13 February 2016


These Austin kids nail it, and they did so right out of the gate on this 2013 demo. Simultaneously dreary and peppy, they sneak darkness into pogo friendly first wave punk numbers - part of it is the guitar leads, but the drab vocals are obviously a key factor. Perhaps it's all totally calculated, and I quietly suspect that it is, but when I hear anarcho punk and WARSAW-era art school jams co-mingling like this? I'm just saying I start to care a little less about the motivation when the end result is really good. Several vinyl releases have followed for those who haven't already taken the plunge...

12 February 2016


It doesn't always have to be clean, my friends. Sometimes it's simply excruciating...and every now and then it's worth the pain. Angular and awkward, NOTHING BAND slog through a half hour of tortured guitars, a generous collection of found sounds and disjointed, almost nonsensical, percussions. The vocals make rare appearances, and sound like a tantrum from a tormented adolescent when they do. But these are timeless sounds...it's clearly not music...but that's part of why I find it so engaging. Because it's presented as music, and it's interpreted as something like music, but these are just sounds and actions as sounds. All musical convention is absent, making tracks like the fifth one here even more challenging simply because they are more musical. Listen hard and let go.

11 February 2016


I like punk with a weirdo bent, and I'll take tuneful jams for days if they sound just a little off. Combining early Aussie punk vibes with casual, messy pop punk sensibilities and KBD smarts sounds like a good idea, but you won't know how good until you bang on this WORN LEATHER demo from 2014. There's a second tape from the same year (also great), but I'm still sticking with the debut - seven hook filled tracks of mid paced, off kilter weirdo punk? Sold.

10 February 2016


I played in a band called MALACHI towards the end of my stint in Milwaukee - fun band with a stellar bunch of folks...played a dozen shows in our hometown, hit Europe for three weeks in 2009 and then called it a day as the members gradually relocated (not all of us - Russell still lives in The Promised Land).  One of the two guitarists was a cat named Dathan (ex-SKULLTIME, ARCHITECTS OF THE AFTERMATH), who lived in Panama for a year(ish?) and then split for Minneapolis, where he started a band called HIVE (with some other people from bands with a way higher profile than our little outfit ever mustered). Quintessential epic crust...riffs for days, a constant low end heavy chug, and a singer with a rasp well worthy of the Northwest elite. If nothing else, HIVE stands out for the intensity and speed they bring to the game - even the slower, more melodic bits ("Reversal Of Fortune") will have you clenched tight...the knife edge that this band straddles creates a legitimate tension with even a casual listen. Comparisons aren't really necessary, but if you monkeys like the sound of a black clad apocalypse with full stacks, then here you go. Thanks for the envelope, Dathan...the rest of you should thank him too.


08 February 2016


True mutant jammers, these SoCal freakazoids simply don't make any actual sense. On the one hand, it's like that one out-of-left-field art/alt band with the video that played on 120 Minutes just that one time, but it's also bizarro college rock and Shimmy Disc and some future genius jerking around in his bedroom with a 4-track...it's all of these things. And it's yours. The whispering vocals, the meandering bass leading the sparse and simple clean guitar, the general weirdness and the TV samples and the occasional XTC-meets-BUTTHOLE SURFERS vibe. It's yours.


Sometimes you want to listen to really catchy punk, and sometimes you want to listen to Blood Sweat and No Tears...and sometimes you don't want to have to choose. For those times, I offer Italy's SIEGE STOMPERS for your consideration and inevitable enjoyment.

07 February 2016


It might be good to occasionally venture off of your path, to sink your teeth into tastes that challenge your palette. Maybe you find something you like and start on a new musical journey, or maybe you just solidify your affinity for whatever brand of hardcore and/or punk and/or minimal electronic noise that happens to float your boat. Enter Albuquerque's THE PADILLA BROTHERS, a schmaltzy trio who belt out syrupy sweet easy listening '70s country with an apparent obsession with a dude from Bethlehem. But religious affiliations aside, when they pick up the pace on "Buenos Dias, Señor Jesus" it kinda swings like The Nashville Sound but without the strings. These three dudes don't just bring killer hair to the table, their vocal harmonies are stellar and though the guitar licks are subtle, they are extremely effective. Perhaps not an accident that the Spanish language tracks are the most successful, as these are the songs that lay it back and just kinda roll, but the questionably titled closer "His Hand Is Touching Me" crushes at such a slow and deliberate pace that it's the song I keep coming back to. So step off the trail, young punk...even if your journey only leads you back to where you starts, you'll at least know you're headed the right way.

06 February 2016


Karoline and I just had a discussion about the HICKEY/FUCKFACE show she booked in Milwaukee in '96...I have always thought that HINGE was one of the locals on that show, she thinks that they had probably split up by then, but we both agree that we spent most of the show making out in the front seat of a double parked brown Ford on Oakland Avenue, so the memories are good ones either way. I have had a different HUNGE recording floating around since that era, but I snagged this one from Daniel when he was purging a couple of summers ago, and it's way better than the one I've been listening to. Four tracks of impassioned basement DIY with a heavy DC influence and killer swarms of guitars. I've said it countless times in these pages, but I miss bands having the freedom to write like this without instant access to every subgenre at their fingertips...I miss songs like "How The West Was Won" popping onto tapes and steering your listening in an entirely different direction. So whether I saw HINGE or not, I'm glad to have the sounds. And if, in fact, didn't see them? Well, it was a really good make out session, so no regrets.

05 February 2016


Shameless modern heavy metal from Philadelphia...there's nothing wrong with a killer blues based guitar lick, and if your vocalist can pull, off that gravelly swagger then by all means: let that flag fly, my man. I was struck immediately by this tape...I was supposed to be analyzing the latest international punk offerings and I was rocketed back to adolescence the moment I pressed play. It's like KYUSS without MELVINS, or PENTAGRAM without SABBATH...it's timeless heavy metal music, loud and dirty.

04 February 2016


Sometimes you like to get bashed in the face. Repeatedly. And for moments like those, I suggest listening to the NO PEACE demo. Repeatedly. The guitars alone will likely be enough to start you pounding your face into the nearest wall with maximum force. Repeatedly. But the whole package here is some UK82 punx snorting baby arm sized rails of phencyclidine. Repeatedly. NO PEACE sound so brilliantly fukkd, so horrifically pissed...and "Rat Maze" is pure filth snorting crank thats been stepped on so hard that you blow a line, immediately take a shit and then sit around wondering if you're high or not. Since you aren't sure, you do another line. And repeat. But I digress.

03 February 2016


As simple as it is ferocious, this 2013 banger from northern Spain drops eight solid punk jams right in your lap. "Atrapado" and the four note "Celdas" slow the pace to a creepy crawl, but the rest of this tape is some kind of DBeat/pogo hybrid - fast, pure, raw, and very punk. You like the way it looks? You'll like the way it sounds.

01 February 2016


Once again - I'm getting tired of the hoards of kids dishing out regurgitations of the new wave and goth that a sunk into as a teen. And once again - I hear bands like RHYTHM OF CRUELTY and all I want is more. The brutal simplicity of the opening track, with the caterwauling vocals sharing reverberating frequencies with the over treated guitars and a two track monotony that continues for three and one half minutes...that simplicity can also be described as perfection. The next two are slightly more up tempo, vocals lost swimming in those guitars while the phasered (of course) bass drives the train (actually, the drum tracks might be the most interesting aspect of this whole recording, but they are sadly buried in the mix...if only they had an effects pedal for drums - oh wait: it's a drums machine, so they've got that covered too). By the time "Still Life" settles into a 4/4 to close things out, you might be as addicted as I was. Lucky you, because this tape is from 2012, and this Canadian duo has been rather busy since then.


Somewhere between emo (from the before-it-was-a-bad-word era) and UNIFORM CHOICE, this is perfect teenage Southern California punk. You can practically feel the sun. 

31 January 2016


When young punks draw liberally from the sounds of decades past, foregoing anything resembling originality in favor of trying to recreate an artifact, when young punks spend their time doing the new millennium equivalent of the kids in my high school jamming "Stairway To Heaven" ripoffs, when it seems like maybe there really is, in fact, nothing new....then I want it to fukkn sound like CONTINGENT. When the tracks are this good I don't give even half a shit if it's a rehash, and these young punks sound like they got plopped straight out of 1982. Three pogo friendly burners with perfectly gruff vocals, just enough flange on the bass, and "In The Wild" is the most gloriously ignorant track I've heard in ages. Well done, young punks, I take back everything I said about you.

30 January 2016


I genuinely love the fact that there are so many of these to unearth. Countless bands that have flown under the radar for ages, forgotten by advancing time and changing winds, perhaps never known by anyone outside of their geographic area, perhaps never known to anyone at all. Maybe MAFFICKS don't fall into any of these categories, maybe I just missed them, but popping this late '80s cassette into the deck last week was my first introduction. A mix of D-Punk and era-appropriate DC with more than compelling guitar work and earnest vocals, these are five tracks that will likely not change anyone's world, and that's OK....because it's all a part of the hunt.