Winnipeg's Under Pressure have been making a lot of noise out there lately (both literally and figuratively). Their last two 12"s have received superlative reviews, and for good reason. UP dish out the genuine shit: authentic sounding, noisy hardcore punk with Japanese and American punk of the 80's beating through its heart. The band has changed their sound a bit since their Sound Pollution 12" ("Still No Future") by dropping the blast beats and layering the guitars more. The split 7"s featured here (as well as the Sound Pollution 7" not featured here) represent the transitional period. The guitars are straight forward, but very well played, and the drumming is energetic and tight throughout. Vocally, the singer retains the raspy punk style of the early records, (which is fine with me!) and issues forth bleak lyrics that deal with the darker side of everyday life (addiction, alienation etc.) in a manner that is both snotty and poignant. First up is UP's split with Dutch fastcore noise dealers Blood I Bleed (FlowerViolence Records, 2004). Each band contributes some originals, and one cover. Under Pressure's finest moment on this EP is their cover of "Gospelfuckers" (by Jezus and the Gospelfuckers). The other tracks are good, but not the band's best. Blood I Bleed are messy and fast, and feature a vocalist who could be a 12 year old Japanese girl or a barking baby seal, but is neither. Needless to say, they're great. Next we have UP's split with DFA (Podruido Records, 2004). This record is superior all around (slightly better sound quality, and better tracks). Under Pressure tear it up with 3 great originals, and DFA take the listener back to the American 80's with their 3 tracks of distilled speed and energy, topped off with goofy lyrics seemingly written by a 14 year old. This is an excellent EP, so be sure to play it loud!