31 October 2017

EXTREMITY


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

LIBIDO BOYZ


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

CHINO HORDE


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

KEPARAT


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

CONTRATAQUE


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

DOMINATOR // MAKING OUT WITH STRANGERS


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.



24 October 2017

BLOCKHEAD


Someone wanna tell me if this outfit is still kicking? Because holy shit this four song banger from 2013 is pure cream.  All of the songs are good. REALLY good. But the title track? Oh my FUKK it's a game changer. It's so painfully simple, so purely powerful - five minutes of 45s-era FUCKED UP clashing with '80s UK anarcho and somehow harnessing only the best parts of each. Sometimes the shit is just really good and all you want is more of the shit. 


23 October 2017

GEORGE CRUSTANZA


Incredibly blown out and fukkd sounding noise from some tiny ass island off the main land mass of Japan. Distorted to smithereens and demented as anything, this demo is the only document of a short lived band driven by ex-pats who delivered some insane creamers while they were active. It's seven tracks in nine minutes, but three minutes are taken up by the last song so if you are good at math then you know this shit rips. 


22 October 2017

PUNCH IN THE FACE


Pretty sure the first time I saw PUNCH IN THE FACE was in Chicago in 2004 in a classroom with 14 OR FIGHT and FUCKED UP. I zinged the singer from 14 OR FIGHT super hard while he was trying to give an Iraqi invasion related political speech on a defective microphone (note: I am not actually very witty in real life, but I totally won the exchange in question) and FUCKED UP were legitimately killer, even though I went to the show prepared to dismiss them as an overpriced two song single flavor of the month. The last time I saw PUNCH IN THE FACE was in 2007 - it was the last show ARTIMUS PYLE played (honestly, this was probably the single best show that band ever played), and BLOODY MINDED and DROP DEAD were on the bill also and the whole night was sick...but PUNCH IN THE FACE were unbelievably good (it was the record release for their only 12", if memory serves). If you like aggressive hardcore punk and you missed PUNCH IN THE FACE, then: 1) you fukkd up, and 2) I'm here to help. Nine songs in ten minutes, and, title notwithstanding, "Beer Cold, TV Loud, Homosexuals Flaming" is seriously one of the bangingest bangers of all time, but "The Start Of Your Ending" might be even better. 


21 October 2017

VANDAL


It must have been hard to be a burgeoning hessian in 1991. I mean, grunge and NIRVANA obviously fucked things up for an entire micro-generation of spandex clad metal warriors, but I still feel for the legions of dudes who had put in the hard work required to set themselves up to be the next SKID ROW and/or EXTREME. Because...I mean, PEARL JAM. Fuck, if only it had been MOTHER LOVE BONE (like it was supposed to have been before the damned universe intervened - that was the transition that was meant to happen, but I digress...). If it had been MOTHER LOVE BONE then the whole transition would have been so much easier. But as painful as it must have been as a five-years-too-late Sunset Strip rocker, imagine if you were from England. Sure, in 1981 England was on the forefront of everything - and there was still the lingering legacy of that "Invasion" we still talk about today, but in 1991? The States had gifted GUNS 'N ROSES a few years earlier, "Someone Like You" in '89 (and with no apologies I state, for the record, that this still rules - and "Attack Of Life" is worth the time of any social anthropologist), and then there was all of this new grunge stuff...but England? What...HAPPY MONDAYS? That was late '80s. JESUS JONES? Even when he was on the top of the charts we all knew that shit wouldn't hold up. Enter VANDAL. I mean....they were trying, and every track on this demo has something to offer. But offer to whom...that is the question. In 1986 Los Angeles, this shit might have flown, and I can easily see VANDAL in the second support slot on a four band package tour with TELSA headlining, but does anyone really care? I dunno, I feel like my pal Ellie in Milwaukee might dig this, and John would get down on an initial listen if only for historical appreciation and/or context. But man, I'm glad there are only four songs here. Each of those four songs are bangers (in their own, special way/s), but I genuinely cannot imagine an entire album of VANDAL, and I cannot imagine any of you actually taking the time to decide for yourselves. 



20 October 2017

THE SLABS


This one took me a few listens, and I'm still not entirely sure what to think. I mean, I like it, but I almost feel like they are having a laugh at my expense. Seriously damaged and/or drug fueled dirty punk jams from the Canadian plains - and I do mean jams, like the almost 7 minute one riff STOOGES-lite number "Dance Or Die." It's definitely recorded live, but I have a feeling that the between song banter ("if you don't dance, you're gonna die....you're gonna die") is for show and that there were, in fact, no actual spectators present. But I've been wrong before. 

19 October 2017

THE HAUNTING PRESENCE


Absolutely deadly 2014 release from THE HAUNTING PRESENCE (the cassette version of the Hells Headbangers 12"). Classic death vibes on a collision course with howling modern black metal, anyone who even pays casual attention should be well versed already....amateurs are encouraged to start here, but you have been warned. 



18 October 2017

STRAIGHT ARM


Orange County, California straight edge hardcore circa 1987. Nice and loose (ok, really loose at times), closer to early east coast 'core in its simple delivery, but there's something about that raw ass guitar sound that really puts this one over the top. Ten tracks, clocking in under 20 minutes...and yeah, I know I missed the boat on edge day, but respect to sisters and brothers who commit themselves to a better life, regardless of labels. 



17 October 2017

THE WAR GOES ON


You remember 2001? You remember when, amidst the sea of proto stadium crust clones and a relentless assault of by-the-numbers rehash thrash coming from every corner of the world, a crew of teenagers from Copenhagen completely changed the face of DIY punk? Sure, there was the HUL 12", but that one slipped past most folks, but in rapid succession there were records by AMDI PETERSENS ARMÉ, YOUNG WASTENERS and NO HOPE FOR THE KIDS, whose self titled 2004 LP quickly became as omnipresent as Vengeance had been just a year earlier. There were others after that first wave, as the teenagers grew up and influenced teenagers of their own, but I can think of very few times in my punk life when one sound from one scene in one city so drastically affected the international punk scene. And this....? This is the natural progression. More than the bands that came after the initial detonation, THE WAR GOES ON listens like a more focused, more determined incarnation of those early sounds. When adulthood is a reality and that reality really sinks in - youthful idealism is washed away and the choruses are cloaked in darkness and resignation. I confess that The War Goes On didn't initially grab me as tightly as the aforementioned (now) classic acts. Where is the "Rainy Day" on this record? Where is the hit? But....just listen. "This Shitty Life" into "Darkest Days" is the highlight, followed by the guitar drenched desperate bliss of "The World Hates You" (check those titles, and that shit is back to back to back). There can be no mistake that while time may have been as cruel to these kids as it has been to the rest of us, they have remained as fierce (and as full of hooks) as ever. Songs to get lost in, songs to sing along to, songs to understand and a well earned time to be understood. 

As always with current acts, support of the artists and labels responsible is encouraged. This cassette version of the LP on Adult Crash/New Dark Age comes to me (and now, you) courtesy of Singapore's Pissed Off Records

16 October 2017

NO MASTER


Noisy, bombastic DBeat raw punk from the Midwestern wasteland somewhere near the center of the USA. This description should be all that you need to proceed......so proceed. 

You like to follow the rules...right?

15 October 2017

NUCLEAR FAMILY


There was a time in the early days of The Escape when I was posting tons of shit from Albany, New York and a friend from Texas started to get a little touchy because why was this rust belt shit heap getting so much attention while a certified punk mecca was getting ignored. Well.....it's because there were a lot of really good sounds coming out of Albany at the time. That doesn't mean that Texas wasn't booming, it just means that SYSTEM FITE and NUCLEAR FAMILY and ACID REFLUX and NEUTRON RATS and ANAL WARHEAD were absolutely on fukkn point. This tape was one of the ones that I skipped over in the mad shuffle of life, and though it's hard to believe that it's eleven years old now, listening to "Falling" and "Nuclear Family" today makes me feel just like it did then. So in case you weren't paying attention: Albany, New York was a seriously hot spot for punk and hardcore in the mid-late '00s, and this demo is killer.



14 October 2017

UNDERSIDE


1992. While NYC was trying to decide which side of the BORN AGAINST vs. SICK OF IT ALL/IN EFFECT debate they were on, kids upstate were spending their final pre-hardline years dishing out heartfelt and emotional hardcore with awkward adolescent vocal (and musical) musings akin to DAMITOL clashing (and coexisting) with the kind of hard hitting DIY basement hardcore that we devoured here in North America in the years before DIY basement hardcore was actually heavy or hard hitting. The digestion of that statement might seem a little convoluted, but a few of you know what I mean, and those few will likely enjoy the time machine that UNDERSIDE provides. 


13 October 2017

CRACK SHACK


A collection from six Navajo Nation bands you've (likely) never heard of. Stylistic comparisons to desert baked rotten shit punk of the era, but also to early '90s Bay Area grimy fukks like FILTH (most notably from THE SPOILERS) and there are a few catchy tracks that will stay with you all day (I'm thinking of THE CH'IZHÍÍS sub-90 second "Bloodshot" here, potentially the best song on the tape). The Native reservations of the Southwestern USA were a special place for punk in the 1990s (as they are now), relatively insular and self contained, full of spirit and passion that transcends riffs or genres, absolutely punk as fukk - plus, the MULTIPLE CHOICE show outside of Leupp in 1994 was legitimately one of the most eye opening and formative gigs I have ever played, so there's that....

12 October 2017

DEAD CITY


Rising from the ashes of (THE) PEOPLE'S WAR, this Memphis, Tennessee outfit seemed to pop up and slip away in the blink of an eye, even though that blink, in hindsight, lasted several years. The sound owes as much to SXE 'crew revival subgenres as to the heavy aggression that Memphis (and Nashville) became known for in the early '00s, though the drawn out ending of the opener "Funeral" gives more than a casual nod in the latter direction. As I've said countless times in these pages, there are scores of bands like DEAD CITY - bands whose impact was rarely felt much outside of their respective epicenters, but who deserve far more than a casual mention in the footnotes of region specific DIY hardcore punk. My point is...these are good jams, and if you missed them when they were new? Well then here they are. 


11 October 2017

ODIO


Malaysia's Pissed Off Records has been crushing lately, and these two cassette releases from Oakland's ODIO are a prime example. It seems like as soon as a domestic band h drops a record, there's a pro-cassette version available from the other side of the world...make the nerds sweat indeed. If you don't know ODIO....strap in. Knuckle dragging riffs and a bludgeoning 1-2-1-2 that slips occasionally and briefly into DBeat when it seems that Giacomo just can't take the ignorant hardcore drums any more. Howling vocals, and honestly a presentation that is head and shoulders over what I was expecting when I dropped the black plastic shell/s into the player. ODIO just sound massive, and they make simple and straightforward riffs sound way more important than they would at face value. Pissed Off released two tapes at the same time, so they are both here; eight tracks on Ancora ("Silenzio" is the banger, with the ominous intro and the guitar leads that get them closer to metal than anything else in the collection) and four on Un Mondo Libero dall'Uomo (slightly rawer recording, and the primal churn of "World" takes the cake). 

Worth noting: ODIO has been utilized by a few other bands over the years. I mean, the world means fukkn HATE and this is punk, right? So please revisit Mexico's ODIO here, one of the most brutal things I've ever posted....