Friday, August 20, 2010

Nervous Breakdown - God Save the Freak EP (2010)

Well alright... When I get raging recordings like this in my inbox, by bands from the other side of the globe (Nervous Breakdown are from Jakarta, Indonesia), it is as good as it gets for me... Definitely more than I expected when I started doing TYS, let alone when I got into hardcore in my teens. 
To the music then... Nervous Breakdown is a band that comes all the way from Indonesia like we said, and they play their own brand of fun & energetic hardcore. Their 2010 EP is entitled God Save The Freak and it contains 6 tracks of awesome relentless core that takes the listener around all styles of the hardcore/punk genre. What I mean by the above is that it is mostly fast, it could even be termed fastcore or thrash, but there are definitely a variety of influences thrown in together that make an interesting  mix. More precisely, there are some classic punk influences (i.e. Dead Kennedys), some old school California style punk rock, straight Rock psychedelia, and even... classic pop parts in the Smiths tradition. In fact, one song starts with a Smiths cover/remix, before plunging into the core..! BUT, it is all done with good taste and molded into a solid blend that is just Nervous Breakdown.
It is kind of hard to describe bands like Nervous Breakdown, only based on our own Western standards. I mean that the way I see it, kids from these parts of the world feel, live and play hardcore music in a different way--which is totally admirable, of course! They don't stick to the formulas so much (maybe a part of their inherent cultures?). I am just so tired of listening to the same structures again and again, changes like these are more than welcome and we can be influenced by them! In any way, NB would be a good way to start getting into the wonderful world of SE Asian HC, as they have some basic parallels with Euro/US core and will not estrange the listener. 

What Nervous Breakdown does hold up to for sure, is the quality of the recording and music. They have nothing less compared to any underground band out there, with their intense and youthful deliverance of hardcore punk goodness. The production isn't the cleanest ever, but in this genre it doesn't even need to be, as long as all the instruments can be heard properly. To my ears, it even adds to the atmosphere sometimes, when the sound is not 100% plastic-clean.

To sum up, Nervous Breakdown have released a very entertaining EP that is surley worth checking out. It is somewhere between energetic, angry and fun, with no pretentious facades or profiles. It is not fastcore or trash punk or old school, it's all of those things together. They have another release from 2008, which is also good, with more Rock and Surf influences but equally extreme, out of tune and fast!
And now a few words on the label that released the Nervous Breakdown EP. It is called Yes No Wave Music, and if you visit their website ( you will see that there is some pretty interesting stuff going on there. They have all their music up for free downloading (it is a 'netlabel'), but they are also experimenting with various ways of circulating, promoting and spreading music without losing money. I just think it is totally interesting. Even if you're not into 'music biz' issues, you will find lots of cool shit to download and get the chance to listen to some new, fresh music. Most of the descriptions are in Indonesian, but you can just take a pick and see if you're feeling lucky and whether what you download will be death metal crust or plain pop. Have fun and see what you get!

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