A pal described this band to me as "psychedelic powerviolence," and I'm having a hard time expanding beyond that. Classic late '60s hard rock crashes headlong into brutal and primitive mid '90s West Bay classics on XHENDRIX's 2016 (and, thus far, only) release...it kinda fukks with your head. The tones are sublime, owing a debt to a simply superb recording that captures the band's particular brand of weed meets rage. Rib shaking lows that suit the grooves as much as the knuckle dragging molasses mosh intros (sometimes, as in "No Abras Los Ojos," these two exist at the same time), and the power only increases with the speed. There's a lot to unpack in this demo, and when you get finished you'll probably just look at the shit strewn about your room and wonder what happened. Get weird.
24 May 2019
All hail the trading scene of the 1980s, and gratitude for the gifts its legacy that it continues to to bestow upon the people wise enough to keep opening them. The Who Cares comp was completely unknown before I dug this TDK MA-C 90 out of a forgotten box of live recordings with track listings scrawled on scraps of paper inside each case. But now I know (and so do you), and this is a collection that you simply cannot here. Most of the bands were mere blips on the US hardcore timeline, SHATTERED FAITH probably made the most permanent mark and they fly way under most people's radar. The other acts were mostly new to me: CHIEFS (I thought the Blues EP was the entirety of their output, but these songs easily rival that bonzer), AKA, CIVIL DISOBEDIANCE and a pre-walking garbage ghost Duane Peters fronting POLITICAL CRAP and the absolute winner on this tape: SUSPECTS - all the hooks of the absolute best Midwest punk delivered with an unmistakeable California snarl, SUSPECTS drop four tracks on this comp that are, as far as I can tell, the entirety of their recorded output. Check "Make Me" in particular, a perfect (and timeless) dose of frustrated, early US hardcore punk. The songs on this tape are grouped by band, a completely different sequence from the vinyl release, which makes me wonder if this was compiled by folks involved with the comp itself, but these are questions that I will never answer...it's just a serious collection of bangers. No art included - but theres another ripper compilation on the flip side that will appear here eventually. A retroactive thank you to the punk/s who put this together and put it in the mail, and an even more sincere thanks to the punk who received it, partied on it, and then didn't throw it away when they grew up and moved on.
23 May 2019
A subdued but casually transfixing collection of sounds and trances make up Counting Stars. Italian multimedia wizard Antonio Gallucci dropped the WHITE DWARF SPIRAL moniker shortly after this release (his second) - perhaps after listening with intent (and at volume) and realizing that there was really nowhere else to go once this journey through space and sound had been completed. Four compositions, electronic sunrise ragas pulsing out of a modular reality, elements patched together with intent. Just under 40 minutes in total, this release is at once all consuming and a base at which to start an aural journey - some true Other Worlds shit, and I look forward to the night when I can listen in silence, under the stars...and count.
22 May 2019
As much as my missives might fly in the face of the following statement: You don't always need an in depth analysis, sometimes something just hits you and it just sounds good, and that's enough. Winnipeg's SLURS just sound good. Lots of open chords reminiscent of mid-'80s Mould, killer walking bass lines that seem to carry you with them, and a general urgency throughout. It's addictive more than catchy, and when the tempo bumps up from "Dead Friend" to "Burnt" you're straight jamming....and you don't stop. One last thing: SLURS swing. And swinging is very important.
21 May 2019
Rarely am I rendered as speechless as I was when I first listened to Amor Duro. The songs are simply crafted, reminiscent of the more interesting early '90s college/alt greats, particularly on "Sem Armas" (I'm talking Rid Of Me-era PJ HARVEY, maybe TEENAGE FANCLUB). But here's the thing that really grabbed me: Amor Duro listens like a complete and completely formed release, but "Sem Armas" is kinda the only song. There's the title track that opens the tape, but it comes off more like an introduction...an ominous sounding three note repetition with wailing vocals that border on BIRTHDAY PARTY caliber magnetism, and then after "Sem Armas" comes "Fantasmas Sem Armas," an mystical re-imagination of the previous number that turns what was, as its roots, essentially a laid back indie/grunge number into a fully engrossing ambient journey. Portugal's VAIAPRAIA take the elements that feel and sound familiar and twist them into something completely different...but still completely familiar. The internet offers a deep hole that only makes VAIAPRAIA E AS RAINHAS DO BAILE more intriguing....so happy digging.
20 May 2019
Not going to go on a(nother) tangent about Canada in general, and the unyielding supremacy of hardcore and punk bands from Halifax, Nova Scotia. But nonetheless, here's GRUMP. And GRUMP is the fiercest motherfukkn band you've never heard of until today. GRUMP will wipe the floor of your filthy punk basement venue with your pathetic face. Modern hardcore is simply not supposed to be this good...and I can assure you that GRUMP is deadly.
"Love Punk Hate Punks" demo is from 2013, "Back To Being Normal" demo is from 2014, the self titled demo is from 2013, and there's a 7" from 2015 that you definitely need.
19 May 2019
1988 may have been well past the heyday of ripping Italian hardcore (though I would suggest that perhaps the Italians might have kept it interesting longer than any of the Europeans....save the Scandinavians, but this line of conversation could get really annoying really fast), but try telling that to RABID DUCK. They are a little more together and a touch more melodic, but this 11 song banger holds it's own amidst a sea of more heralded bands. Nice and weird, with perfect guitar and bass tones (come on - it's superficial, but you know that shit is important) and a cavalier attitude towards tuning, RABID DUCK were combining metallic thrash riffs (Q: and solos?; A: and solos!) and melodic punk before LAGWAGON taught us that those two tastes did not taste great together...and it works (so maybe it was just LAGWAGON, and not the combination of subgenres?). Eleven tracks here, get wild.
18 May 2019
London's THE SHRIKE swoop in from another planetary dimension on their 2018 demo, angular other punk that begs for early anarcho/UK art comparisons. Such comparisons would be lazy, of course, and I will make them (of course) as I think about the just out of synch doubled vocals on "Can't Go" nestled somewhere in the oft overlooked recesses of the Rough Trade back catalog. But like all of those other would-be lazy reviewer, I run the risk of dismissing THE SHRIKE in the process and that would be criminal, as these tracks are absolute killers. The very embodiment of irreverent and snotty punk with an laser focus on A Hook, even (or especially) when the band is fukking your head with bizarro drum patterns and calling you to attention with sharp, barked vocals. You can download here, or here - the latter giving you the option to help the band donate to women who've suffered abuse at the hands of men. As much as I like the attention, I strongly recommend that latter option.
17 May 2019
Two Loathed Sound rereleases in one week may seem excessive...until you spend some time with them. This is an absolutely essential recording of a 1975 live show in Köln, with a radio broadcast of "Descending Moonshine Dervishes" on the flip. Transcendent sounds from two absolute visionaries - one of whom passed away nearly 25 years ago, and one of whom I am very much looking forward to seeing share the stage tonight with two other absolute visionaries. Full disclosure: this reproduction is exceptionally hot, and Riley's synthesizers start out pretty distorted...but it's very very worth it. 78 minutes in total.
16 May 2019
Blown out, ignorant, knuckle dragging butt rock presented as blown out ignorant knuckle dragging hardcore. And it's every bit as good as that description implies. Everything is in the red, singer's juggling a mouthful of marbles while he's beating your ass and hauling you off to jail - basically it's like SHEER TERROR giving ANNIHILATION TIME a reach around.