First things first. The reason I picked this album up when I came across it the other day is the cover. This might be the coolest album cover I’ve ever seen. Period. End of story.
Turns out that Gag are from just down the highway a bit in Olympia, Washington… ironic considering I bought this album at a used book store in Los Angeles. But, you know, records travel. So I brought it back to the great Northwest to give it a spin.
So the cover of This Punk Shit is Cool… is unusual not just for the photo, but for the lack of anything that identifies the band. OK, so that’s just a little unusual, quite a few records are like that, you say. Well here’s something really odd. This is a 12″ 45 rpm… that only plays on one side. A single sided nine minute long 12″. By a pretty hardcore sounding punk/metal/noise band. If that’s not a bit weird I don’t know what is.
Anyway, the five songs on This Punk Shit is Cool… are pure noise, almost to the point of being industrial… not the kind of industrial you dance to, but the truly aggressive stuff. The musical elements, including the vocals, fall somewhere in the realm of hardcore punk and extreme metal, probably a bit more on the metal side to my ears, but there are times when the punkness comes out in full force, especially during tempo changes. My favorite track, as near as I can differentiate one sonic battery on my ears from another, is “Raw Meat,” but this record is more of a continuous attack on your senses. And I mean that in the best way possible, because they do a good job of being noisy and loud and fast without it all falling apart, which is no easy feat.
After listening to this yet another time, it’s not quite as industrial as I first thought. What’s giving off that vibe is the effects that applied to the vocals, giving them a modulated and echoey character that almost sounds like that noise a pliable sheet of metal makes when you wave it back and forth really fast. The rest is just feedback and crushing music.
You can check out the entire album HERE if you’re interested. It’s not for the faint at heart, but if you’re down with metal/hardcore I think you’ll enjoy it.