Hardcore Punk

Cuir ‘Album’

The new frontier forged by the cataclysmic upheaval of punk was a good thing, right? Post-punk, art-punk, industrial, synthpop, etc etc were supposed to be the exciting new possibilities of punk’s meteoric impact, the D.I.Y. ethos harnessed by the new wave of belligerent iconoclasts ready to broaden punk’s horizons. “…Trendy university people using long words, trying to be artistic…and losing touch.” scoffed The Business guitarist Steve Kent. Cabaret Voltaire’s Dadaist tape experiments or the literary rigour of Magazine meant nothing to the scores of disaffected kids from an increasingly insecure working class who sought belonging, too broke in the malaise of seventies Britain to indulge in intellectual fancy. The reaction from the streets and a million miles away from the students’ unions was Oi!, a hard-nosed rebellion of blue collar revolt spearheaded by Sham 69 and Cockney Rejects, offering kinship to the angry and alienated and preaching unity in a climate of racial tension stoked by the National Front that lurked on the movement’s fringes.

Oi!’s bawdy spirit courses throughout Doug Zilla’s various band projects. A member of French punk groups Sordid Ship and Coup George, each band delivers a tight and direct rock and roll assault that’s solely concerned with impact and stirring passions. Now looking for a piece of the bondage-hooded punk market (to be shared with Canadian revolutionaries DBOY), Zilla has concocted an alter-ego of sorts, a pink gimp sporting an impeccable Schott jacket called Cuir, French for leather. A one man band handling all instruments, Cuir throws in a cheap keyboard to add a unique synth twist to the Oi! stomp.

“It’s synthpunk Jim (Pursey), but not as we know it”. Cuir’s debut LP Album is a strictly traditionalist statement, honouring Oi!’s brute energy and wielding the synth not as some instrument evoking unease or bleak, dystopic visions, but to add powerful melodic leads that shine brightly not too dissimilar to, dare one say, Van Halen’s ‘Jump’. First track ‘Maniac’ establishes the entire drive of the record: fast, hooky, and hardcore. Ramones strut with urgent sequencers that sparks with sheer energy with lightning riffs which never lets up across the record’s 20 minutes. The ephemeral potency is reflected in the lyrics and song titles, pared down shout alongs to be sung covered in sweat and beer in some grotty underground venue, and punchy titles like ‘Black Leather’ or ‘Cut Cut’ that embraces itself in unpretentious appeals to attitude. There’s little variation across the 11 tracks, but who cares when each cut is so prime and vital, Oi! was never concerned with artistic detours, and thankfully neither is Cuir.

In an uncertain time of lockdowns and the stifling isolation it’s brought, escapism is more needed then ever. Cuir wisely and expertly has unleashed an electrifying debut that ignites desperately sought fervour and excites the soul, and honours the original Oi! ambitions by providing an outlet of fury that could trigger any mosh pit, but bears a positive, uplifting heart like an arm that reaches in to pick you up after falling into its synthpunk whirlpool.

EXWHITE ‘Stalker’

Ever heard of hyperdust? Legend has it that those tired of mere cocaine would add chewing tobacco, amphetamines, ground-up candy and PCP to create a brown slurry which would get you absolutely off your face. The adrenaline rush of sugar ‘n’ speed hittin’ your brain like 2,000 volts of acid-soaked lightning can be experienced with one blast of EXWHITE’s latest album Stalker. It’s easier to get hold of than angel dust anyways.

Hailing from Halle, the ‘Kings of Saxony’ EXWHITE join the ranks of BikesSuck, and Lassie as the scuzzy face of the German garage-rock revolution, spitting the rawest and sleaziest R ‘n’ R with a potent spike of hardcore. Following a split release with Lassie in May, EXWHITE has scooped up tracks as featured on their joint EP and unleashed an explosive sophomore effort of punk bawdiness at its most electric and brilliant.

The 12 tracks leap out of the speakers, at times reaching Raw Power levels of intensity. Songs like ‘Kings of Saxony’ and the title track are wild blasts of furious energy given urgent life with its expertly lo-fi production, you can almost taste the sweat and B.O. pumping out of your speakers. That essential obnoxious snot oozes out of frontman ‘Fry’s every pore, his screeching vocals spewing with snarling acidity and occasional eggpunk nasal atonality, particularly heard on the possible ode to everyone’s favourite wonderdrug ‘Hyperdust’. Intermittent shifts in pace demonstrate the band’s scope beyond crude swagger. ‘High Society Punk’ is an intriguingly weird strut of anthemic indie jangle which wouldn’t feel out of place on Cheap Trick’s debut record, before the stomp of ‘Cancer’ shows a penchant for glam brash.

Like a mouthfulla’ that mythic, fizzy sludge, Stalker is a wildly raucous and gloriously abrasive animal of a tape which excites the soul with its cool irreverence and frenzied energy.

Moron’s Morons ‘Looking For Danger’

How does garage rock get away with it? The stripped-down fuzzy fury from The Stooges through to the current ‘Kasselfornia‘ scene via 90s revivalists The Mummies never fails to hit ‘ya no matter how little its formula is messed with. If it ain’t broke an’ all that…

The undying appeal of scuzzy R ‘n’ R has found its way to Poland, four Warsaw misfits called Moron’s Morons adding heavy early 80s hardcore with a nasty hock of punk phlegm to their garage rock swag and unleashing Looking For Danger, a debut album as raw ‘n’ rattling as it gets.

Barely touching half an hour, Looking For Danger is the product of a band that wanna tear your face off. Lawless Dick Stingher’s opening bass attack on first track ‘Rise With Me’ makes things real fucking clear as to the character of this record: loud, fast an’ snotty. Like a cross between The Damned’s ‘Love Song’ and ‘Ace of Spades, frontman Philo Phuckface spits vocal blows mired within John Pauly Shores II’s chainsaw guitars and Turd Awesome’s percussive pummeling. You can’t quite make out what Phuckface is saying, but who cares when the lo-fi production is so urgent and electric.

Their love for punk’s many hybrids and iterations jostle and shove for your attention. 60s psych keys hammer away on the blistering ‘Wonderlust’ adding a touch of Farsifa style head feeding, while Pauley Shore’s shredding chops are gloriously demonstrated on the nitro-fuelled ‘Sidewalk Service’. Pure DC hardcore torches like a flamethrower on the raucous ‘Noise Addiction’, Phuckface’s screams at times kinda sounding like Bad Brains’ H.R. A little of that Little Richard ivory tinkle wears an affection for 50s Rock ‘n’ Roll on its sweaty sleeve on the giddy ‘Poor man’s Riffs and Ten Years Too Late’, a standout cut which suggests gallows self-deprecation at their worship at the altar of ‘learn three chords’ rock.

Living For Danger is garage punk par excellence. Every riff hacks, every beat kills, and their projectile gob never misses its target (your face). It’s filthy, it’s juvenile, and it’s fucking great!

Bob Vylan ‘Dread’

‘Kill the kid that stole your neighbourhood, not the kid that stole your bike’ is stamped on the cover of last years single and EP teaser We Don’t Care (It Ain’t Safe), avoiding any ambiguity to the target of their attack. To the leeches of gentrification and the agents of community erosion: Bob Vylan sees you.

Bob Vylan have been busy since 2017s Vylanplaying Brixton Academy as part of Afropunk London 2018, releasing a plethora of material on their Soundcloud, and being banned by Soho’s The Crobar, the punk-grime hydra shows no sign of mercy. New EP Dread is eight nail bombs of blistering vitriol, furthering their hatred of bland conformity and the idle complicity of oppression.

Us boppers are introduced to the duo by what sounds like the laconic endorsement from the omniscient DJ in The Warriors, before an exorcism of gnawing demons take place on the trenchant thrasher ‘Down’. Bobby’s expert MC skills are on display in the toxic trip ‘Join Us’, foggy keys sting against gelid beats detailing the alienation that festers when chasing the expectations of a society which has rejected you. ‘What the fuck is going on!?’ Bobby screams on interlude ‘Storm In’, articulating a sentiment of half the western world in the age of MAGA, FLA and right-wing ascendancy, backed by percussive ferocity from drummer and partner in crime Bobb13 Vylan. Punk sludge oozes against Ministry vocals on the toxic ‘Run Up’, then metastasises into ‘Grime Made Me Do It’, a curse against the desperation that grows from the austerity Petri dish. Desperation turns to violence in the bleak ‘Die Slow’, then the final primal scream against the beige, slow, death creep of gentrification in the aforementioned ‘We Don’t Care (It Ain’t Safe)’, a savage and cutting diatribe of middle class vermin and its craft beer/coffee house necrosis.

The fire in Bob Vylan burns unabated, and is captured once again in an EP of searing volatility and socio-political bite. If Vylan was the aiming of the cross hairs, Dread is the pull of the trigger.

Bob Vylan ‘Vylan’

Elvis didn’t mean shit to Chuck D, and Bob Vylan don’t give a fuck about your middle class, liberal homogeneity.

Bob Vylan are a punk/grime/rap hydra from London fronted by Bobby Vylan and backed by drummer Bobb13 Vylan, with a growing reputation for tearing apart all who come to their wild and raucous live shows. Last years EP Vylan, issued by Ghost Theatre, sees the band taking punk DIY to its logical conclusion, confidently handling all recording, producing and mixing. There is to be no compromise in their pursuit of volatility.

Opener ‘Church of Vylan’ is a mission statement, a call to arms against the state and its forces that seek to divide, possessed voices beckon us like The Evil Dead, before sanctuary arrives with thrashing guitar and merciless drum pounding. Your heads still spinning when eerie interlude ‘Dirt Nap’ creeps in, then the acid rain drizzle of ‘Dying Hell’ forces you to wake up to the illusions of your perceived free will and happiness, a grime rap number with corrosive synths and 808 drums that bleed all over you. ‘Wake Up’ is straight up D.C hardcore and up there with the best of ’em, before closing with a reprise of ‘Dirt Nap’, a 49 second pummeler ending the EP on a note of pure chaos.

Vylan is a kerosene soaked Molotov cocktail, seizing you out of your complacency and forces you to witness their scathing document of divided and gentrified Britain.