20 March 2018


The Northern California hippie/university/burnout enclave of Eureka/Arcata has periodic blips on the DIY radar every few years. I played a teen center there on my first tour in 1992 (I remember the show being really good....but it was my first tour so everything felt like magic), and there were some good stops there during my first stint in California. But it was SAKÉ who really put the region on the map for most 1990s DIY punks, with art/anarcho punk showered with violin that was most widely distributed on their split LP with Vancouver's SUBMISSION HOLD. I don't think any of their recordings (the split, a 10", an EP and a demo....perhaps there's more?) hold a candle to their live shows, which is perhaps why SAKÉ is relegated to cult status amongst West Coasters...but I would argue that THE GODS might have been even better. Known at the time to most of us as "Roshawn's other band, THE GODS are quintessential '90s East Bay hardcore with influences that can only be described as "out there." Fiercely aggressive hardcore with multiple vocals and an approach to construction that clearly adheres to no rules but their own. The recording is raw and the presentation is real, eschewing pretense for intensity, I only saw them once and I think this demo might be the entirety of their output. "Salt Lick" and "2nd Street" are the pure bangers, though I would take any of the contained material whenever offered. Take early '90s-era NEUROSIS, ECONOCHRIST, PAXTON QUIGGLY and the like as reference points, and cure the whole thing in a mist and weed infested coastal paradise riddled with heroin and methamphetamines. True outsider music, made out of necessity. 

19 March 2018


Uuuuufffff....the fukkn RIFFS. Sinister snarled hardcore with riffs forever upon more riffs - I dare say they are at their most powerful when they slow down for the closer "Fatal Light," but that might be simply because the rest of the thing is so damned fast (ok, there's one other mid paced burner, but it's primarily full throttle). It might also be because that song is really damned good. Their ability to assemble erratic structures and make cohesive and catchy tracks puts them in line with current heavyweights like SKEMÄTA, and those fukkn vokills almost hurt to listen to. An absolute ripper, submitted with the highest recommendations. 

18 March 2018


Taking cues from some of my favorite '90s acts, DINGUS stole my fukkn heart on this 2013 demo. Positively charming DIY punk, melodic in the same way HICKEY and WHITE TRASH SUPERMAN or those dirty sing along bands from Tennessee that almost entirely slipped under my radar were catchy - which is to say that they never sacrifice the edge or the speed. Seems odd to describe a punk demo as "sweet," but that's the overwhelming vibe I get from these tracks...plus the slow down at the end of "Little Things" is super simple and totally perfect. 

17 March 2018


I spent last weekend in Oklahoma City enjoying one of the more (most?) inspiring and consistently awesome gatherings in North America. You may call it a "fest," but Everything Is Not OK is truly a coming together of freaks and mutants and like minded bizarros more than a collection of cool bands...but the bands are sick too. I came home with a decent haul of new shits, but felt immediately inclined to revisit some favorites from my trip to EINOK two years ago. Lots of bangers from that year's epic haul have shown up in these pages, but the high speed tru-freek hardcore of Chicago's 86 GEMINI has remained in my ears and on the shelf until today. It's the raw and indulgently affected sounds of the mid '00s but these kids are fast as shit, cranking through four tracks in well over six minutes. The guitar solo on "They Built A Beach" (all nine seconds of it) is worth the price of admission on its own, and the rest of the jams contained are of the highest caliber. You'll bounce, you'll bob, and before it's over you'll probably smash things....I mean, if you listen at an appropriate volume. 

16 March 2018


A glorious and chaotic one hour compilation of Yugoslavian punk and hardcore from mid 1980's Yugoslavia, the title alone should be all that you need to know that you need this in your life. BLITZKRIEG, PATARENI, Z.R.M., FRUSTRACIJA, KRIVO SRASTANJE, G.B.M., K.S.O., and some shamelessly endearing pop from LE CINEMA & MIRA to close the whole thing out. With the exception of PATARENI (whose brand of pure speed is still stunning 30+ years later), most of this flies well under the radar...we would all be well advised to rectify that. 

14 March 2018


It's possible that this relic is from an unmemorable ANCIENT CHINESE PENIS weekend mini-tour to Dallas and Lubbock, but it's also possible that I just acquired it somewhere. I tend to acquire things. Anthropologically speaking, LOW TOLERANCE were a small college town band that seemed to be juggling an array of early '90s influences - primarily late '80s North American punk and an upswell of grunge. They managed to do so and retain a shred of integrity (more than I can say for myself), and at least half of the tracks on this 1993 cassette are objectively decent....and some are pretty good. We should all be so lucky. 


A stunningly stark presentation of electronic drone from RAKTA's Carla Boregas...absolutely peaceful and positively beautiful. I thought that I had lost my copy of this cassette during one of the dark moments that The Universe pulls over us, but was extremely pleased to recently rediscover it. Instead of typing my typical drivel, I spent two passes lying on the floor and just....listening. And 42 minutes later, I didn't really have anything to say. Whether Carla said it all for me or took the words out of me is irrelevant - the point is that I was in a better place when I finished that I was when I started. The journey isn't always pleasant, but we can hope that the journey is worth the effort. 

13 March 2018


I guess it's a shame that every melodic punk band from France will be compared to LA FRACTION, but then I suppose there's nothing wrong with keeping your standards high, so why not compare them all to the best? DÉFAITE hit the same verve - I know the two bands sound nothing alike (aside from, and I I can't figure out exactly why, the bass guitar - go figure) but this is (still) my blog so I'm gonna stick with that assessment. It's just exceptional melodic punk that makes me feel good for liking punk and makes me feel like it's OK to be alive. And that should be more than enough....right?

12 March 2018


This band started right around the time we left Milwaukee in the late(r) '00s. They thrived on being awful, they bragged about being awful, they laughed when they talked about how awful they were...and so I never went to see them. I mean, I like things that are shitty, but only (or, mostly) when they are trying to be good and failing miserably. A bunch of people who know better AND are capable of better (the guitar player is in SOLUTIONS for fukk's sake) playing intentionally shit music to be funny? That shit does not interest me in the slightest. So I moved away and I never listened to CRAPPY DRACULA for the reasons stated above. And then Dug gave me a tape on a visit and I thanked him. And then I listened to the tape. Are you kidding me? You could legit file this on the Rough Trade catalog circa 198? and people would swoon. These dicks are either geniuses of the highest order or they are really fukkn shitty at being shitty. Either way....The Lockhorns is well worth your time, even (or especially) if your tolerance for idiocy is higher than the average punker. 

11 March 2018


As I write this, I know that these sounds are light years away from where I will be when you read this. I hope that when you read this, I am in a good place....even though I am well aware that giving this release the proper (and deserved) attention will undoubtedly take you to a bad place. It can be important to spend some time in bad places...so please make the most of your journey. 


10 March 2018


These LA dudes had an approach to punk that always kinds made me think of a Mexican RUDIMETNS. It was punk, sure, but it was also sometimes fast and fukkd up and kinda unhinged....and the drummer was a freak. It seemed like every time I played in Southern California for a few years, POLISKITZO were on the show. The were never on the flyer, but they always showed up and they always played...and it was always fun as shit (maybe it only happened twice, but that was a lot of beers ago). This 2013 tape is perhaps their last (?), and it's wild and loose and free, just way punk is supposed to be. 

09 March 2018


Another in the series of Pandemonium compilations, the Italian installment certainly does not disappoint. Visitors who pay attention have already enjoyed the Iberian and Brazilian editions, but I dare say that this one is even better. I'll spare you the descriptions, just know that this is a crucial collection of seminal Italian hardcore and punk that features my single favorite IMPACT track along with NEROGASMO, CANI, PEDAGO PARTY, BED BOYS, NABAT, LAST CALL, DECLINO, SATAN 81, STIGMATHE, all along with acts that most punks will be more familiar with. Fukkn essential sounds, my friends. 

08 March 2018


GREMLYNZ: subdued ambient psychedelia with mesmerizing undertones revealing themselves only  as volume increases. AJILVSGA: apocalyptic drone punctuated by bursts of harsh industrial noise and somber vocals. RELEASE: a twenty three some odd minute cassette from 2009. Honestly, do you need more information than this?

07 March 2018


Ummmmmm, someone wanna tell me what the fukk happened here? Like, why am I just getting this 2005 recording into my earholes? How have these five minutes and thirty three seconds of raw DBeat destruction eluded me for more than a decade? Seriously, I wanna know, because this is legitimately some of the fiercest hardcore I have heard in my entire life. Check 1:02-1:04 of "Operation Empire" and that's just a taste of what these kids bring to the table....the noise is perfect, the riffs are secondary to the presentation until you listen to them (pay attention to the verse in "I Am Not Defeated" if you need more than my word), and after the whole thing finishes you just kinda sit there, slack lawed and stunned. There are only four tracks here, but if that's all I (we) get then I will still offer thanks and eternal hails, because I haven't been pummeled like this in ages...and it feels amazing. 

06 March 2018


It's pretty amazing how totally pervasive high energy melodic punk was in the '90s. All over the damn world for sure, but I feel like it hit South America particularly hard. And the thing is....if you listen without the cloud of assembly line LAGWAGON clones throwing shade on your good taste and self respect, then bands like MALDITO FLANDERS from Buenos Aires just come off like good, catchy punk. Dated, to be sure (but this was recorded 22 years ago, so "dated" seems reasonable), but "Sin Fronteras" is still a ripper and the slow part in "Un Rincon" suits me just fukkn fine...even (or especially) with the painfully out of tune guitars.