Tumbas: Self-Titled (Columbia)
Symphony of Destruction Records
Columbia has delivered some of my favourite punk releases/new bands and Tumbas from Bogotá is right at the top of my list. Really well-executed dark punk. Maybe it’s just what I’ve been listening to recently but it was refreshing to hear straight-up shouty punk vocals again over the top of fast, twisting goth riffs and disco beats.
My Spanish is terrible but, from what little bits I could understand, it seems the aggressive fem vocals are spitting some pretty poetic takes on the dissident and macabre themes common of the genre: “Toda la vida intentando escalar, bajo una tumba solo siempre acabarás” is ‘All your life you’re trying to climb, you’ll always end up under a grave’.
Favourite track: Placeres Innecesarios
Dispossessed: Insurgency (Australia)
Shame on me for taking so long to get around to this album. Chances are if you’re in Australia you’ve heard about Dispossessed and for good reason. Their 2016 album Insurgency is easily the most important release of last year.
Unapologetically and adamantly political, this album so perfectly communicates the anger and pain of colonialism, privilege, racism and dispossession that white Australia, past and present, so blatantly embodies.
Musically, this album mixes metal, punk, black metal, hardcore and even some shoegaze. The first thing I heard about this band was an interview they did with Noisey, in which frontman Birrugan says the initial line-up had “…a bass player that couldn’t even play.” The progression from those early stages to this album is profound and deserves all the attention of the alternative music scene.
Favourite Track: Gaara Yaari Buunming (Sky Has Fallen)
Baragula: Self-Titled (Indonesia)
Baragula is an amazing coldwave/goth band from Surabaya, Indonesia. One of their tracks Cuaca, which I’m pretty sure means ‘weather” in Bahasa, is one of the moodiest and gloomiest songs I’ve heard in awhile - perhaps an intentional irony considering the band hail from the tropics. I struggled to find much information on this band outside of the few tracks up online, but the tracks from the EP I did find were amazing.
Sung in English and Bahasa, this band moulds the atmospheric sounds of Joy Division with a more morose cold wave vibe, hopefully I can find more from them soon…
Favourite track: The Window
Cable Ties/Wet Lips: Split Single (Australia)
My ‘feel good’ record of the summer, this split delivers some garage punk, poppy good times. Up-beat and catchy beyond belief. Wet Lips I had known about for a while but they had never really grabbed me until this split and Cable Ties, well damn, it’s not hard to see they have big things ahead for them.
Favourite track: Cut Me Down (Cable Ties)
Killed By Deathrock: Volume 2 (USA/World)
Sacred Bones Records
Featuring a mix of some of my favourite death rock bands with some obscurities that are news to me, Sacred Bones have done it again. With a well-curated mix of older, perhaps forgotten, death rock classics paired with the amazing cover art of contemporary punk artist Alexander Heir, I was not disappointed with the Killed By Deathrock sequel.
Favourite track: Promised Land (Skeletal Family)