Shoppers / Panzram - Split [7-inch] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Shoppers / Panzram

Split [7-inch] (2012)

IFB Records / Feeble Minds

Holy shitballs on the melody. You guys, not but a few hours ago today, I received in my very mailbox a brand new piece of musical vinyl, and I simply had to inform you about it. This musical vinyl contained within its mystical grooves new material from Shoppers (who are awesome) and Panzram (who I have never heard of. More on my ignorance later!). These songs are all certifiably classy, and by "classy" I mean super fucking noisy.

Shoppers keep doing that thing where they number their tracks instead of naming them here, but it's OK because "I" and "II" are nifty little numerals. "I" is a little more controlled compared to Shoppers' most excellent Silver Year record from last year, both musically and lyrically. "II," though, that's the Shoppers I fell in love with. The instruments roar like jet engines while frontwoman Meredith Graves shouts out sexually threatening imagery about damaged individuals before coming back to a queasy safe point with "To me this is normal / To me, it's just fine." It's creepy, but in a powerful, compelling way.

Now, the rumors are true. I really don't know anything about Panzram. It's unprofessional to undermine my opinion on the band right away, but then again, I am not a terribly professional person. What is professionally executed, however, is the '80s hardcore grinding that Panzram applies to my bleeding ears. "Born With a Bad Haircut" captures that same sense of alienation in the face of artificiality inherent in a lot of hardcore. "Cause Celebre" is another tribute to being unremarkable. Richard Hell once sang "I belong to the blank generation." The Stains claimed "I'm a waste of time." Panzram gets a little bit darker: "I am a menial servant in the grim scheme."

But hating everyone and everything is what hardcore kids do for fun, so Panzram is having a (dead) whale of a time here. Combined with Shoppers' A-grade A-side, the whole thing adds up to gangbusters for everybody. Yeah!