Auto, Hardcore 2022 (La Vida Es Un Mus, 2022)

To anyone paying attention, La Vida Es Un Mus has carefully cultivated an unfuckwithable resume.

The self proclaimed, London-based “Primative Muzik” mainstay has churned out essential punk and hardcore consistently enough that I’m always on board for a release with that unmistakable pill logo stamped on the back.

That the label snagged the Hardcore 2022 demo from Singapore’s Auto comes as no surprise. Originally self-released this past winter, the Anarchist hardcore punk band has found a perfect home alongside heavy hitters The Chisel, S.H.I.T., and personal faves Taqbir. 

First things first. These seven tracks clock in just shy of seven minutes. This is as economical as this shit gets and also an incredible snapshot of the band’s first take, live energy vibe. Admittedly rehearsal free, the collection was captured in a single four-hour recording session at Singapore’s Project 416, which has been repping Singapore DIY hardcore punk for the last half decade. 

The band name checks Agnostic Front, Neanderthal, and Siege as primary influences and, while that’s certainly apt, there’s a lot at play here. I’m catching a lot of early Midwestern influence on this one, albeit updated like bands akin to Laffing Gas. There’s a hearty helping here for loyalists of Virginia’s equally lauded pillars Beach Impediment and Not For The Weak Records. Fans of Muro, BATO, Thought Control, and their ilk would be wise not to miss this one. 

Opening the blur to follow is “Dog Eat Dog. It fittingly opens on a piercing wail of feedback grating enough to have your neighborhood canines frothing. Though it’s nearly over before it even gets going, it’s still an exhilarating blast of primitive hardcore. As sharp as it is raw, the band thankfully eschews the echoey vocal trend of late in favor of an equally balanced and devastating attack. 

Elsewhere, “Out of Control” boasts a stomping punk primitivism that typifies what can be done when four to the floor hardcore punk is done right. The entire song set feels as though it could’ve been released at any time in our beloved subgenre’s decades long history.

What follows, though, is my personal highwater mark for the album. “What You Gonna Do” is the sort of track that’ll have you flipping a 7-inch incessantly to hear the sub-minute rager again and again. It’s an all-to-brief blast of antagonistic vocal shred, anxious rhythms, and ripping guitars. As per my preference, the treble is set to near obnoxious levels with a blatant disregard for the listener. 

Closer “Traps of Life” proves to be the perfect bookend. Its back half is a noisy and clattering stunner that bleeds out with that same violent dog whistle that kicked it all off.

Singapore needs to be on your must watch list. Auto aside, Renegade, Sial, Fuse, Crash Course, and myriad more bands have launched that scene into the stratosphere. With hardcore this gnarly, there’s not much that needs to be said.

Auto has rippers, y’all. From front to back. Auto is Automatic. Get this now.  

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