Get the hard copy, Maximum Rocknroll #404, Jan. 2017 here.
Get the hard copy, Maximum Rocknroll #404, Jan. 2017 here.
What’s up my loves?
Almost end of January so time for one final, quick look at 2016. It was a good year for punk and hardcore I would say – many great releases from existing bands, but also a number of new bands we can expect to hear more from. This is by no means an exhaustive retrospective, merely a supplement to my Year End Top 10 list, and a small sampling of what punk and hardcore sounded like in the year 2016.
Until next time, stay strong and may the force be with us.
PRIME TIME – Pervert
HEAVY METAL – Total Bullshit
SIEVEHEAD – Try the Mirror (Pure Gold remix)
CHAIN OF FLOWERS – Death’s Got a Hold On Me
GENERATION SUICIDA – Key Mas Keres De Mi
NARCOESTADO – ¿Donde Estan?
NADIE – Nothing much and everything
WILD AT HEART – Blank Disguise
THE DETERGENTS – Catastrophe
RIXE – Hexagon
REMNANTS – Prison Walls
SILENT ERA – Don’t Go Out
SYNDICATE –Bad Days End
NOTS – New Structures
BELGRADO – 1000 Spektakli
RAKTA – A Busco do Círculo
CHROMA – Intervención y Disciplina
EFIALTIS – Efialtis
VANILLA POPPERS – It’s Love
MOLLOT – Charlatan
LUMPY AND THE DUMPERS – I’m Gonna Move to New York
GOOD THROB – Slick Dicks
SCRAP BRAIN – BPD
WOOLF – Taunting Me On My Own Street
ODOS 55 – Einai Autoi
SEMI – Total War on Hard On
DAUDYFLIN – Vid Erum
MAQUINA MUERTA – Veveno Letal
KRIEGSHÖG – Temptation
ODIO – World
HORIS OIKTO – Argos Thanatos
LUBRICANT – Die
G.L.O.S.S. – Give Violence a Chance
PRIMAL RITE – Nightingale
CELL ROT –Stabbed in the Face
NEGATIVE STANDARDS – XVI
OHYDA – Ymarli
HARAM – دم (Blood)
KRIMEWATCH – ゴキブリ 男 (Cockroach Man)
EXOTICA – Pesadilla
SKIPLICKERS – Another wasted day
STRUTTER – Excluded
IN SCHOOL – Bloodlust
WARTHOG – Culture?
VAASKA – Grito Surburbano
LOS CRUDOS – Nada Cambia
ULTRA – Fuerza de Trabajo
ANARQUIA VERTICAL – Vaciamiento
BARCELONA – Caudillo
CULT SYNDROME – Banality
ARMS RACE – No Sense
FIREWALKER – Darken my Door
TRIAGE – Hide in Shame
PISS – Sex Pact
IDIOTA CIVILIZZATO – Idiota Civilizzato
LIFE FUCKER – Deathwatch
THE LOWEST FORM – Evol
“I’D SELL MY SOUL BUT NO ONE’S BUYING”
The Diät tour had ended, and we had made it safely back to Berlin.
Berlin: a place where addictions come to reinvent themselves. Where drinking beers on trains is no biggie, the party starts after 4am, and rolling a big fat jozza by the canal is common practice for locals and tourists alike, who both flock here from all corners of the earth. It’s a chunky city, with wide streets and pavements, clusters of massive, modernist buildings, colourful murals on post-war project housing, green parks and grey skies, and a canal winding through the centre, lined by leafy banks and cobbled walkways. It was the beginning of spring and the budding branches seemed to extend skyward, as if stretching away the stiff winter and welcoming warmer days with open arms.
Every morning for a week, my kind host Iffi and I would wake up, jam our new radio pop song obsessions while eating porridge with ginger and almonds, then head to Static Shock Musik, where we’d jam the Chain of Flowers record hella loud while opening up shop. At least Iffi was jogging every morning to detox from tour—I was waking and baking at the house and day-drinking on the bench outside the store. I was on a hedonist’s quest, sans most of the resulting pleasure. I helped out with some odd jobs at the store (once a shitworker always a shitworker), walked around the Russian Memorial park twice and yet still failed to actually find the massive statue (what a loser), smoked a joint by the Brandenburg Gate and contemplated the evolution of identity in the age of the selfie stick, and lay under the sun in the park staring at the clouds that looked like dicks with wings, listening to Lust for Youth (so unpunk) and thinking about Blake, the demonization of the body and the absurd things we sometimes do to dismantle the illusions in our head. I went to Bis Aufs Messer Records (they also sell their own yummy coffee!) and with beers by the canal, reunited with the lovely Beeney, who was a MRR shitworker my first summer in SF! I saw a packed Diät gig at Tommyhaus, and danced to punk 45s and tunes by London’s Scraps at the Acid Baby Jesus show at Urban Spree, and drank divine Moscow Mules lined with dingos on the balcony at Kastanienkeller where Warsong from Zaragoza joined locals Sunbather in a packed and fun show. By far the most exciting band (and tightest drummer) I was introduced to this time around was Sick Horse, who play a mix of sinister psych garage and tense, snarky punk. On what I thought was my last day—because I don’t know how to read a bloody calendar—I woke up to barking dogs and smeared make-up. I stumbled out the house and through Alexanderplatz (the smell of sausage practically nauseating), walked through Museumsinseln but didn’t actually go inside any of the museums and almost fainted with dehydration by the canal with no corner store or café in sight for blocks or bridges. Poisoned by nicotine and negativity. With an extra day in town I felt suspended in my own mind so I decided to avoid humans and sat on a bench by the river in the sun with Low on repeat for three hours. Then I drank my way to an early night at the store. An earth angel came my way—in that way they do out of nowhere—and, after chatting for a while, about my meanderings, my life in the US, she realized I was the writer of what has comically devolved into MRR’s emo column, sans any of the music. “Yeah, you’re more confused in person than you come across on paper.” Ha, I liked her immediately! After Static Shock closed we went round the corner to hers, where she cooked me up a mini feast and gave me beer and the most delicious home made vodka-lemon drink that her dad makes back in Poland—it was like heaven in a shot glass. We talked and smoked and jammed Total Control and made each other lists of bands to check out, and her hospitality and open-heartedness humbled me. The next day it was “goodbye Berliners,” and a done deal to return for the festival two weeks later.
“Hysteria. Static Frustration. Broke as shit.”
With a name as generic as it is ingenious, and an attitude that’s as snarky as it is senile, HEAVY METAL have not only blurred the thin line between scathing joke and downright unhinged, they’ve done away with it completely. In its place, 29 minutes of pissed off piss taking, sonically fucked up and fucked with. With thirteen tracks—clocking in at an average of 2.20 minutes each—HEAVY METAL’s first record plays like a deranged audio collage of freak events—uncomfortably enjoyable in its oxymoronic glory. Grating chords and repetitive riffs, verbal hostility dripping with snarling critique; drums that crash and bang in a trance—a right racket—and cerebral synths and catchy electro beats dropping in like they’re tripping out. The noisy, shambolic production perfectly matches the surreal compositions, which are a deliberate blend of the absurdly simple with the simply absurd.
Standout tracks: Don’t Call Me Brother, Haywired, Here Come’s Sparky, Staring at the Rich Kids, Total Bullshit
Notable comments: “Wow, it’s like the Germs or Zounds covering Devo on speed or something” and “it’s on a completely different plane of existence,” as well as “How the hell can you listen to this noisy shit?”
Out now Static Age Records, and with a new record already in the works!