31 August 2014


I wish I could convey how perfect this 1989 demo sounds at the very moment I am typing these words. It's ugly crossover/thrash, but I can't tell if they are primitive and accidentally brilliant or if they possessed a vision that far surpassed their recording budget. "Pyromaniac" is an undeniable classic, and flourishes like the guitar overdub on "Eyes Of Blood"  are things that would be potential boner killers if presented in full studio glory - but in the context of this banger, the shit just rules. Maybe this is just another shitty late '80s thrash demo to you, but to me? This sounds so right.

You can even see the ball point pen lines in the gaping mouth on the junior high cover art...

30 August 2014


It's difficult for me to imagine a less happy sounding recording than this one. Suburban Chicago mutants dish out some serious anguish on this 2010 banger - genuine ugliness and complete frustration.  Jerky, awkward, angry and completely disjointed music, HAPPINESS are nothing if not the manifestation of disgust. This is really really good.

Failure's cheap and easy // Failure's all I know

29 August 2014


Excellent time/place comp capturing the varied scene in '90s Vila Velha, ES in Brasil. A few bands on the more melodic end of the spectrum you may be familiar with (MUKEKA DI RATO, THE SUMMONING, DEAD FISH), some all out shit noise grind (NÔ NA PICA), raw hardcore (CORPPUS, DR. MORBAL, GRITOS DI ODIO) and the tape wraps up with epic metallic punk from FRANCISQUNIA ENGOLE SEVEN and a '90s anarcho crust banger from INSULTING WORDS. Just dive in, friend, that's what this shit is here for.

28 August 2014


These Germans dished out three full lengths on We Bite, but it should come as no surprise that this 1987 demo smokes all of them (several of these tracks appear in a more polished form on DEATH IN ACTION's 1988 debut Toxic Waste). Off the rails crossover thrash metal, all the screws tightened just right. Musical similarities to S.O.D. but there's a clear UK punk sensibility and something distinctly German that I can't quite put my finger on. Furthermore, unless you listen to the first DIE KREUZEN LP today, then the time change in "God, Where Are You?" is going to be the highlight of your waking hours. 

27 August 2014


I admit that I totally enjoy dipping my feet into unknown musical environments just to see how the water feels. Usually it's murky and uninteresting and I manage to escape with nothing to show but a few precious minutes that I will never be able to reclaim....but sometimes the water is a shimmering, refreshing oasis and I plunge in headfirst. That was the case when I saw Austin's BOY FRIEND last year...didn't know a soul in the room, just kinda found myself there. And within moments it didn't matter if there was anyone else in the room at all. Comparisons to COCTEAU TWINS are unavoidable (and justified, though even more so on their 2012 Egyptian Wrinkle LP), and it's been a while since I have heard a band that so immediately set a mood. If you have introspective and reflective moments and find yourself needing an escape, you'll drink this tape down like an evening cup of tea best enjoyed alone. 

Hard copies from Night People

26 August 2014


I got this ripper in the mail during The Escape's infancy and it somehow fell through the cracks (well, I know how, I just don't like to admit that I have too much shit and am rather disorganised). Brutal and noisy metallic crust from Korea - guitars that would make D-CLONE weep, a midpaced attack that packs relentless power, vocals with over the top intensity...and they write a mean ass riff. "Overthrown Future" is so indescribably simple, but it grabs you by the throat from the opening chugs and manages to maintain for all six minutes of the track - and that guitar lead creeps ever so slightly into melodic crust territory which only serves to make that white noise attack even more addictive. There are no frills here, just distortion done right. 

25 August 2014


Popping this bad boy in the deck a few weeks ago was my first exposure to CHOREA, but I was transported to a thousand different places I have seen, heard of and read about before the end of "Threads." Sonic relatives of LUNGFISH perhaps with their use of repetition, the sound here is early '90s emo (perhaps a bit more polished and college rock than that descriptor might imply) and the execution is superb. No background, just six songs that sound like shit punks would be scared to sound like today for fear of getting ridiculed. That's too bad....or maybe I hang out with the wrong punks. If tapes were time machines....

24 August 2014


There was a house show in Oakland a couple of weeks ago. A lot of cool bands, bands people were excited about for various reasons - some justified and some superficial. The show was a killer; eight bands, I was on my way home before 11pm, and even the worst band I saw that night was pretty damn good. But there was a band from Iowa on the show that no one was talking about, a band who only a handful of people seemed interested in, a band that wasn't wearing cool punk uniforms...a band that absolutely leveled the joint. I've babbled about NERV here before, and I was quite excited to see them live, but I was fukkn floored and couldn't wipe the smile off my face. Simply put: This is what I want from hardcore! Bare bones, completely honest almost to the point of self deprecation, fast as shit and songs that grab you and force you to engage. Heavy on the '80s Midwest hardcore influence (I'm talking Touch & Go, early Chicago), this is raw and completely unpretentious with manic jams that seem to give zero fukks about current rehash trends and knuckle dragging Oi! riffs repackaged as hardcore (a trend that I fully back, for the record). Listen to the drums hesitate and lurch into the full speed strained vocal attack of "Bug," the single note riffing that starts "Shut-In," the guitar break in "Dig A Hole"...these dudes so casually pack so much power into eight minutes that it's kinda unreal. Their new single is every bit as good as I hoped it would be. And for the record, the rest of the show was really fukkn good and I had a blast, but no one touched NERV that night. 
I don't know who I am // I don't know where I stand

Find NERV and other shockingly good sounds from Iowa here. Seriously.

23 August 2014


My pal Layla told me she was unloading a shitheap of tapes last week and I suggested that she filter them through me. She obliged and you can thank me later because, even if there were nothing else of merit in that bag (and there was), this Portland/Hawaii split is fukkn great. Weirdo lounge/art sounds on PALABRA'S Morena Montaña, just enough outside of your comfort zone to keep you compelled (unless you're a dummy) - "Muchachitas!" is like a mellow outtake from and early BARRY ADAMSON record while subsequent tracks read like weird meets interplanetary. Yeah....and NERVE BEATS cruise effortlessly between atonal post-psychedelic punk and  something akin to the world that shits their collective shorts over EDDY CURRENT and the like.  More than most shit I hear, NERVE BEATS sound like they could have come from a long long time ago, but both bands sound fresh at 12:04am on a Saturday. Good shit....you're welcome.

Good shit, regardless of what you're into...

22 August 2014


I'm a big fan of "time and place" comps that take an aural picture of what's going on in a certain city and/or scene, even if every song isn't your jam (it's a comp, what are the odds of liking everything?) there is probably something you dig, something you've never heard before, or something outside your comfort zone that gets your juices flowing. Pollution Capitale fills all three of those categories and then some - 
Things I Dig
Things I've Never Heard Before
Things Outside My Comfort Zone
ABJECT OBJECT, BIT PART, BLACK SHABBATH, JESSICA 93 (who dish out perhaps the best track on the tape, a methodical goth/post punk jam that should be mandatory listening for supposed fans of the genre/s)
There are also tracks that could be filed as Shit I Like A Lot

Essentially no duds on this comp as long as you are open to new things. There's hardcore, synth punk, post-emo (yeah, that's a thing - I should know since I just made it up), raw punk, some tasteful blast beats and lots of riffs that you will wish you had written but were written by people who probably live really far from you. Seriously, a lot of riffs. This is what comps should be; welcome to Paris circa 2012.

21 August 2014


Sometimes it's nice when the source is a total mystery. I think I was directed to this project by someone personally involved, but that was months ago and my memory is shit. So here are two horrifically bleak black metal missives: "The Coils Of Depression" and the title track "Happiness Is Not An Option." See above description: horribly bleak. Kinda like life, but you take the good things out of it and you revel in them. And while it might be ironic to file NO PLEASURE IN LIFE with the aforementioned (but rare) "good things." sometimes you have to take what you can get. Even when what you can get is rather grim.

20 August 2014


This one is kinda tough to nail down - vaguely Deutsch, heavy on the party punk end of things, super catchy...and fukkn weird. Hyper energetic and definitely too melodic for some, but there's something exceptionally engaging about this German duo. Simultaneously dour and the life of the party, BEACH GHETTO UNICORNS have, if nothing else, succeeded in releasing a ridiculous cassette. And that's not nothing.

19 August 2014


Low end burly grind from (of course) Florida. This is a bulldozer that lacks any nuance whatsoever, the first track goes right for the throat and WORLDS never lets up. Fukkn insane.

18 August 2014


It's that hard hitting hardcore mixed with the impassioned melodic/metallic sound that was dominating Germany in the late '90s - is it really a stretch to imagine Per Koro bands morphing into floorpunching edge bands? It's not...fukk man, this shit is great. ABC DIABOLO joining forces with TERROR (don't judge, but I watched TERROR videos for a solid 90 minutes over the weekend, and had to make myself stop) is sounding pretty crucial to me right now.  I got this tape from Allan when I was in Brasil a few months ago...now I need to know if there is more. 

17 August 2014


So there's this pretty killer punk band from southern California called DOSES. They released a self titled 12" early this year and it's a pure jammer - solid, heavy noisy midtempo dirges backed by a drum machine and what I'm assuming is a shitpile of narcotics. Seriously, it's an excellent record, and you should either listen to it here or buy it here (probably both, one will tide you over until the other arrives in the mail)...but I'm here to talk about remixes. These fools got DJ HATE CRIME (worst name, obviously) to tweak the shit out of their record and the result is off the fukkn charts awesome. I guess it helps that there's a drum machine at the base of this whole operation, but the shit this DJ did to the DOSES record will melt your fukkn mind. A redux that is several steps beyond ill, this is what happens when your sounds go to the desert. I suggest hallucinogens, if only so you can be on the same pages as DOSES & Company. Welcome to actual next level aural insanity. 

16 August 2014


The wise among you will recall the debut offering from ON ON ON that appeared on The Escape last you, and you will rejoice upon seeing their sophomore effort on this page today. On the one hand, 28 Children Songs For Wasted Adults has a touch more structure than the interplanetary outsider punk of the previous tape, but rest assured that ON ON ON are still coming at you from a place you don't understand. Jerky post/art punk that will swing like early B-52S for a minutes and then devolve into CRASS-esque arhythmic marches. Guitar/drums/organ and vocals spitting from all directions with a sharp DeutschPunk tongue, these women grab your attention first, and deal with the nuances later. Simple tracks like "Lazy" and "Die Stanze" both clock in well under 60 seconds (like most of the songs here) and are act like bridges from one burst of weirdness to the next. Sometimes they might be impossible to groove to, but equally impossible to turn away from. Tongue firmly in cheek and without a hint of pretense, this trio just plopped another winner in your lap..

Trim Tab Tapes does not disappoint, and will happily provide you with physical copies. And while you're at it, you should probably just go ahead and snag that CAT 'N GUYEN tape since you probably missed it last time around.

15 August 2014


I heard you like things raw and brutal, so here's some early '90s Japanese mania for your earholes. A short lived (and studio only?) guitar/drum duo from Nagoya featuring Naito (OUT OF TOURCH, C.F.D.L., FLASH GORDON, N.E.K., ATROCITY EXHIBITION, UNHOLY GRAVE....do you need more? Because I know there's more...), these demo/rehearsal recordings from ABRAXAS are head and shoulders above most of the bands that have appeared in their aftermath. If you like to rage, then this is your shit - my only complaint is that the band never evolved into the juggernaut that these songs could have been. Fukk it, I'll take what I can get.

14 August 2014


Deliberately hesitant primitive synths carry you through a dream. While the feeling is overwhelmingly positive, it's the feeling that you have after something horrible has happened...as if AMASA GANA is not necessarily bringing you pleasure, but relief. I hope you haven't earned it, and I hope it's night wherever you are.

13 August 2014


Downtuned blackened crust/grind from Detroit, absolutely filthy. "The Deceit Deposit" is like a fukkn bulldozer, shit is so good. This tape is from 2012, and BODDICKER's subsequent output has continued on the same devastating trajectory - maximum intensity, maximum anger, maximum attack. File alongside current heavyweights like PROTESTANT and NEGATIVE STANDARDS. Get pissed.

12 August 2014


An off the rails fastcore attack from Portugal, ten minutes of unhinged absolute mania. Singer's voice is constantly on the verge of cracking to pieces, drummer's blast is struggling honorably to keep their relentless pace while the guitars are just a blur...until the breakdown in "Jesus Was A Good Boy" drops and you're moshing. Moshing hard. I miss this shit.

here I'm happy // here I'm sad
here I found the good // here I found the bad
I don't care what it means

11 August 2014


Raw, bombastic hardcore punk with a vocalist that sounds like KARP/THE WHIP. It's a combination of scenes that sounds fukkn delicious. It's like a buffet in your ears - a fierce, nasty and noisy buffet. Help yourself.

10 August 2014


Ultra lo-fi bluesy garage punk with more I don't give a fukk than you could ever dream of cramming into your trunk. You don't have a car? well then it's more than you could carry. Even with a wagon. They actually do not give a fukk. At all. SEXUAL CONFUSION teeter on the weird edge with a steady confidence, never contrived or trepidatious, and the track "Is Your Sister Home?" is a straight burner. This demo was originally released in 1999, but regurgitated a couple of years ago for your pleasure and/or annoyance...this one will make you feel kinda dirty. Get into it.

09 August 2014


This second demo from Japanese rippers TRANSGRESSOR dropped in 1990 and...whoa. These dudes scream through ten minutes of raw as fukk metallic thrash/crust that levels everything in its path. Part of the appeal is surely the recording (as Jos said on the internet yesterday: "back when records sounded raw not on intention, but just sounded raw"), but these tunes are screaming in their own right. The edit was tough, maybe I fukkd it up, but there are five tracks and you are supposed to listen to all of them anyway, so you can skip the admonishments and listen to the blast that kicks in at the 4:40 mark on the first track. Seriously.

08 August 2014


We met these dudes in 1994 (or perhaps '95?) in Minneapolis. It was summer, and the swarm of bands touring the midwest had led to a minor conflict, so instead of getting added to the ASSRASH show with SWINGIN' UTTERS (this might have been the same summer that SWINGIN' UTTERS toured with AFI and we played with them in Rapid City, but that's another story entirely and doesn't really relate to this story...even though it's a pretty good story about punk and what's right and what's wrong - someone send me a SWINGIN' UTTERS demo and I'll tell that story when I post it), FUCKFACE and RENDER USELESS played a pre-show at a house. Naturally we were both a tinge miffed at being downgraded to the 30 person house show instead of getting to strut our stuff in front of 300 later that night, but who the hell were we anyhow, and the house show was fun as shit. I distinctly remember hanging in the backyard with these fellows, trading tales of road woe and laughing our asses off. No one bought any of their records or shirts. We had no records, a shirt with a guy who had a penis for a nose and pink patches...we didn't sell anything either. But we had a good time, and we went to the ASSRASH show that night (I do not think I watched SWINGIN' UTTERS, but that's fine because I am in the crowd photo on the back of one of their LPs [true story] and I seem to remember Pignose being shithammered). In '96, RENDER USELESS set up a show for us and HICKEY in Victoria that was attended by one member of each band (also a long story, and also a pretty good one) but we heard from those two dudes that the show was really good. I still have two RENDER USELESS EPs (maybe one is a split?) and they are both pretty good - vaguely Dischord-by-way-of-Ebullition influenced emotional hardcore punk that nails what so much of that decade was about musically as much as our paths crossing so perfectly nails what '90s DIY punk truly had to offer.

07 August 2014


I suppose the intent was something like catchy street punk, but this Brasilian outfit messed up and made some killer weirdo punk instead and I couldn't be happier. Screwball ska parts and ramshackle midtempo Oi! crash headlong into breakneck off the rails hardcore that sounds more German that Brasilian (I'm thinking the title track in particular). The vocals and the barely together clean guitar are the standouts, and on repeat listens this one gets even better (though the motivation for the final track is still a mystery). I tried to find more info on the information superhighway, but I all I found was this video posted in 2012 (which is truly fukkn weird) so I'll have to wait for Renzo or Allan to chime in with some background. 

06 August 2014


Weird dark drones set to the monotonous rhythm of a distorted hi hat make up the entirety of the first track. But instead of building up to a chaotic crescendo, TERENCE HANNUM spends the remaining three tracks on a tripped out cool down, blending subtle space age keyboards with a background of white distortion and, for one piece, piercing spastic digital frustration. "Final Salt" does its job as the closer, a dozen minutes of trying bliss that will put an end to your day before it gets off the ground.

05 August 2014


There's this thing in the vocals that I can't put words to, but it kinds personifies North American HC/PV shouting, and it rules. Someone want to help me with a descriptor here? Canada's ACOUSMA dish out breakdowns as songs, punishment as needed, and put their foot down to increase ferocity when necessary. Discordant, brutally heavy and beyond maximum intensity within the context of hardcore. I went to see a band last night that I wanted to sound like this....they didn't. 

04 August 2014


NO STATIK got a random email last year from a band from Kota Kinabalu asking if we wanted to release a split cassette. Why the fukk not, right? The jams on the XRDM side are total killers, fastcore with serious teeth and bulldozer low end fronted by harsh female vocals with guttural male backups lifted straight from the 625 Productions vault. Only one of their seven tracks tops the minute mark (and that one clocks in at a mere 61 seconds), absolute top quality shit. The NO STATIK side is made up of 2011's No Hospice/Clean Swift Sunshine 45 (vinyl copies from Prank Records) and the Never Be A Martyr single from the following year (long sold out), and our four tracks take up several more minutes than XRDM's seven...perhaps we are getting soft in our old age? You are sometimes setting yourself up for disappointment when you hand over the art and packaging responsibilities to people you don't really know who live halfway around the world, but I would say we hit the jackpot with this one - quite pleased with this release. Now if we can only figure out a way to play shows with them!