I first came across Cold Brats via the Demolisten podcast. Resident tastemaker Grey Gordon dug the Romanian weirdos enough to feature the band’s 2019 eponymous EP for the label’s inaugural release. I was already stoked considering his discerning taste, but I was straight up gobsmacked it.
For the Bucharest punks' latest, they’ve partnered with arguably the most vital record label of 2021. Denver’s Convulse Records has become the lynchpin for one of the country’s most fertile and rewarding scenes.
Perhaps your timeline was recently barraged with impossibly rad videos and pics from their 3-year anniversary weekend. Their recent run has been superlative, gifting us with Militarie Gun, Candy Apple, and Drill Sergeant in the same calendar year. If one of their releases doesn’t make your year end list, you’re doing it wrong.
Lest I wax without end, Convulse’s latest is entitled Punk in the Digital Age Extended.
Ostensibly a comp, Extended is a distinction usually reserved for a bloated classic rock reissue or a late-era U2 album no one asked for, the sneering audacity is laudable. The EP Punk in the Digital Age first arrived in 2019 but has since been bolstered by 2 new noise-laden stabs, a remastered take on “Detergent," and their tracks from an essential split with Cosmos, Minnesota’s Las Poftas.
Recent converts to Cold Brats' uniquely manic hardcore punk will likely marvel at their genre-be-damned mission statement. They boast a melange that marries buzzsaw hardcore, death rock, weirdo first generation punk, and crusty punishment to a Flipper-like fuck you sneer.
It takes but a moment to tease out their bizarro tendencies, as “Split Sabers” from the aforementioned self-titled kicks it off. The track opens on a wave of organ and feedback but we’re quickly introduced to an envy-inducing guitar tone. It’s a glorious mix of fuzz and razor sharp riffing that never plays what you expect, daring you to redefine what you want. Mucousy vocals and a band unafraid to tear down convention, Cold Beats inhabit both the future and the moment proto-punk opened its doors to the true outcasts.
Across the entire collection, you’re reminded of everything and nothing. “Time Thickening Bomb” sounds like an antagonizingly slow band played at ten times the speed. They pile on heaps of distortion and prehistoric plodding drums to an already wild track.
“Life and Nothing More” is an absolute barrage of chaotic vocals and a barely decipherable spoken script of insanity beneath it. Can’t confirm if that’s the blurt of an abused saxophone underpinning it all, but based on their “everything goes” aesthetic, it’s undoubtedly intentional and note perfect. Side note, is that Adam Driver on the cover? Who knows? Who cares?
Elsewhere, highlights are on of the new ones and a newly remastered take on an older one. The former “Banana” is a light speed rager that screams itself hoarse a la the maxed out treble-heavy bands of In The Red Records. They expertly blend blown out D-beat and noisy garage on a way I’ve never heard. Truly killer. The latter “Detergent” sounds like the sonic embodiment of a Tide Pod overdose… the band at their fastest and most frenzied.
This is the tastiest thing to come outta Little Paris since Creier Pane (look it up). Long live these 4 brats making music.
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