29 July 2012


This demo is from 2009, but I feel like I never even heard of this band until last year. There's a 12" floating around somewhere and another one in the works, and though the band has barely left Portland-City I am sure they will be on the tips of all the tongues that matter as soon as those vinyl slabs drop. TRAGEDY/DEATHREAT dudes are partially responsible for this madness, so their mastery of raging '80s HC should come as no surprise. None of the fashion, none of the trappings, just rage. Nine songs in 10 1/2 minutes.

28 July 2012


Old school death metal from Argentina tempered with some of the unfortunate trappings that the mid 1990s brought to mainstream heavy music. Lots of early METALLLICA and late '80s SLAYER can be can be heard here, and even though you can easily tell that TRAUMA have every intention of progressing well beyond their roots and evolving into something entirely less appealing, the good far outweighs the ominous on this debut cassette. Take the fast parts of "Apartheid," the disjointed intro to "Sin Razón" that launches into primitive Bay Area thrash or the entirety of a ripper like "Falsa Civilización"- these moments make the foreshadowing easy to overlook and dig TRAUMA in their infancy.

27 July 2012


Electronic and digital soundscapes presented as art but manifested in the form of cacophonous frenetic noise. Baltimore/Brooklyn/Asheville street artist Adam Void is responsible for this release, a mind melting collage pieced together with varying degrees of success. "Systems Meltdown" indeed, not listening to music as much as a feat of pure mental gymnastics. Recently put to cassette by Underground Editions.

I am in Milwaukee this weekend for the Riverwest 24. Whether you ride bicycles or not, it's one of the best weekends of the year. Local residents are welcome to bring your cassette demos and/or unwanted '80s hardcore collections to Checkpoint #2 where I will be posted until 7pm tomorrow.

26 July 2012


Two demos today, both from Reno's THE INDOORS. Old//Older is an excellent foray into dark and serious punk packed with reverb and intrigue - all presented with a raw intensity. But that's just a teaser for 2012's self titled four song banger, absolutely brilliant moody songs shrouded in mystery. These tapes were sent in by F.O.T.E. a few months back and sadly I didn't get around to listening to them for weeks...my personal over extension in this case sadly results in you lovely people having to get through life for a few extra weeks without these songs in your life. Somehow you made it, but after hearing "People Aren't Strange" for the first time you will honestly wonder how you pulled it off.

25 July 2012


What if first-few-45s-era FUCKED UP were fed a steady diet of G.I.S.M. and mindfuck hardcore? That's what this sounds like to my ears, and I can't shake the comparison. Tough as nails hardcore riffs presented in the most powerful manner with vocal snarls swirling and howling through the mix. Simply screaming.

24 July 2012


Death metal ain't my thing. Those words might read as blasphemy to some, but the genre has never really grabbed me. However, I like to think that I am open to change, and maybe one of the first steps in my journey is the 1992 demo from Minneapolis' NECROMIS. Chances are good that I'm not about to start ravenously devouring CANNIBAL CORPSE outtakes, and I don't see myself moving to FLorida in the near future, but these six songs are pure gutteral bliss. Primitive and raw, it might be the wimpy (and dare I say punk) recording that helps sell me on this, or it might be the way NECROMIS churns through their riffs like a downtuned disposal surging forward with the help of double bass and frantic blasting. The slow moments creep ominously, and when NECROMIS play fast they also up the intensity by dragging guitars through the gutter and leaning on Greg Chilton's throat searing exclamations. NECROMIS faded away after two demo cassettes, but this slab almost makes me wonder if perhaps I need to broaden my horizons. Probably not, but it's worth considering.

23 July 2012


Falling somewhere between chaotic punk and the aural manifestation of a horror film, Canada's SCHIZOPHASIA combine two demos on this Nostilevo release. Swirling pools of tape hiss are interrupted by galloping drums that sound like they were played on cardboard boxes and ramshackle guitars bashing out UK82 affected by a cocktail of hallucinogens. This is complete insanity presented as sound.

22 July 2012


Stripped down Spanish punk full of hooks and the vocals snarl that makes so much music from that country so addictive. Released last year by the impeccable Solo Para Punks label, this 7 song creamer includes a SINIESTRO TOTAL cover and screaming guitars throughout. The energy of the '80s without simply rehashing the songs, this one starts out strong and continues to grow on you - I can only imagine how I would feel if I heard this as a teenager.

21 July 2012


Laid back and ultra infectious punk from upstate New York. Early '80s So Cal a la THE PLUGZ collides with BIG BOYS' affinity for funk (and MALLWALKERS employ horns throughout the demo instead of just occasionally), add in the snappy attitude of primitive and unpretentious UK post punk and you have created a monster. Lazy male vocals lead the band but the musical arrangements here are well worth delving into, and well beyond the mental grasp of your average dirt punk. "Ten More Years (Of '80s Hardcore)" is the jam of your weekend...I highly recommend some serious quality time with MALLWALKERS.

All the kids are saying "you can't dance," but I think I'm gonna take that chance

20 July 2012


I've been putting this one off for ages - a killer comp of noisy hardcore and punk from the Northeast, but the track listing is confusing and I had to spend an hour on various music-centered social networking websites trying to ensure that I was delivering a quality product to you, my loyal followers. Not sure if I did, but I know I gave it my best. In order: MALE NURSES' snotty raw attack with killer guitar leads, blown out grind/hc from PLAGUE, crushing rapid fire stoner violence courtesy of WÜRM TONGUE (my choice tracks on the tape), CONDENSED FLESH crank through evil sounding hardcore, FAST DEATH deliver piercing metallic raw punk, fast as shit and heavy on the Japan influence in the riff department, and finally some raw garage sounding hardcore pushed to the absolute limit by DRY HUMP. What wraps up the tape appears to be another track from MALE NURSES, but like I said, things were confusing, and I am easily confused. A ripping half hour to be sure.

19 July 2012


Kevin sent me a copy months ago and I've been jamming ZEITGEIST regularly ever since. Equal parts THE GITS, LA FRACTION (obviously and especially in Tilley's vocals) and THIS IS MY FIST but with undeniable political USHC roots, this demo is just a taste of what their new LP has to offer. I listened to the LP a couple of times tonight and realized I hadn't gotten around to sharing the demo...I'm pretty slow sometimes. The demo is great, and the record rules. I suggest treating yourself to both.

Every road I take seems to lead uphill // I'll find a moment's peace within the next cheap thrill

18 July 2012


These Boston weirdos blast out raw distorted garage hardcore, sometimes barely discernible as songs but always overloaded. But on "Cool Jacket," there are certified hooks lurking under the mess of sound. When you listen closely (or loudly) you'll see that most of these tracks are catchy as hell, but everything is presented with a "fuck you" in the general direction of you, me, and anything approaching giving a shit. "Kill Your Parents" is a lazy, snotty jam and probably the hit here if you are keeping track. Noisy and fukkd, take the band LIVE FAST DIE as a comparison and up the distortion. A lot.

17 July 2012


Ripping and unrelenting. Russia's MINEFIELD deliver a near perfect version of Y2K thrashcore, blazing through 6 songs in five fukkn minutes. Maybe you're too cool for this, maybe you outgrew this subgenre in your teens and now you listen to painful rehashes of RAMONES songs in the style of trite garage punk...and maybe you're a fool. The power of this shit cannot be denied, no matter how much your jeans cost or how good your haircut is. Dust off your circle pit, these riffs are going to make the place explode...when "Взаперти" kicks in after the drum roll intro? You know you've been thrashed, and you know you like it, the same way you feel when the guitar drops to a steady mosh pace at the start of "Сосчитаны и пронумерованы." From the always excellent Drunk With Power (or here if you don't speak Pусский). Put this shit on repeat...there's a RAW POWER cover too. Relentless.

Seriously, how can you not want to hang out with these dudes?

16 July 2012


Super raw and blown to shit hardcore from Halifax, Nova Scotia. A high energy attack and a breakneck pace easily overpower any desire for missing melody, and the vocals are appropriately pained and ferocious. The icing on the cake? These women never once address war or starving children, choosing instead to scream lyrics of a more personal and poignant nature, even if songs like "D-Beat (My Ex-Boyfriend)" seem at first like snarky jokes, there is real content here, and combined with the overall intensity of attack I'm inclined to think that there might be some pretty great shit in the future. But never mind the future, the VIXENS demo is now.

why are you cheating yourself?

15 July 2012


I hope that wherever you are when you listen to this, you are alone. And I hope that you are ready. A relic from 1995, COMMUNION's Their Despair In Gentle Things is a bizarre proto-industrial/goth/new age/noise hybrid flooded with genuine weirdness that gives each aspect of their sound and indescribable authenticity - and still I remain aurally convinced that somehow these people are punks. There are elements straight out of my early '90s dance club excursions, but just as many moments of ambience and noise that showcase a musical outfit well ahead of the their time. This is transcendental, and requires full attention - even if only a fraction of you bother to download, I sincerely hope that those who do are willing to dedicate the time and emotional attention required to fully digest this. The keyboards on much of the second side are reminiscent of Wax Trax-era CONTROLLED BLEEDING (I'm reminded of CLOCK DVA as well), but instead of driving dance beats, COMMUNION concentrate on psychedelic overdubs and TG style mind warps. Two tracks totaling 90 minutes, every element is masterful...I swear this is worth it.

14 July 2012


I posted their set from WFMU on Escape Is Terminal a while back, and this demo appears on the back end of the same cassette. Five songs (I think the proper demo might be longer, but I'm not an expert or a historian and this is but a dub - I just know what I like) - demo versions of songs from the self titled EP that helped shape an important (and ongoing) chapter of my life. McPheeters' vocals and vocal patterns are primal and unhinged on "Nine Years Later" "Born Again," and Adam's guitar is so unbelievably crushing. Essential band.

13 July 2012


I've put this one aside several times in the past, not because it is somehow lacking, but it's more a collection of various recordings than a mix tape or a comp. But Saturday night at the LIGHT BRIGADE show I was talking to Mike about my one of my favorite punk songs (I named the band, he immediately recited the lyrics, justifying our friendship even further) and that song is sitting right at the front end of this tape in raw demo form, so I figured it was some kind of a sign. And so here we have two tracks from EMBRACE, a few jams from HELLBASTARD's Ripper Crust demo, that horrible cover tune that OFFENDERS never should have released, plus tracks from ASEXUALS sophomore release Be What You Want (1: While the first record is fukkn flawless, I purged this one long ago but these tracks are stellar...a change in taste or was I just not paying attention? 2: "Contra Rebels" is a pro-US military intervention track, an oddity in 1980s punk even if they were from Canada). Australia's VICIOUS CIRCLE from the 1985 split with PERDITION dish out a few rippers, and the tape closes with a poignant and irreverent 1986 live recording from DANBERT NOBACON of CHUMBAWAMBA (singing about Rupert Murdoch 25 years ago, no less). There are demo tracks that pre-date 7 SECONDS' 1986 LP New Wind (the one that most people say is when they started to suck, but I still contend that they were crucial up to and including the release of Soulforce Revolution, an unpopular opinion to say the least...but don't even get me started on how I think they are better than BLACK FLAG), and the tape starts with six demo tracks from the band that got me to upload the whole damn thing, GRAY MATTER. If this was someone's version of a punk primer kit, then they did a stellar job.

killing confusion by killing options // burning our bridges to stay warm

12 July 2012


Sent in by a F.O.T.E. while I was on tour last month, this demo unfortunately spent far too long languishing on my shelf before I finally got wise and took a few minutes to devour its contents. And my procrastination started biting me in the ass thirteen seconds into "Police Car (Goin' Home)," a brilliantly and simply crafted two riff anthem with a flawless bass solo and in your face (but tongue in cheek) lyrics that draws you in instantly. Pressed in the tried and true Riot City/UK82 mold, these Quebecers nail it better than any band I've heard since CRIMINAL DAMAGE. PROXY's take is a touch more rock 'n roll, but the result is similar - every song is a total banger and instant classic. Yeah, "Wasted Days" is cheesy as shit in both content and presentation, but it just fukkn rules. And bad ass is bad ass, even if you've heard it before.

11 July 2012


Grueling guitar driven hardcore from the outer reaches of western Australia. Spurts of crushing distortion laden sound are cut short by all encompassing tracks like "Renounced"and its segue into "Hungry Jacks I" - and then "Hungry Jacks II" kicks you right in the face all over again. The process is repeated several times throughout Family Time, and GRANDMOTHER prove themselves as masters of merging ambience with a bizarre combination of '90s guitar heavy punk and furious nihilistic hardcore. Courtesy of Slays For Days, this tape is criminally limited but the sounds are well worth the hunt. "Signal Jammer" into "Goodluck Jonathan" is among the most crucial things you will hear this year.

10 July 2012


Four ripping snotty hardcore creamers in just under a minute and a half. Shit smokes. The insert says it contains this 2007 demo as well as the Walls demo from the same year, but the insert is a liar so I'm just gonna listen to these jams on repeat.

09 July 2012


Urgh. You fukks. You think you like it noisy? You have no fukkn idea what you are in for. This onslaught completely eliminates any comparison to anything that used to be called music. Eight minutes of all out noise punk set to rapid fire drums. No relief. STUPID NOIZE.

08 July 2012


I heard the WICCANS LP when it came out, and I thought it was really good. Better than just good, like really good, as in "fuck man, this is really fukkn good" kind of good. And then I snoozed, as I too often do. Never bought it, probably spent my time converting tapes to digital files for a bunch of sad fukks to devour (not you, the other people), but I still thought WICCANS were really good. But some other records came out (there are a LOT of records that come out), and I got distracted by stuff (not difficult) and I kinda forgot about WICCANS. Then a few weeks ago I spent a few days at hardcore's annual jerk fest in Texas (aka The Thing I Do Every Year Because It Validates My Existence As An Adult Punk) and I noticed that WICCANS were playing a show at Beerland. The schedule gods were kind, and I found myself in a kinda half full bar watching Denton, Texas' finest hardcore band teach me a thing or two about life choices. Lesson 1: When the record sounds really good, BUY IT. Lesson 2: WICCANS are the best band on the planet. At least, at that moment they were. And to be fair they were still probably only in the top 5, but that's still a seriously short list. They fukkn killed. It was perfect hardcore, the songs were amazing - every one of them could have been stuck in my head for weeks, the dudes were super energetic but inwardly directed and kinda nerdy and awkward acting...it was everything I wanted. And then I bought their tape (which, incidentally, is the cassette version of that LP that I thought was "really good" a while back) and I brought it home. And then I listened to it....it's really fukkn good. How they do something that sets them apart from the herd I can't exactly quantify, but even if you think WICCANS are good when when you first listen to them, I promise you that they are better than that...they are really good.

07 July 2012


Boston's UPSIDEDOWN CROSS are a thing of mystery. Formed from the ashes of the equally mystifying KILSLUG, their releases combine drug addled FLIPPER-esque irreverence with legitimately crushing psych filled doom. Vocalist Larry Lifeless comes across like Bobby Liebling on a disastrous hallucinogen cocktail, and the band painfully lumbers through their tracks as if lost and confused. That's what is so appealing about UPSIDEDOWN CROSS, the lazy and unpretentious approach lulls you, almost comforting you, and then their twisted reality slowly starts to sink in. The xylophone on "Village Idiot" competes with the hopelessly affected guitar creating such a casually insane aural vibe - impossible to duplicate that vibe without a touch of legitimate insanity in the mix. Counting both J Mascis and Seth Putnam as members over their two some-odd decades of existence (I seem to recall hearing about gigs as recently as a few years ago, but my memory often fails), they managed only a small handful of releases. Evilution, obviously from the early '90s heyday of primitive photoshop, is their second full length and appears in retrospect to be more of a shot for the stars than their self titled debut or the Witchcraft 10" from 1997. But while it's easy to imagine some record label schmuck trying to convince UPSIDEDOWN CROSS that they were destined for greatness, it's difficult to picture the average metal consumer digesting this drug feast, and impossible to see this band operating as anything other than extreme outsiders. Truly weird, honestly twisted. 

I loaned my copy of the 10" to someone more than ten years ago. I want it back, but I cannot remember who I loaned it to. If you read this and it was you, then please drop me a line?

06 July 2012


More relics from the era I delved into yesterday. I toured with LOST GOAT twice in 1999, one of my favorite stints on the road with three fantastic people. Tina brought this tape with us, and it was absolutely perfect for late night drives and quiet lulls while everyone was napping. The side titled 78s From The Moon & TX sounds like exactly that, 8 tracks of crackling sound from times and places far removed from our reality. Through the power of technology I was able to identify XAVIER COUGAT, TEX RITTER and LOS CHURUMBELES de ESPAÑA (the power involved holding my phone up to the computer and asking Mr. Shazam who the fukk I was listening to, in case you were wondering), but the other five artists are a mystery, which doesn't make them any less wonderful to the ears.

On the flip, Korean '70s garage/psych star CHOO JA KIM. Six tracks taken from one of her (many) greatest hits releases, laid back and far the fukk out, with a voice suggesting a beauty every bit as real as the woman behind it. Picture NANCY SINATRA with JEFFERSON AIRPLANE and present it through the acid filter of the early 1970s and you'll be in the ballpark - listen in the dark and you'll be in love.

05 July 2012


I contend that there has never been a band like LOST GOAT. The San Francisco trio played their first show in 1996 with GRINCH and RUDIMENTS, and during their half decade on earth they graced my eyes and ears with some of the most all encompassing musical experiences I will ever have. So many shows, just sitting mesmerized...not sure whether to focus on Eric's nimble fingers or on Tina's deliberate thunderous attack, but usually landing on Erica's incredibly powerful vocals and a subtle stage presence that commanded attention. The music was steeped in '70s rock, but LOST GOAT were just as well versed in psychedelia and punk, and the result was something completely unique and has never been replicated. Through two EPs, splits with fellow San Franciscans TOWEL and GRINCH and three full lengths, I don't think LOST GOAT ever released a bad song. While some of the recorded documents fail to capture the power this band exuded live (their final release The Dirty Ones and this demo come the closest), when they hit on all cylinders there are few bands before or since who can match their power.  I can't compare them to any other band musically, and I can't equate their vibe to any other band I've seen - unbridled bare intensity. They weren't faster, they weren't heavier...LOST GOAT captured your soul. This is their first recording, five songs spanning nearly half an hour.

When we walk we walk with fear, treading heavily on the surface // When we talk we disappear, never listening through the years // When we walk we walk with fear, nestled safely in the knowledge that the world won't change a bit and we won't lose any convenience...

04 July 2012


Biting and hopelessly cool garage punk from New York's WEIRD KOREA, drenched in '60s pop hooks and swinging like there's a boulder tied to their collective sack. It would be easy to dismiss them simply because it seems they are so very far from my non-art school and non-cool world, but if you manage to hold out until the bass fill that closes "Cheep Thrills" and the strained vocals that kick off "White Guilt," then you'll be hooked just like I was. Head south on a few confusing turnpikes and you'll be in New Jersey, home of SPOOK HOUSES. Less raw, more jangly, more natural, softer, sweeter, but fukk me if the songs aren't just as good. While the 5+ minutes of "Home" might not have been the best way to start off their side, the three songs that follow are packed charm and casual hooks. Breathy, with lots of open chords and echoed backing choruses. Wouldn't think this was my thing, but it clearly turned out to be.

03 July 2012


Electronic percussion and tortured vocals combine to create a total mindfuck reminiscent of late '80s industrial/dance artists like REV CO, NITZER EBB and the like. But Baltimore's STEAMY WOLVES are more sinister sounding, more drenched in noise, and undeniably dark...and I can't shake the comparison to David Yow in the vocals. The music surges with violent intensity, while the vocals provide a tortured low end screech knocking the whole vibe even further off its axis. Fortunately Moist Lord is over in less than ten minutes, because as much as I fukkn love this, I am not sure how much more I could take.

02 July 2012


Already shared a couple of tapes from this New York City powerhouse, but this slab from June 2011 is an absolute creamer. DEFORMITY crank out hopelessly addictive jams within the admittedly narrow confines of UK influenced blown out chaos punk, and DISORDER be damned if this ain't some of the best shit you've crammed in your ears.  DEFORMITY have matured into a guitar heavy juggernaut of the highest caliber - high barked vocals and a hardcore attack rooted as much in primal early USHC as the obvious UK influences. Yeah, it's awesome.

01 July 2012


Minneapolis sonic innovators JUHYO continue to amaze. NO STATIK shared a frigid Minneapolis basement with them in January - volume only enhances the experience. Painstakingly constructed and wholly deliberate brutality, teamed up with deliberately constructed and brutally painful doom from England's VOLITION. One ten minute track from each band, released by Small Doses