13 October 2015


For some people, I will just be able to say "emotional '90s hardcore from the Midwest," and they will know exactly what I'm talking about. How you explain SMASHING PUMPKINS and RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE seeping into a DIY punk band's sound is a little tougher...I mean, that shit happened all the time. But tracks like "One Sided" are legit time capsules, and "Mushy Foundation" sounds so much like someone from that era that I can't put my finger on even after listening  to the song five times in a row and it's killing me. STRAIGHT FORWARD were from the suburbs of Milwaukee, and I can't give you any background at all....though clearly they made me think about my own.

12 October 2015


Filthy Korean DBeat/crust/grind from the late '00s - three separate recording sessions on a tape that clocks in at a whopping 8 minutes, brutal lurches and dual vocal crust crash headfirst into a brick wall built on a foundation of guttural grind and uncompromising raw crust. The band called it "D-Bakja Nal Punk," and I am in no mood to argue. I got this in the same envelope as the killer I.C.B.M. demo....that was a sweet package.

11 October 2015


Maybe some people would skip right by a 1993 demo from an unknown UK band...but some people do lots of things you don't do, so maybe you should listen. The guitar is the first thing you notice with L-PLATES; distorted and affected in a way that is equal parts teenage thrash demo and Ahead-era WIRE. Drop that sound in to a dual vocal adult anarcho assault and you get something that is noteworthy at worst ("Our Fixture World" and the eponymous second track), but stop-and-take-a-listen-no-really-pay attention! at it's best. The recording sometimes masks legitimate burners like "M.O.A.B." and "My Twilight Zone," while several numbers come off like a Spiderleg band born one decade too late. But "Civilian Depopulation" is the track. It's when the seemingly random '80s WIRE comparison popped into my head (though on this one it's as much the vocals as the guitars), and it's just a really well crafted and engaging song. So skip L-PLATES because it's not on the back of your cool friend's vest, but remember that your cool friend probably makes fun of you when you aren't around. So question, change, and use your mind.

10 October 2015


Noise drenched raw sludge/fastcore hybrid PATHETIC HUMAN just walk right up and lay waste to their side of this split...an exercise in devastation, pure and simple. Very, very ugly. On the other hand, COLLAPSED TOILET VIETNAM makes their friends sound like flowers and butterflies. One ten plus minute improv distorto-rama titled "Choking/Vomiting/Spitting/Bleeding/Wheezing" and you will start to wonder what you have done with your life as the movements just fall into each other. You know that "noise not music" symbol on Art Garfunkel's forehead? Yeah, these monkeys mean it.

COLLAPSED TOILET VIETNAM have just dropped a bunch of new tunes after a recording hiatus that followed the 2008 release of this cassette. PATHETIC HUMAN shut their operation down a few years ago, but their final offering is available here..it crushes.

09 October 2015


Lots of live shit, lots of bands you've never heard of. Raw and essential German punk blasts spanning 1982-1990 are going to fill the next ninety minutes of your life. Some of these sounds will thrill you. UMSTUM IM KINDERZIMMER, SANDOW, VAUSX, MULLSTATION, and SONNENHRILLE are my personal faves, but everything here was new to me aside from SCHLEIM KEIM, which made the whole thing a great listen. Some of the sound quality leaves a bit to be desired....deal with it.

08 October 2015


Seven minutes of complete and utter annihilation from New Zealand.  Riffs are killer, attack is ferocious, people are cool as shit to hang out with, and I fukkn swear that if this band were from somewhere cool then people would have lost their shit. Well, it's been a few years, and no one's looking, so feel free to let yourself go, motherfukkrs. Also - they pressed a 12" in criminally limited quantities, but a lot of them made it off their island(s), so I suggest you start looking.

**The breakdown in "I Don't Pray, I Think" is so short and so unbelievably sick. 
**I want to visit New Zealand's southern island someday. 
**This band makes me want to listen to '00s fastcore forever. 
**The riff that starts "Fundamentalist" is so simple and so simply perfect. 
**Punks should wear shoes....I mean, I'm not wrong here.

07 October 2015


I suppose I could be lazy and just refer you to Greg's assessment of this east coast outfit, but you're worth too much for me to just phone it in like that. And the tape warrants more than a casual "this dude said it sounds weird, check it out" - because it's really out there. Like, really out there. Guitar sounds drawn from '80s avant/post/art punk, shrill vocal squeals that land somewhere between MELT BANANA, BRATMOBILE and OLD SKULL are dropped with precision over drunken lurches masked as songs...and it all works. But it's weird as shit. The longest track on the demo, "Transitions Into Victory," features the most damaged sounds coming out of a guitar while the drums and bass lay back with an early '80s Rough Trade groove and the vocals start to get a soulful swagger, but that's as close as TEENAGE WAISTBAND get to anything normal on this 2011 release...and they make sure to wipe that impression clean with the tape's closer "Ghost In The Boombox." This one took be by surprise. Enjoy.

06 October 2015


Every bit as raw and primal as the cover suggests, San Jose's INFERNAL SLAVE take memorable black metal riffs and mask them in shrouds of blinding hiss and some of the poorest production I've heard...and of course that is why they are great. The vocals particularly shine on the title track, but their desperate animal-backed-into-a-corner vibe is present throughout. Sinister and truly demented sounds. This one sounds truly disgusting, kids....and I'm sure you will love it.

05 October 2015


Sometimes you live with people and they are just your roommates, and you don't actually realize what a huge influence they are having on your lives until years later. I cannot tell you how many casual conversations with Matty have etched themselves into my brain over the years, or how many life lessons I accidentally learned from by simply being in the same room while he was talking. The songs are timeless but the band was so much more than that, and anyone lucky enough to see them knows it. This tape contains just one song, and it is one of my favorite HICKEY tunes (different version than the one on the LP, for those keeping track). By far the shortest post I've ever had on The Escape, but far from the least important. RIP, dude...I can't believe it's been thirteen years.

Don't try calling...but that's the number the VGS made all the death threats to, in case you were curious. The Hawaiian Mafia too, but Aesop says that one was legitimately kinda scary, so I won't make jokes.

04 October 2015


More stuff I scooped up in Poland on my first trip to Europe, I think I came home from that trip with four different APATIA tapes. I suppose they will all find their way home to The Escape eventually...Odejdź Lub Zostań is from 1994.

03 October 2015


The only thing I didn't like about seeing HERDS live was Jon's guitar sound. It was fukkd, tinny, piercing but with no definition...and of course, that guitar is what puts this band's demo over the edge. Ripping '00s US hardcore with a blown to smithereens buzzsaw ripped straight out of Japanese noise punk. "Antlers" is the banger, the dichotomy between that guitar and Dave's rumbling bass is more apparent here than just about anywhere else and it swings like a motherfukkr, while "Fading" is a perfect whirlwind of Y2K fastcore dished out by people who should know pretty well how to handle the genre (members of CHARLES BRONSON, KUNG FU RICK and THREATENER here, among countless others). There are a few vinyl slabs kicking around, but of course I deal in tapes...this one is from 2008.

02 October 2015


Another selection from the dizzying array of contributions from the Ascetic House family, DEEP PILL implants a half hour of trippy minimal techno into your body with 2013's High Dose. Building up and cooling down throughout the five tracks, this tape seems to settle into the background at times...until you realize that the rest of your day has receded and you are paying attention to nothing but these sounds (the 4:10 mark of the second track is where this really starts to take hold, and it never lets go). This label never disappoints.

01 October 2015


I remember hearing about this band and reading their name all over the place when I first moved to San Francisco. And I'll be damned if hearing SIREN for the first time twenty years later doesn't take me right back to those days - anthemic Bay Area punk with an earnest approach that leans as much towards AVAIL than 924 Gilman. Four tracks on this 1996 demo...I guess it pays to have friends born and raised here who turn into adults and get sick of their teenage cassette collections.

30 September 2015


If you look at the personnel involved, then the power contained in these tracks shouldn't really be a surprise. Sewn together with ominous soundscapes, Oakland's EXHAAUST drop four absolute bulldozers - low end crust/pv with terrifying slows (check the filthy start to "The Same Last Straw") and an arsenal of whirlwind riffing. A relatively new band, they are a few shows into their run and keep getting better live, I fear for Oakland when these kids really hit their stride.

29 September 2015


Child prodigy banjo picker Jimmy Henley started dropping jaws before he was a teenager, winning picking contests all over the heartland. Spotted by Roy Clark at one of those competitions, he became a regular on Hee-Haw and in Clark's touring entourage through the '70s and '80s. 1982's Classical Country Bluegrass shows 18 year old Henley alternating between proficient rippers like "Bird's Eye" and "The Kingfisher" and innocent novelty tunes like "I Love My Truck" and "You've Got Me Runnin' Scared" that are made all the more entertaining by a voice that seems like it's not quite finished walking through the puberty tunnel. Perhaps there's a touch too much production on this release (especially on the re-worked medley "Classical Gas"), so for those who want things a little rawer I give you this live recording (or Henley's One For The Record from 1976, likely available at your local thrift store if you live in Oklahoma) but this is the shit that happened to country music in the '80s and fans will be able to listen through the excessive string arrangements. Worth noting that my Salvation Army copy is presented in its naturally degraded state, making "Memories Of Yesterday" a truly warped journey.