02 September 2014

OIL


I guess there was a time when bands like this were just "hardcore," the brief hooks, crew backing vox, breakdowns...all of it was hardcore and Holland's OIL had it all. This 1997 demo is a perfect time warp even if you've never heard these jams before today - it's all of the good shit from late '90s youth crew shits, without any of the shitty shit. I mean, it's not as good as OUTLAST, but "Your Words, Not Ours" is almost as good as "Empty Slogans," and that's a pretty bad ass track and nothing to fukk with so....I'm just sayin'. I feel like kids from OIL did other shit that people cared about later, but maybe I'm wrong? Either way, this demo as your legacy is a damn fine thing, so good job, Dutch dudes. 


01 September 2014

GOFILTHGO


This Greek outfit made me eat my words a few months ago when I implied that one of their records looked kinda cheesy. "Yeah, whatever, I know exactly what this sounds like" I told Lydia. But Lydia assured me that it was a really good version of the supposedly generic thing I was about to review and I still scoffed....until I dropped the needle. I apologized to Lydia immediately, and I apologize to GOFILTHGO today - this is bombastic DBeat mania with healthy doses of noise and chaos. Exactly what you fools are used to listening to on Mondays at The Escape (though I admit I've lost my way from time to time).


31 August 2014

POWER ASSAULT


I wish I could convey how perfect this 1989 demo sounds at the very moment I am typing these words. It's ugly crossover/thrash, but I can't tell if they are primitive and accidentally brilliant or if they possessed a vision that far surpassed their recording budget. "Pyromaniac" is an undeniable classic, and flourishes like the guitar overdub on "Eyes Of Blood"  are things that would be potential boner killers if presented in full studio glory - but in the context of this banger, the shit just rules. Maybe this is just another shitty late '80s thrash demo to you, but to me? This sounds so right.

You can even see the ball point pen lines in the gaping mouth on the junior high cover art...

30 August 2014

HAPPINESS


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

MAMÃO PODRE vol. 2


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

DEATH IN ACTION


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

BOY FRIEND


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.C.B.M.


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

CHOREA


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

NERV


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

PALABRA // NERVE BEATS


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

POLLUTION CAPITALE


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 I Dig: PEUR PANIQUE, LOBSTER KILLED ME, YOUTH AVOIDERS
Things I've Never Heard Before: BIÉRE SOCIALE, SHAWN KEMP, BESOIN DEAD
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

NO PLEASURE IN LIFE


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

BEACH GHETTO UNICORNS


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

WORLDS


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.