05 December 2021

INSURGENTS



You know the feeling when you kinda want to dismiss a band/song arbitrarily but there's something that keeps dragging you in? That's me the first time I heard this INSURGENTS tape. It has all of the trappings of a band made up of the only four alterna-teens in their town in 1992 - a little grunge, a little metal, a little USDIY basement hardcore - and that combination often takes a band to exciting places. "Lane Change" has pretty blatant Too Fast For Love guitar undertones, "So Sure" hits like primitive speed metal in one part and ALICE IN CHAINS in the verse, and "Down River" hits like MOTHER LOVE BONE. So...why does it work? I'm not sure, and I'm not even sure that it does. I've come back to these three songs repeatedly though - maybe because I like them, or maybe because I like like hearing a band trying to figure out which way they want to go. 
 
DRAWING A BLANK


04 December 2021

NO COMMENT



I remember the first time I heard NO COMMENT - I was rather underwhelmed and didn't quite understand what the big deal was. They weren't 'heavy,' the guitar was really loose and the recording was pretty thin. I wanted some heft, I guess. Well, I remember the next time I saw NO COMMENT - I was floored. The intensity was raw, pure. The guitars were loose because the songs themselves were leaping out of the grooves and the guitar sounded like it was trying to fucking escape. It was inner brutality, the heaviness that I was looking for was trapped inside this band....and I couldn't understand what it was that I had missed the first time. These seven songs offer ever ounce of power they did when they were recorded 34 years ago. The fourteen seconds of "Guinea Piglet Alone" are possible as close to perfect as you're every going to find in US hardcore. 
 


03 December 2021

FAST//VIOLENCE

 

The title is pretty self explanatory. You could add words like "RAW" and "BRUTAL" to the title if you prefer things to be really spelled out - or you could just pop in the fast and violent tape and then be surprised....like "whoa - this is fast and brutal, violence and raw!" I dunno, some motherfuckers like to be surprised. The tape has 35 face melting offerings, but mine got eaten so you're only gonna get your face melted 17 times today. NERVOUS MOTHERS, SORDO, ODIOSO DIOS, LIFEWRECK, FORCE-FED DRUGS, METH MOUTH...you get the general idea. There are three tapes in this series from Knochen (this one is from 2014), and they are all killer. If you like having your face melted. 


02 December 2021

BABJI

 

While I simply can't get behind the whole "love and light" thing in the face of inpenetrable darkness, a brief retreat into "Truth, Simplicity, Love" can prove a good reset. And maybe it helps to clear the palate to let the hate flow back into you, a pure vessel. Because the hate flows, and the casual disregard for humanity (and humans) masked as ideology...we need to understand the motivation. To refuse to accept the hatred is an act of hate itself. I'm pretty sure this (flawed?) logic flies directly in the face of the teachings of Haidakhan Babji, but knowledge and understanding take many forms. 


01 December 2021

BAD DADDIES



I really liked BAD DADDIES every time I saw them. Absolutely killer live band, and their recordings are all excellent. We need to be honest about the name for a moment though....and this is coming from a fellow who has been in more than two bands with questionable monikers...BAD DADDIES is a seriously flawed band name. I think that's the main reason that their run through most of the 2010s wasn't met with resounding praise, because the songs and delivery are superb. "How Do You Like Your Coffee?" is a straight classic, a song that could (and should) be on countless mix tapes throughout the next decade. The way they make bratty garage punk sound like art guitar driven college rock and/or vice versa...they just fucking nail it. Honestly, the best place to start is the Over 30 Singles collection because you get a taste of everything, but I think this tape was their last studio recording and it's a snarling snotty trainwreck of fuzzed out brilliance. 

(yes, probably)

30 November 2021

GAY FLORISTS // WIGGLY WIGGLY AND OFF WITH MY FACE

 

Early sounds from the Stow, Ohio tree of rock (if you know, then you know - if you don't know, then I'm lumping all SOCKEYE-related musical projects into same category) on a split that was first released in 1988. It might be just the approach that sets both of these outfits apart from the voluminous nonsensical anti-punk Wheelchair Full Of Old Men catalog, but it might also be the result.  Remember that the US underground was just a few years removed from Confusion Is Sex, and experimentation was rife in the face of the same four hardcore riffs that had been blasted on repeat for the preceding eight years in the American Midwest. In this case, that experimentation is a decidedly non-musical split that falls somewhere in the chasm formed by the separation of NY No Wave and 1970s Kraut Rock and raises a drunken, defiant middle finger to both while jamming some dub records on the way down. But it's....good. Casually chaotic and gloriously monotonous, GAY FLORISTS and WIGGLY WIGGLY AND OFF WITH MY FACE share an approach (and if we're being honest, probably more than one or two members) that might have been a blueprint for further experimentation. It might have also been some dudes drunkenly fucking around with a tape recorder. 

29 November 2021

BOMBRÄD



Fist banging Monday morning with the 2016 tape from Malaysia's BOMBRÄD. It sounds like it looks, and it looks punk as fuuuukkkkk, five deathly blasts of blown out DBeat with a blatant Swedish influence. Hold on during the start/stops that overpower the eponymous track sandwiched in the middle of the tape, then get sawn in half by an army of high end guitars while the relentless bludgeoning bashes your senses. The formula might be simple, but it fukkn works. 

BOMBRÄD 


28 November 2021

OCTOPUS

 

I got a searing package from a friend in Jakarta some time ago, a box so hot it took me a couple of months to fully digest everything. While I was expecting (and received) dose after dose of ripping crossover and crust, it was bands like GODPLANT and OCTOPUS that were a real punch in the gut. Resession takes me back to the late '90s, when the basement punks still repped Scattered, Smothered & Covered and the DIY scene was fucking with stoner rock before the two worlds fully diverged. Throaty grooves delivered with formidable tonnage and a B-side that's super fukkd up but I enjoy how it sounds as if it's being played through water speakers in the next room....you get what you get with these little plastic boxes full of magnetic tape. 


27 November 2021

SCUMBAG



Completely fucking unhinged Japanese hardcore circa 1988.  "Happenstance" is on the Enjoy Your Youth.. comp (which I just sold - why did I do that?) and everything else here either appears on the FEARLESS VAMPIRE KILLERS split or the Have Fun More Fun demo. This copy is from the Pat Wright archives, so it may have been a dub from someone, or a promo sent into Gilman or KALX. No matter really, the point here is wild ass hardcore (think IDORA or IDOL PUNCH, not your typical fare) and Pat writing "hardcore - 18 year olds" on the label. Because the band were 18 year olds? Because hardcore 18 year olds would eat tracks like "Fuck You Arch Girl" like it was cereal? Either answer is acceptable. 



26 November 2021

PRESENCE NOT ABSENCE



If you really take the time to digest this comp, it will move you to fucking tears. As a People, we are so unbelievably bad at looking out for Us. And let's be clear: We are ALL Us. There's no Them when it comes to taking care of Us, because we could all so easily be any of them. We don't have a ceiling here, especially in the country where I live, if you get dealt the right hand and the sky is quite literally not even the limit. The problem is...we also don't have a floor, and countless human lives keep slipping through the cracks. Is a cassette compiling 20+ musical artists going to change that? Nah, not even close. But visibility matters. People matter...and what if someone notices who wouldn't have noticed otherwise? Because that fucking matters. And throwing your weight behind people who are standing up for the most marginalized....that is important. Because WE HAVE NO FLOOR, and those people who are clinging to the cracks might not have anything to reach for except some idealistic weirdo who found social activism through a random collection of freak sounds. So all praise to Volar Records for this comp (which is, for the record and without exception, outstanding). 


Choicest cuts: IGNONOIR, COBY BLANCHARD, TULLIVER, NO NO BABY, COED, BLUE ZERO, UNO LADY, PUBLIC INTEREST. But there seriously is not one bad moment.