POW! is rechromed and ready to soundtrack your dystopian near future. Harsh neon synths keep battle with zipline guitars for space above a dark and teeming cityscape. Your guide is always in the shadows, you can’t make out his face but you hear his crazed diatribe as he wards off all affronts. The songs are at their core razor sharp punk, but are fleshed out with inventive and catchy synth work – and the floating bits of atmospheric expansion between tracks only serve to heighten the paranoid atmosphere. These tunes have a sci-fi depth, a moody bite, and a startling clarity sharpened to a point by the wizard hand of Chris Woodhouse, who helmed the magnetization. Recommended listening for future-punk teens and grown adults alike. – Castle Face
CROOKED BANGS are from Austin, and are proud purveyors of a distinct musical form of the freakiness for which that city is so well-noted. Crooked Bangs could be described as dark punk noir, with brooding guitar and bass lines, Phillip Gonzalez’ relentlessly powerful drumming, and smoky French/English hybrid style vocals from Leda Ginestra – but the energy and overall vibe delve deep into the a distinctive sonic playing field and atmosphere akin to early Sub Pop singles club releases. Samantha (guitarist) has a distinct guitar style that is reminiscent of the more-innovative second-wave Crass Records bands such as Rudimentary Peni, 90’s heavy-but-melodic noise rock like Babes In Toyland, and the noisier side of UK82 HC, while the whole band’s sound remains resolutely modern and compatible with the dark garage ouvre from stalwarts such as Lost Sounds.
“Crooked Bangs are an Austin trio that plays brooding, multi-lingual post-punk with a noisy bent — think Savages by way of the Melvins, after a long Parisian vacation. Their powerhouse is bandleader / bassist Leda Ginestra, a versatile vocalist who plays deft games of hopscotch with language (English and French) and dynamics (caustic screams and mumbled deadpans); guitarist Samantha Wedndel and drummer Phillip Gonzalez buttress these performances with aplomb, resulting in a sound that’s as hellish as it is hypnotic.” – Zoe Camp, CLRVYNT
“From the fidgety garage punk of Abi Yoyos and Sopors, to the hardcore of Caged Animal with Tony Molina, to the indie pop of Rat Columns with David West, Matt Bleyle has long been an important part of the Bay Area music scene. Violent Change has been Bleyle’s outlet for heart-on-sleeve hazy pop and as the title suggests VC3, is his third LP. Though lo-fi in execution, it’s very much hi-fi in heartfelt authenticity. Guided By Voices has been mentioned in reviews, as has Chris Bell’s I Am the Cosmos, I’d like to add Chris Knox and Ray Davies. But Bleyle very much brings his own take on busted and fragile pop. Though the current band consists of Jess Sylvester, Alexa Pantalone and Stanley Martinez, from Bay Area favorites Rays and Life Stinks, it is Bleyle’s heart that bleeds across all 11-songs on VC3.” – Noisey
“‘Never Heard of It,’ the debut full-length by Bay Area punk foursome Nopes, features 12 squirmy songs, each a sputtering projectile following its own discrete, haphazard trajectory. As for mood, that dopey, deadbeat-chic album cover is telling: On Never Heard of It, day jobs are a scourge and jokes abound (even if it’s just naming a song “Duran Duran Duran”). But more than other garage-adjacent punk records, the players are distinct enough to animate a dozen tracks: the rhythm section swerves and strikes like boxers, in unison, until violently entangled. Fighting imagery aside, it’s the impish and kinetic guitar that has the lead voice on this album, with its zippy melodic runs and pitch-bent discord.” – Sam Lefebvre, Pitchfork