Gouge Away – Burnt Sugar (Deathwish Inc., 2018)

Have you ever wondered where female fronted indie rock and abrasive meat and spuds hardcore punk collide? Well, here’s your answer, and it’s fucking glorious, mate. This foursome are from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and I’m guessing take their name from the Pixies classic song.

OK, maybe I’m overblowing the indie rock element somewhat, but it’s definitely there. This is tough as old boots, mate, and there’s no gentle treatment to be found here. You are gonna get ridden over rough-shod, pal. Sonically, this feels somewhere between the aggro horror punk battery of the Nerve Agents, the non-conformism of Black Flag, the dissonant rage of Converge, the head stomping pit fury of Trash Talk, the reverb heavy indie punk of Beach Slang and the righteous and very personal feminist fury of Fucked & Bound.

Shit yeah. This is just the kind of kick up the backside the hardcore scene needs and deserves every now and again to stop motherfuckers getting complacent. Refreshingly though, this isn’t just fury and punishment and the spitting out of shattered teeth. It’s in tracks like Ghost, Stray/Burnt Sugar and Raw Blood that the off-kilter indie rock influence of Sonic Youth and their ilk shine through, only tempered by a vibe kind of similar to Sleater Kinney. It also kinda foregrounds why they are touring the UK with Culture Abuse later this month (see below for dates).

Although the composite elements of this joint have undoubtedly been done before, how they are presented here seems to me to be a volatile and refreshing reimagining demonstrated through a heady cocktail of beauty, violence and viscera. I find that I am unapologetically down with this. My cuts of choice here are: Only Friend; Fed Up; Ghosts; Dissociation; Stray/Burnt Sugar; and Can’t Relate.

Check it out on the bandcamp player below:

The album is available on LP, CD, tape or digital download from the Gouge Away bandcamp page

Tony of Nurgle rating: 9.5/10

Catch Gouge Away on their UK tour with Culture Abuse:
October 20 Leeds, UK @ Key Club
October 21 Brighton, UK @ Hope & Ruin
October 22 Bristol, UK @ Exchange
October 23 Glasgow, UK @ King Tuts
October 24 Manchester, UK @ Star & Garter
October 25 London, UK @ Boston Music Room

Tony of Nurgle is a true child of the North, currently living in exile in Croydon, South East London. He used to co-run a specialist record store in Manchester (Roadkill Records), and also spent a couple of years as a promoter, and put on shows for the likes of Leatherface, the Loved Ones, Lucero, Minus The Bear, These Arms Are Snakes, Spy vs Spy, Latterman etc. He also spent several years DJing at shady rock clubs in Manchester, and started the infamous Thursday night "punk room" at Jilly's Rockworld. Also responsible for Middle Finger Response, and collaborated with a couple of friends on a monthly night called Refuse to Lose, which will still occasionally reunite the original DJ line-up - hopefully in the not too distant future. Apart from that, it's all bitterness and a jaundiced view of human nature, rarely skateboarding, often reading books with maps in the front.

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