***Schedule 1 delivers your contraband in four equal measures. Created in the Pacific Northwest (Vancouver, Canada to be precise) by students of the Old World. Post-punk mixed with Oi, hardcore, and emo influences, cut with hard-hitting melody, clarion declaration, and laced with bittersweet. The band started right before Covid placed the city on lockdown and somehow managed to record an incredible batch of songs without ever having the benefit of playing a live show. As things open back up a bit, we’re eager to see what they do. Featuring members of BISHOPS GREEN, DEAD CELLS, CANDY (BC), and SYSTEMATIK.
Needles // Pins
Needles // Pins
***"Maybe it’s the endless pieces of soft, soothing music being described as ‘a soothing balm for the stresses of the pandemic age’, but don’t you sometimes find yourself wishing for a solid rock’n’roll record to cut to your core and send your fists soaring towards the sky? Okay, our moshpits may not extend much further than the faces in our living rooms right now, but goddamit, some of us really just want some punk rock to help us feel alive. Here’s where Needles//Pins’ mighty fourth album comes in. From the surging rush of opener ‘Woe Is Us’ (sounds relatable), via the organ-drenched scuffle of ‘Winnipeg ‘03’ right through to anthemic closer ‘The Tyranny Of Comforts’, this is a record that takes your emotional concerns and bundles them up into sweet little packets of raw-throated, chest-swelling, moves-into-your-brain-and-never-leaves melody. They’re self-aware too; by referencing Cap’n Jazz’s ‘Little Leagues’ in the opening verse to ‘A Rather Strained Apologetic’, they lay bare that in a less complicated era you might have been tempted to call their take on punk ‘emo’. Hey, come back—OK, it’s not a Jade Tree special, but it’s got the same gravel throated delivery and honeyed approach to melody that Blake Schwarzenbach delivered on ‘24 Hour Revenge Therapy’. Needles//Pins are equally indebted to classic Canadian powerpop like The Pointed Sticks - hell, 1979’s essential ‘Vancouver Complication’ comp feels as much of a reference here as ‘Boxcar’. They know their history, they know their craft, and they know their shit. If you’ve...
***"Daydream has been one of my favorite PDX bands for several years now. Their sound is difficult to describe. It’s noisy and chaotic but held together by riffs and melodies that will get stuck in your head for days. It sounds like Lebenden Toten through a Jesus Lizard filter. This is the band’s second LP. Their first was released by Symphony of Destruction in Italy, and seemed to go under the radar, at least in the United States. On their second LP, the band takes on the commodification of every aspect of our lives. The band writes about the record, 'We are designed and raised to be soldiers, informants, producers, and workers for the state. The more categorized we are by identity, the easier it is to be commodified; all culture, ideas, and thoughts throw into countless algorithms. Just as any of our sacred experiences continually changed—joy and loss, oppression and pain, sexual and gender deviancy, bliss and enlightenment—so do their tactics. Every moment has the potential to be capitalized on or commodified. Every moment offers them useful data to sell to you, implicate you, or both. They empower us to inflict violence and implicate on another. Relation and even existence feel impossible without their tools. But there are moments, those sacred moments, that are unique to us. WE have to fight the operative to keep those experiences ours, without giving it to them for their uses. Watch out for the mystics, inside and out.'" Limited to 300 copies on...
***As manifestos go, it’s difficult to argue with a statement as darkly straightforward as: ‘Things get shittier every week / No hope for the future in this era bleak’. That’s from the opening verse to ERA BLEAK's theme song, which also happens to open up their debut album—it’s as accurate a summary of 2020 as you’re likely to find, made all the more emphatic by a frantic spasm of nervy guitar jerks and a 100mph rhythm section that knows the best way to get you there. Whether you’re looking for a soundtrack or antidote to—or even simply a distraction from—the horrors of the age, this record has most assuredly got your back. Comprising members of DARK/LIGHT, PISS TEST and other punk/post-punk outfits who really should be filling out your record shelves right now, Era Bleak are one of those bands where every ingredient is key. If you really wanted to, you could draw comparisons with present-day heroes like Nots, Nylex or White Lung, but this Portland, Oregon quartet are comfortably and confidently ploughing their own furrow, pulling as many tricks from 1980s hardcore as they do from the awkward crunch of the weirdos who defined the Ron Johnson label. It’s a helluva racket, and it’ll make you feel like dancing drunk at a foam party inside a vat of toxic waste. (For clarity, OF FUCKING COURSE that’s a good thing).
***CHRISTINE, BRYAN and KEARA have all been participating in the Chicago DIY punk scene for well over 20 years with no signs of slowing down. Between the three of them they have been in over 15 bands ranging from hardcore projects VIOLENT END and MANIPULATION and to brooding and melodic bands DAYLIGHT ROBBERY and SPLIT FEET. This range of experience and influences create a blend of moody melodic post-punk that is tinged with urgency, melancholy and anxiety. Christine’s haunting vocals and guitar riffs will linger in your head long after listening and Bryan’s driving bass lines pair seamlessly with Keara’s genre bending and unique style of drumming. It’s a mixture that is refreshingly honest. Limited to 300 copies. “As soon as that driving bass comes in, I know I’m gonna love Chicago’s PRIMITIVE TEETH! They bring everything that got me into punk. Urgent, echoing vocals. Drums that pummel the skulls of the oppressors. Catchy, melodic, angry riffs.”—CVLT Nation
***AN UNEASY PEACE was a one-off project bringing together LANCE HAHN (J CHURCH / CRINGER), STAN WRIGHT (ARCTIC FLOWERS, SIGNAL LOST, DEATHTHREAT, BALANCE OF TERROR, MIKE WARM (THE OBSERVERS, DEFECT DEFECT) and DAVE WUTTKE (DRUNKEN BOAT). Recorded in one day sometime in 2006 in Austin, TX, the record was supposed to be released years ago but got shelved after Lance's death in 2007 due to complications from kidney dialysis. “Lance approached me one day about doing a hardcore band. I said yes right away," Stan Wright says about the project. "Not only was he an awesome and prolific songwriter, but I was really curious about the hardcore songs he had written. The recording process for our project was really fun. The lineup was Lance Hahn on guitar, Dave Wuttke on bass, Mike Warm on drums, Stan Wright on guitar and engineering. I’m pretty sure MATT BADENHOP (SILENT ERA, SCARED SHOCK, VAASKA) played a guitar solo on a song too! We set up everything in the studio. Lance would play us a song and we added whatever we wanted. After doing this a few times, we would record it. We tracked and mixed everything in one day.” Four tracks strong. Limited to 300 copies.