and stomp worthy as hardcore intros come as the lone lyric of “MEGA-MOUTH!” is repeated over and over (16 times in all… I counted!) as you can’t help but ball up that fist and nod your head to that choppy drum beat coupled with some chaotic guitar work that makes it seem like a giant Megamouth is gonna come crashing down outta the sky and wreck your world. Check out their fans and friends inspired quarantine style video they made for this track HERE. Track three titled “Comeback” is another ear catcher with a hip-hop/hardcore type of fusion to it. The guitars on this track kind of remind me of a broken car muffler… or the guitar sound that Motley Crue got on “Too Fast For Love” and I bring this up in the most positive of ways. The band features two singers in Ryan and Angelo and they are not overly distinguishable from one another so if it wasn’t mentioned I may have actually thought it was the same dude all the way through. Closing track “Nothing” has additional vocals by J-Ruggz who is the guy behind the Maximum Penalty ‘rip” cover art for his recording. This track pushes the hip-hop influences harder than any of the tracks on this EP and at the 1:14 mark you can really feel the MCA/Beastie Boys vibe rip through your speakers. I like this record and what Megamouth brings to the table but at the same time I am not in love with it either. “Undecided” and “Revolution” (tracks 2 and 3) are just not as catchy as the other three tracks brought up within this review. Megamouth’s style is fresh and unique and I can see the majority of people out there either loving or hating what they do. Seven minutes of music though is hard to make a definitive overall judgement on a band but I feel comfortable saying that I appreciate a band branching out and bringing various influences together to try and create a unique product, and that is exactly what this is… unique. Find it on Bandcamp and Spotify.
SAND AND SALT “ALL THE GOOD THINGS” EP & “THRIVE” EP (Released April 20, 2020)
About two months into the COVID lockdown blues, I was asked to review two brand new EPs from a hardcore/punk rock band from Tarifa, Spain which just happens to be the southernmost town in Europe. My eyes perked up and I replied, “sure” because I do not remember listening to a punk band from Spain before, and also because my girlfriend grew up in Spain. The fact that this band has just released two different EPs on the same day perked my interest as well. The band I am talking about is called Sand And Salt. The first EP here has more of a poppy “Fat Wreck Chords” sound and is called “All The Good Things”. The other EP they released is called “Thrive” which has more of a NY “Youth Crew” sound. So, as you can see, my interest in listening to these two records were burning a hole in my pocket as I was trying to finish up work and get home.
I felt it was best to throw on the “All The Good Things” EP first which is how I would recommend which order one should listen to these releases. They start off the EP with the song, “Glassey”, a minute and a half intro that has a cool riff and a good melodic guitar riff. A good way to start the record and give you a feel for what this EP is all about. Next is “Life Is Huge”. Powerful, melodic guitar riffs to match the vocal range of singer Feda De La Calle, who also handles guitars and bass duties for most songs on these albums. Fast verses and catchy, melodic choruses and tons of positivity flowing from this song. A great, catchy punk song all the way. I have always felt that a little pop punk is good for a well-balanced diet, so this song is perfect. Next up is a song called, “I Dissent” which is another great, pop-punk song. I mean it. This band has not missed a beat yet. Like a 90’s Propagandi or NOFX song, this song kicks ass! Next up is a short song called “Nothing More”. Another quick song about the band’s love for the beach! As a resident of Florida, I can totally relate and it is great to see a “beach punk” band today that is not a Sublime rip-off. Finally, they close out this release with the title track, “All The Good Things”. They absolutely saved the best for last with this gem. A great pop-punk song about falling in love with a girl on the beach is totally refreshing and just what I needed to tell you the truth. This song has all the feels of an old Bouncing Souls song and was a great way to wrap up this EP. Although, it left me wanting more, I thought about the whole other EP from this band that awaited me.
So, a few easy clicks and I am on to the next EP called “Thrive” which was already rumored to be the heavier and faster of the two. Another intro song called “Storm” starts off this album. Definitely, a total different vibe on this release already. Thunderous bass and a heavy guitar riff let you know which way this EP is going to go. They then head right into, “Restart”… an impressive hardcore track about starting over. As a divorced father, still learning how to live one’s life over from scratch, I can relate to this song’s message in a big way. With lyrics like “A defeat is a new chance, when we fall, we must restart”. You will be screaming, “Restart!” too, by time this song is over, trust me. The third track here, “Don’t Label Me”, starts off with a solo guitar riff, joined by the singer before drums and the rest come in. They quickly get into mosh pit mode when he cries out, “Don’t judge me, don’t label me!” Another killer song off this record as well. Jumping right into “My Best”, they keep things moving fast. Real fast! It’s a wonder how drummer Adrian Bouza keeps up at all. A mix of fast circle pit with a creepy crawl vibe is what makes this song stand out from the others. And finally, they close out this EP like they did the other with another title track… this one called “Thrive”. They open the verse with lightning fast guitar riffs and gritty, but melodic vocals. The gang vocals on the choruses is what gives the song its hardcore validity. The quick build-up before the final breakdown is great. Then, a quick abrupt ending still leaves you wanting even more. Bravo to this band! Not only did they write two great punk EPs, but they also provided me with a rather awesome listening experience as well. Mad props for creativity and the way they achieved balance and made two great records, all at the same time let me know where all the Spanish Bombs are dropping! Check these out on Bandcamp or Spotify.
THUG RIOT “SOUTHWEST STOMP” (Released April, 2020)
There’s something about the word “riot” In a song title or band name that just grabs your attention. Punk legends The Clash sang about “White Riot”; Oi band The Anti-Hero’s told us about a “Disco Riot” and in hardcore we have such bands as Full Scale Riot and Thug Riot… the latter forming in 2018 in Tucson, Arizona have created a unique blend of punk, hardcore and Oi which the band calls “ Hooligan Hardcore”. Thug Riot have just put out their third release titled “Southwest Stomp” which consists of 6 in your face songs composed by veterans of the scene: Brent Hartley- vocals, Kevin Perlin -vocals, Richard Juhl - guitars/vocals, Mark Vasquez, guitars, Richard Lopez -drums and Ritchie Brusier - bass. This EP is an energetic release fueled with a heavier and faster, old school style of the aforementioned genres. I love the three vocalist attack, each one bringing a different powerful voice that accompanies equally powerful lyrics.
I’ve included the EP’s track listing along with a brief synopsis.
Track 1: “Southwest Stomp”, pretty much an instrumental except for the occasional shout out to the DMS Crew.
Track 2: “FxTxP”, contains a strong message to the men and women of the police department. You can probably figure out what the initials in the title stand for.
Track 3: “Seen Your Scene”, the band is pretty much stating they have seen it all and they “don’t need your scene”.
Track 4: “Skinhead Boobs”, now I’ve heard songs about skinhead pride, skinhead girls and even a secret agent skin but this is the first time I’ve heard one about skinhead breasts! You have to love Thug Riot paying homage to the ladies in the scene.
Track 5: “Nothing Inside”, a tale of betrayal.
Track 6: “Destroy Everything”, a song which is pretty explanatory, “we came to destroy all you love”.
My favorite track is the tongue and cheek “Skinhead Boobs” for the simple reason... who doesn’t love skinhead girls? I first heard Thug Riot last December when their second release came out, I was immediately drawn to the spirit and the vibe I was hearing. The music grabbed me by the throat, the lyrics angry but it was genuine. Fortunately “Southwest Stomp” continues with that same vibe and intensity where the last release left off giving both old and new fans another needed dose of “Hooligan Hardcore”. Check it out on Bandcamp or Spotify.
LAST STRAW “DEMO 2020”
(Youngblood Records, Released April, 2020)
X's on! Hooded sweatshirts on! High tops on! GOOOOoooooooooooo! I'm gonna teach you thugs, not to mess with drugs; well no, I'm not going to. After all, I'm no hypocrite, wink wink, nudge nudge, puff puff, pass. However, Last Straw just might teach you thugs a thing or two as they carry that straight edge banner with pride. Granted I smoked a fathead before I listened to Last Straw, but that means nothing as I have always loved edge music, even did a label that was largely edge. Most of my closest compatriots are edge and I am fine with them and they are fine with me. The way it should be. Last Straw hail from Connecticut and I gather they got their kick ass name from the old-school CTHC SXE band Wide Awake as that was the title of their biggest banger of a tune by far, and yes, I did mosh my face off in between Jolt Colas at the Anthrax to Wide Awake back in my salad days. Everything about this demo screams pick me up if you have ever dug anything remotely straight edge hardcore. It has all the bells and whistles, the fonts, the X's, the artwork. It all screams put down that beer and mosh. So what do they bring to the table you ask?
Let's get this outta the way. Last Straw is not breaking new ground here, but shit, if you read old reviews of Bold, GB and YOT from the late 80's they all say the same thing. They weren't breaking ground then, nobody's gonna now, so let’s all just say, who gives a fuck about breaking ground, just bring me some straight hard tunage. Last Straw bring 4 such tunes with this demo. The first song is a 1:17 intro. Every band needs and intro I don't give two shits who ya are. Last Straw introduce themselves with a nice one. Next up is "Disguised" running 1:07. The CT Crew can see right through... take a look at yourself. Good stuff. Very typical for the genre but again... that's why we're here. The third song on offer is introduced with some nice guitar work. The song is called "Not For You" and as it states Last Straw, straight edge... this is not for you. Are they talking to me? I mean my weed is medicinal does that count? Ahhh, who cares, still love the tunes. The final song is a cover of the great yet all but forgotten CT SXE band Follow Through. The song is "You Booze, You Lose" running 1:44 and as cheesy as that title is, it is one of my favorite FT songs and the Last Straw boys do a great job of covering it.
So there you have it. I'm not sure I'm going to be invited into the Last Straw inner circle, but that's OK, I dig them anyway. They have just hooked up with Sean Youngblood and his Youngblood Records label. Now Sean is a friend and I back whatever he does because his label is awesome, he has heart and he is 100% legit. So good for Last Straw and Sean that they have found each other as it seems like a great fit. Now if you assholes don't mind, I have some medicating to do and I'm definitely cranking Last Straw while I do so because i hate stoners, hippies and drunks too... ok...maybe I'm a little hypocritical... but who the fuck asked you, get the fuck off my lawn, you might step on my weedlings and where the fuck are your masks you ninnyhammers.
HASHTAG HARDCORE FANZINE
(Issue #6, Released Spring, 2020)
The last Hashtag Hardcore issue came out in March of 2016… it was their planned last issue ever and I was bummed to see such a fun zine move on to other hardcore related activities. Although bummed I shed no tears as that is simply not the hardcore thing to do as stated in the title of Sick Of It All’s first full length that came out like 267 years ago. Editor and CEO Daan Hashtag actually moved on to drum in a Dutch band called Cornered, a band who he has since left. The combo of being locked down in quarantine and leaving Cornered played a big role in the reemergence of the ### in 2020. Although a “new” issue the interviews in issue #6 are hardly that. Highlighted by a really good 2017 interview with Burn’s Gavin Van Vlack this issues interviews are of the older variety and show that although Hashtag had called it a day publicly that they were still planning some kind of a comeback. The other interviews are with Euro’s Pain Principle (Poland), Hard Shoulder, Spirit Crusher (Germany) and Mindwar (Belgium). Hashtag has always been big on covering NYHC acts and I generally agree with their reviews which will have me at the very least kick the tires on some of these bands I am not yet familiar with. Tack on a hodgepodge Sheer Terror “interview” made up of all previous Paul Bearer quotes from various zines throughout the years to the pile as well. Some zine reviews and an underwhelming (just 4) reviews section round things out. Issue 6 of Hashtag is almost like their Spring Training issue as they wake up from their slumber, shake off some cobwebs and gear up for another run of hardcore fanzine domination. 48 half sized pages printed on black and white for those who actually give a hoot. Find it online at MerchPit or email them directly at firstname.lastname@example.org to inquire about having this issue take up space on your desk, backpack, home library or bird cage.
TOXIC SHOCK/REPROACH split cassette
(Awesome Visions/Stads Kanker, Released 2019)
I was happy to get this little gem to review. Two Belgium punk/hardcore bands mixing old school with new school and giving me faith that the tradition lives on in these two great bands. This is a split cassette release on Awesome Visions Records and Stads Kanker Records with a Japanese CD version either already out or about to come out very soon.
Toxic Shock kick off this release with four songs that will have you believing punk is not dead yet. From the first track until the last, this band stays true to their roots. “S.P.O.S.” is the first track and sets the tone for what these guys are all about. Fast, angry and with a hint of early British punk rock, this song is my favorite of the four. “Inner Demons” changes up things with a more speed-driven thrash sound while still incorporating punk vocals that give it a unique sound. “City “Of Love” fuses hardcore and crossover metal and comes at you full force. This song would create an intense mosh pit and features guest vocals from Tomas Lindberg of At The Gates and Disfear. “Onward To Destruction”, the last track, pays homage to Reproach, the other band on this split cassette. With growling vocals, machine gun guitars and drums make this a great number to end Toxic Shock’s contribution to this music endeavor.
Next up is Reproach, who contribute five songs to this cassette. Without any warning they open up with “Forward”, which impacts you like a wrecking ball coming through your bedroom and sending you crashing into the wall. It’s fast and intense and lets you know right from the start that these guys mean business. For about a dozen seconds after the first track, you think you have a chance to catch your breath but you are only kidding yourself as “Human Vermin” kicks into high gear and blasts you with less than thirty seconds of hardcore mayhem. “Ratrace” continues the onslaught with another short blistering piece of old school mosh pit chaos. “The Trap” shows signs of slowing down but before you even have time to grab a quick sip of your beverage, you are once again thrown into the whirlwind of frenzied style of hardcore punk these guys play. The band finishes with a cover of Toxic Shock’s “On Thin Ice”. As far as cover songs go, I think Reproach does justice playing the song that even Toxic Shock would approve.
For a cassette which clocks in just fewer than twelve minutes, Toxic Shock and Reproach dispense punk and hardcore like it was meant to be played; fast, loud and fueled with rage. Don’t let these two bands slip under your radar. Grab a copy of this cassette and check out the bands other releases. You won’t be sorry. Check out Toxic Shock’s songs HERE, Reproach’s tracks HERE and to get it on cassette from Stads Kanker head over HERE.
PARANOID VISIONS FANZINE “THE AGE OF QUARANTINE” (Released April, 2020)
Paranoid Visions: “The Age Of Quarantine” is a half size zine from the author of Streets of Hate Fanzine. It features a table of contents, the next best thing to an index, that lays out the contents within: two label highlights, Trip Machine Labs and Plead Your Case, and two band interviews, Enemy Mind and Self Decay. The latter is a reprint from 1998 and the former is a contemporary conversation. There's also a one page Echelon interview that arrived along with the zine, which presumably didn't make it into the main layout due to space or time.
I was not super familiar with Enemy Mind, but this interview is pretty interesting and covers everything from Greenfield Mike attending Nyack College (but presumably taking no classes with Kurtis Blow, who was class of '98?) to graffiti to his first NJ show “at a club called The Pipeline. The lineup very easily could've been Maximum Penalty, Murphy's Law, Merauder, Fury Of Five, 25 Ta Life. We saw that exact show or something very similar every weekend that whole fall," a great example of the NY-NJ confluence, the unrecorded but extant-in-my-heart answer to Skarhead's B.Q. Experience.
Speaking of regionalism, this zine is relatively Hudson Valley centric, though Plead Your Case is based in Florida. In between longer features and interviews there is also a short section on the Town of Hardcore Zineography and 25 short reviews, including one that might make me give Higher Power another shot if they actually sound like Shift. The Self Decay interview is a throwback to when bands seemed less concerned with people’s perception of them and more candid in their responses.
This zine is printed on nice paper, and the whole thing is written in caps lock so the words really jump out at you. The reviews are a little hard to read against a busy background, which take that as you will coming from me, the queen of chaotic backgrounds. Various throwback pics are interspersed between features, from Stillsuit in Staten Island to Dying Breed at the Saratoga Youth Center. If a picture is worth 1000 words, this is a 1995 word answer to anyone who was like "who are all these people who own bandanas?" when we started wearing them as masks. Not only are these interesting pics but they are also that much more special in zine form than just seeing them on Instagram or something. Hence the enduring magic of print zines.