30 August 2014


It's difficult for me to imagine a less happy sounding recording than this one. Suburban Chicago mutants dish out some serious anguish on this 2010 banger - genuine ugliness and complete frustration.  Jerky, awkward, angry and completely disjointed music, HAPPINESS are nothing if not the manifestation of disgust. This is really really good.

Failure's cheap and easy // Failure's all I know

29 August 2014


Excellent time/place comp capturing the varied scene in '90s Vila Velha, ES in Brasil. A few bands on the more melodic end of the spectrum you may be familiar with (MUKEKA DI RATO, THE SUMMONING, DEAD FISH), some all out shit noise grind (NÔ NA PICA), raw hardcore (CORPPUS, DR. MORBAL, GRITOS DI ODIO) and the tape wraps up with epic metallic punk from FRANCISQUNIA ENGOLE SEVEN and a '90s anarcho crust banger from INSULTING WORDS. Just dive in, friend, that's what this shit is here for.

28 August 2014


These Germans dished out three full lengths on We Bite, but it should come as no surprise that this 1987 demo smokes all of them (several of these tracks appear in a more polished form on DEATH IN ACTION's 1988 debut Toxic Waste). Off the rails crossover thrash metal, all the screws tightened just right. Musical similarities to S.O.D. but there's a clear UK punk sensibility and something distinctly German that I can't quite put my finger on. Furthermore, unless you listen to the first DIE KREUZEN LP today, then the time change in "God, Where Are You?" is going to be the highlight of your waking hours. 

27 August 2014


I admit that I totally enjoy dipping my feet into unknown musical environments just to see how the water feels. Usually it's murky and uninteresting and I manage to escape with nothing to show but a few precious minutes that I will never be able to reclaim....but sometimes the water is a shimmering, refreshing oasis and I plunge in headfirst. That was the case when I saw Austin's BOY FRIEND last year...didn't know a soul in the room, just kinda found myself there. And within moments it didn't matter if there was anyone else in the room at all. Comparisons to COCTEAU TWINS are unavoidable (and justified, though even more so on their 2012 Egyptian Wrinkle LP), and it's been a while since I have heard a band that so immediately set a mood. If you have introspective and reflective moments and find yourself needing an escape, you'll drink this tape down like an evening cup of tea best enjoyed alone. 

Hard copies from Night People

26 August 2014


I got this ripper in the mail during The Escape's infancy and it somehow fell through the cracks (well, I know how, I just don't like to admit that I have too much shit and am rather disorganised). Brutal and noisy metallic crust from Korea - guitars that would make D-CLONE weep, a midpaced attack that packs relentless power, vocals with over the top intensity...and they write a mean ass riff. "Overthrown Future" is so indescribably simple, but it grabs you by the throat from the opening chugs and manages to maintain for all six minutes of the track - and that guitar lead creeps ever so slightly into melodic crust territory which only serves to make that white noise attack even more addictive. There are no frills here, just distortion done right. 

25 August 2014


Popping this bad boy in the deck a few weeks ago was my first exposure to CHOREA, but I was transported to a thousand different places I have seen, heard of and read about before the end of "Threads." Sonic relatives of LUNGFISH perhaps with their use of repetition, the sound here is early '90s emo (perhaps a bit more polished and college rock than that descriptor might imply) and the execution is superb. No background, just six songs that sound like shit punks would be scared to sound like today for fear of getting ridiculed. That's too bad....or maybe I hang out with the wrong punks. If tapes were time machines....

24 August 2014


There was a house show in Oakland a couple of weeks ago. A lot of cool bands, bands people were excited about for various reasons - some justified and some superficial. The show was a killer; eight bands, I was on my way home before 11pm, and even the worst band I saw that night was pretty damn good. But there was a band from Iowa on the show that no one was talking about, a band who only a handful of people seemed interested in, a band that wasn't wearing cool punk uniforms...a band that absolutely leveled the joint. I've babbled about NERV here before, and I was quite excited to see them live, but I was fukkn floored and couldn't wipe the smile off my face. Simply put: This is what I want from hardcore! Bare bones, completely honest almost to the point of self deprecation, fast as shit and songs that grab you and force you to engage. Heavy on the '80s Midwest hardcore influence (I'm talking Touch & Go, early Chicago), this is raw and completely unpretentious with manic jams that seem to give zero fukks about current rehash trends and knuckle dragging Oi! riffs repackaged as hardcore (a trend that I fully back, for the record). Listen to the drums hesitate and lurch into the full speed strained vocal attack of "Bug," the single note riffing that starts "Shut-In," the guitar break in "Dig A Hole"...these dudes so casually pack so much power into eight minutes that it's kinda unreal. Their new single is every bit as good as I hoped it would be. And for the record, the rest of the show was really fukkn good and I had a blast, but no one touched NERV that night. 
I don't know who I am // I don't know where I stand

Find NERV and other shockingly good sounds from Iowa here. Seriously.

23 August 2014


My pal Layla told me she was unloading a shitheap of tapes last week and I suggested that she filter them through me. She obliged and you can thank me later because, even if there were nothing else of merit in that bag (and there was), this Portland/Hawaii split is fukkn great. Weirdo lounge/art sounds on PALABRA'S Morena Montaña, just enough outside of your comfort zone to keep you compelled (unless you're a dummy) - "Muchachitas!" is like a mellow outtake from and early BARRY ADAMSON record while subsequent tracks read like weird meets interplanetary. Yeah....and NERVE BEATS cruise effortlessly between atonal post-psychedelic punk and  something akin to the world that shits their collective shorts over EDDY CURRENT and the like.  More than most shit I hear, NERVE BEATS sound like they could have come from a long long time ago, but both bands sound fresh at 12:04am on a Saturday. Good shit....you're welcome.

Good shit, regardless of what you're into...

22 August 2014


I'm a big fan of "time and place" comps that take an aural picture of what's going on in a certain city and/or scene, even if every song isn't your jam (it's a comp, what are the odds of liking everything?) there is probably something you dig, something you've never heard before, or something outside your comfort zone that gets your juices flowing. Pollution Capitale fills all three of those categories and then some - 
Things Outside My Comfort Zone: ABJECT OBJECT, BIT PART, BLACK SHABBATH, JESSICA 93 (who dish out perhaps the best track on the tape, a methodical goth/post punk jam that should be mandatory listening for supposed fans of the genre/s)
There are also tracks that could be filed as Shit I Like: KRIGSKÅDE, AMER, TRASHLEY

Essentially no duds on this comp as long as you are open to new things. There's hardcore, synth punk, post-emo (yeah, that's a thing - I should know since I just made it up), raw punk, some tasteful blast beats and lots of riffs that you will wish you had written but were written by people who probably live really far from you. Seriously, a lot of riffs. This is what comps should be; welcome to Paris circa 2012.

21 August 2014


Sometimes it's nice when the source is a total mystery. I think I was directed to this project by someone personally involved, but that was months ago and my memory is shit. So here are two horrifically bleak black metal missives: "The Coils Of Depression" and the title track "Happiness Is Not An Option." See above description: horribly bleak. Kinda like life, but you take the good things out of it and you revel in them. And while it might be ironic to file NO PLEASURE IN LIFE with the aforementioned (but rare) "good things." sometimes you have to take what you can get. Even when what you can get is rather grim.

20 August 2014


This one is kinda tough to nail down - vaguely Deutsch, heavy on the party punk end of things, super catchy...and fukkn weird. Hyper energetic and definitely too melodic for some, but there's something exceptionally engaging about this German duo. Simultaneously dour and the life of the party, BEACH GHETTO UNICORNS have, if nothing else, succeeded in releasing a ridiculous cassette. And that's not nothing.

19 August 2014


Low end burly grind from (of course) Florida. This is a bulldozer that lacks any nuance whatsoever, the first track goes right for the throat and WORLDS never lets up. Fukkn insane.

18 August 2014


It's that hard hitting hardcore mixed with the impassioned melodic/metallic sound that was dominating Germany in the late '90s - is it really a stretch to imagine Per Koro bands morphing into floorpunching edge bands? It's not...fukk man, this shit is great. ABC DIABOLO joining forces with TERROR (don't judge, but I watched TERROR videos for a solid 90 minutes over the weekend, and had to make myself stop) is sounding pretty crucial to me right now.  I got this tape from Allan when I was in Brasil a few months ago...now I need to know if there is more. 

17 August 2014


So there's this pretty killer punk band from southern California called DOSES. They released a self titled 12" early this year and it's a pure jammer - solid, heavy noisy midtempo dirges backed by a drum machine and what I'm assuming is a shitpile of narcotics. Seriously, it's an excellent record, and you should either listen to it here or buy it here (probably both, one will tide you over until the other arrives in the mail)...but I'm here to talk about remixes. These fools got DJ HATE CRIME (worst name, obviously) to tweak the shit out of their record and the result is off the fukkn charts awesome. I guess it helps that there's a drum machine at the base of this whole operation, but the shit this DJ did to the DOSES record will melt your fukkn mind. A redux that is several steps beyond ill, this is what happens when your sounds go to the desert. I suggest hallucinogens, if only so you can be on the same pages as DOSES & Company. Welcome to actual next level aural insanity. 

16 August 2014


The wise among you will recall the debut offering from ON ON ON that appeared on The Escape last you, and you will rejoice upon seeing their sophomore effort on this page today. On the one hand, 28 Children Songs For Wasted Adults has a touch more structure than the interplanetary outsider punk of the previous tape, but rest assured that ON ON ON are still coming at you from a place you don't understand. Jerky post/art punk that will swing like early B-52S for a minutes and then devolve into CRASS-esque arhythmic marches. Guitar/drums/organ and vocals spitting from all directions with a sharp DeutschPunk tongue, these women grab your attention first, and deal with the nuances later. Simple tracks like "Lazy" and "Die Stanze" both clock in well under 60 seconds (like most of the songs here) and are act like bridges from one burst of weirdness to the next. Sometimes they might be impossible to groove to, but equally impossible to turn away from. Tongue firmly in cheek and without a hint of pretense, this trio just plopped another winner in your lap..

Trim Tab Tapes does not disappoint, and will happily provide you with physical copies. And while you're at it, you should probably just go ahead and snag that CAT 'N GUYEN tape since you probably missed it last time around.