Recommended by Chris Stamm
Many contemporary punk bands journey into darkness and despair by drafting behind the behemoths of ’80s post-punk, and too often the results are wan reflections of cold terror, familiar ghosts that comfort instead of spook. Oakland’s Violence Creeps also scout the past for sounds charged with malice and dread, but they’re more likely to end up in the primal zone described by the Germs’ “Shut Down” and Flipper’s “Sex Bomb.” With the right tour guides, this can still be legitimately scary territory, and Violence Creeps knows exactly where the gnarliest pockets of slime and grime still thrive. The band is at its best when it gives itself over to mid-tempo meltdowns, viciously simple songs that throb with baleful promises of mutant shapes and startling new versions of death. It isn’t pretty at all. But have you noticed the world lately? This is the soundtrack it deserves.