Picks: Dead Cross, Amuse, Battalions

Week after week, the surprises continue to arrive. “Another quiet week, Dave. I might give Picks a rest and just mop up any stragglers next week.” No chance. There are three belting releases recommended for you this week, and before you push on with those, here’s a double bonus for readers of heavier taste: Apparatus have released the eminently satisfying Cthulhu II and Cthulhu III.

Dead Cross
Dead Cross
Icepac Recordings
[Spotify]

It’s possible to take life and music too seriously. I think there’s an element of that in some of the more negative reviews of Dead Cross. In delving into those reviews I also unearthed a baffling tribe of people who hate Mike Patton, and, since he assumed vocal duties with Dave Lombardo’s thrashy hardcore project, there’s no chance of Patton deniers getting on board with Dead Cross. It’s very Patton, but then it’s very Lombardo too. In essence, it’s like a thrashy Faith No More, albeit rather baggier around the edges. And I really like it. It’s not clever, but it’s fun. ‘Idiopathic’ and ‘Divine Filth’ are particularly good; the band’s cover of Bauhaus classic ‘Bela Lugosi’s Dead’ is exemplary.

Amuse
Life Sucks
Dodgeball Records
[Spotify]

Summer isn’t done yet! Life Sucks is the new EP from Amuse, a pop punk band – a proper pop punk band – from Indianapolis. They’re a new name for me and I didn’t know what to expect when we listened to this for the first time. By the end, I was skanking around the kitchen. ‘I Want To Believe (In Me And You)’ sets the tone, and the rest of the EP is just a wave of bum-wiggling, toe-tapping summer punk. There are variations in tempo and a couple of songs that might be too sickly sweet in other hands, but, by and large, this is pretty crunchy. Fans of Teenage Bottlerocket or last year’s Problem Daughter album will find a lot to love in Amuse’s 16-minute nugget.

Battalions
Moonburn
Hull Noise Collective
[Spotify]

I love Battalions and the last few days of the wait for their second album to arrive was agonising. Moonburn is the new release from the Hull stoner sludge crew and it’s exactly the filthy riffageddon I hoped it would be. Phil Wilkinson’s raw bark perches atop a mass of no-nonsense, good-time, rumbling metal. The album begins with ‘Skinjob’, which is both excellent and surprisingly varied for a relatively short song, and the title track is another highlight. ‘God’s Cuntry’ has just a sliver of funk and a load of bite and yet ‘Betrayal & Delusion’ knocks it into a cocked hat on both fronts. A superb follow-up to Nothing To Lose.

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You can buy Jurassic Parkour, the second EP by WAVE, on Bandcamp.

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