The Late Hours
The Vladimirs = (45 Grave + DieMonsterDie) x Danzig
Veteran horror-punk head-bangers The Vladimirs deliver another hard-rocking screamer just in time for the best (and darkest) Halloween parties. While comparisons to The Misfits are inevitable, the songs are closer to Samhain, with guitar solos and manic shrieks that are more dirty longhair, less spiky mohawk. Tracks like “Last Song for the Lost” and “Blind Love” recall The Damned, while the brilliantly titled “Zombie Eyed Youth” is straight-ahead metallic meltdown. And unlike most punks, they can sustain a song for longer than two minutes; the title track is a 16-minute-long ballad. While bearing the common flaw of the genre—there’s not enough difference between most tracks to make anything truly stand out—the final result is a ton of gore-dripping graveyard fun. –Madelyn Boudreaux
VNV Nation = Alphaville x (Covenant + Apoptygma Berzerk)
Ronan Harris and Mark Jackson are back with another stirring, triumphant album and another reminder that they are not afraid! An artsy, dieselpunk tribute to the 1930s and the world of tomorrow, it departs from earlier releases with the meditative instrumental track “Goodbye 20th Century” and “On Air,” a lovely piano ballad shot through with noise and static, as if tuned in from an antique broadcast. They pick things up with the relentless neofuturist beats one expects from VNV—it takes real effort to sit still through soaring tracks like “Space & Time,” “Gratitude” and “Photon.” They don’t forget the obligatory hurt-yet-optimistic ballad with “Nova.” Especially check out the hardest track, “Control,” which is sure to get rivetheads and ravers moving when VNV Nation plays Club Sound on November 25. –Madelyn Boudreaux
Void = Minor Threat + SOA + (early) Black Flag
If ever there was a punk rock equivalent of black metal’s “kvlt” tag, Columbia, Maryland’s Void would fall into that category without debate. An extraordinarily messy and haphazard band, Void is, in hindsight, arguably better in my mind than Minor Threat ever was, although nowhere near as influential, for obvious reasons. Their legendary split with Faith is something that I’ve never been without at least a cassette or CD-R copy of, for as far back as I can remember, and hearing the Sessions release has only rekindled my love for this band. Compiling Void’s Hit and Run session from November 1981 with the first Inner Ear demo, outtakes and two live tracks, this sucker reminds me why I got into punk rock in the first place. It’s noisy, sarcastic, juvenile, mean, and totally disjointed … What the hell else has punk rock ever needed to be? –Gavin Hoffman
We Were Promised Jetpacks
In the Pit of the Stomach
Fat Cat Records
We Were Promised Jetpacks = Frightened Rabbit + The Strokes + Able Baker Fox
Starting out the newest album from We Were Promised Jetpacks is this super-catchy, stomp-around-the-living-room song, “Circles and Squares.” These guys sound like a harder, cooler Hot Hot Heat at times, without the corny lyrics and hyper-pop, with the bonus of a sexy accent. The energy doesn’t let up until around the middle of the album, at “Hard to Remember,” but it’s so heavy it hardly even seems slow. There’s a part about halfway through the song that makes my face melt. I’ve heard We Were Promised Jetpacks before, but nothing like this. “Sore Thumb” holds my hand as I sit here in some kind of stupor, soaking this newfound sound in. I feel like I just discovered This Will Destroy You and Sigur Rós in the same sitting when I listen to this song. “Boy In The Backseat” doesn’t even excuse itself for a second, giving me that feeling I get when I find something I didn’t even know I was missing. In the Pit of the Stomach starts out so unassuming while still shredding eardrums, and just keeps getting better. The last song on the album starts out kind of weird and weak, but three and a half minutes out, and they’re right back. This is an awesome album. Listen to it. –Kyla G.
Wiretree = The Yardbirds + REM + Coldplay
Make Up is Wiretree’s third album, and the experience they’ve gained working to get here certainly shows. Stripping down the production (a clear differentiation from their previous work) has left a nice, distinct presentation of Wiretree’s musical intentions. The songwriting and vocals are nicely executed, the melodies are well-instrumented, and all in all, everything is very neatly arranged and packaged. With influence going back to the likes of The La’s, Wiretree takes a cue from some of the most relatable, catchy tunes of the ‘60s and beyond. There’s nothing not to like about these guys—they’re doing their thing and it’s totally diggable. Give them a shot, I say. –Ischa B.