Remember all the shit I said about mix tapes last week when I posted that French heavy metal collection that someone made for my buddy Devon? Well apply all of those accolades to today's collection of bands from South Africa. Chaotic live anarcho/thrash from OUTRAGE (who have previously visited The Escape) and a chunk of commercial metal/grind from GROINCHURN, probably that country's best known punk or metal export, but everything else on this mix was new to my ears. Melodic '90s punk from FUNGY GONE WEST and CRUSH, while DIMINISHED RETURN play charging metallic hardcore with UK punk vocals, and DEVIATE are heavy grinding metalcrust. INFECTIOUS OUTBREAK (total weirdo/anarcho art/grind), THE GLEE CLUB (FROGS meets TEENAGE FANCLUB), and FRIDGE MAGNET (average punk, but the chorus just repeats "Police Stupidity" so I'm kinda into it) make appearances, but the highlights for me are the bands that start and end the tape. Seven tunes from FUCT OFF kick off the A side, raw and forceful UK influenced politically charged punk - simple but absolutely killer songs (these tracks are really raw, sounds like a several generations old recording...would love a cleaner version if anyone's holding?). And the whole thing ends up with BATTERY 9, a commercially successful dance/industrial band from the mid '90s - these two tracks were my introduction, and inspired me to get lost down an internet rabbit hole searching out more music from this duo. Land Of Rape And Honey-era MINISTRY meets POP WILL EAT ITSELF as a lazy reference, great shit. This is why mix tapes rule...again.
18 April 2014
17 April 2014
Sometimes the next greatest thing ever doesn't matter and you just want churning, heavy, ugly hardcore/crust. And sometimes you feel like maybe it should have blast beats every four or five songs. If you are having one of those days, then I suggest you blast the shit out of the Czech outfit that was active in the early 2000s. This tape compiles a shitload of demos and splits, 27 tracks altogether.
16 April 2014
Deep psych synths from DROWNER, a bit of an '80s influence and generally more constructed than 2011's Burning Room. But that's just the first few tracks, eventually their side of the split descends into the same sparse electronic bliss that I was expecting and then erupts with "Nail The Coffin Shut," which sounds like a Wax Trax! dancefloor burner that's been kidnapped by DJ Screw. On the flip, SELF COM offshoot has made a couple of appearances in the past. Sweeping digital despair that flirts with SUICIDE minimalism but denies us all of the hooks. Bleak sounds, with the painfully deliberate "Meal Worm" bringing a resignation that sets the stage for the band's closer, and absolutely morose procession called "Telephone Vision." Friends Of The Escape should already be familiar with SELF COM, a product of MUTANT VIDEO and FEEDING brethren, the outfit becomes still colder with this offering.
15 April 2014
I guess this band is kinda the full embodiment of the California version of '90s emo, right? It's different from DC emo, different from the Northwest emo...they make you wait so long for the freakouts, but when they nail it maybe it's worth the wait? Sometimes chaotic and powerful, and sometimes whiny and off kilter like a PROMISE RING who have lost their way. I remember getting the LP and really trying to like it. I also remember giving up and eventually selling it. I like MOHINDER better, but it's pretty interesting to listen to this analytically with a couple of decades for distance and perspective. Stories, context and anecdotes welcomed...
14 April 2014
Sometimes I am a little late to the party, and this tape is a prime example. There are punks in this world that have been listening to this demo for months, and here I am just turning myself onto it a couple of weeks ago. My fault, no excuses, the fukkn thing was sitting in my pile, I just get distracted. But maybe the wait made ABSOLUT just a little more awesome? More tantalizing? More mysterious? Probably not, but it helps to make me feel better about snoozing, so let me have my consolation...please? This Toronto outfit is the very definition of bombastic Japan/Sweden DBeat hardcore, but with classic heavy metal solos instead of the Scandinavian bendy notes. And I can't believe that no one has thought of this marriage before now, because it is a beautiful union. I try not to beat myself up about missing shit while I'm on tour, but these dudes are playing a few blocks from my house a few days after I leave, and that is a bummer.
They've released a couple of online demos since this early 2013 creamer, and while I think the recordings lack the power of their first offering, the jams on Insane Power Demos are certified. West Coasters should consider themselves lucky.
13 April 2014
I remember BOTCH's American Nervoso full length kicking my ass pretty soundly when I first heard it. I skipped a lot of the clean masculine hardcore when it was around, and only recently revisited some of those bands (and some of them are pretty good), but bands like CAVE IN and BOTCH seemed to be doing it differently, and I liked them. I saw them in Oakland (was it at The Stork Club? really? Because that's where I remember it being but man that seems like a weird spot for them to play...the guitarist was definitely tall though) and I had to scrape my jaw off the floor - advanced and self indulgent hardcore that was confident without being pretentious. By the time that We Are The Romans opus came out, I was either waist deep in generic fastcore (which is still not an unappealing predicament) or BOTCH had advanced themselves right into an echelon that I was not even remotely interested in, and I stopped paying attention after that. Enter this demo a few months back from a friend's unwanted pile (thanks, Master Ums), and man shit this is just '90s emo. Super indulgent and epic (at times unnecessarily so) with healthy doses of mosh friendly bro-core ("Imprisoned") that somehow seem not at all out of place with the vocals that are stuck between that gruff desperate screamo whine and burly hardcore, but perhaps most notable for how not polished and proficient some parts of this demo are ("Roadwork"), especially considering what the band would turn into just a few years after this. And this is a looonnnngg ass demo, clocking in well over 40 minutes....bold, my Seattle comrades, very bold indeed. I admit that this one is more interesting than enjoyable to my 2014 ears but context is important - kids need to learn about shit, you dig?
12 April 2014
I don't really need to talk about this band....do I? Pre-SLEEP (and therefore pre-HIGH ON FIRE and pre-OM), ASBESTOSDEATH shoved weirdo prog rock right in the face of grungy metal dirges, and they did it in a metropolitan area that was, at the time, consumed by pop punk. Three of the songs here are on the band's two singles (re-issued by Southern Lord a few years ago), but there's a banger called "Absorb" that I have not been able to find elsewhere...it's probably out there, but I just don't know where to look. And while the tape clearly states that this is "not a demo," these are not the versions that were eventually committed to wax. The final two tracks seen on the cover are live jammers of a decent caliber (and can be found today at Escape Is Terminal) - ASBESTOSDEATH were absolutely ahead of their time.
11 April 2014
You've heard me espouse the virtues of the tape trading days many times on these pages (or are they screens), and this banger is yet another prime example of how much mix tapes rule and how much my buddy Devon benefits from decades of relentless networking. Screaming '80s heavy metal, strutting through Pigalle in search of the next sleazy strip club, tight leather and frills galore - every track on this tape would have owned a Sunset Strip Battle Of The Bands any time before 1985. DEMON EYES mix classic Vince Neil vocals with a touch of NWOBHM, while SORTILEGE flirt with dark power metal a la MAIDEN and MORSÜRE dish out blistering double bass driven speed metal (their eponymous track is a face melting burner). Classic driving heavy metal from SPEED QUEEN, ANYWAY and STOCKS flows nicely into a slightly more amped up version of the same animal from KILLERS and mid-era SCORPS meets Vengeance-era PRIEST from H-BOMB. "Rock Suicide" from ATTENTAT ROCK is sometimes my favorite jammer, but then there are times when the raw power of S.M.F. has me hitting rewind. This is for fans of the bygone genre, fans of the bygone culture of mix tapes (I know they are "cool," but I'm talking about a time when they were a lifeline), and fans of sleazy French heavy metal....wherever you are.
10 April 2014
Tons of modern bands spend time looking to and reinterpreting the past (just as many bands from the past were in turn reinterpreting things from their own pasts), and laying a new set of hands on a tired and intellectually exhausted incarnation of rock can often result in a new and exciting listening experience. But far too often, the sounds are just rehashed or recreated, and the instant availability of every subgenre's historical digression has made the problem even worse. Whatever your interest, you can learn from the masters and vomit out exactly the same thing...if you're good enough. And sometimes that's enough - without naming names, there are stacks of records on my shelves from bands that are relatively unimaginative but who are really fukkn screaming. I'm fine with that (I think we punks all are to an extent, or we would've gone the free jazz route years ago), but I really like it when a band kicks the paradigm in the gut while still somehow fitting within it. Enter SLAVESTATE 641A. These two songs nurse at the teat of SWANS, JESUS LIZARD, even KILLDOZER (tonally, if not conceptually), but an entirely new animal is born out of an insemination of influences. Evolution, my friends, manifested here in the form of fourteen minutes of painful dirge with anguished shouts. Sonically industrial with the deliberate crash of monotony...kinda like life.
Interview with the dudes here.
09 April 2014
My knowledge of this French outfit is extremely limited (nonexistent, in fact), though I have seen their name for years. Unfortunately, these tracks come from a homemade mix tape, so my already limited background information would be subject to the factual inaccuracies of the (presumably...hopefully) blitzed punk rocker who lovingly put this 90 minute mix together many years ago. While I always assumed that BÉRURIER NOIR were a two fingers in the air chaos punk act, this tape starts with midpaced gruff drum machine/guitar tunes that lumber more than rock, and while perhaps something is lost in translation and the lyrics are the draw (mon français est tout à fait insuffisant), I find them rather boring. The pace picks up with tracks from the Nada 12", but it's essentially an improvement on the same formula. There are a pile of songs that are attributed to a live record (Concerto Pour Detraques) and then a few legitimately catchy swingers that close the whole thing out (admittedly, these are the only songs I will ever listen to). Always wanted to know what they sounded like, and now I do...peut-être un FOTE français peut éclairer le reste et entre nous et de fournir un contexte historique?
08 April 2014
Ultra primitive plodding black metal/raw punk hybrid from Tampa. Guitar/drums and sneered distorted vocals. It took me a while, and maybe it's something about the echo in the guitar (though the awkward adolescent moaning in "She Likes Many Things" didn't hurt), but I consider myself a convert.
07 April 2014
Los Angeles Ponx hit another home run, which should come as no surprise to anyone who has been paying attention for the last few years. Driving, dirty feisty punk with shouted female vocals in Spanish. Every song bounces and demands full body attention - I'm talking about getting into these jams, not just listening - and I can only imagine that this effect is magnified when TOZCOS is experienced in a live setting. The sub-minute "Nos Estamos Desangrando" is my choice jam, so simple but so damn good.
06 April 2014
Ignore the cover (I actually considered not posting it because the full color amateur photoshop so blatantly dates this release) but dig the jams...please. How many bands like HIPOKRYZJA must there be? Earnest and fierce Polish punk along the lines of masters like ARMIA and TZN XENNA, but this tape comes from 1997, when the style was (perhaps?) out of vogue at home but the internet had not yet become the great geographical equalizer. This tape is almost an hour long, and parts of it might be too produced and "modern" for some, but take a look at some of the other shit that QQRYQ released (POST REGIMENT, SCHIZMA, CITIZEN FICH, DEZERTER, loads more...) and perhaps you will decide that diving into Nie Jesteście Inni is a good idea. And you will be correct.
05 April 2014
Never has a warble been as comfortable as it is at the start of the four song bizarro assault from Seattle's TRRASH. The cool paradigm is absolutely blown to smithereens in the coolest way imaginable. Blown out, truly and unpretentiously fukkd sounding punk rock. 100% mutant hardcore.
04 April 2014
You ever been to Bakersfield? Probably not, and there was a time when I probably would have told you that there was no reason to do so. And while I might have been giving the correct advice at the time (like the time I got maced by security guards at a pizza joint on new year's eve), I would suggest that, in these modern times, Bakersfield is at the very least and interesting place to visit...and it is potentially awesome. You can see punk bands in a boxing gym, you can look at the America that used to be (or perhaps never really was), you can go to a thrift store and then pop across the street to a porno theatre, and you can go to Going Underground and lose hours looking at records. And while you are looking at records, if you are me, you'll probably get distracted by the tapes too - the cover and title alone intrigued me here, and I was prepared to buy blind when the proprietor told me it was a space mix of dancehall and reggae...hmmmm...I don't really give a shit about that shit (it's an apathy born of ignorance, I admit), but when a dude who seems to have impeccable taste presents an hour of faves from relatively foreign genres, then I'm intrigued. From the source, this is: "60 minutes of reggae and dancehall hits taken from my records and space mixed." I do not know a single artist on this tape, but I found it to be 60 minutes of sheer bliss.
This was taken around the corner from Going Underground. Refuse To Lose.