Released towards the end of a troubled 2020, at a time when the Coronovirus global pandemic appeared to be at its height, Fred Abong’s first full length album ‘Our Mother of Perpetual Help’ was a suitably moody affair. Comprised of songs largely played from an oddly tuned acoustic guitar and featuring lyrics that captured a genuine emotional fragility, its lo-fi charms felt like a step up from his earlier, hastily recorded EPs.
When a punk release gets likened to classic Circle Jerks and early Black Flag, it’s almost certainly worth checking out. There’s something timeless about those early American hardcore records, and bands that take influence from them often manage to be thrilling, no matter how many years pass since the release of works like ‘Group Sex’, Germs’ ‘GI’, and the Adolescents’ debut.
Get The Fuck Outta Dodge are insanely prolific. ‘It’s Not Our Fault Your Boyfriend’s Stupid’ is the duo’s fourth release in a little over fifteen months. Unlike most bands, a global pandemic didn’t slow them down. If anything it amplified their work ethic, since James (bass/shouting) and Ren (drums/more shouting) could effectively work within their own bubble, and their quick and cheap recording approach more than lent itself to working within a limited set up.
At the beginning of 2021, members of Pennsylvanian noise-makers Backwoods Payback formed a new side project, Boozewa, whose main aim would be to provide an even sludgier extension to their world of riffs. Their first release, the four track cassette ‘First Contact’, presented the ultimate in lo-fi metal. With three of its four recordings being so demo-like and raw it made the Melvins’ ‘10 Songs’ sound like the expensive and expansive recordings from Todd Rundgren’s ‘A Wizard/A True Star’, the cassette wouldn’t necessarily be to everyone’s tastes. However, for those who like things to sound as spontaneous as possible, it brought riff after riff in a way that made the band’s talents more than clear, even if the recording sometimes sounded as if were coming from a water damaged source played back through an old sock. The combination of Rylan Caspar’s Buzz Osborne-esque hollering, Jessica Baker’s bottom end grooves, and occasional Sabbath-isms (most obvious during an instrumental piece named after the notorious “No Name Maddox”) had already been effective via Backwood’s Payback’s own brand of stoner – a Fu Manchu meets Melvins meets TAD juggernaut – but this was something else. It was also enough for the legendary Thomas Andrew Doyle to get on board and master their follow up recording.
Fred Abong was especially busy throughout 2018 and 2019. He re-ignited his on/off solo career with the excellent ‘Homeless’ EP, which subsequently saw him touring as support with his old Throwing Muses bandmate Kristin Hersh. That was swiftly followed by the equally cool lo-fi release ‘Pulsing’ which saw critical acclaim from a few indie websites which led to Abong going on the road with Hersh once more. Not just as support act, but doubling up as the evening’s opening entertainment and as bassist with the KH Trio.