30 September 2014


One of the more under the radar UK anarcho acts of the early '80s, ALTERNATIVE cranked out consistently interesting releases. Whistful (almost COCTEAU TWINS-esque) guitars and lilting vocals fronting a forceful Scottish outfit, hearing these tracks (many for the first time in my personal earholes), a decidedly more mellow take on the out front weirdness of many previous releases, is excellent. I'll still take If They Treat You Like Shit of course...but old punk demos are fukkn cool, and this reinterpretation of "Fuck Off Thatcher" is a total killer. Not entirely sure about where this demo fits in their discography, but a few of the tracks appear on the Get Away From It All In The Army and How Dare You cassettes towards the end of their run. 

29 September 2014


Perks of the trade, my friends, sometimes shit like this just shows up on my doorstep. Well, I don't really have a doorstep, but the mailperson puts it in my mailslot. But sometimes it doesn't fit and they just leave me a not and I bike to the post office annex on Bryant street on my lunch break to pick it up. But the point is that sometimes those trips are really worthwhile because those packages too big for my mailslot have tapes like this one inside. Ugly, menacing French hardcore/pv inside. A filthy, distorted, fist clenching killer with screaming and shouting and breakdowns and blastbeats - you know, exactly what you want (if you know what's good for you). The 20 second "Populace" is that jammer, though the breakdown in the following track ("Veine Cave") is about twelve steps beyond complete crush. Eight songs in just over six minutes - one of those minutes is the fukkn intro (and the last 50 seconds in the outro). Complete crush, total kill.

28 September 2014


I only saw this Bay Area outfit once, and they blew the roof off the joint. Discordant and ferocious hardcore reminiscent of late '90s clean cut (almost emo) stuffs, but PILLS are fukkn pissed, and it shows. The blasts before the breakdown in "Connected" raise the hairs on my arms, and the meandering guitar in "Blank" is a very worthwhile challenge...stick with it until that song's breakdown and you will be thusly rewarded. Only three songs here, but this shit is pure power. I shared a practice space with them for a while, and found this tape in a pile of trash after they moved out - grown ass man digging through the garbage? Yes. 

Members of ACTS OF SEDITION, FUNERAL DINER, BURIAL YEAR, NEGATIVE STANDARDS and other, if those sort of things matter to you...

27 September 2014


A near hour of accordion drone, hesitant vocal trembles and tape hiss has never sounded so good. I got lost in this artist for a few hours upon accidental discovery, feel free to follow my lead. You don't listen to this tape as much as you sink into them, but I suggest you do both. Preferably alone.

26 September 2014


There aren't even words for how good this is. SOCKEYE dudes incarnated as an Oi! band gone knuckledragging metal...and yeah, it's as good as you think want it to be. Of course it is. 

Kindly get the fuck out of my way ma'am, so I can enjoy Oi! music like a fukkn man
I'd ask you to come too, but your brain ain't fully formed
I can fukkn tell cuz your head isn't shaved - Oi!
- "Date With Oi!"
Physical copies from Rescued From Life

25 September 2014


Maybe it's listening to the vocals and guitar compete for my attention, or maybe it's the simple fact that these songs are rippers, but I listen to this thing over and over. Think Jen Mace (NERVOUS TREND, NUCLEAR FAMILY) as a vocal comparison, while the Brad's guitar drives a focused outfit that takes the straight forward hardcore model and shoves it into a dark corner filled with '70s SF punk records and Greg Sage songsmith skills....the animal that emerges from that dark place is really good. There's a magic to a collection of well crafted tunes, and that's what this demo is full of - you know what you're getting as soon as you press play, and you keep listening because you know you like it.

24 September 2014


"Resist Stance" is so fukkn simple, and it's exactly what I want from a hardcore punk song. Everything is in here somewhere: the drums are a little hesitant and drag ever so slightly, they sound tinny and real shitty like those '80s records that you love and you know I'm a sucker for riffs. The breakdown in "Shamed Or Honored" is just....dude. Seriously. CORRECTION learned from the best, and in this case the best reminds me of classic USHC, early Scandinavian punk and knuckledragging mosh all snuggling up on the couch watching skate videos. Listen to their eponymous track before you go to work today, trust me on this one.

23 September 2014


Warped and depressive missives, this is truly demented sounding bedroom black metal. From the deliberate monotony of "Juracan" that builds into disconcertion to the repetitive ambiance of "Yukiyú," SANGRE Y TIERRA crush with emotion as much as aural tonnage - distorted and frustrated drum machine driven darkness fronted by a hopelessly distorted guitar. The final track (which is solely keyboards and samples) is the most entrancing thing you will hear all day. A complete lack of light is suggested.

22 September 2014


Belgium's mincecore masters were far from passe when this split dropped, just bare bones hc/grind that might've been called powerviolence had they hailed from Cailfornia - too metal for the punks then, and too raw for the hessians. This is, perhaps, the plight of AGATHOCLES, and these recordings are some of the best I've heard from them. Go ahead and dismiss them based solely on the number of split releases and your preconceived notion of what they deliver...your loss. Ecuador's NOTOKEN are more forceful and more straightforward shred, 19 tracks of lo-fi hc/thrash/grind recorded in 1995. I love this shit. 

21 September 2014


An audio challenge for the adventure inclined, this St. Petersburg demo from 2003 is an all out assault that consumes a whopping 210 seconds. Nine tracks of rudimentary but blistering fastcore thrash incarnated as complete shit-fi supremacy. You can file this one along with the more difficult cassettes I've shared here, but SVINOKOP are as real as it gets. 

20 September 2014


Snotty, feisty, raw, disjointed yet somehow still catchy. ASH DANCE sound like teenage punk played by people who know exactly what they are doing but aren't quite able to pull it off, and anyone who knows me will realize that is a ringing endorsement.

19 September 2014


I loved the demo from a couple of years back (one of by favorite free bins scores to date), but these Canadians have really stepped up their game for this full length teaser from last year. Meaty and forceful hardcore that sounds more desperate than mean...and anyone who has been truly desperate knows which one is more powerful. Every song warrants a clenched fist, and the breakdowns are fukkn textbook. Clean guitars give the recording an edge than stands in defiance to the lack of "heavy" that the recording offers - WEAK LINK doesn't need to blow your doors off with tonnage, they manage that with the songs. Highlights: the lead in to the breakdown that doesn't happen in "Useless Sacrifice," the chorus to "Original Position" and the entirety of "Contact High" (a song that totally should not work from a band like this, but a song that totally works). You can trust me.

A lot of these songs are on the EP they released in July, and I almost forgot to mention that that these fools are from Newfoundland. That place is super far from my house.

18 September 2014


Aggressive (and manic) USHC influenced shit from Brasil. Burly as hell, and hooks galore without a hint of cheesy 'crew stuff in the mix. Equal parts '90s basement DIY and late '80s tough hardcore sounds like a combination I can get behind, and I get behind this.

17 September 2014


Last week, I went to a show in the basement of a stylish vintage clothing store in a neighborhood frequented by drug addicts, trust fund 20somethings, prostitutes, and the wealthy. All of them, often on the same block. It was really moist in a gross way in the basement, and there were fashionable shoes lined up on the shelves. While the first band played, I idly flipped at records upstairs and listened to people who look like caricatures quietly ridicule people who look like characters. And I felt my years more plainly than at any social event in recent memory. The only way to know if a gamble was worthwhile is to look at the payoff with a little hindsight, and my purse from that night in the Tenderloin is this EGRETS ON ERGOT cassette...so I think I won. Even though I flipped through records and lurked conversations for most of their set too.

16 September 2014


These folks came up on the ride home tonight, and it occurred to me that I had this split Wade gave me some time ago that was primed and ready...so here you go. APOGEE SOUND CLUB was already an established thing in SF when we moved back here in 2008 and have continued their underground lurkings while writing consistently better songs. Wade's guitar (and the way he works it with the vocals) brings to mind legitimate heavyweights like MINUTEMEN and BIG BOYS and even though those are cheap and easy comparisons just a little time spent with these recordings will bear them out. The subtle time change and the lumbering (instead of funky) bass in "The Lie," the feisty determination of "Out Of Joint," the entirety of "Protest Is Sex" - the kids are next level. There's a "members of" pedigree that'll make your head spin, but never mind that part and just know that real and genuine outcasts still crank out compelling music in the shadows of this increasingly inhospitable metropolis. Plus, there's stuff on the other side: KAREN are faster, way noisier, louder and throw their oddity right in your face from the start. Editing radio snippets and a mac keyboard volume button into your own live recording is genius but this is a harsher toke to be sure. Not a hook in sight, just challenging jerky fukkd weirdo punk....and I prefer the APOGEE side (but maybe I'm too old?).  This split is something I would never have sought out, but I'm glad it lives in my house and I'm happy for you to have it in yours.