Welcome to the future – like the past, and just as shitty. As the days turn into months and my ability to tolerate the unjust mundanities of everyday life thins with the knowledge of each new COVID-19 strain, this intro section has begun to feel like a method acting experiment in which I try to mimic the frustrations of the music worthy of discussion below. Luckily, we’re not fully there yet – punk is best for exorcising demons, not giving into them – and parody is no way to begin the new year.
So, here’s an exercise (the other one – see what I did there, Satanists?) in optimism. One of the best pieces of writerly advice I ever received was not directed at me: a friend, who wrote a very brilliant book about sex and consent, mentioned avoiding modern slang/contemporary conventions in her writing, because it’s the easiest way to date your work. I think about it all the time. And I also think of how freeing it is to live in the moment, baby, with each passing month’s best punk column. So come on 2022, let’s see what you’ve got. Will these releases date themselves? Only time will tell.
Glaas is a barbarous post-punk band from Berlin – the kind of post-punk that only really appeals to hardcore kids – and no wonder, because it is a new group featuring members of Clock Of Time, Idiota Civilizzato, Useless Eaters and Lacquer. Every track on this tape rips, but it’s the deranged children’s party music of the keyboards on “I’m The Problem” that stands out to me.
BÖRN, Drottningar Dauðans
I like to think of my life as “before I knew about BÖRN” and “after,” and I’d like to do the same for you. After seven (!) years of inactivity, Reykjavik’s post-punk prodigies are back and angrier than ever, bless ‘em.
LA MILAGROSA, Pánico
This edition of Difficult Fun could very easily turn into Iron Lung Records worship. Hell, you should listen to Comunione’s debut EP, the anarcho-punk solo outfit of Milan’s Alessandro Gentili, originally released on Sentiero Futuro Autoproduzioni. Then you should listen to two new ones from Brain Tourniquet. Wash it down with the spooky SECT MARK. Repeat for better results. But if you’ve only got time for one more, make it Puerto Rican protest punks LA MILAGROSA (“The Miraculous”). Turn it up loud and punch a bigot.
GrPunkCollective, Punks for Biologica Squat benefit comp
Some of the best discoveries arrive with very little information, and GrPunkCollective’s Punks for Biologica Squat is that for me. From what I can tell, this barn-burner of a crust comp was released to benefit the last remaining punk squat in Thessaloniki, Greece – where it has operated for 34 years. The state is trying to shut it down, and that’s fucked. Show your support and open your wallet.
SPEW, HATE DEALER
Something is in the water with these solo hardcore dudes this month, huh? SPEW, the punk project of England’s Tony Bontana ain’t afraid of no reverb – or spacey ambient closers. It’s spooky good.
Insane Urge, Insane Urge
Riff rocking capital-p Punk that sounds like it was recorded by an iPhone in a water glass. So, perfect.
AMMO, Web Of Lies / Death Won’t Even Satisfy
FUCK YOU. PLAY FAST.
Doña Pacha, “Pelos”
Don’t touch it. Doña Pacha is a feminist punk band from San Jose, Costa Rica that I learned about while searching for feminist punk bands from San Jose, Costa Rica. Sometimes, it really is that easy. If this is the future of riot grrrl revivalism, the future is bright.
Aunt Sally, Aunt Sally
Aunt Sally, the self-titled release from the multi-hyphenate 1970s avant-punk-psychedelic-rock group from Kobe, Japan, has been out of print for 40 years. No longer! Fronted by Phew (collaborator of Ryuichi Sakamoto, members of Can, DAF, Einstürzende Neubauten, The Raincoats), Aunt Sally was her college band – an undeniable sign of what was to come. A must-listen.
Mint Green, “Body Language”
I’ve adored Boston’s Mint Green from afar for a few years now – “Body Language,” their first for Pure Noise records, is an evolution of all that I’ve loved and more – moving from Suburban sounds to the angst and autonomy of young adulthood. It’s for fans of plucky, indie emo pop-punk and all its many offshoots. Try not to like them, I dare ya. (And if you don’t – I don’t know, man – that’s on you. Listen to the sugar rush comedown of Steph Green.)