Monday, 26 September 2011



Wednesday, 8 June 2011


Hey, this is happening next month. Just try and absorb how talented that line up of artists is. Hard to comprehend right? One of the proudest moments of my life seeing myself there above Ross from Ceremony and alongside Lee from Trash Talk, my good friend Sam, Mike Sutfin formerly of Charles Bronson, Tim Kerr of Big Boys, Cali Dewitt who shot the cover for SQRM's Rodeo LP amongst other things, MARK FUCKING MCCOY. Pat Graham, Chrissy Piper. The list is too great to fully comprehend.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Pagan Punx

A few weeks I started a project with Sam James Velde of LA's Night Horse / Bluebird / Cold Sweat Records. We wanted to start a project which would allow us to write predominantly about records, whilst also gifting us the platform to interview bands, post photos almost in a half-photoblog style, upload footage and generally create a cauldron for all our writing and enthusiasm to bubble away in.

So, we started - already having spoken to Chris Eck of Shaved Women and IceAge. Sam is currently talking to Sam Bosson of Trash Talk, Scuba of Trap Them, Ryan from Coliseum, the guys from Deafheaven and plenty more with the intention of compiling a list of what everyone's favourite records are right now. Pretty excited myself to read that one. I had an interview yesterday with Pennsylvania Hardcore buzzmakers Slices, and that interview should be posted soon.

The purpose of this post is just to let my lovely fellowship of readers know that despite the posts on youngsouls being few and far between, there is a hive of activity going on over at Pagan Punx. Sam and I will be working frantically to expand this as much as we can, as it's already - in it's infancy - beginning to take the form of a webzine. It'd be great if you could check out whats going with my new venture, and perhaps drop us a comment or follow us. Thanks,


Saturday, 7 May 2011

Cult of Youth - Cult of Youth


I’ve been listening to the self titled record by a band called Cult of Youth for the past hour. I’m having such difficulty in pigeon-holing them. They come from New York City and play a palette of folk, post punk, dirge and pop. They sound like an angry Robert Smith playing funeral music, with a delicate spoonful of thoughtful, folk arrangement fed into the mix. I’m struggling here, perhaps Cult of Youth’s derangement is too potent for me to pick apart in just one paragraph.

Track three, 'Monsters' bolts out of the gate in rampant style, stitching together up-beat guitar twanging with uncompressed vocals that seem to reach eternally skywards. Perhaps only by my own ear, but, I can hear jabs of Irish influence, native folk beat, and european Pagan influence. The slow march of 'Casting Thorn's' mourning song props up the spine of this record with it's plaintive utterings of 'When mercys our passion, we fall to our knees,' delivering peak after peak of poignancy and unblemished emotion.

Listen to this record and fall unregrettably in love with noise all over again. Download it here

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

The Feelies - Crazy Rythms

I’m listening to this album for the first time ever right now. The Feelies - Crazy Rhythms. First port of call: I am a fucking idiot for not zeroing in on this band sooner. From my 2011 vantage I can hear pastels of The Velvet Underground, Wire-esque intonations, Gang of Four subtleties and REM pop splashes. Everything i’m hearing is relevant to the order in which I discovered those bands just mentioned - because The Feelies notably influenced REM & Gang of Four and not the other way round. The Feelies came first.

I don’t think it would be too far off the mark to say that they must have influenced Beat Happening and that whole K Records twee-pop-picnic-in-the-sunshine sound. Probably gave Death Cab For Cutie a push too, in a more indirect sense. To cut a boring story short, It’s eight o’clock where I am and quite frankly I can see myself not giving a fuck about listening to any other band for the next week. Anyone who has heard this / plans to hear this, let me know what you think because I am drifting off into a lull of love.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Laura Lynn Petrick

Besides being a total babe Laura Lynn Petrick is also one of the most exciting young photographers I know of. Her work is consistently strong, edgy, emotive and striking. I hope this post boosts the amount of traffic to her blog, this girl deserves more attention. Check out her image diary:

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

An interview with Chad Moore

Let me start with a thunderous statement of bombast and surefooted-ness; Chad Moore is my out and out favourite young photographer. A week or two ago he kindly agreed to do an interview with me. Quite frankly I couldn't believe my luck. I've poured through his site, through each series of photos time after time. Looking, admiring, absorbing, worshipping, repeat. The following is a total transcript of our discussions, Chad was fantastic, he answered my questions in such exquisite detail. I hope you all enjoy this, and if you havn't already checked out Chad's work I implore you to do so.

Can you tell me much about how you initially got into photography; was your appreciation for art instilled within you from an early age?

My mom was never really a working "artist" or anything, but she was always such a creative person and a great painter. She never pushed art on me, but completely nurtured my interest in all creative things, and still supports it all to this day. Many parents would be super terrified about their kid wanting to live as a an artist, but she has so much faith in which is amazing. I think I really got into photographs through riding BMX though. I started riding BMX bikes When I was about 11 or 12 and I always just wanted to have someone take a picture of a truck I was trying to do or something, just so I could see what it looked like. Then a few of my good friends started seriously shooting BMX photographs and I was getting more into professional riding, but I still wanted to make photographs. I Just got to a point though where it was like, I don't like the idea of setting up all of these flashes and waiting to create a moment, I just wanted to capture a moment that was happening, and I suppose that's how my obsession with photographs began.

So many of your photos look like snapshots of a fleeting moment in time, do you rely on events happening around you or do you ever find yourself being inclined to set opportunities up?

This goes back to the end of the first question. A friend of mine owed me a $100 or something and in exchange gave me a super sharp point and shoot camera and that was probably like 2005, and I was never was without that camera again. I just took photographs of my friends and I loved it, because I knew everyone so well, that they never questioned why I was taking these photos. The most beautiful thing to me is uninhibited youth. I mean to a point, its almost documentary work….but I feel like that's a weird title to give it, just because so much documentary work is a photographer shooting photographs of something that he or she doesn't know or isn't closely involved with. I've known my the people in my photographs for years and im close with them, intimate with them, I'm doing the same things as them, I'm just making photographs at the same time. Here and there, as I've been getting more photo jobs, I have to think about ways to set things up or re-create certain situations, but at this point I really still enjoy those photographing reality, even though to many my reality is kind of a fantasy.

What has it been like working with the man Ryan McGinley? Has he influenced your aesthetic or nurtured your technical abilities?

Ryan is one of the dearest people in my life and I have learned so much from him and have so much love for him. I wouldn't say that Ryan influenced my aesthetic as much as he has just inspired me to do what I want…not really conform to anything. When Ryan does something, whether it be a show or a commercial job, he really cares about it, he really nurtures it, he really wants to make the best that it can, and I think everyone can appreciate that. It's hard for me to even talk about Ryan in words he means so much to me, his work and his love for people cannot be described in an email ya know?

Besides working with Ryan, which artists, either past or present would you enjoy working with?

Thats a tough one, so many people! My favorite thing ever is seeing other artist's processes and how they think and how they work. If there was one person I could have ever worked for or with though, it would have been Richard Avedon. Although his aesthetic hardly relates to mine, I love the emotion in his photographs, theres so much of you can read from a simple portrait of his against a white seamless. He was kind of insane about making photos and I feel like I'm starting to relate. If I don't take at least a few photos a day, I have so much anxiety it's crazy.

Do you have a favourite person to photograph, or a favourite camera to use?

I love photographing my friends really, I mean, for me at least, you can tell when someone is photographing someone that they have a real connection with. You can feel it in the image, there's a connection. As for one particular person, my friend Meghan Collison. I love her to death because she never stops me from taking her picture and she's just really gorgeous and unique from the inside out and he personality is super intriguing. It's so hard for me to take a photo of someone I don't truly care about. As for cameras, I don't really have a special camera set up, just a few point and shoots and a Leica SLR.

How would you describe your current collection of work to someone who has never witnessed it before? I guess what i'm trying to ask is, how would describe what you're trying to do with your photography in general?

I always find it tough to describe my work to someone that has never seen it, because all in all, it's so personal. It's my collection of memories. It's my documentation of fleeting youth I suppose. I think youth is so important, so delicate and that what I capture in my photographs.

And finally,
What would be typical day in NYC for you?

I usually wake up pretty early, like 9am or something close to that. Make some coffee or tea and check some emails and look around the internet for a bit and try to see what's up with my friends. Basically everyone I hang out with works crazy hours or parties super late so I'm usually on my own till around 4pm when my friends start waking up. I try to work on at least one project a day, lately it's been a new book. I might run some errands and then meet up and go out to eat with some my friends, after that, usually one of our friends is working at a bar where we can go and get some drinks for free and end up hanging out there for a few hours. Since it's been so cold in NYC, I always get stuck hanging out in a bar all night, but during summer we go out to a bar and then go on some serious adventures, whether it be a secret chinatown karaoke bar or a sketchy rooftop…a lot of nights we end up watching the sunrise on this billboard which is one my favorite places on earth, its so ironically romantic because it's this beautiful view of NYC but placed on a dirty roof in chinatown…I'm in love with it! After that everyone kinda disperses and heads home….always the saddest part of the day. Usually I'll get home with a few shot rolls of film in my pocket from the day and night!

Sunday, 27 February 2011

Never Eat Your Greens

Cool little 'oh's' floating safely
To the shore.
Timber and sawteeth lilting always
on the sound.
Batteries in the car burning quickly
Down to dull.
Rocks in the can find their way
Onto the roof.

Steak sauce and froth on their journey
To his mouth.
Spray paint and insults prop themselves
Upon the wall.
Cool little 'oh's' post him up
Under the bridge.
Viral strain of sweetness that
Sicks back up his milk.

String limbed men in a book
Of noodled thoughts.
Bathtub of creatures that lick
the leaking wounds.
Velour is the pillow in the
Backseat of the car.
Grease sheethed is the hair as
He's waiting to go home.

Soft is the cardboard, is the use
Of that old chair.
Let him call a friend while
He's waiting to go home.
Cool little 'oh's' follow sleds
Right off the hill.
Snow peppers blonde and white knuckles
Grip the ride.

Warm plastic meals tickle sharply
Down the throat.
Up above the shop bending copper
Nodding out.
Buying all the nothing fills the room with
Too much droll.
His beard smoothes over manhood
While his speak discovers thrill.

No cool little 'oh's' chiming fruitful
On the cross.
Papered bedroom walls peeling faces
From the glue.
No cool little 'oh's' for my favourite
One we lost
Just low drawn out growls from those
Who tore him up.

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

The Get Up Kids - There Are Rules


Quality Hill Records

Pete Wentz once said that if it weren't for the band The Get Up Kids, then Fall Out Boy would never have even formed. Mark Hoppus went as far as to have Kansas City's finest popular punk export soundtrack the moment of his proposal to his wife. The slew of bands willing to continue this vein of Get Up Kids worship could pack out the fabled Outhouse in their native state three times over.

The Get Up Kids' break up in 2005 heralded a new age for 'emotive' punk-cum-indie rock. Their coveted throne came to be squabbled over by a commotion of young blooded bands; Chicago's Fall Out Boy, the Joshua Cain led Motion City Soundtrack and perhaps even the ever enduring Saves The Day - who have weathered an overabundance of lineup changes - remain close to the front of the pack. Their hiatus proved merely to be a four year stop gap, with the fully reunited 'Kids announcing batches of shows in 2008 and 2009. This year sees the release of 'There Are Rules' - their first studio album in almost seven years.

'There Are Rules' needed to sound like a surefooted boot-stamp crashing the band back down onto the map of rock and roll. It needed to expel all of the most resilient cobwebs and kick up a spray of spit & sawdust into the faces of the contemporaries that The Get Up Kids, however inadvertently, may have spawned themselves. Track one, 'Tithe' rings in with a ballast of distortion and a mutated sample which rather disbelievingly wouldn't sound out of place on a 625 Thrashcore release. Pseudo-powerviolence blip behind us, this opening track snaps into a life of frenetic drumming and colourful riffing. Matt Pryor treats us all to pinch after pinch of his rousing vocals, carouselling between temperate tones and the iconic, desperately strained textures that could be found on 1997's 'Four Minute Mile.'

James Dewess makes himself known on 'Shatter Your Lungs' - tapping down on those keys of sunshine to give this track a rather dated, dare I say it, 80's vibe? Injected with convulsive percussive jibes, the repetitive, annoyingly discotheque-esque palpitations fail to conjure up anything quite like the hooks of their past records. This entire release feels somewhat sparse, lacking the fibers of electric melody that all the Jimmy Eat World fans latched onto in the first place. It feels smoother, more compressed, and ultimately less like a whistle-stop jaunt through the mind of a post-adolescent awkward kid nextdoor. An angle the Get Up Kids have celebrated playing from ever since Jim Suptic learned how to string together a Descendents cover.

'Better Lie' amuses itself on a treadmill of throbbing synth, the enate problem with running on the spot like that is that you're bound to go nowhere. There are peaks to 'There Are Rules,' which prod tentatively at total fruition, yet while an out-stretched palm clambers for such a goal, a pair of dead weights drag behind, limited by repetition and under-impressive hooks. The shrouded vocals and the cross cutting guitar pepperings, once added to the bass-heavy gristle, make the next track 'Keith Case' something that Motion City Soundtrack will have wished they'd written. It would not be fair to say that this release fails to provide anything of substantial worth, however the nagging realisation in the back of many people's minds will be that the four year wasteland of Get Up Kids absenteeism was not really a wasteland at all. The emptiness was farmed and cultivated by an uprising of satellite bands such as the aforementioned Motion City Soundtrack; bands who have gone a long way to blur the line between The Get Up Kids and their chasers. A line which a decade ago was an unsurpassable chasm within the emo world.

The important question that needs to be addressed is whether or not The Get Up Kids made the right choice in altering their palette of indie rock licks and hot sap vocals, bypassing any and all cries of 'no progression' from scene bulbheads - or whether a riotous return to the soundscapes of 'Something To Write Home About' would have been more warmly received. 'There Are Rules' is more hum than rattle, more roll than shake, and unfortunately it may well lead this once championed band to rest on a shelf of nostalgia rather than elevating them to greater heights.

Friday, 21 January 2011


Dash Snow, was to me, an inspiration of true magnificence. For a great deal of time now I have waxed ecstatic over his life’s work, pouring through scanned Polaroid versions of his intriguing, often sardonic street photography. I am so genuinely immersed in the detailing of his brief yet incandescent life of trauma and visual expression that I intend on having his portrait adorned on my body for all time, paying homage to a memory which has taught me more about the way life can or cannot be lived than perhaps any other one source of artistic stimulus.

Born Dashiel A. Snow, to parents Taya Thurman and Christopher Snow, he lived a course upbringing of private education and boarding schools, a childhood of tacit obedience which afforded him little room to flex the artistic intensions that began to brim over his consciousness. He was, in effect, booted by his mother into an institution which has been described by some to be ‘a last-chance boarding academy that offers objectively defined teenagers an alternative to prison.’ The experience or rather series of experiences Dash encountered at Hidden Lake Academy in Georgia further embellished his dramatic personality and want, nay, longing to be out of the reach of his family’s unblemished pedigree of French aristocracy and clean cut living. He held the decision undertaken by his mother to attempt a reformation of his ways against her even until death. I suppose by default, Dash’s passing broke the chain of resentment, maybe finally he was able to give up that ghost.

He was a photographer, a graffiti artist, a father, a street urchin, a drug user, an installation artist, a muse, ‘Warhol's child’, but overall he was just a really fucked up kid running along train tracks with confusion for company, breaking through the night veils and holding the city rapt with a can of raspberry spray paint. The jump from yobbish graffiti writer to downtown Baudelaire art world obsession was a transition more stumbled upon by Snow, very little of it had to do with premeditation or a blood-thirst to satiate ambition. The thing about Snow’s artwork, the whole crux of this fantasy of hotel room hookers and Jack Daniels, is that the illusion is only an illusion if you see it that way, by that I mean the fantasy was forever a reality for the young blonde haired toxic artist. His Polaroids pressed upon everyone who saw them, a keenness to exact out of life the main entities of sheer illumination, sex, friendship, love, struggle and death characterised all of his forages into self expression and cultural reaction.

Snow was fortunate enough to have the support of Ryan McGinley and Dan Colen, burgeoning downtown artists in their own right – a pair almost equally enamoured by the laissez faire approach to ejaculating on the New York Post and calling it collage. Headline after headline concerning corrupt cops and Saddam Hussein would be awash with seed and glitter. Colen and McGinley confess to being driven by ambition, to having had to work their way out of their backgrounds by peddling the only thing either of them admits to being able to do well, creating art.

Snow put together a crew of graffiti writers, and pooled them all together under the name ‘Irak’ – to ‘rak’ is a term popular within graffiti circles meaning to steal, this seemed somewhat appropriate for an ungoverned clandestine bunch of wild children, accustomed to breaking the law 10, 20 times a day. It was nevertheless an artistic venture, although Dash himself may not have readily admitted that. Instead he saw himself notching up tags on building after building for the purpose of enrolling himself on the page of infamy. His weapon of choice was just a pressure controlled can of noxious fluid instead of a whole host of instruments of sculpture or an SLR camera packed with a roll of colour film – the medium of choice for best friends Colen and McGinley respectively.

Much of Dash’s work corresponds to this notion of ‘banality’ - of resisting emotion and for the larger part, originality. The aesthetic of banal photography relies heavily on irony, on a deep sense of perceptual boredom. Artists associate themselves with the ordinary and vernacular instead of the extraordinary and remarkable. Therein lies the strength of Snow’s snapshots and collage, to find such quality in something so un-stirring is to make it remarkable by very definition.

One of my favourite Snow photos is perhaps one of the most archetypal Dash Snow images in general. It portrays the fringes of society and documents the debauchery and filth of a New York City twilight, whilst a man readily projects his alcohol laced stomach contents across the Manhattan pavement a basketball jersey clad observer appears almost in awe of his mean feat. This is street photography at its most abrasive, pulling no punches in its quest to depict the reality that Snow saw from behind his camera. Whether it’s valued for artistic qualities or whether it’s just interesting as a visual history of Dash Snow’s wanderings, there is no denial that this image holds your attention and no doubt evokes a strong reaction.

Dash Snow, gone but certainly not forgotten. Kept alive by two packs of Marlboro Reds, four big bottles of water a day and music.

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Merchandise - Strange Songs (In The Dark)


Merchandise are perhaps my favourite band of the moment, I have thrown myself into their soup-mix of frothy driven rhythms and quite frankly I do not care whether I resurface or not. They hail from Florida and play a writhing pastiche of noisy, at times melody-centred, jangling post-punk. Each track from their 'Strange Songs (In The Dark) release manages to present itself as a completely individual string to Merchandise's bow.

They don’t overplay the Joy Division influence like many bands, they offer something fresh and exciting. 'I Locked The Door' salutes you with the dull and blunt sounds of a scuffle between guitar and percussion, leaving it up to the rather sweet vocals to shepherd the entire song into cohesive shape. The last track on Strange Songs (In The Dark, 'In The Dark' is astoundlingly good; equally predisposed with attaching weight to melody as it is with sounding quirky and experimental. In hindsight I should have included this band and this record in my favourite releases of the year post.

You can pick up Merchandise - Strange Songs (In The Dark) from Drugged Conscience. This band features ex-members of THE ALMIGHTY CULT RITUAL, Nazi Dust and even Divisions so if you’re interested to see what those dirty Punks are up to now then grasp hold of Merchandise and worship them for all the gratuitous post-punk-cum-indie-experimentalism they can offer you. Great band.

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Records of the year 2010

Two weeks into January, after collecting together the many post-it notes adorned with record titles that I have lying around, I have finally birthed a list of what I think were the best releases of last year. This list lends itself generously to Hardcore Punk but within the squall of Youth Attack! bands and Perennial Records representatives lies a pocket of more accessible bands. A lot of these records are full length albums, some are 7"s.

30. Fences - Fences

First full length outing from Chris Mansfield and company. A record preoccupied in a good way by the trials and tribulations of romance and heartquake. Enjoyable, weighted Dallas Green-esque popular folk musings that manage to 'bleed the emotions out one by one.'

29. Dangers - Messy, Isn't it?

This band have been having a lot of fun with genres of varying texture and tone. They have this poetic aura to them, in the same way that contemporary act Touché Amoré do. Dangers are the more chaotic of the two, hammering the odd thrash metal riff into place along side tracks like 'Goliath' which hit you so hard with their urgency that you're forced to sit up and appreciate their bravery to cross genres.

28. Beach Fossils - Beach Fossils

The collective of bands that have pushed the delicately fuzzed out lo-fi beach trend as of late have managed to remain both relatively original and rather unspoilt. Beach Fossils are one of my favourite exactors of this hazy, pop-beat wave of surf-garage-beach-whatever-you-want-to-call-it-rock.

27. No Talk - Leather Discipline

I heard No Talk's 'Invade Iran' release before I heard Leather Discipline and it most definitely whetted my appetite for their full length. They hail from Texas and play a viral strain of percussive heavy, grizzly Hardcore Punk Rock 'n Roll. Fans of Kansas City's No Class will like this band.

26. Vile Gash - Vile Gash

First of the Youth Attack! bands to make the list. Drenched in nihilism and 'devoid of thought' Vile Gash's self titled EP is just about as feral as Hardcore Punk got in 2010. They recorded ten tracks for this release, with each one being a somatic stab of unwashed punk. Only one track peaks above the one minute mark, an observation which is telling in itself, evidence of just how furious and indecent this record is. Vile Gash have a lot to say and are worthy of you as a listener.

25. Brandon Boyd - The Wild Trapeze

Brandon Boyd stands out like a So-Cal funk rock thumb when surrounded by choices such as Vile Gash and No Talk, however I've been listening to his Wild Trapeze record for months as a combatant against the English winter and it's wonderful ability to pollute your soul with dread. To encapsulate, this is a wonderful first solo outing, giving Brandon further credibility as a song writer.

24. Whirl - Distressor

Fans of My Bloody Valentine and drinking alone in the dark should sit up and take note of this band from Northern California. I thought their demo was fantastic, in fact I posted about it earlier on last year, but the Distressor record is twice as confident and ten times as compelling. Their sound is indubitably double edged as empyreal tracks such as 'Sandy' fly in the face of the thundering opening to 'Leave' and the vastness of 'Blue''s middle section. Much more than just worthy of being pigeon-holed as a great contemporary Shoegaze band, they need to be celebrated by more than just the Slowdive kids.

23. Throats - Throats

I'm not going to let the recent break up of Britain's most exciting new band detract anything from the ongoing fanfare surrounding this record. Opening with 'Wake' - one minute and sixteen seconds of unornamented Hardcore and finishing with 'Oaken/Wait' - Throats' self titled record wouldn't halt at any point inbetween for even Jacob Bannon himself. Their last ever show has been announced and believe me, Alex Wealands death rattle will be unmatched, leaving London reeling. The best of Britain.

22. SQRM - Rodeo

'Fuck To Survive' let everybody know what it meant to worship Siege in 2010, but the recently released 'Rodeo' pissed on the church of Drop Dead and sang from it's altar. SQRM are perhaps the most exciting band playing out of Massachusetts right now. The title track audibly thumps it's way along with lead singer Tony delivering a sermon of blatant hatred. SQRM cut everyone else down to size.

21. Raw Nerve - Raw Nerve.

Raw Nerve are one of the hardest working, most sonically strenuous bands out there. Their recently released self titled record on Youth Attack! confirms their coronation as the distorted kings of the scene. This release will flog you with dissonance for even daring to listen to it.

20. Sexdrome - Grown Younger

This band from Denmark impress with a spine of atmospheric Black Metal fattened with brass-tack Punk underpinning. Grown Younger scuffs Hardcore up against Norway's greatest cultural export and delivers something within sight of originality. If Bone Awl are the cause of Black Metal now being Punk popular then look to Sexdrome as the latest incarnation of that same template. Fantastic record.

19. Crazy Spirit - Crazy Spirit

This band take the familiar NYC Ramones blueprint and run it through a threshing machine. The discarded components are left for dead and the bare bones structure is then plied with hallucinogens and clothed in leather. The sound we're left with is a bilious concoction to say the least. Less of this rhetoric, this band are absurd, precisely the reason why I enjoy them. The self titled release is more than worthy of the adoration it has received.

18. White Guilt - White Guilt

The demos were like a virus which spread through my group of friends leaving the same universal combination of fear and praise behind. The debut self titled record brings to mind the idea of Greg Sage ingesting a cornucopia of opiates and then somehow managing to find the physical fortitude to record a punishing Hardcore record. Laughable, I admit, but a confirmation of how good this band are. Another string to New York's bow.

17. Twin Stumps - Seedbed

I wrote about this bands self titled record just before this post and many of those comments can be applied to 'Seedbed.' For a start, this release delivers itself as yet another 'bouquet of barbed wire to the ears' but goes further in general to embellish the presence of Twin Stumps as one of the most unruly mobs playing Punk music out there today. Listen and crumble.

16. Nomos - Notes From The Acheron

'Notes From The Acheron' kicks off with a bellyache of a riff, flailing itself forehead first into a disgusting chain of frenetic Punk gyrations. The drums are beaten to within an inch of puncturing, fretboards are abused to the point of strings snapping and the microphone they used to record this release must now lie dead on the floor, more concave than convex in shape. This full length is an empowering example of Hardcore Punk at it's best. New York City.

15. Bad Banana - Crushfield

Two endearing young women playing delicious lo-fi garage rock. Prettier in form than much of Kimya Dawson's collective works, but not wholly dissimilar. I see Bad Banana and Best Coast as the two most impressive paradigms of the presently celebrated lo-fi beach-beauty pop, and for that they deserve an avalanche of new listeners.

14. Male Bonding - Nothing Hurts

A decisive cut of partially refined, almost 'noisy' rock and roll. Track one - 'Year's Not Long' - sent the heads of anyone with special scene Eminence turning so fast in Male Bonding's direction that their Morrissey quiffs lost all structure and their denim shirts popped open yet another button down. This band are worthy of the adulation, Nothing Hurts is a confident record, imbued with casual pluck and resilience. 'Franklin' opens with a rolling guitar chop so exquisite that LA's Local Natives will be infernally jealous that they didn't write it.

13. Mauser - The Summer Tour Tape

I initially picked this up and put it down rather too quickly. After further noisy, raw, scorching reflection I came to terms with my own idiocy. This EP is so unapologetic and harbours conviction alone that could sell narcotics to a nun. It clocks in at just under fifteen minutes, substantial for a ludicrously quick, rough and ready Hardcore Punk band. These guys are a bunch of filthy libertines playing to piss you off.

12. Men's Interest - More War

The lead singer for Boston's Men's Interest sounds like a lucid reincarnation of Negative FX's Jack Kelly. His vocal style strangles each one of the seven tracks from More War as if the percussion and guitar noise are obstacles in his path to reach you. In terms of scope, this record is well-nigh on unimprovable - which isn't even a legitimate word, but 'perfect' does not have the same concrete weight to it. I am willing to forget the rules of proper lexis for this band.

11. The Rival Mob - Hardcore For Hardcore

Styled by many blogs and scene agents as the 'tightest band in Boston right now' - and if that lofty exultation does nothing to excite you then go back to your Backtrack record. 'Hardcore For Hardcore' picks up where Raw Life left off. Nothing has been subtracted from the explicit formula of weight, intensity and power, instead they've doubled the effort and penned six bricks of the heftiest Hardcore this side of Age Of Quarrell.


10. DRY-ROT - Philistine

This LP is a certified breeze block of preposterousness. DRY-ROT sound like a mentally inept Pissed Jeans playing through a damp wall, but this tumult of insanity has managed to congeal together rather organically into one of last year's finest records. Tracks such as 'Maul Test' showcase a forceful ability to write great Punk songs, whereas other efforts like 'Can A Game Kill Time' leave you feeling disturbed as a Neil Young type melody is butchered to within an inch of it's riff by the most inexplicable vocals you'll have heard from last year.


9. Homostupids - Night Deacon

Without doubt my favourite EP of 2010. I adore the way this band ignores almost all conventions to play a caterwaul of addictive, no frills Hardcore. Night Deacon owes as much of it's sound to the first wave of Hardcore bands as it does to the noisier, more inverted bands of the last couple of decades. In essence they sound like they’re having fun with Punk Rock and just generally flinging semen / other viscous bodily fluids at each other. Their sound is a confusing dish-cloth of all of yesterday’s stains folded into the mildew of today’s Punk bacteria. Despite the high risk of infection you don’t want to miss out on this band.


8. The Men - Immaculada

A band of noise merchants that have already received high acclaim for their previous 12" 'We Are The Men' only to widen the groove of appreciation with this latest effort 'Immaculada.' As a record you couldn't realistically call it anything less than impressive. The huge peaks of noise plough headlong into a series of bloody Hardcore fissures, rolling through the seconds with flat-out surefooted Punk. See track two 'Problems/Burning Up' as a blooming example of such Noise Punk / Hardcore kinship.


7. Wavves - King of The Beach

Hated by Psychedelic Horseshit and others, loved by many. This latest record from Nathan Williams has gone a long way to bridge the gap between accessibility and counter culture credibility. 'Post Acid' and 'Super Soaker' are sugary highlights from a record which is blatantly just as concerned with stressing melody as it is with stamping a footprint of plausibility just outside the camp of today's glittery MTV 'stars.' I think this could be one of the most important records of last year. It bent the rules to make itself what it is and it alienated a portion of Wavves' fan base to a large extent. To bring together many conflicting ideas I want to say how much I adore this record. Guilty pleasure it may be, it would be one of the first records I would recommend to someone if they asked me to name some of the most polarizing or enjoyable records from 2010.


6. Slices - Cruising.

Slices are rampant in their progress towards the throne of all kingdoms Hardcore. I believe them to be one of the freshest, most exciting bands to have made a name for themselves over the past few years. Cruising is an obelisk of disobedience, with sheaths of sharp riffing cutting through an overlay of animalistic vocals. Vocals which sound, to understate it, exponentially antagonistic whenever they get the chance to pierce through Slices' mesh of drone and sawdust.

5. No Class - Keine Klasse

I thought it would be impudent of me to rank the No Class demo within this list rather than Keine Klasse, however listening to the demo and then listening to Keine Klasse has it's advantages as the demo offers up a slightly varied flavour than the full length. Less production value politics, more celebration of this record. Without doubt one of the finest releases from last year, Kansas City has produced a band of uncompromising worth and unbridled Hardcore Punk swagger. Vocalist Neil injects an atmosphere of sense amongst senselessness, overlapping the maelstrom of rhythmic Punk with dry-cured, smoked out vocal stylings. Unquestionably brilliant band who deserve every emphatic fan they can churn up.


4. White Boss - White Boss

North of California, sheltered by the Rocky mountains and left to stew in Hardcore's almost forgotten territories lay White Boss, a band which released one of the most refreshing and compelling records of last year. This album challenges many of Hardcore's preconceptions, force feeding the listener vast expanses of instrumental daliance, only to wildly inflame into a torrent of rolling Hardcore Punk. I see White Boss as one of the most forward thinking bands to have made themselves prominent in 2010.


3. Best Coast - Crazy For You

I fantasise about Bethany Cosentino writing songs about me, and I see a faint likeness between her song writing and the late great Kurt Cobain's, especially on tracks such as 'Bratty B' and 'Honey' which could sound like any number of Kurt's slower, more pensive tracks with minimal tweaking. Comparisons aside, I absolutely adore this record. I loved the Art Fag 7" but 'Crazy For You' takes those early diagrams of hairline lo-fi pop and nourishes them into fully fledged servings of beach pop / garage rock at it's present day best. I think Beth has so much potential to break into other realms of musical success, and perhaps to rearrange the priorities of mainstream music appreciation.


2. Total Abuse - Mutt

I wouldn't have been able to cope after the death of Cult Ritual if it wasn't for this band. Mutt is without argument one of the records of the year, it’s so painfully obvious that this album is deserved of a place within the distinguished top 10. It sounds like Cult Ritual in some respects - if Cult Ritual had smoked one too many snowcaps and then laced their mind with a vicious line of powder to bring them back into a realm of frenzied Hardcore - in other ways it sounds like a version of Drunkdriver less lost in parallel dimensions of obscure Noise Punk. This is sheer sonic repulsion at it’s best. I fear for the mental health of each band member. In my opinion, one of the greatest bands in Hardcore.


1. Ceremony - Rohnert Park

To try and concisely categorise this record and to try in earnest to explain it's genius in words would be folly. It would trivialise what I think is one of the most important Punk records of the last 10 years to spend paragraphs detailing the strengths of Rohnert Park. Nevertheless, something has to be written.

Rohnert Park envelopes almost all the facets of Punk which I adore. It has weight of meaning, it performs a set of songs that avoid neat classification whilst spewing forth effusions of unabashed anger and yet it adheres in many ways to those channels of song writing already firmly stamped into existence by the extinct champions of Punk Rock. I will still be listening to this record in 10 years time and I think that is perhaps the greatest compliment I could pay this release.

Honourable mentions:
Merchandise - Strange Songs (In The Dark), Trash Talk - Eyes & Nines, Gun Outfit - Possession Sound, Broken Water - Whet, Son Skull - Birth Scene / Rewind, Arts - Vault of Heaven, Walls - Staring At The Walls, Merchandise - Strange Songs In The Dark, Diet Cokeheads - Nasal.

Monday, 3 January 2011

Twin Stumps

This record is a body of bitterness. It juxtaposes your notions of beauty and familiar punk aesthetic with ugliness, demanding you shut the fuck up and take it like the wirey, sinewy human you are. There are no vapid glitter gimmicks to this release, just ‘Grotesque, misanthropic extremism that draws you into its myopic void by force and drags you further and further down.’ It sounds like a bouquet of barbed wire to the ears. Twin Stumps, self titled record.