Welcome to this week’s Foundation Vinyl Newsletter! And it’s a packed one…
- Recommended New Releases from Daisy Chain, Destruct, Tulips, and Urskek
- A Narrow(s) Escape
- Label In Focus: Discos Enfermos Records
- One You May Have Missed: Cainsmarsh by Rigorous Institution
- Shows and Tours
- Coming Soon
Recommended New Releases
Groove-laden punk rock fury that isn’t afraid to let its LA hard rock sensibilities strut their stuff.
The World Is Not Spinning is absolutely brimming with punk attitude, but sonically there is an equally powerful rock swagger – fierce grunge-tinged riffage and thundering post-hardcore rhythms furnish a relentless groove over which bravado-fuelled vocals are sneered and guitar solos soar with rousing abandon. Social Distortion by way of Helmet and Snapcase? Perhaps that sounds as if it shouldn’t quite work, but it most assuredly does.
Destruct wear their inspirations proudly, calling upon the traditions of English and Japanese crust in equal measure. But, and this is an important but, they are not beholden to or constrained by these inspirations.
It is rather that they have absorbed their influences so absolutely, and understand them so instinctively, that they are able reanimate them with a fresh vitality. There is a honed leanness to this, their second, full-length that renders audible not an ounce of unnecessary extravagance. And this unrelenting focus produces a truly crushing velocity. Lyrical themes spanning ecological disaster and the implications of military interventionism appropriately grace a soundtrack for these dark times.
Powerful, richly textured, gothic-leaning vocals form the centrepiece of Tulips’ sound. They interplay with sparse, infectiously melodic guitar that writhes amidst pulsing, glacial synths and crisply fluid percussion.
On this follow up MLP to their excellent debut 2020 full-length Easy Games, Tulips’ potent base ingredients remain unchanged. Carefully crafted song writing conjures an atmosphere that is at once both plaintively ethereal and mesmerisingly enthralling. The beautifully elegiac air of self-reflection renders the sudden introspection-shattering eruptions of frustration all the more urgently cathartic. And, also pressed on that most undervalued of formats the ten-inch record, what’s not to love?
Urskek’s debut album Thra is a bone-shuddering sonic reimagination of The Dark Crystal film.
I’ve always liked the idea of doom metal, and many bands that I love relish drawing on it as a foundational inspiration. Yet too often, pure doom metal fails to quite deliver on its promise, being perhaps too one dimensional in its sonic palette.
There are no such concerns with Urskek. We are in the expert hands of members of Morrow and Monachus, and they deliver a monolithically heavy exploration of the film’s themes. Expertly amplifying the roaring vocals and utterly crushing doom metal through beautifully constructed atmospheric interludes, that call back the original soundtrack of the film itself, this a wonderfully realised release.
A Narrow(s) Escape
It’s not often that I venture up to the rather cavernous box that is the Electric Ballroom. But back in March, the opportunity to spend Sunday evening in the company of Napalm Death and Dropdead proved too tempting an opportunity to resist.
Rhode Island’s finest had just finished their set (more on that perhaps in future weeks) and Napalm Death’s road crew were busily rushing about the stage in preparation for their slot. As all the usual preliminaries were undertaken, a chair and a footstool were placed in splendid isolation, front and centre of the stage. Not a prop that I recalled ever having featured prominently in any previous Napalm Death show.
All was to become clear when the band came on stage, Barney Greenway with crutches and a leg in cast, hobbling over to take his seat, like a cheery Brummie Val Doonican. He had broken his ankle while being more energetic than, perhaps, he should have been in Munich a week earlier and was having to complete the rest of the tour from the comfort of a chair. Every credit to him, he didn’t allow his lack of mobility to compromise a typically ferocious show, despite it no doubt being a very distinct test of endurance. You try roaring ‘Suffer The Children’ from a seated position – it is no mean feat.
This was one of a spate of mishaps that seemed to impact gigs to varying degrees throughout March and April. A few days prior, the Cold Brats hadn’t quite fired to full effect supporting Gel at the New Cross Inn due to a malfunctioning vocal reverb. Meanwhile at New River Studios, Punitive Damage broke their snare drum midway through a scorching set (thankfully Layback came to the rescue with a spare). Whereas Instructor went one better a week later, breaking their lead guitar strings during the first song, and their snare in the second! However, composure was maintained, and the Belgians were soon into their bruising stride.
This run of misfortune got me to thinking about instances of where I have seen a band triumph in the face of technical adversity. And there was a clear winner – Narrows at The Underworld back in 2010. It had been a performance of punishing brutality, with vocalist Dave Verellen a monstrous presence as guitarists Jodie Cox and Ryan Frederiksen unleashed an infectiously searing sonic assault.
It came to the set closer, ‘Life Vests Float, Kids Don’t’, a perfect track to lay waste to an already reeling crowd. Rob Moran’s thundering bass and Verellen’s guttural vocals roared the song into life, but as Sam Stothers’ drums and the guitars crashed in, one of the lead guitars cut out. Technical finessing followed and the band fired up again, but this time both guitars cut out. What should have been a pulverising finale was threatening to finish as a damp squib.
Vocalist and rhythm section exchanged looks and a decision was taken – who, as it turns out, really needs guitars? Not Narrows, not in that specific moment anyway. The gig was brought to an incredible conclusion, a song stripped bare to it is core essentials and delivered with absolute crushing intensity.
Label in Focus: Discos Enfermos Records
A darkly pulsating opening bursts into raw, unhinged Latin American hardcore punk.
This four-song EP builds on Inyección’s debut LP Porqueria with a rasping, high octane dual-vocal attack positively fizzing over distortion drenched guitars. There is a nod back to early 1980s’ UK hardcore and street punk, but with an undeniably Latin American reinvention, from a band that hails from both Chile and Argentina.
Urgently intense and rampantly aggressive hardcore punk from Bogota.
Snarling vocals over a raw, razor-sharp guitar attack, underpinned by a relentlessly aggressive rhythm section, and song structures that writhe into subtly unexpected forms. Shouted backing vocals are deployed to really good effect, most notably on the track Vidas.
Aggressively propulsive post-punk expressing the melancholy of anger rather than resignation.
While this LP definitely calls upon the gloomy melodicism and throbbing bass lines of post-punk, it is also defined by a driving aggression that ensures that the punk element of the band’s persona is rarely far from view. While Bosque Rojo hail from Montreal, lyrics are in Spanish reflecting the band’s Colombian heritage, and a saxophone is deployed to great effect on the track Romper El Cerco.
1983 opens with thundering tribal drums and shouted vocals that set the tone brilliantly for this thoroughly well-crafted EP.
The sombre mood created by this powerful opening befits lyrical themes that explore the socio-political forces that have shaped contemporary Colombian society. The balance of the EP skilfully blends these bleaker grooves, that bring to mind the Killing Joke and October File, with passionately executed UK82-style hardcore, laced with powerfully effective post-punk flourishes.
One You May Have Missed: Cainsmarsh by Rigorous Institution
Rigorous Institution plunge us into a bleak post-apocalyptic world, where the only certainty is that whatever comes next is likely even more unpleasant than what went before. Distorted, doom-laden crust, enriched by gothic and metal flourishes, and rasping almost spoken-word vocals open the gates to the medieval savagery of Rigorous Institution’s dystopian vision. But what sets this band apart is their ability to forge an atmosphere of dark foreboding and dread that animates this vision, one that is steeped in the knowledge that all hope is gone as the darkness descends.
Show and Tours
This section lays no claims to being a definitive listing! It is simply gigs coming up in London that catch my eye and that I think people who read this newsletter might be interested in. I will always try and highlight where a show forms part of a wider UK tour.
19th May Subdued, Diavol Strain, Bruxism (New River Studios)
27th May Yleiset Syyt, Stingray, Rifle (New River Studios / UK Tour)
28th May Delivery, Es, Honk (Brixton Windmill)
2nd June The Flex plus support (New River Studios)
3rd June The Restarts, Destruct, Fatalist, Subdued plus more (New Cross Inn / Destruct UK Tour)
4th June GLAAS, Zeropolis, Turbo (New River Studios)
9th June Savageheads, Rat Cage, Subdued (New River Studios)
11thJune Snuff Acoustic Matinee (The Lexington)
14th June Terror plus support (New Cross Inn)
16th June Physique, Circle None, Skitter plus more (New Cross Inn)
17th June Keno, Nation Unrest, Can Kicker plus more (The George Tavern)
24th June Ribbon Stage, Ex-Void, R.Aggs (The Lexington)
9th July End It, Spy, Combust, Initiate plus more (New Cross Inn)
10th July Fuse, Dregs, Stingray, Antagonizm plus more (New River Studios)
18th July Doldrey, Harrowed plus more (New Cross Inn / UK Tour)
18th July Powerplant plus support (Moth Club / UK Tour)
19th July Diploid, Casing plus more (New River Studios / UK Tour)
20th July Iron Deficiency, Sentient plus more (New Cross Inn / UK Tour)
21st July Jotnarr, Wreathe (Bird’s Nest)
24th July Faim, No Man, Dying For It plus more (New Cross Inn)
4th August Gag, Plastics, TS Warspite, Unjust plus more (New Cross Inn)
5th August Knuckledust, Nine Bar, Fifty Caliber plus more (New Cross Inn)
8th August Sacred Reich plus support (The Underworld)
14th August Chat Pile, Petbrick, and Dawn Ray’d (The Dome)
15th September Cinder Well plus support (Moth Club)
Drill Sergeant ‘Grim New War’ EP (Refuse Records)
Existence ‘Go To Heaven’ LP (Quality Control HQ)
Fairytale ‘Shooting Star’ LP (Quality Control HQ)
Incendiary ‘Change The Way You Think About Pain’ LP (Closed Casket Activities)
Wolfbrigade ‘In Darkness You Feel No Regrets’ LP (Destructure)