THE BEGINNING

Cerebral Ballzy / Sauna Youth / Fiction / Crystal Fighters / Crocodiles

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Cerebral Ballzy
‘You’re Idle’
[Article]

They’re not ones for subtleties, New York’s Cerebral Ballzy. There’s that tasteless, ‘fuck you’ pun of a name, a band logo made up of slime and a busted skateboard, and this debut EP is encased in grip-tape, meaning that it’ll destroy any of your other CDs it comes into contact with. So no, it doesn’t take a big brain to realise that these hardcore punks love skateboarding and destruction, and if they piss you off, that’s just fine by them. And yet, the fast and gruff punk they play manages to be even more direct than any dumb-ass aesthetic that surrounds them. ‘Puke Song’ (it’s about puke) is the throatiest piece of hardcore here, sounding a hell of a lot like Black Flag, even if it does feature a wily guitar section that flouts the ‘no solos allowed’, bloodstained rule of 80’s DIY that Ballzy clearly care for. They get away with it because singer Honor refuses to stop barking at any point, and because ‘Puke Song’, like all truly great hardcore tracks, does somehow carry a shouty, mad melody. ‘Your Idol’ is even more tuneful as Honor drawls a southern drawl you’d expect from Caleb Followill more than Henry Rollin, or Bad Brain’s H.R., who this lot – for their relentless speed – have also been endlessly compared to. And maybe that’s why Cerebral Ballzy really are the most exciting hardcore band since Fucked Up – because they’ll even piss off the purists if needs be.

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Crocodiles
‘Sleep Forever’
[Fat Possum]

The first single to be taken from Crocodiles’ second album, ‘Sleep Forever’ is the Cali duo unearthing a more spacious, krauty brand of psychedelia than was widely seen on their ‘Summer Of Hate’ debut. It manages to sound like ‘Shakermaker’-era Oasis and Spiritualized at the same time, so sure, there’s a fair sense of anglo-baggy influence here. Recorded in the Californian desert with no small amount of weed prevents it from sounding like a cheap Big Pink knock off though, and pulling off a fuzzy, sex-pest version of ‘Groove Is In The Heart’ on the B-side suggests Crocodiles can make anything sound sultry.

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Fiction
‘Curiosity’

[Offset]

Post punk, these days, is the genre of no wins. We’re either quick to dismiss a band as Joy Division copyists or ‘too pop’ for even that tired slur. Fiction don’t seem to care about the minefield through which they tread though, which is how ‘Curiosity’ has become the bravest post punk track around, or post post-punk track, if you want to be pernickety. It’s part early Mystery Jets (or at least the eccentric vocals are), part gloomy basslines and sharp artrock guitar riffs. It’s about killing the cat, fessing up and dancing away the guilt; rife with both shame and joyous remorse. It’s a win.

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Crystal Fighters
‘In The Summer’
[Zirkulo]

With Klaxons finally standing on the horizon and the day of the Crystals having passed (it’s all about bands with Fuck in their names now), it could easily be that this Basque-region, electronic troupe have missed their real chance to launch a sizable attack on our dancefloors. Crystal Fighters? Weren’t they beaten to death with the corpse of Chew Lips by every garage band in town? Fortunately not. Set to a Balearic, skitty beat that’s played too fast, everything is excitably thrown at this single at the same time, making it sound like two CSS tracks played over the top of each other.

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Sauna Youth

‘Youth’
[Self Released]

Sauna Youth are pretty deep dudes. As philosophical as they are ambitious (they borrowed money off of mates to release this debut EP themselves), they claim that ‘Youth’ is a concept record that tackles “how countries have used their young to defend their societies and cultures against opposing ideologies”, amongst other things. To discover whether they achieve this goal through their lyrics is quite the task because cocking an ear that close to your record player is impossible when all your legs want to do is pounce around the room to the band’s speedy punk. Which make ‘Youth’ a youthful success.

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Originally published in issue 18 (vol 3) of Loud And Quiet. June 2010

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