31 March 2013


This tape reeks of all of the same attitude that make their 2010 demo so brilliant. Smart and edgy punk that lazily invokes first wave sounds that were as rooted in alienation and creativity as they were in smashing paradigms and systems. The guitars are even more pronounced and important this time around, and the horns that dominate the start of the third track result in instant addiction that is only fueled by the burner that follows. Casually infectious vocals lope and lurch around the recording, a complimentary contrast to the insistent pace that LIVID pursues but in keeping with the attitude the project. The band is only marginally active (if at all) now, and this tape comes many months after the last time I saw them play...but it is a reminder of the energy they breathed into punks in this metropolitan area. It is an energy that was appreciated.

If these are available, and I hope that they are, you can likely get them here.

30 March 2013


After four demos (according to Encyclopedia Metallum), Phoenix's NUCLEAR DEATH dropped this bomb on the metal underground in 1990. Just under one half hour of insane blasts and manic riffing, this is aggressive death/thrash played by people who were obviously well capable of playing complete crap but instead selected nonstop speed and schizophrenic mania as their delivery method of choice. Much of this demo requires full attention - this is not an "in the background at the keg party" metal record, it is instead more of a "sitting in me bedroom wearing sweatpants trying to decide if I am going to kill myself or other people or just let myself go completely insane" metal record. The first 45 seconds of "Cremation" make up some of the most bizarre and frustrating sounds I've come across in many moons....NUCLEAR DEATH will challenge you both musically and mentally. You don't want me to talk about the lyrics. Trust me.

29 March 2013


A most excellent comp from 1996, released on cassette by Experimental from Portugal and on CD by Boisléve, We May Fight A Battle... concentrates on heavy edge/vegan hardcore, but since it was the '90s there is more than enough crossover into other subgenres. The easy highlight is Lithuania's SC - disjointed punk that seems like perhaps it wants to be metal but doesn't quite pull it off, these songs are well worth the entire cassette and I find myself scouring the internet searching their few cassette only releases (it is so far a fruitless search, but it is not finished). STONEWALL, Portugal's X-ACTO and Brazil's PERSONAL CHOICE fall nicely into the straight edge hardcore box though all write songs more interesting than a generic genre descriptor might suggest. BY ALL MEANS from Modena, Italy were the first band I ever drove on tour back in 1997, and the sonic assault they delivered at those shows has not been lessened by a decade and a half - I still think they are a seriously under appreciated band, pure and personal brutality. MEANSTREAM are gruff heavy hardcore with an affinity for mosh and Mexico's AUTOCONTROL round out the line up. AUTOCONTROL seem to have a criminally limited discography (this cassette and one track on a 1999 compilation LP) but their multi vocal doom tinged metallic crust are also worth the entire cassette, so now you have even more reason to get amongst this...

28 March 2013


You like punk? You're a punk? You blast four chords through some battered frankenstein guitar amp and you scream at the top of your lungs about war and bash the shit out of your gear and you are fukkn punk as shit, right? You push boundaries? You play the game or change it? You give the answer or change the question? Are you inside the lines or are you drawing an entirely different picture? Do you play the game or do you write new rules? Get this.

Sometimes I wonder if Chondritic Sound can do anything wrong. It seems they are not capable of imperfection...

27 March 2013


DIOXINA's sole vinyl release, Nessuna Pietá, doesn't quite stand up to many of their Italian contemporaries - their approach comes across as more metal than the unhinged hardcore that helped put Italy on the map (though I confess that a revisit in preparation for this post resulted in considerable mind moshing and fist banging). But long before that 12" was released in 1985, DIOXINA were banging out  skinhead anthems of the highest caliber, most notably on 1983's Skins E Punks = T.N.T. compilation EP, a taped version of which I listened to with wonder for a solid decade before I learned anything more about any of the bands. The two tracks from that comp (including "Franz," an infectious midtempo burner) are featured on this rehearsal recording, and the other eight tracks are just brilliant UK influenced gruff Oi! delivered with pure insistence and barely contained energy. The vocals are appropriately rough, and while this session is quite raw, any nuance lost in the recording is more than compensated for with power. "Contro Potere" is screaming, and will power you through all of the rough patches you might encounter today, and the follow up "Eroina" throws a drunken ska groove in my face and has me dancing before I even realize what's happened. Would be nice if DIOXINA had left us with more than a 20 songs from their brief run, but I'll take what I can get.

Live versions of these tracks can be heard on Escape Is Terminal, originally released as a split with fellow Italian skins ROUGH in 1983. No, I do not have the ROUGH material, but I would certainly like to have it....

26 March 2013


Somewhere between the worlds of New Age and avant garde film scores and free form psychedelia you will find this release from DINO & NIC. Four tracks spanning just under one half hour, Plays Theme From Dino & Nic is a score to a life led exclusively after sunset and under the influence of intense determination. I was struck when one online review compared the duo to avant/electronic pioneer Nic Raecevic, because the latter's Beyond The End...Eternity from 1971 was the very first thing that I thought of when I let this release set in (honestly, Karoline bought it for me at Bullseye back in '06 and I still listen to it on the regular). Perhaps you should award yourself extra nerd points if you are still reading this missive, but I assure you a serious listen will result in some much needed mind time.

25 March 2013


Los Angeles noise mongers HARASSOR have been hovering in underground black metal/noise circles since the mid '00s, and this 2006 demo has been released and reissued several times during their reign. But in case you've been living under a rock (or filling your earholes exclusively with white noise drenched sounds that gaze fondly upon the ghosts of Kyushu, Bristol and Stockholm), here is that first demo in two different versions. Both Annex Scum and Nostilevo re-issued these tracks in 2011, but with different artwork, slightly altered track order and a different mix (though the "different mix" could in fact be simply a difference in the quality of the cassettes that I bought) - both versions are included in today's post. Purists rejoice, the curious are welcome to delete one of the two upon initial listen (and perhaps the second one shortly thereafter), but all will revel in the harsh brutality of "She Who Makes Dogs Shiver" and the churning destruction that is "Marching Abomination." These are dark and frightening times, and the soundtrack sometimes needs to suit them.

24 March 2013


This is way too mature to be accurately considered hardcore, but too intense to consider it anything else. There's an undeniable Tennessee comparison (you know what I mean...I shouldn't have to say it), but FADED takes their crushing sound light years beyond the basements...though I imagine those basements are exactly where they call home. Only four songs on this demo, but I admit I was sold long before the first was finished. Smart, honest and heavy, this is exactly what I want when I press play on a cassette. 

...another fine release from Failed Recordings, who are anything but failures...

23 March 2013


Stripped down and in your face hardcore - these four songs more than earn this band their name. 

22 March 2013


A collection of nine songs, only one of which I am able to identify (but I'm guessing this comp is from the late '80s and the bands are from the UK). Some dreary post punk and some psychedelic art fueled oddities. About half of this tape is quite excellent, but several songs are quite forgettable - it's up to you to decide which half is which. And naturally, if anyone can identify the tracks, then I'm sure we would all be much obliged.

21 March 2013


For the next hour, if you are brave, then you will be rewarded. Remain calm, pay attention, breathe deeply and listen closely. This is the marriage of noise and psychedelia, and it is a wondrous union.

20 March 2013


You can feel the menacing circle pit start to swell up from the first notes of "Anxiety Attack" and then the follow up tune lurches the mass forward, crashing a mess of bodies and sweat headlong into a band that is already at the very brink of complete destruction. SLAG dish out bare bones hardcore with unparalleled fury, tempered only by UK82 bass lines that offer the only discernible hooks aside from the ones that manage to sneak out of a guitar that is being mercilessly beaten in the name of punk. These sounds are made with intent - mean as hell but still infectious, file this alongside S.H.I.T. and VIOLENT FUTURE (unless you are a stickler about alphabetizing).


19 March 2013


Sometimes I listen to shit and I just think that the band knows something I don't, that somehow they have the inside scoop on life and sound and that's why I can't stop listening to them. TRASHLEY do this to me - there's a secret they aren't letting the rest of us in on, but they seem to have the formula for aural earworms perfected. The vocals remind me of FUZZBOX and the keyboards certainly serve as further justification for that comparison, but the rest of the music is much more in line with catchy garage punk...or maybe with some weird proto-pre-indie band like VASELINES that NIRVANA would have celebrated even though no one had ever heard them. It confuses me....both that it exists and that I like it so much. TRASHLEY...laid back and smart and I can't get enough.

18 March 2013


Just plain nasty. FLACCID sound nasty, FLACCID's songs are nasty - just filthy raw hardcore punk from the Canadian plains. I was there once - it seemed like a bleak and frustrating existence, which might explain some of the rage captured on this 1/4" tape. Thirteen minutes of bliss and/or desperation await you....

Oh yeah - Terminal Escape topped 1,000,000 visits yesterday. Thanks for stroking my ego, I guess?

17 March 2013


Sometimes I need things like this. Buffalo's SPACE WOLVES expertly dish out hopelessly catchy and wistful laments, some clocking in well under half a minute and many summing up a wide and confusing array of emotions in a mere sentence or two. "I Saw You (With Your Boyfriend)" is a perfectly dour number that is well worth the entire cassette, but that track is just the tip of the iceberg - "(It Broke) My Heart (When You Forgot My Name)" is a SMITHS-esque missive while "Pizza Ice Cream (Is My Dream)" is pure innocence in song. This tape will melt the studs right off your jacket.

16 March 2013


Our shows in Minneapolis in the mid-90s were always kinda weird. We got the impression that no one liked our band - we weren't even 10% as punk as these people were and our brand of hardcore was lightyears from the Profane Existence crust assaults that were synonymous with the Twin Cities (and on one tour in 1995 we had pink patches...if you've been to Minneapolis, then you know how ridiculous that must have been, and I assure you it was even more ridiculous than you think it was). But somehow the shows were still good, and we were treated like fukkn kings while we were there (I realize in hindsight that we were simply treated like punks treat touring bands when they have the means and actually give a shit, and I definitely used the shows we had there as a model when we started hosting bands en masse), and even though everyone looked like apocalypse punks. the bands were not all crust warriors (there's more to Minneapolis than MISERY, it seems). I can't remember if we played with them there or if I saw them on tour elsewhere in the States, but I unearthed this STRAY BULLETS demo a few weeks back - I probably hadn't listened to it in well over a decade and I was floored. If I called this pop punk then I wouldn't be lying, but I assure you that there are the fukkn punks, and I still see Talon cruising around SF these days and he is still punker than most motherfuckkrs that collect mp3 files (not you, I mean the other people who frequent Terminal Escape, you are punk as fukk). Talon's vocal snarls are worthy of far more attention than they have ever received, and "Down The Drain" is the catchiest song you will hear all damn day - if the chorus doesn't hook you then the guitar lick surely will. It's a story of a bunch of shit that doesn't make any sense - a bunch of squares from Oklahoma, a pop punk band dressed like Mad Max, a shitload of crusties making everyone food and giving us beer and being ridiculously nice...basically this tape is about good times and great memories and friendships (even if they are casual) that will last a lifetime. Punk rules, ok?

15 March 2013


- two tapes, two region specific compilations -

Children With Eyes That Hate You is more than a brilliant title, it is fifty minutes of unknown and under appreciated crust/punk/hardcore from Michigan. I think this tape came out in the early '00s, but a lot of the things that I think turn out to be wrong (just ask anyone who actually listens to me). Tracks from REPRISAL, VILENTLY ILL, HARDWARE HEALTH and loads more. This will be of special interest to those who like it raw, 19 bands in all.

I don't want to toot my own horn too much, but I've played shows in a lot of places. Some of them have been really cool and some have kinda sucked (though I place the blame for the latter more at my own feet than anything else). One place that sucked? Boise, Idaho. Only played there once (I think? Maybe twice, but it was certainly never good), and have never seen any reason to return....until now. By no means is everything on this tape to my liking, but most importantly none of it sucks. Even if TIM BLOOD AND THE GUTPANTHERS ain't my jam, at least they are solid as fuck, and there is more than enough magic on this tape to make me curious about the potential for good times in Boise: LITTLE MISS AND THE NO NAMES, killer old school USHC from SOCIAL ANTIDOTE, snotty punk from TOILET BABIES, raw hardcore from PIG NOOSE, even rawer hardcore from the unfortunately named CAT MASSACRE, amazing guitar driven madness from VIPE...the title speaks volumes here, because every single one of these bands is new to me. A secret perhaps, but one that is well worth spreading around.

14 March 2013


From an island to the (south)east to an Island to the west, Hawaii's HARSHIST are instantly addictive psychedelic punk. Only four songs on this ten minute demo, but if you aren't sold then you might not have a soul (I'm not judging you, I'm just letting you know). Layers upon layers of awesome shroud female vocals and waves of angular weird punk...this is WHITE LUNG on mescaline and HAWKWIND trying to jam the early Rough Trade catalog all at once - and it doesn't sound like anything you've ever heard.

13 March 2013


When you think of ripping raw old school thrash do you think of Puerto Rico? Perhaps you should. A side project started in '08 with members of TROPIEZO, JUVENTUD CRASA, LA HOSTIA and others, LA VIRGEN DEL POZO crank out jams well worthy of a serious frenzy whipping with plenty of skull stomping mosh. But the majority of these five tracks are descendant from '80s Bay Area mania, but clearly weaned on DIY thrash core - buzzsaw guitars, gratuitous double bass and a searing vocal attack that falls somewhere between Baloff and DROPDEAD. The demo is pretty lo-fi, but the tunes are well worth it.

12 March 2013


I confess that I have spent as much time listening to weird shit lately as I have spent listening to punk. While much of the "other" sounds I've been cramming in my earholes isn't really that far removed from the bizarre sounds that fascinated me when I was a despondent teen, there are a few acts who tweak those sounds in such unbelievably brilliant ways...and SEWN LEATHER are one of these acts. Perhaps Chondritic Sound (whom I have become convinced can do no wrong whatsoever) described it better than I can: "one side of blistering, distorted rhythms, creeping feedback and Griffin's trademark intonation, and one side of spaced out tape manipulation, warble, noise and vocals." That pretty much sums it up, but I will add that SEWN LEATHER is an impossibly tweaked mindfuck of astronomical proportions....the first track here is the nastiest imaginable incarnation of what I think might be considered EBM, while the flip is just twelve minutes of the sound of awkward and wrong. Get weird.

11 March 2013


These noise freaks from Life Sucker Productions are starting to explode and mutate (ITANSHA, METH SORES, and the forthcoming CORPSPAZM), but this release started their whole party. And the party started right - awkward and disjointed jerky punk bashed out of the most fukkd sounding equipment this side of Columbia circa 1984. Insistent white noise laced brutality, "Self-Destruction" is the soundtrack to the very worst part of your day. 

10 March 2013


I loved it from the initial burst of energy, and xSAXONx only got better from there. Early DRI energy seeps out of short start/stop bursts like "Religious Fraud" and "Screaming For Breakfast" giving this breakneck fastcore/thrash a familiarity well beyond some knowitall "I've heard fast hardcore before" bullshit. In The Night is the very epitome of doing something right instead of trying to reinvent the wheel and boring people to tears in the process - tongue in cheek when it wants to be but serious as fukk when it needs to be, the lyrics are every bit as on point as the riffs. Nine minutes of pure magic, please pay particular attention to the two minutes that makes up the breakdown in "Diamonds And Crust" into the fury of "Breaking The Edge" and I promise you will thank me.

Write them, I did and it was awesome - x4298x(at)gmail(dot)com - go see them in April if you live in England, or suffer like me if you don't. In the interest of full disclosure, I was drunk and blasting MOLLY HATCHET when I wrote this.

09 March 2013


This tape pulled me in from the very first note. 4AD guitars and soft female vocals meet with a deliberate pace and a dreary vibe...their treatment of SISTER OF MERCY's "Valentine" is one of the classier reworkings of a classic that I have ever come across and give a little insight into what they are all about. Not rooted in the past (or the sounds thereof) it's tracks like "Resting Bones" that provide an even better window into INDUSTRIAL PARK than their choice of covers - subtle and swirling inward intensity, like COCTEAU TWINS reborn as new millennium punks. Even after I have spent several weeks with these songs I can't accurately describe them, but their effect is visceral and internal...and that's worth a lot.

08 March 2013


For the discerning shit-fi connoisseur, I present Hasart Arte Punx!, an eight band compilation from South America (I think?). Background on this one would be appreciated since there is none with the tape itself, just 60 minutes of primitive punk and hardcore. POLUCION SONORA are bouncy dual vocal pogo punk, and are followed up by some of the most challenged punk I've heard from G.P.N.V. and the awkward out-of-tune sounds of DEFECTO MISERIA. Probably the best tunes on the tape are from KE SE RINDA TU MADRE, urgent male/female fronted hardcore and those are followed by the painful P.P. SERMON Y LOS ESKATALITICOS, who carefully walk that line between awfully brilliant and just plain awful...the intensity is real (but so is the ineptitude). APROPOS features the most excruciating female shrieks this side of KRUNCHIES, and their three tracks might be the most trying on the tape (though to be fair, that might have more to do with the bizarrely treated recording and the fact that their songs are at the end of this hour of madness), EL CRIMEN DEL OTRO are the closest Hastart Arte Punx! comes to traditional hardcore, and even that is a stretch....and then there is PICHI CUERVOS. Noisy, raw, fukkd sounds from a completely different punk dimension, these maniacs crank out three bizarre tunes...and then there is one completely manic uncredited masterpiece in the middle of their chunk of songs (this would be track #23 for those who are still with me). I can't tell if this is an accident, a magnetic tape malfunction or an unearthed work of art, but for one minute and 47 seconds I am perplexed and mesmerized. This tape is not for the cautious, but rather for the curious.

07 March 2013


I got Four Days in a package from Modern Tapes several months back (these are the folks responsible for STARING PROBLEM, UNUR and loads more brilliance not yet shared here), and I am ashamed that it has taken me this long to post it. Absolutely mesmerizing cold synth from Paris, MOMENTFORM incorporate elements of dark new wave that give otherwise bleak sounds something that can almost be called a hook (take the bass line in "Depletion," for example) even though the only thing you might catch from these sounds is a severe case of the lonelies. This is bitter and bleak and beautiful.

06 March 2013


This is hardcore that doesn't seem to exist anymore, and that is something that I lament more and more as I get older. BURIED's politics are personal and urgent, unfettered by adulthood or the crushing realizations that sometimes come with it. Musically, this is melancholic basement hardcore, fronted as much by Grant's guitar (that's Grant from ANIMAL FARM, WARCRY, TALK IS POISON, OJOROJO and others, in case you need a nudge) as by the soul baring idealism in the vocals, with an intensity not derived from playing faster or harder, but rather from simply meaning it more. Wisconsin has a rich punk and hardcore legacy dating back well over 30 years, and I am quite pleased that I was fortunate enough to get a glimpse, however brief.

05 March 2013


A 27 minute swarm of sound masquerading as blackened doom, Redding, California's BURIED crank out a depressing slab for their aural debut. Droning guitars swirl around faint black metal riffing and distant howls, a build up to the funeral doom pace that drives the cassette's final movement, an 11 minute exercise in dissonant dissatisfaction. The more you let The Only Promise in, the heavier it is.

04 March 2013


This burner is all about the guitar. Rarely have I heard a guitar recorded that so perfectly suits the style. Hollow and piercing, it bites through the rest of the band with pure ferocity and I confess it was near the end of the demo before I stopped focusing on that one instrument and actually realized how searing the band is. UK82 energy harnessed and ramped up several notches - these New Yorkers are clearly on a fukkn mission, and they are succeeding.

03 March 2013


Filthy desert baked bass/drums grind violence. After six minutes of blown out insanity, Tucson's EN CAHOOTS launch into "Pierda," a dirge of noise and anguish that lasts well over eight minutes. This is the result of a painful existence...or perhaps this just will result in a painful existence.