Growing up both is and isn't hard to do. On a physical level, your body pretty much does it without your express permission, and all the cosmetic surgery in the world won't slow the flourishing, aging, and dying of the trillions of cells that make you, you. Mentally, growing up is not so steady. The line graph of your life is full of peaks and prairies, with one grand-mal event moving you further forward in your comprehension than six months of coasting does. Music sticks with you through this, acting like a bookmark in the weighty tome entitled 'stuff I remember'. A few weeks ago, I went through a great leap forward, by getting married. So what I'd like to do this month is bookmark that awesome day with some bands.

My wife is from Halifax, Nova Scotia. It's essentially a small fishing town that woke up one day and was a city, just hanging oot (sorry, had to) on the far eastern tip of Canada. What with me being an absolute anorak when it comes to punk, heading to this small city filled my head with dreams of insular scenes – all-ages shows, edge and non-edge unity (because there aren't enough people for a faction), and the one drummer with a van playing in four bands. And while I never actually made it to any shows (kinda had a wedding to attend) I did come back with some pretty sweet soundz.

Grump are masters of the 90-second agro-filled stomper. Their demo gets up, gets loud, and gets the fuck out of there before you can question anything. It's Agent Orange's snotty younger siblings who decided they'd rather their hardcore sounded like Rudimentary Peni than R.E.M. There's something about this that is heaped in nostalgia too - though I may be hearing something that's not there - and I think it's the mug on the microphone's straight-up howl. No vocal exercises for Marshall, he's just gonna shout until it's not very wise to do so, then shout some more. If there are any frills to be found here, it's in the Black Metal-aping trill riffs used for extra melody. The closing track, 'SPQR' (which clocks in at an epic 2:29) does everything justice enough. The breaks are a bit more complex and beat is at full tilt, and anger is an energy.


Weed Thief are serious sludgy grindcore with cold, dead clarity in their purely rhythm section rampage (what, you want treble? Nah mate, no can do). The trio of Aaron (vox), Ben (bass) and Tri (kit) aren't the creature in the dark pacing behind you - hanging back to avoid detection. They're that son of a bitch that gets your heart racing, proving that yes - yes you will break into a run and you don't care how it looks because this shit is serious and you'd like to end the night with your jugular vein intact.

Between the eponymous album and Dead Dog EP, Weed Thief tear notes apart like they don't owe them anything. The lack of guitar makes them punchy as hell too - it clatters, but with clarity. There's so much space for the music to breathe, it doesn't feel like the full-on noise assault you'd get with say, Pig Destroyer or Agoraphobic Nosebleed. 'Thievery' on the S/T and 'All of them Witches' on the Dead Dog EP show that the band can actually shift up massively in tempo, while 'Advisor' and 'Smear It On' are all over the shop – but still tighter than a gnat's chuff. Proper octopus limbs and helter-skelter bass play.


EEKUM SEEKUM (named after the town, Ecum Secum) are queer, feminist, trans-positive and punk as fuck. The 'Glitterbomb' EP is everything the Daily Mail warns you about. It's as joyous as it is righteous, and as lo-fi as it is hi-f.u…n (not a typo), and it will 100% make you wish you belonged to a gang of anarcho-vigilantes, walking around, trash talking racists and kerb-stomping those who legitimize rape culture into forever.

There's a healthy mix of joie de vivre and proper feels on the EP, with 'F.U…N' lauding the merits of vandalism and Bill Cosby's choice of apparel, and 'Pink Dollar$' trashing sellouts in the queer movement, and lamenting the fact that radical change is homogenized and moulded into something palatable (and sellable) by the cis-gendered establishment. Listen if you like your music dumb and your politics serious and ignore if you're seriously dumb.