20 May 2018

DYSTROPHY


The early '00s were a pretty fukkn special time for Bay Area punk and hardcore. The divisions between East and West Bay that permeated most of the '90s has partially dissolved, and you had freaks from the Tri-Valley jamming in bands with West Bay Coalition OGs. Shows in Santa Cruz and San Rafael were not an anomaly, and were often packed with hungry kids while San Jose shows seemed like they were damn near always banging. The Peninsula was still weird, as a crew of emo kids started to come into their own in the shadow of NO LESS and PLUTOCRACY...we would see UNDER A DYING SUN and DEADBODIESEVERYWHERE in the same weekend. TIME IN MALTA played with TRAGEDY in San Francisco because it made sense - hell, ICE 9 had played with HIS HERO IS GONE just a few years earlier in Indiana, so why not? And at the center of it all? Mission Records in SF and 924 Gilman in Berkeley. The Bay had finally gotten (back) to point where people just came to shows....not that it didn't matter who the bands were, but there were just so many good fukkn shows that you knew it was worth gambling. And there were kids everywhere...high school kids screaming the words, high school kids starting their own bands. It was awesome. I know that hardcore now is every bit as vibrant as it was then and I'm not some "living in the past" relic, but perhaps with advancing age comes the distance...and of course it feels more intense and more relevant when you're always in the mix, right? So sometimes when I attend (or play) a show and I find myself somewhat reserved and/or reflective, I come home and I blast something like this. 

Y'all know Tony Molina, right? A decade or so after this 5+ minute collection of relentless blasting teenage rage, the singer for DYSTROPHY was featured on some NPR "must hear" new artists or some shit. And as much as I confess that Dissed and Dismissed is worth the hype, watching the trainwreck that was Tony's current power violence project HEALER try to set up and tune their instruments was waaaaay sicker. DYSTROPHY live set from Mission Records at the end of 2001 has been up on Escape Is Terminal for a couple of years...link is still live and worth your time. 

19 May 2018

FAILED MUTATION


This is why Midwest hardcore rules. Milwaukee's FAILED MUTATION harness the energy of '80s desperation instead of just aping their ancestors moves...and it works. The sound is weird, the double snare taps are on point, the riffs are super squirmy and awkward and the start/stops in "Give Into Sleep" make me want to scream. This was a part of a superb cassingle series Not Normal did a few years back, so you only get two tracks...and if these two tracks were lifted off of a sinfully short big hole 45 from '83 then everyone would shit their pants. Instead everyone looked at their phones. Their loss. 



18 May 2018

HYENA


While DBeat based melodic crust has fallen out of favor with Flavor of the Month Punks, hoards of filthy animals and black clad scholars continue to eat the shit up like candy. And there are reasons why they do this....reasons like HYENA. A record (also released on cassette) that you can fully sink into. A legitimately emotive and powerful collection of songs from a Spanish band that seems dedicated to the purpose of sonic power. It's an impressive offering....and one that makes me yawn at the mindless 1-2-1-2 stomps seemingly regurgitated out of thin air at every turn. I guess sometimes you need it to mean something...and it means even more if it feels like it means everything to someone. That's what HYENA feels like. 

 I am tired of broken hearts // I am tired of being the worst for me // my worst enemy

17 May 2018

DEGENERE


On a layover in Mexico City a few months back, I asked Rafael to hook me up with his favorite new DF bands. We met for a brief afternoon meal at Gold Taco (because I'm a tourist, and that's where vegan gringos go) and he gave me this tape. Rafael is punk, and has excellent taste...so that should be all I need to say. So that is all I will say. 



16 May 2018

FLORIDA MAN


Is it ok if I claim that Ascetic House house (get it?) the most compelling collection of Creators in North America? I don't know if I fully make that statement....but I will repeatedly make that statement and I won't argue with myself. How BOYS OV PARADISE and FLORIDA MAN and JOCK CLUB are on the same "label" is not something to be analyzed, but rather something to be celebrated. And speaking of celebration...get amongst it, we will celebrate together later. 



15 May 2018

JANITORS AGAINST APARTHEID


Time and place hold equal importance in discussion of context. I never saw JANITORS AGAINST APARTHEID, but I could have seen them at that show in Temecula in '94. We also could have crossed paths in Cornwall in '96 or Indianapolis in 1993 (man, that "teen center" was super weird and the guy was a dick and we stole weird shit from him to try to sell because he wouldn't pay us and my wife still makes fun of me for that to this day - even though she didn't know me in those days....it's a good story, I'll tell you some time). But JANITORS AGAINST APARTHEID were from San Jose and I never saw them live even though I knew the name. They were a killer ska/punk ensemble who rip off CITIZEN FISH (or the other way around) in "Oh...OK!" and whose use of horn and weird time signatures floats easily in a sea of contemporary copycats. How many Escape visitors will listen.....? My guess is less than 30, but the ones who do will not be disappointed. This is arguably as dated as anything I have shared here....but I'll be damned if it isn't also excellent. 


14 May 2018

YOUTH SUCKS // BEROSSZULÁS


Sonically, this one doesn't fall too far from yesterday's post; the distortion is all on point, the mix of fast and not quite as fast keeps you guessing, and both bands manage to make hardcore sound fukkn real and important. So I guess Budapest Area hardcore still rules too. Highly recommended, if only for the disgusting intro on the BEROSSZULÁS side. Seriously - even if you you think you don't like punk you should download this turd just to listen to the first 63 seconds of their side (at which point it "only" turns into the sickest neanderthal stomp you'll hear all month)...because not only is it the ugliest thing ever, but I can (almost) assure you that you'll stick around for the rest of the tape. Att nine minutes of it. What are you scared of...? Exactly. You're welcome. 



13 May 2018

DIORETIX


Don't let that introspective and artistic cover fool you....this is just pure brutality. Knuckle dragging hardcore/fastcore hybrid that only lets off the gas for one strangely beautiful midpaced track ("The Total Perspective Vortex") - and what DIORETIX do while the foot is on the gas for the rest of the demo is simply devastating. You hear me talk about the difference between contrived angst and pure hardcore all the time, and clearly I lean on the purity at all times - simply put: DIORETIX aren't faking it. It sounds so gloriously fukkd up and to totally real, and Bay Area hardcore (somehow?) still rules. Seriously...it does. Listen to "Abolition" and try to tell me I'm wrong. 



12 May 2018

THUMBSCREWS


This shit is severely damage and sounds like the very recording might disintegrate at any moment. In other words: This shit is great. Check the guitar break near the start of "Death Goes On' and if you're like me you might find yourself rewinding repeatedly to try to figure out if you actually just heard what you think you just heard. Trust me though....you heard it. And it sounded super fukkd. And you fukkn loved it. It's not like the rest of this thing sounds any nicer (it doesn't), it's just that that moment really captures their vibe; the vibe is weird and the vibe is dark and the vibe is tortured. It's pure and primitive hardcore and it just feels wrong and it totally feels right. 


11 May 2018

HAGGIS


In the summer of 1994, my band MULTIPLE CHOICE embarked on a ridiculous nine week North American tour during which we lost all of our money and most of our dignity....and during which we made friends that I still cherish today. One of the last shows of that tour was in San Jose with ALL YOU CAN EAT (who were at that point, at least to newcomers like us, already stalwarts of the Bay Area Scene - they had toured overseas and members worked for Maximum Rocknroll for fukks sake!) and Boise, Idaho band HAGGIS (who had something cool written on the side of their van, even though I can't remember what it was). It was classic early DIY touring - the dude who "set up the show" showed up late and all the bands just hung out on the sidewalk with some local punks in front of the venue in downtown San Jose until he got there...and we told him the venue was locked. Turns out he hadn't exactly asked anyone if he could do the show there, he was just kinda hoping they would be open or some shit, so we convinced him (or guilt tripped him) to find a house where we could have the show. Wait....did I say house? I meant apartment - like in an apartment complex. So even though it seemed we were gonna play mostly for each other (you want to romanticize touring, young punks? because playing for the other bands at the show because no one knows who you are and no one bothered to stop watching tv to come see you play....? that's what touring is really about) but we double parked and were all working like a team to load shit in to this apartment and set up in the living room. And then a cop drove by as we were pulling the bass cabinet out of the van and he stopped and he looked at us as if to say "what the actual fukk do you think you are doing?" and we all kinda assessed the situation and thought "yeah, this shit ain't never gonna fly" and so we loaded the gear back in the van/s. So yeah...that's how I met HAGGIS, and that's how I became friends with ALL YOU CAN EAT. 

But if you want to listen to this 1996 demo, and you should, then you are in for a fukkn treat. I mean, if you like melodic 1990s punk. But the good kind....not the mindless generic bullshit. Guitars that bridge a gap between Flip Your Wig and early '90s Bay Area (note: original HAGGIS guitarist was ex-SEPTIC DEATH...according to The Internet), and the kind of gravel drenched vocals that make the era so easy to apologize for. I asked Karoline for comparisons and she mentioned CRIMPSHRINE and SCHLONG and JAWBREAKER and Hayes-era Lookout! and I don't disagree with her at all even though I have completely different reference points (like: DEAD MILKMEN playing high energy pop punk through 1985 HÜSKER DÜ's gear without changing the settings). The main thing though, is that SL9 holds up extremely well in the face of an overly judgmental and/or compartmentalized internet. These songs are absolute burners - and if you can sing along and there's a story to go with them....? Well then that's even better.