30 July 2021
Not Normal is straight up one of the best punk labels in North America. Understated and too often under the radar, with a roster that's just stacked beyond belief, folks just keep cranking out bangers (most recently from MISTER, so I guess I'm back on Milwaukee trip...kinda) and they never seem to disappoint. And since we're on the subject of "not disappointing," this Bughouse i jammer from 2015 is pretty much unstoppable. Almost forthy cuts from AMERICAN HATE ("Forever In Debt" might just steal the whole comp, so listen for that shit), LEECH, YOUTH SUCKS, OTHERIZED, THE FLOOR ABOVE, MYSTIC INANE, BOOTS, ORDEN MUNDIAL...not to mention BUGG , THE BUG and SLUGBUGS. There's more, of course: TENEMENT, BAGHEAD, NEGATIVE SCANNER, FOGG's "Childryn" is probably the biggest "wtf?" moment and I'm sure I'm missing something but the shit is all killer. I repeat - Not Normal rules.
29 July 2021
Well, I guess we're gonna go back to talking about Canada's Atlantic Provinces. Again. This motherfucker is just unreal - seven pieces of perfectly executed North American Hard Core of the highest quality and appropriately moderate fidelity. You hear "Darkness Over Light" and it hits so hard because it sounds like something that should have kicked your ass the year you got into hardcore - when you and your buddies were frantically taping records and demos for each other and passing them back and forth trying to simultaneously discover and share the best bands you had never heard. MUTATED VOID sound like the best band that you discovered that year...but let's be honest: probably better.
28 July 2021
Really, I should be posting this on Escape Is Terminal because it's a live recording. But y'all don't look at that shit so I'm gonna put it on The Main Stage. The title says it all, pretty much: on a November evening in 1986, there was a pretty stunning gig at Skate-A-Rama in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma and it was captured by someone in the audience. The recording is thin, and pretty rough in places, but it's all there...and it rules. Only three tracks from the FACE FIRST set (including "Little Man" from their near perfect self titled EP) who were on fire at that show. Four blasts of high energy CRYPTIC SLAUGHTER-esque thrash from R.I.P., possibly the only recording of this band that survived the decade. But of course you're still reading this because of the headliner. Tulsa's N.O.T.A. are easily Oklahoma's most notable hardcore export, and they are so fucking fast here that it hurts. Recorded just before they split up (the first time) with a lineup that featured Dave Scum (who had been associated with or friends with the band for years) on vocals while Jeff played guitar. Original guitarist Russel had left the band by this point and they had a replacement bassist as well, so it's a maybe a bit of a scab version of N.O.T.A., but holy shit this set is fast. Scum's vocals give tracks like "Police Front" a kick in the ass, and some of the shit is so fast it's barely recognizable....a studio recording with this lineup would have been a welcome gift to late '80s hardcore. Six cuts, interrupted by a fight. Because of course.
27 July 2021
Throughout the late '00s, the Peasant Magik label released a steady stream of (at least) interesting) and (often) excellent experimental and/or dark ambient tapes. There's not really a through line with the sounds or the artists, though there are several releases tied to PILLARS OF HEAVEN, but virtually everything I've come across is worth picking up...like CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MINOTAUR's Map 3 (of 9), the third (obviously) release in a four tape (not quite as obviously) series. The drones are sometimes anxious and awkward, sometimes ominous, and "Tashtego (A)/(B)" spans the two sides of the tape sneaking subtle programmed beats and manipulated instrumentation underneath the surface before "Queenqueg" closes the tape like you're just out of range of a radio station broadcasting (important) messages from other worlds. Though it runs just 25 minutes, Map 3 settles in so effectively that I feel an absence that I can't quite define when it runs its course...as if the sounds are just supposed to be there. And then they aren't.
26 July 2021
Santa Rosa gets left out of conversations about "Bay Area" punk way too often. It's a solid hour away from SF (without traffic), but it's definitely a part of the same general metropolitan area...even though it's a different world in many ways. First time I played there was in '95 with SCHLONG, and we felt like we were in some backwoods town in Tennessee when we rolled up, but it also felt like the Bay Area. These observations are all just excuses to share B-WARD's 2017 tape, of course, because no matter how you want to classify the place geographically, the town has produced some good ass bands, like B-WARD. Three cuts here - no bullshit, hard hitting dark punk. Two burners and a howling misty stomp called "Silent Scream." Also, I work with a guy who refers to Santa Rosa as "god's country," which I just think is kinda weird.
25 July 2021
I'm not sure what happened in South America in the 1990s, but in that pre-internet age in countries packed with rich and furious hardcore punk legacies....there were like hundreds of middle of the road "melodic hardcore" bands. And I know that this was a style of punk that dominated (or infected) virtually every corner of the earth in that decade, but RATOS DE PORÃO released Feijoada Acidente? in '95 and that shit rips (even if it was covers)...so what's up with all the fucking pop punk? I'm not really complaining I guess, I probably would have jammed the fuck out of this in 1995 - shit has a nice 'arm hanging out the window on a summer afternoon' vibe, but it's just weird, you know? Because there were a LOT of these bands down there. I'd say it was ALL YOU CAN EAT's fault, but they're the folks who brought so many of these tapes back to the states, so clearly the virus had started to spread long before AYCE toured there. I'm getting off track - six studio cuts here (one with really cringeworthy lyrics) and then live versions of five of them. No live version of "I'm Cumming." And "I'm Cumming" isn't the one with the cringeworthy lyrics, so now you've definitely decided whether you will investigate further or whether you will definitely not investigate further, so I can slowly back away from the keyboard.
24 July 2021
Sometimes I hear a song and I feel like it was written just for me. Suspend belief and expectation, and just let CAULIFLOWER ASS AND BOB sing to you. Just to you. Because, I'll Tell You What, it'll change your outlook on the rest of your day.
I HATE BEING SOBER
IT'S DUMB TO BE SOBER
IT'S WAY BETTER BETTER TO DRINK UNTIL YOU PASS OUT
23 July 2021
Light years more advanced than their debut Destruction Workers, Waukesha's SCHADENFREUDE combine teenage punk experimentation and adolescent isolation to create something that exists in a void between time capsule and accidental masterpiece with Death Hawks, Killing. Primitive and rudimentary but time appropriate (late '80s - early '90s) industrial/electronic (mostly) dance punk, but with vocals ripped from early BOY IN LOVE material. It's as if they are thumbing their noses at future music - Grill T. Cardinal and Grimlock combine forces (presumably/hopefully in a suburban bedroom) for tracks like "Evil Doing Evil" and "Eighteen Random Stabbings" over the course of a tape that requires constant attention. I'm not saying these kids were brilliant...but I know that I wish there were more than these two tapes. The journey through Wisconsin's odd past continues. Someone want to send me a CRUSTIES demo? DISDAIN? MALIGNANCE? Anyone?
look into my eyes, what do you see?
the end of what was, and what will be...
22 July 2021
RESIST THE PUNISHER
Why not stay in Wisconsin for a dose of true freak shit? My thoughts exactly. The Oshkosh duo of Pus and Skabb made up SHADOWED VEIL, who released just this one cassette as far as I can tell...if there's more, then I fucking need it. I posted half of Resist The Punisher back in 2015, but the half hour of untitled sonic experiments on the flip side was too good to not revisit (and plus - Wisconsin), so here we are. Primitive industrial bursts, audio collages and general aural torture awaits you...
21 July 2021
Not only is the Riverwest 24 scheduled to start in roughly 60 hours, but there was a sporting event last night that ended favorably for residents of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Maybe I should have held off on the America's Dairyland comp and just spent the entire week celebrating the 414 area code, but instead here's the 2002 tape from MODERN MACHINES. Those dudes live(d) in Riverwest and they surely enjoy sports, so it feels like the right move. Also, their shows were really fun.