Year End Top Ten: 2012

Buy the Ticket, Take the Ride: Year in Review

This was such a crazy year for me! Moving to the MRR compound means I am spoiled for choice and constantly exposed to new and exciting things! So many good punk shows and sooo many releases! I will admit, I was not carried away (too much) by the recent wave of raw punk (back home we call it “kàtsa”), so I often found myself longing for sounds that would travel me to other places far and wide, the soundtrack to a surreal black-and-white dream of urban misery and longing. These records helped do that.

Continue reading Year End Top Ten: 2012

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Record of the Week on MRR: Snob Value – “Whiteout” LP

snobvaluelp-300x300Let me start by saying that SNOB VALUE have been busy busy busy, with their kicking-and-punching first tape, aptly named Keep It Short and Simple – K.I.S.S., in 2009, then another killer tape in 2010, which I also friggin’ loved, so I have anticipated this for quite a while! I can tell that they’ve definitely worked on this LP, and these tracks are doused in indignation, antisocial aggression and contempt for humanity. I can relate: “I don’t give a shit about what you did, when you were my age in 1986 … Sometimes I wish I were deaf, I would have peace at last.” Yes, antisocial hardcore for angry people, reminiscent of USHC classics like the CIRCLE JERKS, DEAD KENNEDYS, MINOR THREAT and more contemporary outfits such as the REGULATIONS and BRUTAL KNIGHTS. The compositions are still tight and catchy but the band has developed them more, with slower, groovier hooks, slower intros, meaner guitar interludes and solos, layers, and the ever-present spiteful vocals; the kind of spite discovered in late adulthood, when you realize adulthood sucks and your peers are a joke!

While SNOB VALUE‘s work has never lacked lyrical aggression or sonic force, these tracks have a more polished production, which makes conventional sense for a debut LP I suppose, though they don’t entirely lack that seedy, subversive sound. Also, the artwork is quite minimal (“contrast reduction, disappeared horizon”) and while it’s handmade and still looks good, it doesn’t compare to their previous punk-ass designs. “1986,” “Hammer & Öl,” and “Whiteout” are the standout tracks. “1986” is dark, honest, ballsy and foaming at the mouth — their pièce de résistance for this album, if you ask me; “Hammer & Öl” is sung in the band’s native German and, of course, sounds all the more menacing for it; and the title track is a SNOB VALUE essential: short and simple, fast, effective, mind-pounding. I’m already flipping this faster than I can keep track of. While I do appreciate the more serious take they seem to have taken on this release, I honestly hope they keep some distortion and dirt intact. It’s that blunt frustration that makes ’em so great! Minor detail: I love it when bands have little messages scratched onto the wax; on ether side of this white 12″ was: “World peace can be fun—Anarchy’s a blast.” Fuck yes!

(Crapoulet Records / Prügelprinz / Spastic Fantastic)