I feel like BLISS THE POCKET OPERA are a "love it or hate it" kind of band. Their sound is almost goth but occasionally almost anarcho punk, the vocals are just a hair off of what could be considered beautiful and teeter on the edge of being super annoying at times, they don't swing enough to dance to, but they aren't pretentious enough to be true dark goth freaks. There are rhythms that conjure up mental images of afternoons wasted at Renaissance Fair(e)s....and still I fall into the "love it" category. "Merry Go Round Games" with its flute taking the lead and the tempo build up at the end before that borders on some Fiddler On The Roof shit before the band chants and picks up the tempo for "Geda" to close this short three song offering. I can't tell you why I like them, because every descriptor I can offer just makes them sound like pretentious drivel...but it's fukkn great. I've shared two other demos on these pages, both were received to mixed reviews (Tribal Dance is one that I have no reservations about - it's truly excellent). This short demo is a live recording from 1987 - and while I'm pretty sure that BTPO benefited greatly from the tools that a studio setting offered....? I'll still take it.
19 February 2018
18 February 2018
I shared their 2014 demo a couple of years ago....because it's good. But THIS piece of plastic? This shit is next level. Hard driving metalpunk paying homage to THIN LIZZY, DISFEAR, MOTÖRHEAD, ANNIHILATION TIME - you get the idea. And these São Paulo punks rip it. Guitar leads are on point and over the top, vocals are throat shredding and the rhythm section seems like they are just relaxing in the pocket, swinging the band through eleven pure burners. "Fronteira" is the hit, which defies logic as it is also the most laid back number on the tape, but the whole damn thing makes me want to get shithammered and bang my fist until the sun comes up. If this is URUTU's trajectory, then I can only imagine what's in store for us next.
17 February 2018
If you were around in the '90s, then you likely heard this band's name from time to time. It was a weird name, so it kinda stuck in my head even though I never (consciously) heard them until I was gifted this demo from a Midwestern friend a few years ago. I suppose that mentally I had filed this with the most self indulgent segment of the basement emo/DIY set....but I was wrong. It's like BLIND MELON, full on funky second wave alternative radio rock that could have shared a stage with MOTHER LOVE BONE. And these were punks? Apparently yes, RAIN LIKE THE SOUND OF TRAINS was a punk band. I'm not a purist, any casual visitor should know that. And I absolutely have an affinity for non-hardcore in both general and comprehensive terms. GIVE sound like SISTER DOUBLE HAPPINESS but not as good (reminder that SDH has but a scant few tracks...and that's a generous assessment), TURNSTILE sound like 311 playing yahtzee while listening to the bad HATEBREED records....and RAIN LIKE THE SOUND OF TRAINS? It's just bad frat funk. I saw this band playing covers dozens of times on Frat Row in Norman, Oklahoma in the early '90s, injecting some "much needed" groove into EAGLES tracks and really feeling that TEMPLE OF THE DOG jam that was all over the radio (before they discovered PEARL JAM, of course). I'm digressing and projecting a bit here, but it's only because I care. I care....and I just don't understand. I should have never listened...you should, because I want to know if I'm wrong. But I just wish I could turn back the clock and make this tape go away.
16 February 2018
I only saw these kids once, and I left the show wondering what the actual fukk they do to teenagers in San Francisco....because TSA were true freaks. A rare crew of native SF punks, I gather that they have been pals since they were young tykes, cutting their collective teeth on local '00s mutant punk and Bay Area Hardcore while discovering all of the nuggets the internet has/d to offer. Richard is noisy, fukkd up, damaged hardcore pegged in the red - hot and saucy like grandma's turkey. I can't talk about influences or any broad reaching sub-scene, because as far as I can tell TSA were (are?) just a bunch of kids from The Avenues who created their own thing, and created it on their own. Respect. Get weird, get distorted, get bent, get down.
15 February 2018
Hastily recorded, shoddily duplicated (in the van while on tour, no less), and sloppily presented, this demo has all of the hallmarks of a total throwaway....except that it fukkn rules. This São Paulo/Washington DC project burst to life in 2016 and embarked on a substantial North American tour with THE PESSIMISTS....my face was melted at the Oakland gig, and this three song demo is all that I have to show for it. I bought a single too, but I was drunk. It happens. This tape is supposed to have five songs I think, but mayhaps they should have let the edge dude/s in the band and on the tour be in charge of duplication because my copy only has the three (now that I listen, I might have edited poorly, and there might actually be four...oops). And they are all screamers. Ripping, snotty, open throttle hardcore punk with vocals that have a noteworthy ferocity. Real Talk: "Pesadelos" is the bangingest track you will hear today. Dudes from COKE BUST, LOTUS FUCKER, CANKRO and loads more, in case that shit matters. It should. Get amongst it.
14 February 2018
Five songs. Six minutes. Polish hardcore delivering that stomp squirm that you kids like to get low to, Polish hardcore that launches and lurches into breakneck ferocity on the second track and leaves your clenched fist/s in the dust. Thick and meaty (check the chorus riff in "Paich" and then just quit punk) mania that is so deliberate, so precise, and so perfectly executed. Listen to the fire in the vocals and remind yourself how well suited Slavic language/s are to hardcore, especially hardcore of the cromagnon variety. This demo is on wax now, and should be considered essential modern punk in any and/or all formats.
13 February 2018
I got this one in the mail a few weeks ago, part of an impressive an appreciated box of aural treats ranging from Midwestern harsh noise to '70s South African psych. There were little descriptors on each tape, and this creation was simply labeled: "SMOKE WEED." So that's all you get, and whether your curiosity is rewarded or punished remains open to interpretation. For me, I will say that the eleventh track (presented here via my questionable editing skills as "08") and the instantly recognizable sixth number are the ones that will keep this collection in my life....at least for a while. But it's the time, the care, and the steadfast commitment to weird that needs to be lauded. Keep the gifts and donations coming, kids...
12 February 2018
I've talked about late '90s ChicagoLand hardcore before, but it seems logical that greatness warrants an occasional revisit (this time to the suburb of Elgin). Sure, everyone knows CHARLES BRONSON, but it's the smattering of contemporaries (whether from the same "scene/s" or not) that put the metro area on my mental map of essential DIY bastions. PRONOUNCED DEAD, PRETENTIOUS ASSHOLES, LITTLEMAN COMPLEX, DIED AT BIRTH, MY LAI...and this little banger from DANGER MOUSE. Fierce fastcore reared on early 625/Slap-A-Ham fodder and presented with a youthful irreverence that is simply impossible to fake...sometimes I think you simply can't be this pissed if you aren't a kid. Six songs in just under four minutes, DANGER MOUSE blur riffs and blow minds; it's real and it's pure. And more than 20 years later when you hear that dismissive yet decisive "SHUT THE FUCK UP!" that closes the demo, it still feels relevant.
11 February 2018
Heavy guitar rock rooted in the shit that crossed over into college town indie circa early '90s. We're talking GUZZARD, CHOKEBORE, early SubPop and/or AmRep with subtle sprinkles of Homestead. The recording is just a little too hollow (or raw?) to really pull off the style but, not surprisingly, that's kinda why I like it. The focus is on the guitars and on the jam, with vocal sections serving more as interludes between periods of ferociously heavy space rock. This is rarely the thing I need in my life, but there are times when it passes me by - this 2015 DISASTRONAUT tape is one of those times.
10 February 2018
If you were around at the time, then you surely know. Rarely have I ever (and I emphasize ever, to make it clear that I mean to encompass the entirety of my show-going and punk living life) seen a band that approached CONDENADA's intensity. At the beginning, they were simply "Megan from REACCIÓN's new band" but that changed quickly as these four wonderful people combined forces to create something truly and genuinely special. Munch was such a casually bad ass bass ripper, so chill that it looked like she wasn't really trying. Megan's guitar always seemed like she was writing and playing riffs that were just out of reach of her skill set, and I attribute some of the band's sonic edge to this effect. Trash is still one of the weirdest and loosest drummers I've ever seen or played with, but when you hear (or feel) through the chaos, her pocket is impossible to fukk with....and then there'e Merm. Pure unabashed power. Period. Perhaps "pure" is the single best description for her vocals, or perhaps the only description necessary is of the chills that would fill every inch of my skin each time I heard "This Fight Is Ours" or "Not Yr Victim." They continued sporadically after members scattered (today, only Megan remains in Chicago), and I spent a few (oddly) quiet hours in the driver's seat driving them up and down California in the late '00s, genuinely humbled by their connection and their comaraderie. Not Normal compiled all of the recordings on this cassette a few years ago, and while I do not think that any piece of this music can compare to seeing CONDENADA in the flesh, the power is there, and the power is undeniable.
"I am my own...I am my own worst enemy"
09 February 2018
I've been sitting on this one for a few years, if only because there's never a right time for some things. The amateurish hard driving lilt of "Talking and Talking" may be great, but often at six in the morning I'm more in the mood for relentless blast beats or (more) shit-fi noise punk. And the self important relevance of some late '80s indie/punk mix tape often seems more topical than the garage-meets-UK punk swagger of "High Speed Romance" so I tend to fall back on the things that make me more comfortable. But I will likely hang on to my SOVIETTES records through virtually every imaginable purge, and I have no connection there except for some really good tunes - and "Come Find Me" is a good tune of a similar caliber. There's something lazy about the vocals, and there's something casually brilliant about the presentation...and sometimes that's all you need.
08 February 2018
I picture myself losing my shit watching this band in 2001. A room full of sweaty kids singing all the choruses with arms outstretched before launching into brief midtempo circle pits and then hugging each other and laughing. Because it really was that much fun. Raw, in your face fastcore (more complex than you might expect)...I miss this shit.
07 February 2018
Is there a genre descriptor that encompasses all of the sounds of 1990s North American emotional do-it-yourself punk? The stuff that only creeped out of the basements and living rooms masked or manifested as "successful" indie bands who had somehow gamed the system? The stuff of gravely vocals and songs carried by meandering bass melodies while JCM800s peak and present the most basic four chord riffs as indispensable Songs Of Our Time? I don't think there's a word or term that I (or anyone else) can use to describe that sound, to describe those bands, that sound, those scenes, or that time. But CHLORINE comes pretty damn close.
06 February 2018
You remember this band? I feel like they were just a short blip on the early '00s USHC timeline, but that might just be a perceptional clouded by geographical limitations. The sound is maximum energy turn of the century fastcore/hardcore, but delivered with filth, negativity and hate more indicative of the downtuned sounds that took the second half of the decade by storm. I know there are more MERKIT recordings to dig into, but I go with what I know....and I've blasted these five songs countless times over the years.
05 February 2018
It's hard to describe how insanely off the rails this thing sounds. The guitars are shrill, piercing banshees that sound like a lost incarnation of LEBENDEN TOTEN, and the vocals echo and howl like the best of the recent crops while substituting pretense with desperation. The songs are weird both in construction and delivery, which only adds to the tension that the recording delivers right out of the gate. Check the solo in "El Porenir es Largo" if you still need convincing, and then spend some time looking outside of your comfort zone for sounds that will make you uncomfortable. Uuuufff.