A monthly peer into the world of the outspoken, the sidelined, and the hard-hitting
The internet has become the perfect place for everyone from your boss-eyed aunt to Pope Francis to personally push their agendas on you – and music has always been there to subliminally force your hand. So what happens when those worlds collide? A political platform is formed, and it’s one nearly everyone has the power to use. There’s a wave of new opinions pouring in at every angle, every second of the day, and it’s up to you to strain out what’s worth listening to.
This column is meant to act as a helping hand. By filtering through the best of punk, post-punk, hardcore, electronica, whatever – I’ll be seeking the best of bands and artists speaking from the heart about things most people would rather not look in the eye.
Named after arguably the most self-eviscerating, sinister Pixies song out there, Gouge Away are a self-proclaimed “loud message from South Florida”. Fronted by kindergarten teacher Christina Stijl, the lyrics that bolster their anthemic hardcore rush confront abuse, class warfare, and dealing with shame after suffering.
Enough, a track from their forthcoming album, is an anthem in support of trauma recovery – and it’s pretty much guaranteed that you’ll get full body goosebumps when Christina screams “questioned what I should have done different / I wasn’t born to die a statistic.”
Christina also did a great interview with Hooligan Mag about being a girl in a hardcore band (as well as a teacher to young children). Catch it on Issuu here – it starts on page 103.
Dies, is now available for pre-order via Eighty-Sixed Records. Check it out here.
WALL are a hooky post-punk band from Brooklyn that share bills with the likes of equally sick post-punk band Pill, and they’ve just released a new EP.
First track Cuban Cigars is an supremely sarcastic take on dudes that think they’re the shit – in fact, they think they’re actually Al Pacino. “Oh these guys they think they’re the mob… suited up, playing rough, walking in, talking tough” deadpans singer Samantha York while clearly thinking the guys in question are just the absolute worst. Grimes has also been using mobsters as a metaphor for overblown masculinity recently – maybe there’s something in the water?
Aside from Cuban Cigars, Fit the Part conveys a desperate identity crisis and Milk is jangly, surrealist magic – the whole thing is well worth a spin.
The band’s eponymous debut LP will be available on January 16 via Wharf Cat Records.
“Police my body! Tell me how to breathe!” demands Jen Mace in the chorus to Decency. “Determine how I live and die!” These guys sound just like Savages, but like, Savages with a right-on and all-encompassing political agenda. Decency grapples with the notion of, well, decency – how society dictates how we dress, think, feel – and how these things are constantly held out of our own grasp. “This. Is. My. Life! Fuck your decency!” ascends Mace before the song culminates in an avalanche of jagged guitars. Fuck yes forever.
Lucy Dacus is fed up. She’s had a gutsful of being the ‘funny girl’. She’s always being sidelined. “I don’t wanna be funny anymore,” she sighs. “I got a too short skirt, maybe I can be the cute one. Is there room in the band? I don’t need to be the front man.”
Wanting to shave your head, get a new wardrobe and a new personality is as about as relatable as it gets, and when its jammed into a subtle indie-rock slow-burner like this, the message sounds all the better. This is the first we’ve heard off Lucy in a whole year, and while she used to have resort to singing along with her younger self, now she’s got some pals to help her out.
Melodic pop-punk trio Muncie Girls shared some highly anticipated new material this month in the form of a new song and video for Gas Mark 4 and it’s lit (geddit? Ahahaha). There are gratuitous shots of all three punx wigging out in a very well-equipped warehouse that your antiques-wrangling nan would go mad in, but don’t let all that distract you – the lyrics, expertly delivered by Lande, deal in Los Campesinos! style everyday misery and crushing Sylvia Plath-itudes (“Girl, 21, found dead and alone / Three weeks later on the kitchen floor / Oven still on, gas mark four”). They’ve even received big ups from pop-punk royalty in the form of Mark Hoppus via Twitter.
The band’s debut LP From Caplan to Belsize is available to pre-order now via Specialist Subject Records.
Had enough vegan feminist hardcore yet? Me neither!
Sample-heavy, sometimes melodic, always aggressive hardcore band Maladjusted released their utterly unapologetic EP not taking our minds in late October. The fourth track on the nine-minute headrush, no body, no one, deals with sexual assault head on and is totally gripping. “Took my fucking voice, left me empty bodied / Took my fucking choice, I was just a place to cum,” bawls vocalist Shoup, finishing with a rallying scream of “I’m taking it back!” Stunningly brave, big and brutal.
Hear the whole thing here.
Weezer without all the weird creepy shit that Rivers Cuomo says and does? Most excellent.*
Doe are a bunch of indie-punkers from London and they’ve totally nailed their take on this non-album Weezer track, Susanne. Christ, the harmonies are great on this. Here’s hoping they save keep this up their sleeves for their next round of exceptional live shows.
The band have recently been on tour with the equally awesome Dogs On Acid, and there are also whispers on their Facebook that they’re working on their first full-length. Keen.
As this was released as part of Art of Hard’s Singles Club, the super limited run the physical copy is now sold out, but that won’t stop anyone rinsing the Soundcloud.
*If you’re wondering why I hate Rivers Cuomo so much: the sleeve notes to Pinkerton read “…there are some lyrics on the album that you might think are mean or sexist… I will feel genuinely bad if anyone feels hurt”. Fuck off, Rivers. You aren’t sorry at all. Also, this incredible essay by Jenny Zhang about his truly scummy white male gaze that calls out his casual misogyny and racism really opened my eyes to the world of shit that stood before me labelled ‘indie canon’. Yay for indie inclusivity, huh?
Illustration by: James Burgess