“The Sound of Hollywood Copulation” (1984)

soundofhollywoodThis is a solid mid-80s hardcore comp.  Quite a few of these bands were from California, but other west coast entries include Sado Nation (Portland) and the Mentors (Seattle), plus Government Issue is from DC, so it feels like it’s more about the Hollywood punk scene than it is local bands per se.

This probably my favorite of all the various hardcore comps I’ve listened to over the years. Songs from this period were fast, but you could still follow along and understand most of the lyrics.  Sure the Mentors inject a dose of their typical sloppiness, but so be it.  Only available on vinyl, it appears there was a 2015 re-release that’s more affordable than an original pressing ($20 versus $40-50 for a nice 1984 version).  A good primer for someone looking to start exploring the 1980s LA hardcore scene.

D7Y – “D7Y” (2019)

d7yd7yThe Icelandic punk band D7Y recently followed up their 2018 six-song Demo with their first full-length, a collection of a dozen blistering d-beat rockets.  The self-titled album, available on black as well as translucent green vinyl and put out by Seattle’s Iron Lung Records, includes the  Demo material along with a sixer of new songs.  And with the longest of the bunch, “Örþrifaráð”, clocking in at a high octane 1:19, it’ll be over before you can say “damn that was fast”.

Definitely hardcore, you can also feel thrash influences on D7Y – it’s more metal than punk to my ears, but at the end of the day those are all just labels and not important. The songs are fast and hard, the vocals shouting at you accusingly.  They’re also tight – nothing sloppy, nothing wasted.  Everything feels 100% intentional, the band settling for nothing less then producing precisely what they intended.

Give it a listen and pick up your vinyl copy on Bandcamp HERE.

Egotronic – “Keine Argumente!” (2017)

I get a bit leery when it comes to writing about artists who are considered to be overtly political, especially when it involves politics outside of my home country.  You can find some superficial info online about even the most fringe movements, but without understanding the true core beliefs as well as how they are perceived in their homeland, it’s a bit of a tightrope.  Add to that lyrics that aren’t in English and I run the risk of writing about some musician or band whose politics and beliefs I would personally find offensive.  Sure, there’s an argument to be made that it’s OK to separate the art from the beliefs of the artist, but some beliefs are automatic disqualifiers for me, as I’m sure they are for many of you.

egotronickeine

Which brings us to the German band Egotronic, a band labelled as being well known for its “Antideutsch” views.  The movement itself is generally described as far left, extremely anti-nationalistic, and against anti-Semitism.  That is, of course, a massive over-simplification of something I couldn’t even begin to hope to understand without being immersed in German society and understanding the language.  But on the surface I didn’t see anything that would keep me from enjoying and writing about Keine Argumente!, so away we go.

Stylistically it’s a blend of punk attitude, rock, and chiptune, which on the surface doesn’t sound like the kind of thing that should work.  But it does.  The chiptune elements take the hard edges off, creating a sensation that is both retro and futuristic at the same time.  In fact it’s of paramount importance to Keine Argumente! in one key way.  The album is 2 X LP, with the first record comprised of a dozen songs, while the second… the second is 8-bit versions of the exact same songs.  Which is a major trip, and kind of cool in a way, totally changing the experience.  I’m not even sure which version I prefer because I like ’em both.

Prügelknaben – “Prygl På Vinyl” (2019)

prugelknabelpryglpavinylI don’t have much info on this gem I picked up in Copenhagen a month or so ago.  The lady working at Route 66 told me it was a Danish Record Store Day release this year, a limited edition (of 500) collection of late 1970s/early 1980s jams from the Danish punk band Prügelknaben.  I haven’t seen an entry for it on Discogs yet… and I’m afraid to try to list it since I don’t speak Danish.  I guess I’ll wait for someone else to step up.

The recording quality of Prygl På Vinyl is quite good – the songs are fresh and even the live material is solid.  With a gatefold sleeve and a color booklet included, this is the complete package.  Too bad for me none of it is in English!  Prügelknaben have a bit of The Kinks in them, though definitely with more sneer and swagger.  The songs are lightning fast – there are about 14 tracks on side A and none of them pass the two minute mark.  There are a few longer ones on the flip side, though the longest appears to be just over four minutes.

I love picking up obscurities by local bands when I travel, stuff that’s unlikely ever to make it into one of my local record shops, and this was a perfect fit.  Definitely recommended if you’re interested in exploring early Danish punk rock.

PVC – “PVC” (1982)

pvcCredited as one of the first punk bands in West Berlin, PVC was founded in 1977 and it was five long years until their studio debut was released in 1982. (♠)  I was lucky enough to come across this at Berlin’s Cortex Records, a shop that primarily carries new/unopened albums.  They’ve got a smattering of used stuff, most of which was contemporary, but hidden in the back of the bin looking all forlorn was this old school classic.

PVC played sped-up rock ‘n’ roll.  Their songs have a bit of attitude, but lack the sneer and swagger of many of their contemporaries.  The music is tight like a coiled spring, no slop or filler to be found.  Songs like “Waves” and “Chromosome XXY” move more towards the new wave part of the spectrum while still retaining a rock core – no synthesizers here, but definitely fitting into a more poppy mold.  The B side opener “Berlin By Night” is a worthy homage to their gritty home city and is widely (and rightfully) considered one of PVC’s best tracks.  For my money, though, I’ll take “Satellite” with it’s weird, stilted delivery.

PVC doesn’t appear to have ever been released on a non-vinyl format, which is a bit surprising.  Fortunately someone ripped it and posted it online (see below), and as an added bonus the record actually isn’t all that expensive – you shouldn’t have trouble getting a decent copy for $20 or so if you’re into it.

(♠)  PVC contributed tracks to a number of compilations prior to their first studio album.