19 November 2017


Do you like mutants? Do you sometimes like to listen to art and/or garage punk even though you aren't really sure where the fuck it comes from or what scene these people could possibly exist in since all you ever go see is hardcore shows? And then do you ever realize while you're wondering all this shit that BELLY JELLY have been plowing through one damaged riff for just over two minutes with essentially zero variations? If you, like me, made it that far then you're in for a treat, because these Bloomington brillianaires are....well....brilliant. And weird. One song is like CCTV on mescaline, the third track is a nursery rhyme for children on LSD, and the thing ends with some nonsensical HALF JAPANESE meets KING MISSILE shit. So, while I don't actually know what this is, my day is seven minutes better than it was when I woke up. 

Also....they wrote me a note. I like notes. 

18 November 2017


Since the 2016 release of Promotional Cassette: A Pleasant Atomic Age Kitchen, Oakland's NEUTRALS have released a second Promotional Cassette and a Promotional Compact Disc that compiles the material from both cassettes. Pretty crafty, methinks. Allan McNaughton (GIANT HAYSTACKS, AIRFIX KITS) once again delivers endearing and addictive jangly indie/punk with guitars ripped from deep cuts from the Rough Trade and 4AD catalogues. It's fun music, light hearted but deep at the same time, and "Swiss" is an impossibly cool track. It is very likely that you have never created a track as cool as "Swiss," but that shouldn't make you sad.....because most people haven't. 

17 November 2017


If you were anywhere the Bay Area in the '90s then you surely heard of Sacramento's LIZARDS, even if you never heard the band. Irreverent and unabashedly FUN punk that sounds timeless when blasted in(to) this millennium....the ten tracks here from their Summer '94 Tour Tape will put a smile on the face of nostalgic visitors and hopefully turn on a few newcomers. What if THE DEAD MILKMEN and pre-Hidden World FUCKED UP and HICKEY morphed into one band? Seriously. 

16 November 2017


I've fawned over these kids in these pages before, and feel fortunate to have shared a split release with them a few years back. The recent release of XRDM's Fashkodato! EP (which is an absolute stunner) inspired me to spend some time with their earlier releases....and so here you go. Self titled 2014 cassette contains six blistering fastcore tracks in six minutes, with little bursts of heavy '90s crust and everything fronted by Nzt's relentless high end vocal attack. Power and speed and intensity - I really want to go back to Kota Kinabalu....

15 November 2017


Anguished and repulsively heavy sludge from America's Rust Belt, the lost and prolific land of desperations. MOLLUSK are (were?) nothing short of sonic annihilation, nuance/s coming only in the form of short quietudes that are more like a warning than a break....because though you are about to crumble from the weight of what you are already holding, that quiet moment is just MOLLUSK telling you that the universe is about to bury you. 

14 November 2017


This one is beautiful, and also deadly. Distorted pulses and waves of sound that sometimes sound like a SCIENTIST dub treatment laid (unwillingly) on harsh industrial electronics. And then there's "Sleeping," that takes up 20+ minutes of the B-side of Sleepless...ominous sonic punishment of the highest and most hypnotic order. Highest praise here.....

13 November 2017


I recall a lot of people dismissing this demo when it came out a few years ago. Who knows...maybe it was NYC backlash, maybe it was just not quite as flavorful as something else cool that came out that month, or may the ears just adjust over time....but in late 2017 this demo fukkn creams hard. Six songs, eight minutes, nihilism as sound. If this is the soundtrack to the beginning of your week, then just imagine how grim things are gonna be when Thursday come rolling around. 

12 November 2017


Someone want to fill the rest of us in here? I have no idea how this cassette came to me (this is a common theme in my life), and I don't know anything about the band. What I do know is that this four song demo from 1988 is a perfect (B)rat Pack montage soundtrack, brilliant synth heavy new wave/pop music from/for a lost generation. The second track leads me to believe that these kids (might have) had punk roots, but then the chorus drops and it's just brilliant outsider pop. Maybe I wouldn't want a full album, if only because these were the kinds of bands who had seemed to have a few good songs and then you heard the LP and the rest of the songs were shite, but I'll be damned if this sampling isn't pretty much perfect. 

11 November 2017


A year and a half after I referenced the brilliance of this 2015 demo, and months after Big Achievements flew off of Iron Lung's shelves and into the greedy earmitts of all you mongers, here's the first offering from Washington (state) mutants NASTI. Well, the first one that I heard. And it blew my mind. Ferocious and discordant hardcore freakouts that don't try to sound mean or fukkd up....because they are mean and fukkd up. The guitars in the title track should be all the convincing that you need here. For those not already on board....

10 November 2017


I am always very pleased when I decide to pull this one out. Late '90s hardcore that defiantly clings to the unregimented glory of that oft unheralded decade, NEXT OF KIN was born out of the Wisconsin DIY basement scene but members had migrated west by 1998 when this document was recorded...it's angry, it looks inward, it's raw intensity in sound. Their existence was short, and they existed in the shadows of their previous and more prominent projects, but this demo......pure power. 

09 November 2017


More anguished submissions from LIFE DRAG. 2016's Feed Your Grave was perhaps slightly more coherent than 2016's Feed Your Grave (that's not a typo), but this offering opts for desolation and darkness and misery brooding beneath a shroud of hollow sound. Well....I guess that's pretty much the same as the other one, but my point is that the vision feels more realized on this cassette. Listen to the dirge that is "Collapse Of Reality." Listen to the brutal monotony of "Transaction." Listen to the sparse desperation of "A Living Trend." Listen to your pain. Feed Your Grave once again.  

08 November 2017


Another Bay Area archive, this one arguably more listenable and definitely more important. True freak sludge that I saw in the flesh maybe once and maybe never, but man this shit is fukkn weird. 

07 November 2017


I heard about this band a lot when I first moved to San Francisco. Maybe I just heard their name mentioned or read it in ads and it stuck with me, or maybe the handful of friends I had from the (far) East Bay were some imagined connection to Pleasanton's TRIBAL DISCO NOISE. I had always assumed that they were  a tribal, dance-inducing industrial outfit and I baselessly associated them with bands like CRASH WORSHIP and ¡TCHKUNG! even though I never saw or even heard the band. And then, years later (last year, in fact) Craig gifted be a pile of Bay Area tapes and I was happy to see this artifact in the pile. And then I pressed play....let's just say that 1992 was complicated, folks.

06 November 2017


Project bands are cool, as this flash in the pan Ohio screamo outfit demonstrate. Vocals are maxed and broken, riffs are weird and the keyboards sometimes don't make any sense whatsoever - which is why they are so perfect. According to the liner notes, these tracks were essentially written and recorded in a week. Not bad, kids....not bad at all. 

05 November 2017


It's funny that my first mental comparison is FUCKED UP....funny because CHILLER don't sound a fukkn thing like that (maybe on "What Can You Reach Through?" and the closer "You Reading New History") and also because FUCKED UP hasn't played hard and/or fast in at least a decade. But take those marble mouthed vocals and set them to ripping, meaty, Steel City hardcore and you're basically in the ballpark. A relentless eight minute collection.....you're welcome. 

04 November 2017


Perfect fall weekend fodder for visitors who can't decide if they want to listen to lo-fi pop or retro shoegaze or Jay Reatard (on quaaludes) or dark indie/punk and kinda want to listen to all of them. But, you know, at the same time. 

03 November 2017


We were supposed to tour together in 2002 - it would have been KYLESA's first - but they killed two vans in three days and (wisely?) decided to stay home before we even left the Southeast. While our shows definitely benefited from having their name on every flyer, I still really wish that we could have just done the damn thing together. But we shared a shitload of bills through the mid-'00s, and they were like family every time they came through. Obviously KYLESA was on the road a lot during that time, and obviously they had similar relationships with friends all over the country, but when they rolled up to our place on Achilles Street in Milwaukee it always felt like family. And then they proved that we were family when I went to Europe with them in 2008, but that's a different story....

I don't remember exactly when Laura made me this tape, but I'm pretty sure the tracks from the No Ending EP were yet to be released at the time, so that means 2002/3, pretty soon after we met. It's a pretty simple concept for a mix: throw some new shit from your band on a tape with some classic bangers that you want to turn your friend/s onto. And if the shit bangs, then you're finished...and this shit bangs. Ohio 1983 // Ontario 1987 // Georgia 2002 // Thanks, Laura. 

02 November 2017


I don't know how many different ways I can describe them, but ROGERNOMIX is just unbelievably brutal. Raging dual vocal Scandinspired hc/crust delivered with an unrelenting intensity. It's gonna be tough to get geographically "privileged" North Americans to pay attention to a band from New Zealand, but I'm pretty sure that last year's SE Asian tour (from whence this tape came) was a smashing success....and again, these songs are just devastating. 

For your enjoyment, my computer farted and turned the entire B side into one erratic four minute shamble...so of course I included it here. You're welcome. 

01 November 2017


My introduction to THE LEGENDARY PINK DOTS was The Crushed Velvet Apocalypse LP in 1990, and I scooped The Maria Dimension as soon as it dropped the following year. Both records were on Play It Again Sam, a label more known for proto-industrial and acid house releases, so for years the band was linked (in my band) to that scene - it's the only reason I checked the band out in the first place (and where is THE CASSANDRA COMPLEX now....?). It's an association that's not entirely unwarranted but, since the early 1980s, The DOTS have consistently held a zone far outside the realm of simple classifications. Psychedelic and ethereal sounds that might owe more to early PINK FLOYD than to experimental and electronic music, The Maria Dimension is full of in depth orchestral arrangements, with tracks like "Pennies For Heaven" serving as multi-layered sequels to "Just A Lifetime" and "The Pleasure Palace" from the previous record. While there's no "I Love You In Your Tragic Beauty" here (though I would argue that there are few equals to that song on any record released by any band at any time....it's like the fucking "Angel Of Death" of melancholic psychedelia), the collision of Krautrock and shameless individualism with a true hallucinatory sonic experience ("The Grain Kings," lights off, full volume) makes for a record that I might enjoy even more than its predecessor. Oh...I snagged this cassette in a 50¢ bin somewhere in Arizona, so....the hunt is still worth it. 

31 October 2017


You can call it ignorant old school death metal if you want, and you wouldn't necessarily be wrong...but you'd be dismissing the drum fill in the main verse of "Crepuscular Crescendo" if you did that. And that would be extremely fucking stupid. 

30 October 2017


I've heard my wife occasionally mention this Mankato, Minnesota band for the entire time I've known her. I'm pretty sure she met them when they played with ECONOCHRIST and DEMISE in Minneapolis in 199something, but that part is irrelevant** (though the video of the show that Milton took is fukkn killer). What is relevant is that for some reason I have thought, through all these years, that LIBIDO BOYZ were basically a forgettable early '90s pop punk band. I have no excuse for this thought, but that's how the band became compartmentalized, even though I had never heard them. Well, I got a few Midwest gems from my pal Daniel earlier this year, and this seven song demo was in the pile....so it seemed it was time to learn what I (thought I) already knew - except that the contents here are light years from my expectations. Nothing poppy, and nothing even remotely forgettable, LIBIDO BOYZ are straight ahead Midwest hardcore punk; maximum energy, maximum intensity, with just the slightest hint of a tongue buried in that cheek somewhere. "Who You Are" is a perfectly executed blasting rager that would be perfectly at home on Master Tape or America's Dairyland, and there's not a clunker in the mix. I admit I'm kinda floored, and feeling a little foolish for twenty years of dismissal....but there's always time to (re)learn, kids. 

I mentioned this revelation to Karoline, and she replied simply and concisely "they were fun live," as if to casually imply that I should pay more and/or better attention to her. And even if that wasn't her implication, it's the truth...

**That part is also incorrect. The connection was through Madison, Wisconsin band INSPECTOR 12. But the footage Milton took from those ECONOCHRIST shows is still very good. 

28 October 2017


I've extolled the virtues of this era of US DIY punk and hardcore countless times in these pages. Hardcore was "done," and nothing had really fallen in to take its place. The midwest emo scene hadn't yet fully taken hold, grunge was right around the corner (but the punks still listened to MUDHONEY) and FUGAZI was still mostly an underground thing unless you were a cool kid. And there were no rules. This CHINO HORDE tape from 1990 features versions of several songs that would make it onto records in the ensuing years, and it's hard to explain why and/or how these sounds are so refreshing. It's real, I guess, just some kids from Arkansas doing their thing. Two of the dudes formed THUMBNAIL, and one of the dudes (the one who ran File 13 Records, which is crucial to the documentation of '90s Arkansas DIY punk - a weird niche, but an important one) moved to California and would later play in PINHEAD GUNPOWDER, GREEN DAY and...CALIFORNIA. 

27 October 2017


You might hear some pretty straightforward distorted DBeat hardcore with barked, snotty vocals...but context is important. In the late 1990s, the hardcore scene in Indonesia was still relatively young, and these kids....they were fukkn insane. Raw, blown out rippers and a middle finger pointed straight at high towards authority (especially cops, of course), KEPARAT must have been positively devastating in their prime, and even more so surrounded by hungry punks discovering that there was a world of noise at their disposal. All praise for reissues, I suppose, because none of the 100 copies of this demo that dropped back in '99 are likely to ever make it anywhere near my grubby mitts. 

26 October 2017


Wild and distorted blasts perhaps only suitable for raw fastcore purists. But...I would hope that makes up a healthy chunk of Escape visitors, so you should be stoked. Belo Horizonte's CONTRATAQUE crank through eight tracks in just over seven minutes on this 2000 demo, with a near constant blur that's so intense that you only notice how criminally out of tune they are when they throw in the occasional breakdown. "Sua Própria Escolha" my go-to track, something about the slow part in the middle, even though you know exactly what's going to happen when they unleash. The campaign for musical destruction is endless. 

25 October 2017


Who fukkn knows what planet this shit comes from, but this morning I present to you two doses of '80s Fast Times meets Valley Girl (seriously, you could put "No Heroes" up against Sembello's "Maniac" and no one would be the wiser). Antiquated synths and dated drum machines from both bands, while MAKING OUT WITH STRANGERS (who apparently feature a key member of SPLATTER WHORE and DIE WASTED on the keys) take a slightly darker and less Footloose approach. "Addicted To You(th)" is the soundtrack for me day, in case you were wondering.