Lip Critic’s Future of Freak-Punk Playlist

Ahead of the release of their own freak-punk opus Hex Dealer, the New Yorkers help define the genre with 15 tracks by artists breaking ground in the weirdo rock scene.

Lip Critic’s Future of Freak-Punk Playlist

Ahead of the release of their own freak-punk opus Hex Dealer, the New Yorkers help define the genre with 15 tracks by artists breaking ground in the weirdo rock scene.

Words: Mike LeSuer

Photo: Justin Villar

May 14, 2024

Has anyone else noticed punk’s gotten a lot stranger lately? Rock music in general has struggled to push against nostalgia-abetted revivalism for at least two decades now as hip-hop and electronic music flies into the future, though between MSPAINT swapping guitars for synths and Model/Actriz finding new ways to channel deeply horny energy into a stage presence that translates surprisingly well to recorded music, punk has been exploring new horizons early on in this decade with endlessly appealing results.

Among the new class of punks derailing the three-chords-and-the-truth ethos of the genre is Lip Critic, a shape-shifting digital-hardcore outfit from New York who land somewhere between both aforementioned bands’ dancey chaos while inhabiting a space all their own. Meanwhile their forthcoming sophomore release Hex Dealer adds to the equation Gilla Band’s penchant for noise and erratic vocal performances and the blend of post-industrial (perhaps even post-apocalyptic) minimal synth-punk Blawan’s Persher project has been exploring recently. Unlike many of the entirely singular voices in their surrounding “freak-punk” scene (Lip Critic’s term for it), the quartet seems to change its form from song to song, if not moment to moment, as they weave in and out of hip-hop, post-punk, and everything between, while vocalist Bret Kaser emotively gives voice to delusions of grandeur in a popular East Coast convenience store.

While there’s no doubt that Lip Critic exist in a bizarre universe entirely of their own creation, each artist they cite for their “Future of Freak-Punk” playlist exists in a similarly isolated realm of “fucked mosh riffs,” “oddly terrifying but also kinda accessible,” and “hardcore for motherfuckin’ freaks,” as they eloquently put it. Check out their playlist below, and pre-order Hex Dealer before it lands this Friday via Partisan Records here.

Shiverboard, “Drug Test”
Shiverboard’s music has everything you could possibly want from heavy music: fucked mosh riffs, weird melodic parts, shredding vocals, and crazy song structures. This song proves why this band will rule the world one day. 

The best synth-punk band around putting Harrisburg, Mississippi on the map. This song showcases their wildly dizzying and unique instrumentation combined with some of the best lyrics and vocal performances I’ve heard in recent memory.   

Chat Pile, “Why”
This band is breathing new life into heavy music, creating something that’s oddly terrifying but also kinda accessible? This song is one of the most uncomfortable, sweaty, disturbing things I’ve heard in my life and it fuckin’ rocks. 

Snõõper, “Fruit Fly”
This band really knows how to make a song that’s equally fun, chaotic, and hooky, all while wrapping it up in under a minute. Plus, they’re one of the best live bands around. 

Spiritual Cramp, “Slick Rick”
A bunch of hardcore dudes making dancey post-punk is not what I thought I needed, but now I can’t imagine a world without it. The most fun I’ve had listening to a song in all of 2023—I challenge you to not get this shit stuck in your head. 

Gel, “Dicey”
Hardcore for motherfuckin’ freaks. This song makes me wanna jump off a stage, run around in a circle, scream in a stranger’s face, and wake up covered in bruises.

Prize, “Hard to Kill”
One of the best bands in New York right now, mixing the dissonant chaos of Jesus Lizard and Unwound with the melody and intensity of late-’90s/early-2000s post-hardcore. One of the most exciting and insane songs I’ve heard this year. 

Programmique, “Remember What”
I know post-punk is kinda dead at this point, but this band is keeping it alive and exciting. This song is angular and dancey, and really could exist in the past or the future.

YHWH Nailgun, “Tear Pusher”
The most creative and inspiring band in New York right now—literally have never heard or seen anything like them before. The way they utilize relatively conventional rock instrumentation to create these sounds and textures is truly beyond comprehension. 

Pons, “Hooks”
The hardest working band in New York and our brothers in double drums. This song is a perfect example of their percussion-heavy noise rock that gives you a feeling like you’re getting pushed around at a sweaty, humid-ass basement show. 

Model/Actriz, “Mosquito”
Sex-driven dance-punk that sounds like it came straight from the depths of hell, this song is an absolute banger. One of the most interesting and unique bands in the world. I can’t wait to see what they release next.

Cohort B, “Yee Yee (Or You Have a Direct Connection to Change)”
Our close friends making heavy-as-hell post-punk, with elements of math rock and hardcore. This is their most recent single, equally dancy and violent, melodic and brutal. I cannot wait to crowdkill somebody to it when they open for us in June. 

Gumm, “Give You Back Your Youth”
The most underrated hardcore release from last year, this band blends hard yet artful riffs, pissed-off vocals, and some tight, groovy-ass drumming. I can’t really think of another band doing hardcore like these guys, and this song is the perfect example of why. 

Venus Twins, “Falling on My Own Sword”
Drum-and-bass noise-rock duo of actual twins, these dudes rip way too hard and are actually the nicest people ever. This song is an absolutely chaotic blast of Hella-inspired interplay, metalcore-esque breakdowns, and cool-as-fuck vocals.

Mould, “Birdsong”
Noise-punk freaks and our homies from across the pond, these guys are like the perfect mixture of Fugazi and Gang of Four. This is their debut single, featuring motorik drums and bass, angular guitars, and lyrics about the problems with trying to be optimistic all the time—and it’s a banger.