THE BEGINNING

Fair Ohs bassist and founder of DIY tape label Suplex Cassettes, Matt Flag, shares his top ten hardcore and punk bands around right now.

hoax

Many magazines will write up long and lovingly prepared pieces on the essential Punk and Hardcore bands that shaped the genre, starting from the proto stylings of The Stooges, The MC5 and The New York Dolls, to the earliest hardcore recordings from The Middle Class, Bad Brains, Black Flag, Big Boys and The Teen Idles. It has transpired to now be one of the most important happenings in musical history, encompassing sound, art, politics, fashion, diet, ethics and lifestyle, which is hard to say about many other musical genres in the past 100 years, and the amount of books dedicated to the subject fill multiple bookshelves around the world. But do we need to add to this growing pile of repeated history? No. We want to show you who is still carrying the burning torch for modern Hardcore that excite hoards of kids and balding 30 somethings alike across the world, in warehouses and basements, back rooms of pubs and people’s front rooms.

INSERVIBLES
There is a lot of talk about punk and hardcore being dangerous, but when you come from a country where drug cartels are not adverse to leaving a trail of decapitated heads and shallow graves in their wake the inherent danger of white middle class kids playing as fast as they can in their garages just pales in comparison to the reality of daily life. Inservibles bring this fear and aggression into a noise-drenched nightmare with gargled, delay-ridden vocals that sit below evil garage-punk influenced hardcore. This might sound like it would be a chaotic mess when thrown together but these are some catchy as hell trips into the negative world of the band, who follow in a long line of amazing Mexican bands (please check out awesome ’80s troupe Masacre 68, Atoxxico and Sedicion). After last year’s devastating self titled LP, they have just released the ‘Una Vida de Tristeza’ 7″ on the consistently awesome La Vida Es Un Mus records from London, who have a great track record of releasing Spanish language punk and hardcore bands and stocking all the must have punk records missing from your collection.

HOAX
Every few years there seems to be a band that blows away the cobwebs of mediocrity and injects some much needed excitement back into a music scene that historically rewards repetition and accepts bands treading well-worn paths. Last year, videos surfaced online of the types of hardcore shows that make you eager to be back at the front, with every chance you will have either a microphone thrust in your face or someone’s fist. Tightly packed basements, warehouse spaces and recycling plants have been filled with crowds crawling over each other, lurching from side to side on the brink of collapsing at any given moment, swarming a front man dripping in blood. ‘Fagget’ from the 1st EP became Hoax’s calling card with its slow creeping menace and brutally minimal lyrics that follow the negative side of life, which is the predominant theme of their records so far. Their four short EPs across 2011/2012 on labels such as Katorga, Youth Attack and Painkiller were a quick succession of tense, angry and dangerous bursts that left us wanting for more, with the most recent ‘Cage b/w Sick Punk’ 7″ dropping this year on La Vida Es Un Mus.

DOMESTIC BLITZ
Not much is known about London’s favourite beer-soaked punk band but this is what can be gathered so far: They enjoy playing topless, which insiders say extends to band practice and song writing sessions, taking skins over shirts every time. They have a 10-song cassette album on Cazenove tapes run by Sauna Youth guitar god LAC on a fancy gold coloured cassette. It is called ‘Time is Money, Waste Both’. There is a connection to Infinite Men and a million other bands. They are not the Australian post punk band from the late ’70s/early ’80s. They play the kind of punk that is more pig fuck than pop punk, but unlike Pissed Jeans, Flipper and Killdozer, this is obviously British made, in the way The Fall could never be from anywhere else in the world. They have just had 2 songs on the excellent ‘Modern Babylon’ compilation cassette alongside the best of London’s new punk scene (Satellites of Love, Good Throb, Warm Ways, No etc.). You will like these guys.

PERSPEX FLESH
When you Google search Perspex Flesh, the two words that get repeated are ‘ugly’ and ‘nihilistic’. From Leeds, the band show that a double dip recession and a coalition government does not lead to positive hardcore, and they stand up alongside a long history of UK bands stretching back to Voorhees and Doom to today’s offerings from No and Lowest Form that show the violent side of life in their music and imagery. After their demo tape (which can be downloaded for free at their bandcamp page), PF come at us with a 7″ of unrelenting brutality on Video Disease Records.

BLACK ORPHAN
Black Orphan is a one-man synth-punk band from former/current drummer Lance of legendary weirdo punks The Spits. Taking their brand of Ramones meets Devo punk rock, but distorting and bending it through ice-cold synths and drum machines, Black Orphan push the early sounds of Blank Dogs, but with a more aggressive attitude. The results are only four EPs over the past 4 years, but each release is a vital addition to a type of punk rock that gets little coverage beyond The Screamers and The Units. Last year’s 6-song tape EP ‘Moon Decay’ on Total Twitch and 2010’s ‘Metal Leg’ 7″ on Volar Records are perfect entry points into his circuit-bleeding pop noise.

NO
No are a dark and heavy London based hardcore band that released an amazing 8 song LP on Static Shock records. Forget about finger pointing and posi-attitude, these guys are pissed and seem to be getting their negi vibes on. There have been comparisons to early Die Kreuzen and Septic Death, with their feedback-led riffs and brutal melodies. These guys have all come from other great London punk bands like The Shitty Limits and Satellites of Love, but leave behind the rock’n’roll riffing and revolution summer emotion for a more straight ahead beast. There is a new 7″ in the works and 2 songs appeared on the London comp tape (mentioned twice now, so seriously worth buying) ‘Modern Babylon’.

CRAZY SPIRIT
These guys are a downright and dirty mutant punk feast of fun. They channel the snotty vocals of The Germs and Bad Brains but track along at a mid paced stomp with super scrappy production that adds to the overall aesthetic. Sometimes the voice gets so sneered that you can barely make out his goblin voice at all, whilst the filthy minimal riffs are being carved out and covered in layers of scuzz and fuzz. They throw in the occasional offbeat track to give some dynamic to their album, which many hardcore bands often forget to do, letting LP after LP go by in an unmemorable flash. Crazy Spirit’s album and demo on Toxic State Records are a must.

SURBURBANITE
Old school, fast hardcore from Youth Attack head honcho Mark McCoy who has been in countless hardcore bands (Das Oath/Failures/Veins/Charles Bronson) and Chris who used to be in blink-and-you’ll-miss-it, bleak hardcore titans Aerosols. The seven songs on their debut 7″ are over in 6 minutes, so do not expect any epic build ups, superfluous solos or wig outs, as Suburbanite kick in, rage through 45 seconds of anger and hatred, and then manage to put on the brakes at the same time. Suburbanites are made up of deep, barked vocals that take no prisoners in a Negative Approach style, guitar and bass lines that hint to Agnostic Front’s classic album ‘Victim in Pain’ without sound revisionist and rolling drums that blast through the record without relenting. Only one beautifully packaged EP has appeared so far on Youth Attack that sold out instantly. Fingers crossed more is in the works.

HANK WOOD & THE HAMMHEADS
This is the most ferocious garage punk record that has crossed my record player in a long time, full of fuck you attitude and disgusting organ fuelled glory. Seeming to have courted controversy recently (something to do with chickens and angry vegans), they are a new breed of garage rock that is equal parts hardcore punk and ’60s rock’n’roll, and it’s not surprising that there has been member crossovers with Crazy Spirit. Hardcore past aside, the band’s album, ‘Go Home’, is a shit-fi masterpiece akin to the hateful cousin to The Mummies or the Minor Threat-raised grand children of Peruvian’s Los Saicos. The song titles and lyrics show how much hatred they have for people and life (‘Don’t Look at Me’, ‘It’s Hard on the Street’, etc.), which makes for a nice bile-soaked record to get the blood pumping. Unfortunately for the garage punk scene, it attracts many who play it in its most generic form and pedal the same old shit, but Hank Wood & The Hammerheads have got some real musical talent, and especially a drummer who knows how to kick out the jams and ride a cowbell.

SHIRTLESS THUGS
I have already mentioned Suburbanite from the Youth Attack roster, and could probably write an article this size just about the bands released on this amazing label, but I’ll limit it to just two for now with Shirtless Thugs being the snotty kid brother to the dark growl of Suburbanite. The Shirtless Thugs’ ‘Ripped You Off’ cassette that dropped at the end of last year was 5 tracks that were over in 4 minutes and demanded repeated listens over and over again. Finding out that the genesis of this band stems back to Cult Ritual and Salvation makes total sense, but this time around it is less pulverising in style, but faster and thrashier, like some of the early to mid-2000s bands like Cut The Shit, Tear It Up and DS-13. Short, Fast and Shirtless!

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