Friday, October 23, 2009

Arctic Choke - S/T 7"

Arctic Choke MySpace
Release: 2009
Type: 7"
Label: To Live A Lie

(First things first, I could have hugged my mailman yesterday. I haven't received anything in two weeks - since ordering some discs from a company in Singapore. Thought I ended up on a watch list and the Feds were sifting though my mail.)

Arctic Choke, consisting of members from Rhino Charge and Graf Orlock, continues the long line of quality releases on To Live A Lie. Whatever genre you want to pigeon-hole these guys into it cannot be denied that they play proper punk. Their riffs, basslines and song structures sound straight out of '83, right down to their tone. The main, distiguishing trade-off here is that instead of Reagan-era sloppiness we get modern-era execution. Things do get a little muddy from there however, like when you hear resident gutpuker Kyle screaming like Avi did on the early Magrudergrind splits, a fair amount of blastbeats and some riffs much closer to fastcore than hardcore. The best way to end the discussion is to call them Blastbeat Punk. Just be prepared to mosh once the needle hits the record.

On the EP are 10 helpings of memory-lane inducing goodness. In true punk fashion the music captures the untapped fury of classic hardcore while the lyrics cover all the requisite talking points: female gold-diggers (Full Tilt Bozo), friendship troubles (Friends, MVP, What A Joke), and a few cynical looks at how dreams are so often crushed by reality (9-5, Work Sucks). As mentioned, the vocals are for the most part screamed in a pleasant, primarily indecipherable way - you're not going to be able to follow along, even if you read the lyric sheet. Other than some backing vocals for flavor tossed in here and there, the only words that truly stick out are the numerous Fuck You's.

Also in true DIY spirit, the play list on the album fold-out is different from the list on the lryic sheet. The spelling is fucked up too (Purs As Cold Driven Snow - instead of Pure As A Cold Driven Snow) but it all gets sorted on with a notice that the correct track list and spelling is on the lryic sheet. Fair enough.

Some stand out moments are the opener (Just One Please) which sets the tone perfectly; Friends, especially the ending (We're growing up in all the wrong ways/I miss the old days) and the dirge-turned-epic that is the aforementioned mispelled song. Well, epic by Blastbeatpunk Punk standards. It should be up on their LastFM but alas, I am not their marketing director.

If you are familiar with old-school punk then you know what to expect here. But that doesn't mean you don't need to hear it. The A/C MySpace has Just One Please, MVP, 9-5 and Full Tilt Bozo for you listening pleasure. If you have a record player you can paypal/mail order this from TLAL for $3.75. Or you can use plastic and buy it over at Interpunk for $5. Either way you get an A/C sticker, colored vinyl and a slab of tunes that will have you pining for the olden days in no time. Hard to go wrong.

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