I happened upon the Deranged Records bandcamp a while back and made it a point to bookmark it so that I would know to come back to it later. This album, “No Device,” comes to us from a band called Criminal Code. I think that the best way to describe their sound, not that you couldn’t just listen to it above, but if you are wary of clicking it for some reason I would describe it as a little bit harder edged and darker Hüsker Dü. The guitarist definitely has a tone that would make Bob Mould proud, with the chorus effect turned way up high. And, add to that the face that “Defective Parts” sounds a little bit like “8 Miles High” at the beginning.
Every song has that washy, swirling, ringing chorus effect, while the rest of the band fills out the sound with direct and immediate punk rock vitriol. The singer’s vocal yelps are powerful enough to cut through the din, but only just barely. It’s as if the vocals are adrift on the sea, just barely holding its head above water, especially in some of the more abrasive moments, such as the song “Corrosive.”
Standout tracks “Flagstone” and “Mocking Shadows” wander closer to a pop sensibility with honest hooks and catchy guitar melodies, sounding like Joy Division one second (in the case of “Mocking Shadows”) and A Place To Bury Strangers the next. It’s the component of the dark tone that each of these bands shares, keeping Criminal Mind an arms reach away from poppier tendencies, shrouding them in near complete shadow.
The entire album is available on their bandcamp page, and can be heard above. Check it out.
The Switchable Kid is a band from Memphis that creates low(-ish)-fi, moody rock with a retro tinge. In a few words their sound can be described as sounding like a toned-down A Place To Bury Strangers, with a little Joy Division and The Cure thrown into the mix with its brooding vocal, driving and mechanical rhythms and phased-out and delayed guitar textures.
“For All the Sad Bastards” might lack a bit in the continuity department, with variances of recording technique from song to song. The album, released this past October 8 on Miss Molly Records, is actually a collection of previously (incredibly difficult to find) rarities and unreleased tracks. From the band’s bancdamp page: “For All The Sad Bastards-Songs I’ve passed around on CDRs and cassettes to friends from 2002-2012. A collection of unreleased 7″ singles compiled for an album. A real Bonadrag!”
I am going to need to find ways to fit “bonadrag” into my everyday conversations now. It’s only natural.
The collection is available as a download (of course) as well as 12″ vinyl, and CD. Head over to the bandcamp page, or listen above, to all of the tracks in full. Skip to the catchy and dark “Hey Beauty,” and “The Young Don’t Cry;” and then move to the punk attitude of “Sore Subjects.” And, despite some of the continuity concerns that I raised above, this collection actually does still span a range of sounds that transcend the garage and punk influences. “Blue,” which closes out the album, is slow and thoughtful, with an extra touch added by the use of some brass and the jangling of acoustic guitar strings.
If dark and gritty rock with vocals awash in reverb is as much your thing as it is mine, you won’t be disappointed here.