An Uneasy Peace – s/t 7in (Dirt Cult Records)
This band came uncomfortably close to being called “Unfuckable Chainsaw”. Verily. This EP has finally seen the light of day after probably 13 or 14 years? Maybe more? All I know is that the record is dedicated to the memory of band member Lance Hahn (most famously of J Church and Cringer), who sadly passed away in 2007. Other luminaries in the line-up went on to play in Deathreat and Arctic Flowers (plus loads more).
The theme here seems to be an homage or love letter to the hardcore scene of late 70s / early 80s California and New York. This takes in the snotty approach of the first Adolescents LP (the iconic s/t one with the blue cover) which is particularly prevalent on Speaking In Tongues. Notable also is an awesome Suicidal Tendencies style groovy slam part in closer A Thousand Pretty Mannequins. Although Huey P Newton Was a Poet weirdly reminds me of Anthrax’s Imitation of Life! Fighting Sleep has something of a Cro-Mags / Agnostic Front kind of feel to it. This is a cool record of 2 minute stompers that should’ve been destined to be a classic. This was limited to 300 copies on classic black that have sold out already, and are starting to crop up on Discogs for outrageous sums of money already. Tony of Nurgle rating 9/10
The Raging Nathans / Dead Bars split 7in (Rad Girlfriend Records)
The Raging (mother fucking) Nathans (shout out to random encounters in Croydon, yo) hail from Dayton, Ohio, and if you search this blog, you will doubtless find various reviews pertaining to these total heroes. Josh from The Raging Nathans runs the label here, Rad Girlfriend Records. Dead Bars are from Seattle and have been releasing their stuff via a range of labels such as No Idea Records, A-F Records and so on. Dead Bars I’m a relative new comer to, having only “properly” discovered them in the last year or so (although they’d been on the old radar for a while, a guy only has a limited amount of time).
Rather than taking a side each, the bands alternate tracks, with a song each on each side. This an approach I entirely approve of, and I wish all splits were done like this. Even so, for my own ease, I’ll deal with each band separately. The Raging Nathans, apart from being consistently great always seem to bring something different to the table with each release, whilst not deviating too dramatically from their modus operandi of catchier than Covid 19 fast pop-punk that says something worth hearing. And I’m told they have a new line-up…
First offering, Minor Details weirdly reminded me of Chixdiggit! meets J Church. The second cut, I’m Telling Mike appears to be some kind of Fat Mike “diss track”, hilariously set to the tune of NOFX’s I’m Telling Tim. Unless of course I’m missing the point. Which is not beyond the realms of possibility. But anyways, I can but hope the diss track concept is now breaking through genre boundaries, as if I got that right, this is fucking genius.
Dead Bars present more emotive indie rock tinged melodic punk rock in the tradition of Iron Chic meets Latterman with Won’t Go Far, complete with an awesome shout-along chorus. On the flip we’ve got Don’t Change, which seems to be striding the path in a similar way to Mable-era Spraynard forced through a Samiam shaped sieve. So great.
No grandiose conclusions here beyond “you should definitely get this”. Tony of Nurgle rating 9/10
Dealing With Damage – Home Security (Little Rocket Records)
London’s Dealing With Damage recorded some songs last year which are now seeing light of day in the form of a digital only “lockdown EP”. I mean, why the devil not? Most people seemingly have had plenty of time to sit around in their gruds eating cereal out of the box and watching Tiger Lord (or whatever the fuck it’s called) on Netflix, so I absolutely back any proactive use of time to inject a bit of life into this sorry state of affairs, y’know, even if these guys didn’t record these in their pants via remote satellite uplink or whatever.
So here we have two new songs (following on from the recent full length, Ask The Questions. First one, Lady Day has an overwhelming presence that you’d kind of expect from the likes of say, Jawbox or Drive Like Jehu. The second, Making Plans For Misery has that Dag Nasty meets Rites of Spring kind of sound and urgency building on that classic post-hardcore skeleton to flesh the sound out with that early melodic hardcore vibe.
Third song included here is a cover of Dust by the 13th Floor Elevators. Not really something I was expecting, and I’m not actually familiar with the band either. Let’s say psychedelia or psychedelic rock or whatever you want to call it. I’m sure this is doubtless a fitting tribute or whatever, but this one had me yawning a bit. However, the two preceding tracks are decent enough to be worthy of your £2.50, which probably doesn’t even cover the cost of half a pint in London these days, let alone a slice of eel pie or whatever Cockneys are said to traditionally sate their hunger on! Tony of Nurgle rating 8/10