by Mark Anderson
Shee-it, Arizona has some friggin’ awesome punk rock. Must be all the oppressive sunshine (or laws) we live under. Whatever it is, many a’local band channels that raw, exposed nerve into hard-hitting, teeth-gnashing punk music. And we’re all the better for it. Here’s what caught my ear recently.
Upon listening to only the music found on Hungry Hands, the latest EP from American Standards, you would think, “Gee, these guys are pissed.” Devastating guitars with a razor sharp rhythm section cut into you like the cadaver’s scalpel. Once you listen to/read the lyrics however you’re introduced into the mind and thought of American Standards and it does not disappoint. “The dead don’t dance, so I know I’m alive” sung in the opener “Casket Party” will make you wish you were at their show right fuckin’ now. This is post-hardcore punk rawk, perfectly timed and delivered. Listen and buy (only $2.96 American!) here.
Giving Phoenix-Valley contemporaries The Hourglass Cats a run for the money on their “THC” moniker, Tucson’s The Hotchiks play the “hell yeah, this is badass” type of pop-punk reminiscent of NOFX or Screeching Weasel. And, despite the name, there are no women in this band. Just four dudes playing “sweet n juicy punk rock tunes for those moist ears of yours!!” Yup, that sounds about right. Listen and download Nuclear Thoughts here.
Womb Tomb, another wicked Tucson act, quickly became a go-to band for my aural pleasure. Erase Yourself is post-punk with definite hardcore/shoegaze elements and it fucking rocks. Released by venue/artspace/label Topaz at the end of May, Womb Tomb is a band I can’t wait to see live. Standout tracks for me include “Bruised” and “Imperfections” although their cover of My Bloody Valentine’s “You Made Me Realise” is very well done, dare I say, rivaling the original. Buy the tape at Topaz or Toxic Ranch in Tucson or listen here.
So Famen may only have a few tracks on Bandcamp right now, but hot damn if they don’t sound oh so raw and rad. “Drowning in Sorrow” is my favorite of the four; a slow, jamming intro gives way to hardcore crust punk. I’m certainly looking forward to a proper release from this Yuma three-piece. Download “Drowning in Sorrow” for free here.