Boy howdy, am I happier than a possum in the corncrib with the dog tied up whenever a hardcore band worthy of busting my speakers crawls out of New York City, which so much legendary talent has done over the years.
This time it’s Brain Slug that has me all giddy, whose Distort New York 7″ came out last December on Osnabrück, Germany label Hardware Records. Indeed, it’s a wonder how my ignorant little self managed to get by before falling rump-over-tea-kettle on this gem.
Brain Slug’s five-song EP opens in true NYHC style with “Gag Reflex”, constructed out of a driving four-on-the-floor drum beat and a towering regime of power chords. The track ends with the same structure a touch slower, good enough to get any bunch of spiky punks circling in unison.
This slips into the sidewinding title-track, which bounces between a tyrannical crust riff and thumping D-Beat chorus. M. Gore’s vocals figure prominently here: scratchily distorted, unruly and dark, they’re unique to the newschool scene’s ethos of privileging any macho-man with an off-key message.
My favourite riff on Distort New York comes in “My Rites”, which sweeps around high but is also nice enough to chug along a hearty E-chord. The band’s startling backing vocals during the bridge are just what I was waiting for, sounding like an unmuzzled gang of anarchists purging their most deeply rooted disgust for society. Lovely.
With a couple of other numbers, “Crunch Time” and “Red Circle”, sticking to the same style, the whole thing is done in less than nine minutes – like a real punk record should be. This way all you scuzz-buckets can get back to the bar for power-hour, and you “hipsters” can throw Rumours back on in due time for tea.
1. Gag Reflex
2. Distort New York
3. Crunch Time
4. My Rites
5. Red Circle