Every so often, warranted or not, punk music offers a much needed reminder that the world isn’t always a beautiful place, and moreover, that not everyone is always content to live in it. Tropical Skin Byrds, the new project from Nina Hartmann, ZZ Ramirez (The Ukiah Drag, D Unit), and Sean Halpin (CRAOW), play with a bleak vehemence that not only refuses to comfort, it intentionally antagonizes. “Venus In Fury,” off their debut S/T EP, is the spiraling aftermath of a concussive blow, entangling vexing, delayed vocals with razor sharp instrumental distortion. The structure is simplistic and barren, allowing focus to lie on brute force of Ramirez’s guitar tone and Halpin’s violent snare hits. Hartmann’s effected laments become their own instrument above it all, their higher frequency further dooming the already desolate landscape of a mind in disquiet. Clenched fists press against throbbing temples as the chorus screams, “Put your knife in me! Twist it til I bleed,” a renouncement of self-preservation and full embrace of psychosis. It’s good to hurt.
Tropical Skin Byrds is out January 13 on Wharf Cat Records.