Brothers and sisters,
Concrete Asylum is a band from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. Their record "Social Anxiety" has five tracks of fast, raw, crude, furious, and unique hardcore PUNK. Their noise is reminiscent of Rudimentary Peni, The Fix, Heresy or Jerrys Kids. But who cares! Just like punk itself, there is more to this unit than a list of old bands we all love. Recorded in 2012 and originally released as the band's second tape to high praises, this session is now mastered and released on vinyl, complete with jaw dropping double-sided 11x17 sleeve by artist and member Adam Kindred.
MRR: "This is the epitome of fast and chaotic hardcore. This could have been generic and unmemorable, but instead it fucking rips! Interesting rhythm and vocal hooks and creative riffs are their strengths. It's their second demo and is recommended for fans of shit like Heresy and Electro Hippies."
1 copy is $7.50 in Canada, $9.00 in the USA, $12.50 elsewhere.
1 copy is $7.50 in Canada, $9.00 in the USA, $12.50 elsewhere.
For wholesale or multiple copies, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Kremlin 12"s, Bad Skin "We're Dogs" 7"s and School Jerks LPs still available!!
Speaking of which - both those records have seen some positive reviews including -
Al Quint about our pals Bad Skin:
"From the label that brought you the School Jerks, as well as the Kremlin 12" reviewed below comes another nettled-sounding Toronto band who, unfortunately, seem to have packed it in. Raw, bile-filled hardcore punk that revels in ugliness but I get the feeling they've listened to their share of KBD punk, as "Scabs" has that kind of a feel. The biography that accompanies the record is hilarious. The author admits it's largely "complete and utter bullshit" but he has a colorful way with words and when he says they were the "closest thing this city has seen to real, honest raw punk in decades," I'm somewhat skeptical, I'll bet these guys were a holy terror to watch. You can hear it in the four songs here."
Terminal Boredom says:
"Archival release from the now defunct (or maybe not?) Bad Skin, young punkers who ran amok in Southern Ontario back in the olden days of 2009-13 or so, and somehow recorded these songs before dissolving. Originally from Gananoque (I had to look that one up! It’s about midway between TO and MTL), they relocated to the Big Smoke and inhabited a shitty punk house that the author of the (very enjoyable) liner notes recounts some stories of. It’s pretty raw and simple punk rock, perhaps Poison Idea with some Oi influences (anthemic choruses, beefy vocals). Demo-quality recordings that are cleaned up nicely enough, maintaining a stripped-down and aggressive feel. Both A-Side cuts burn by pretty fast (“We’re Dogs” was probably a real crowd pleaser) but I think the B-Side is what’s of interest here. “Commute” is a real hardcore ball-buster, but “Scab” is the fucking HIT – big punk guitar hook, vocals are ripe for a singlalong, and the tempo changes burst with energy. A really strong track (and again, very much PI-sounding in the rock’n’roll punkitude dept.) that demands repeat spins and would sound even better with a louder recording. Actually, this song is so good it makes the others seem pretty ordinary. Scum stats: no idea, but the liner notes are a riot (he makes fun of Hard Skin, Lost Sounds and Hunx & His Punx all in the same paragraph somehow) and I dig the sketched artwork. I wish these guys and Kremlin would come play Buffalo."
Terminal Boredom also had a nice review for the Kremlin 12":
"Kremlin is the finest Canadian punk band going right now and really one of my favorite punk from anywhere over the past year. Their debut EP was one of the better short players of 2012 (just reissued domestically by Grave Mistake for all you sleepers), setting expectations high for this 12”, a split release between Beach Impediment and the band’s own Bad Vibrations imprint. Their music is simple punk at its essence – sharp and trebly guitars, head-down rhythm section, vocals heavily echoed – with a hard-charging drive given added personality from their low budget recordings. I thought the sound on their demos was wonderfully bad, and even though this LP was recorded as a record proper, it still sounds raw as can be. That lo-fi dimension adds extra frenzy to the aggression, making it seem more desperate, as if they’re wringing every little bit of life out of the instruments to the point where the equipment is straining to stay alive. An even ten tracks of exceptional guitar shred and manic pacing, and I was thrilled to hear reworked versions of “Duped” and “Kremlin” in particular, two standout tracks from their self-titled cassette. I was stuck on the killer riff from “Duped” for a bit until I realized it was borrowed (unintentionally I’m guessing) from a Homostupids song, and there’s no finer band to nip some tricks from, although Kremlin turn it into something far different anyway. Once when trying to describe this band to someone I said they play some sort of degenerated version of d-beat, and much of it is built on that bulldoze drum approach, but there’s more influences from all over the map - touches of UK82 style sloganeering in the vocals/choruses (vaguely politcal at times and certainly arnarchic/anti-society), some savage Scandanavian-style buzzsawing and song construction, and added USHC muscle for good measure. “Steel Case” is a Motorheaded bomber (and a good model band they reference often as a punk trio), “Buried” and “Doomed Youth” open up the songwriting to tunes over two minutes long with time for shredding solos and breakdown twists-n-turns. There are wonderful little bits of lo-fi nuance all over this, like when this guy’s amp starts to cut out, giving off that screaming bottle rocket sound that makes you want to duck, not knowing where that thing’s going to take off to (at the kick-in part on “Kremlin” for example), or when the crackle makes it seems like part of the riff was missed, or the super echoed “Ugggh”s from the singer, all lovely little warts left in the mix that keep me going back. Every track here is a great punk tune, but it’s the primitive recording and unabashed use of distortion and reverb that really adds to the excitement and ferocity. It’s not really sloppily played (these three are locked in quite well), and not necessarily shit-fi either, but crude and vital sounding - the squealing solos become extra piercing, the slip-n-slide fret noise sounds like it’s melting strings and speakers, the cymbal crashes sound like the mic was placed too close making for a great effect, the bass sounds almost trebly and undistorted, giving the propulsion an edge that some of the burlier hardcore bands lose when wading too far into the low end. I’m all for covering everything in layers of reverb, and the coating here is thick yet doesn’t seem excessive. The vocals echo but don’t turn into mush and the continual sparks of static keep you engaged and on edge. Hardcore punk with heavy Euro influence, deceptively simple but creative songwriting and the sound quality of ‘The Intern’ - I can’t recommend this record enough. Now I just need to see them live."
A cool blog called '...But After the Gig?' wrote these flattering words:
"Kremlin is not re-inventing the wheel here, to use that wildly overused phrase, however what they are doing is playing British Influenced 80s HC Punk in what I can only describe as the most genuine way. You can say that in many ways they are a d-beat band, but they aren't really what you think of when you hear that subgenre being thrown around. I would actually argue that Kremlin sounds far more like Discharge and/or the Varukers than any modern d-beat out there, but I guess the goal of most of those bands is not really to sound like Discharge. To try and limit Kremlin in a way that many bands can be limited is fruitless, and honestly boring. They are refreshingly unchallenging, in that the songs are simple and straight forward. Everything about this LP, from the writing to the production sounds like a genuine product of the 80s.
Another way that Kremlin really stands out is through their use of catchy choruses. Kremlin, especially on the A side of the record, utilizes extremely catchy lyrics and vocal patterns that just infectiously stick in your head, begging for consistent replays. Two songs in particular that stand out are No Hope for You and Duped. At the risk of sounding boring by once again bringing up Discharge, I will say that these songs really capture the aesthetic that great mid-tempo and catchy (maybe even anthemic?) songs that Discharge often wrote (think A Look At Tomorrow and No TV Sketch, etc..). These two songs really remind of the fun punk songs of UK82 bands like Varukers, GBH, and the Skeptix (among many others). The switch between, for lack of a better term, anthemic mid-tempo to more fast straight forward hardcore creates a great flow for the album; that matched with the incredibly short length leaves little room for the record to ever become boring. In fact the record just soars from start to finish, breaking for only enough time for you to walk to the turntable and flip the record.
I would say that the B-side is a bit more unique than the A-side but I am still not exactly sure why it strikes me that way. There definitely seems to be an almost metal influence creeping in on these songs, maybe the influence comes through the way of Scandi worship, or maybe through old metal itself. Regardless the B-side, with the exception of the first track Steel Cage, is a lot less catchy and a bit more abrasive. I do however really appreciate both sides and together they form a unified work.
Lyrically speaking, Kremlin is not trying to break any boundaries. The lyrics are simple and clear, mostly consisting of fragmental sentences, but this isn't to say that they are bad lyrics. In fact, I think the opposite is true. I think there is something really special, and often lost, in the simplicity of quasi-political, brief and blunt lyrics often found sprawled across the pages of old HC inserts. You always have a pretty solid idea what Kremlin is saying, but with that said there is always a kind of artistic brilliance to simplicity, get the record and decide for yourself.
Drunk in the Gulag will undeniably be one of the best LPs released this year, so do yourself a favor and pick up a copy before it gets harder to find. Released by two relatively small but great labels the record manages to be extremely easy to get ahold of. I really love the way the record is put together. It has a sense of roughness to the layout that I love. Not only is Kremlin a great recorded band, but they put on one hell of a live show and are super thick for a three-piece band."
But don't believe those guys, check them out yourself if you haven't yet!
On a sadder note of BV news, Kremlin played their last show a week ago with Criaturas, Concrete Asylum and other cool bands. Thanks to everyone who helped us out along the way with releasing tunes, setting up shows, kind words, all that important stuff. It was a good one.
More soon! Drop us a line!