Deaf Club (feat. HIRS Collective) + Fuck Money – “Split EP”

by Jare C (@jareccurtis)

In the midst of a cultural and political moment plagued by bigotry, discriminatory legislation, the restriction of reproductive rights, a genocide, and so much other destructive, hateful chaos, punk music and its offshoots feels particularly apt. The spaces- physical, online, and ideological- that it creates often feels like the safest place for dissent and creation of new ideas- as well as an outlet for catharsis, community unity, and general organizing. On their latest split, three tentpole bands of the scene and its adjacent communities  – Deaf Club, The HIRS Collective, and Fuck Money – unify their sounds for a blisteringly fast and powerful split EP that wholly overdelivers in its incredibly brief runtime. 

The EP offers four tracks total, two with Deaf Club featuring The HIRS Collective, and two solo offerings from Fuck Money. Deaf Club, led by Justin Pearson (The Locust, Retox), is a west-coast based outfit who has been holding it down with blastbeat-driven, hardcore focused punk for the past five years or so, and has quickly risen as one of the driving innovators within the grindcore, hardcore, and punk scenes. On this project, they welcome the queercore crown jewel HIRS Collective to accentuate the chaos and cinematic overdrive of their two tracks, and the collaboration is nothing short of inspired.

The opening track, “Biblical Loophole,” is a searing condemnation of the destructive behavior of the ruling class and their religious affiliations and establishments, as well as the systemic oppression that befalls anyone – particularly marginalized folks – who is not a member of the oppressors ideological regime, and even those who are. The refrain of “The old caretakers don’t care / they are the undertakers of nowhere” cuts through the track with decisive precision, and the guitar line opens the whole track up to truly cinematic breakdowns. This song gives way to an absolutely mind-boggling rendition of Nirvana’s “Tourette’s,” which has been sped up and bled out just enough to leave the old version feeling tame in comparison. Both bands clean the song up just enough to make it feel slightly more polished and refined than the original, but this sharpening in instrumentation and production leads feels much more reactive and cutting. The shifting vocal performance is as fun as it is gritty, and the whole thing is just insanely tapped in and tight. 

The final two songs from the split come from the Texan “scrape rock band” Fuck Money, a band that’s only been around for a few years, but has managed to build quite a reputation as one of the most daring punk projects working today – implementing disparate elements from prog rock, hardcore, grindcore, noise, and industrial. Both tracks here focus on coupling melodic lead performances with shreddy and experimental instrumentation, with body-bruising breakdown sections that would put your local hardcore pit to shape. “Rat Queen” is a muddy and clashy track that constantly folds in on itself, pushing back and forth, with a focus on guitar shredding that would feel very at home in an early Guitar Hero game. The final track, “Alley Tricks,” is as grindy as grind gets, with an explosive, destructive progression that completely opens up towards the later half. The vocal performance, all at once chanty, anthemic, messy, and chaotic, brings a level of static that the overall track ultimately cuts through, leaving the listener pleasantly exhausted at the ending. 

While the Deaf Club and HIRS Collective tracks definitely do a majority of the heavy lifting, Fuck Money absolutely meets the moment in collaborating with two such innovative and vital acts in the scene. On this split, you really get a sense of why hardcore, grindcore, and punk is having such a moment right now, and also get a great glimpse at where it’s going. Not only is it a great listen for any sceneheads, but it’s also probably one of the strongest introductions a newcomer could get to the genres. Absolutely a release to spend some time with, and three bands to dive into deeper. 

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