While seemingly having slowed down in recent years, Deranged Records remains one of the most prolific punk labels of the 21st century. Founded by Gord Dufresne in 1999, the Canadian indie imprint has been home to hundreds of releases from a wide variety of punk-adjacent sounds.
You like your hardcore old school? Deranged had that covered early on through landmark releases from Toronto’s Career Suicide and Fucked Up. Feel like getting upended by a fuzzed-out spiral of grungy, post-surf guitar damage? The grand majority of White Lung’s early catalogue was issued with a Deranged logo on the back, too (though hats off to Hockey Dad Records for issuing that first 7-inch). It’s a label that’s dabbled in anything from abrasive d-beat (D.S.-13, Heat) to all-smiles power pop (The Tranzmitors), and everything in between.
By no means a comprehensive look at a label nearly 400 releases deep (last leaving us with Gainesville jangle punk unit UV-TV’s Happy LP in 2019), but inspired by some semi-recent pieces I’d put together around Mint Records, Constellation, and Touch & Go, these are a few personal faves from the Deranged catalogue.
Vacant State – Fill The Void (2011)
Vancouver’s Vacant State truly were one of the purest distillations of hardcore’s ugliness. I think a good chunk of that has to do with the flesh-rending vocal style of Terry Wilk—just an ungodly, mangled howl.
There are some heavy hitters to be found across their various 7-inches (some issued through Deranged), but the band’s sole full-length, Fill the Void, is pound for pound the gnarliest set of tunes they laid to tape. “Dying World” is a brooding, no-nonsense hardcore stomp with a crushing chorus. “Rhetoric” provides a quicker pummelling between its one-two beats and squirrelly guitar solo, while “Don’t Care” is top notch street punk nihilism.
Flowers of Evil – Flowers of Evil (2016)
Flowers of Evil’s debut album is full-sneer-ahead punk at its finest. On this self-titled LP, these Baudelaire-referencing rabble-rousers—featuring Crocodiles members Brandon Welchez on guitar—cut to the chase with their lean brand of nastiness.
Take, for instance, the immediacy of the buzzsaw guitar intro to “Loveless Thought,” a classic, chromatic riff recklessly running down a fretboard before the band pivots towards an efficient, yet eerie two-chord chorus. “Morning After Pill” bristles a barely-in-tune guitar bend against the sandpaper shout of vocalist David McDaniel. Flowers of Evil maintains a relentless pace up until the gutter-glam finale “Until You Feel the Cut” leaves you splendidly drained.
Spiritual Cramp – Television (2018)
Television is a compilation from San Francisco’s Spiritual Cramp, and it’s a ton of fun. A group of musicians with hardcore roots poking at the proto-punk bounce of early Talking Heads (“Northern Soul Search” is très “Psycho Killer”), Wire-style funkiness, and just good ol’, all-downstroke punk ferocity.
Throughout the early part of the pandemic, vocalist Michael Bingham was often posting quick Instagram vids of his daily runs. Pushing the band’s manic, snarled-and-screamed theme song through a pair of earbuds has likely bumped a few other people’s pedometers, too.
That’s all for this week! You can find more of the vast Deranged catalogue streaming over here.