Saw these freeks tonight in Oakland. A flash in the pan project that consisted of two rehearsals, five tracks (one is a cover), one demo (this one, duh), and one gig (tonight, duh) with NOSFERATU, STERILE MIND and PROVOKE. That show ended about three hours ago, and I figured the band's life cycle should be completed with an urgency that compliments their existence. To further encourage hesitant visitors/listeners, this quartet is/was made up of people who are or have been members of: CCTV, THE WORLD, MOZART, BIG ZIT, OOZE, NEON, HOLIDAYS IN UNITED STATES, LIFE STINKS, PANG, PENNY MACHINE, CONEHEADS and likely many others. Listen...and then go make your own band.
20 August 2017
Rudimentary New York punk stomps with snarling weasel vocals to give this 2014 demo a dark and sinister bent. The drums are jerky and awkward, stumbling with every fill and making even the short burners (especially "Burnt") feel like outsider mutants. On first observation, Lump Of Flesh is pretty much a straight forward four song punk banger....but you know I like things better once you take a peek under the sheets, and this one is squirmy.
19 August 2017
18 August 2017
Malaysia's Black Konflik have been cranking out crucial cassettes for well over a decade, and their standard of quality (both in content and presentation) has only gotten better. Enter this reissue from Japan's THE LAST SURVIVORS. With a discography of a whopping three EPs over their 15 years of activity, it's easy for a band like this to slip between the cracks....until you fukkn listen to this shit. Relentless high energy punk music with a fierce snarl and tracks for days, I have a hard time thinking of a modern band with a catalog this flawless. Not once ounce of filler found in these scant nine bangers....fists clenched, throat raw, volume maximum, pogo one notch higher.
Next Mission: see THE LAST SURVIVORS live...
17 August 2017
The '90s were a weird time, man. Bands like HUMAN existed by the thousands, underground and DIY (out of necessity) they cranked out stadium ready hard rock cut on the teeth of their idols...and then the quietly went back to their garages, then likely walked into the house and started families only to dust off their battle axes for the occasional cover set at the sports bar in the strip mall. But the thing is...there are some gems in those files of faded self released cassettes filling Salvation Army 50¢ bins. I'm not saying Pleasanton, California's HUMAN are one of those gems, but there's an alternate version of 1994 in which they are opening for METALLICA on the ReLoad tour, vocalist ready to step into Layne Staley's shoes at the drop of a plunger...just in case. I'm guessing if these guys had avoided the introspection and just concentrated on thrashing then this tape would be a legit banger, but....like I said, the '90s were a weird time, man.
16 August 2017
15 August 2017
This band mostly skipped me by in the moment. I mean, if you were active in the '90s then you surely heard about them, if only because the name was really good (in a fukk why didn't we think of that? way). And then I get a tape of their 1994 full length (well, most of it), and it's great. The introspective and pre-emo earnest nature of so much '90s USDIY is a thing that's hard to describe, because sometimes 2.5 CHILDREN sound like an angry hardcore band, but there are tons of whoa-ohhhs and hooks all over the place, and the whole thing just sounds personal in a way that totally takes me back. Tape includes all but a couple of tracks from the Nonmachineable LP and a few other bits as listed cryptically on the cover (CITIZEN FISH tracks omitted for future posting). If you are from my era then you likely do not need this, because you likely already have this....but if you missed it like me, or if you are under the age of 30 and like DIY hardcore and punk? Well then...you know what you need to do.
I sat in my parents house remembering my childhood - I played my guitar and sang another sad song about how I wish that life was different in so many ways that I could cry myself to sleep.
14 August 2017
Straight up: I want to see this band in the flesh. Not many outfits pull off something truly original, something that sounds like them, and one listen to 2004's Flashing Open makes it clear that PLASTIC CRIMEWAVE SOUND were accomplishing this feat right out of the gate. Plenty of PINK FLOYD, plenty of fuzzed out acid rock, but I get an overwhelming feeling of honesty when I listen...nothing contrived. The Oblivion Programme is from 2013, and shows these Chicago freeks driving a little faster and hitting a little harder at times, but they no less blissed out, and the shoegaze set could learn a few lessons from tracks like "Mother Sidewalk."
13 August 2017
Don't know much about this trio aside from their place of residence (California) and their output (brutal). File these three tracks under: "out of vogue" "hardcore" "brutality" - and hopefully someone will wake up in the future and realize that these were not tracks of rehash but rather the Sounds Of The Future. Hardcore and desperation collide.
12 August 2017
I feel like this kind of irreverence faded away sometime around 1998, but what's more likely is that I just outgrew it and the jokes that stayed with me were the ones that were already inside. I never saw 3TARDS, my time here started just a little too late, but I saw SOCKEYE, so I think I kinda know what I missed. This tape collects a couple of different recordings, so you get two different versions of "My Mom's Peeing" but sadly only the one classic take of "Anal Fuckface."
11 August 2017
My affinity for São Paulo trio RAKTA cannot be overstated (ask anyone who knows me). There are very few bands who have hit me the way that these women have - ever - and they are included on a very short list that I hold close to my heart. I was honored to help them with a west coast tour last summer that included a very long and very hot and very intense drive through the desert that culminated in a bizarrely perfect night in San Diego, where I recorded this set exactly one year ago today. Months later, before I invited myself on their Texas/Oklahoma/Mexico tour (Colombia too, but I didn't invite myself there), I asked SOW DISCORD to treat some of their live sounds with his magic so I could have something for the flip side of this tape that I got permission to release. It was perfect - Dave (IVENS/SOW DISCORD) had never heard or heard of RAKTA before I solicited him and he kept sending me messages asking about the band as he was working on mixes and reworkings of their sounds...by the end of the night I feel like he was as connected as I was to their music and the atmosphere that they create. I cannot imagine that many visitors to The Escape are not already familiar (for those who aren't: GO HERE NOW), but this tape captures one of my favorite RAKTA sets, and Dave's treatment and interpretation of their aural presence helps capture their essence.
The timing of this post is not even remotely coincidental.
10 August 2017
A few months ago I attended an excellent gathering in Oklahoma City. I have mentioned this gathering before in print, on the internet, and in person, but the thing that made this gathering so fukkn cool is that no one was really cool. There was one band that thought they were cool, it was kinda obvious, and they mostly kept to themselves. Because in that context, thinking you are cool is kinda lame and decidedly not cool at all. One of the least cool, and therefore coolest, bands I saw that weekend was BEYOND PEACE. Also, they are one of the fiercest, most intense and purest hardcore bands I have seen in recent memory. Period. I cannot remember when I have been so instantly and completely floored - I just sat there with my mouth agape clenching my fists while they raged....because it was real. And it wasn't cool at all. It was desperate.
take it back I dare you to
09 August 2017
How don't know how this came to me, and I don't remember seeing it until a few weeks ago, but my duty in this case is not to question WHY, but rather to give thanks. Fifteen untitled instrumentals circa Milwaukee 2006, fading into the background and then bringing you back with a lurch only to casually release you once again. Monotonous drones and hallucinogenic freaks, sometimes mellow and sometimes anything but. Track 6 is my personal go-to, essentially just an introduction to a piece that doesn't exist, but offering more introspection than most bands can muster with an entire record. Recommended for candlelight and solitude.
08 August 2017
Pretty much the complete antithesis of yesterday's post, Portland guitar/drum duo MR. WRONG (they've since added a bass, apparently) play stripped down punk reminiscent of early '90s K/Simple Machines fodder. Catchy tunes (especially the title track, just try to get that one out of your head), both vocals are soul-filled and powerful, and the more you pay attention the more you start to get the tongue in cheek witticisms that take Distraction to the next level. Sometimes you want to throw it all away and dance, you know?
07 August 2017
Soul sucking UK doom presented with maximum intensity and a heaviness that cannot be described. Tonnage is the foundation, while samples and electronics serve to keep the edge ever sharp and menacing...and the wait. The painfully tedious delays. The repetition and the repetition and the repetition and the builds before the swells. And then....the crashing, crushing walls of sound. This one is bleak.
SWALLOWING's "The Good People" from earlier this year comes just as highly recommended.
06 August 2017
Poet and author Sylvia Plath (1932-1963) reading her own words on a record released in 1975. I'm not going to delve too deeply into this, but will simply state that these words do periodically reflect her short and sometimes tragic existence as much as they can sometimes relate to our own. The mundane made indescribably beautiful. Listen to "Cut" and think about the things that you find in free boxes on the sidewalk...
out of a gap, a million soldiers run...redcoats every one
05 August 2017
Mystery act sharing a homemade cassette with EXPLODING BUDGIES (stay tuned), STAMMERING CHILDISH CANTICLES play free form psych along the lines of OZRIC TENTACLES or (some) HAWKWIND. Mostly instrumental tracks with a clean jangling guitar up front while the fuzzed freakout guitar seems content in the background...the whole tape mostly sits in the background, but commands attention on the airy interlude "Fanaticism Shark" near the end of the journey. Serious question.....how many thousands of tapes are there like this just floating in the ether (and lurking in charity bins)? And how many hundreds of them that actually have merit will remain undiscovered?
04 August 2017
A pure ripper comp from 1988 Yugoslavia. Oi!, punk, proto-goth, and some essential doses of searing hardcore from the likes of: QUOD MASSACRE, DVA MINUTA MRZNJE, IDIOTI, NADE IZ INKUBATORA, MASAKER, SKÖL and a host of others. 28 tracks in total, clocking in just under 55 minutes. Time to go to school.
03 August 2017
An appearance on a Bullshit Detector comp and a five song unreleased demo....that's all I was able to scrape up from REBAL ARMY when I first posted this tape back in 2009. Ramshackle UK anarcho played with that midpaced lurch that I think only comes from a marginal ability to play instruments "properly," but a determination to do so with gusto (e.g. drum fills in "Falling Down"). Then comes the synths in "Insane" and you wonder what might have happened if there had been more...
02 August 2017
01 August 2017
How many times have I said that you can't fukkn fake intensity? I could feed you the ingredients on this demo - they are simple and readily available - and there's no way you could shit out something as pure and real as South Valley Punks ATAQUE DE RABIA. 1/2/1/2 pogo drums, single tracked buzzsaw guitars, a no frills bass bouncing underneath the textbook punk riffs and female vocals shouted with a primal desperation...you've heard all of these things before and you've even heard them in the same band....but oof when the eponymous "Ataque De Rabia" kicks in after the Punk 101 intro? If you aren't raging then you might want to opt for a FLEETWOOD MAC record or something. Maybe punk just isn't for you.