30 June 2010

BROWN SUGAR


One of the things I miss about living in the Midwest is being able to hit the Eastern Seaboard and the Rust Belt on quick, no bullshit touring jaunts to see the great bands and hang out with the great people that reside in those regions. Albany, Pittsburgh, Buffalo, Baltimore, the Tri-Valley, Grand Rapids and the list goes on...I was lucky to hit them all repeatedly and get my face melted by killer bands over and over (of course now I can do the same thing with Southern California and the overly prolific Pacific Northwest, I'm just crying a little "grass is greener" river). The whole point is that if I still lived in the Milwaukee, then I probably would have seen BROWN SUGAR by now, and I bet they would have been awesome. Buffalo has been packed with a disproportionate number of rippers for as long as I can remember (it's the winter and the desperation all twisted into a frustrated heap), and these folks are veterans of the city's rock and roll world. This tape compiles their 2008 Deportation single with a live set recorded in Syracuse (they named the track "Gushy & Wet in Akron Corfu," but it wasn't recorded in Ohio - go figure) one living room demo track and a confusing cover of "Hey Joe" which Biff says is done in the LOVE style but it comes off sounding like BIG STAR (this isn't bad, just not the tune I would have opened my tape with).  The EP tracks are tough as shit without ever coming off as macho, just raging punk rock with one ever present clean guitar that seems to be hanging out by itself while the rest of the band blow through 8 songs in 9 minutes. Tight as shit, this is perfect fodder for fans of No Way stuff or the first few TOTAL FURY records...come to think of it, that clean guitar sound exactly like the TOTAL FURY Spring Thrash single from a decade ago, though this was likely an accident (yeah right).  


29 June 2010

CORPSE GRINDERS


File this along with the hordes of killer late 80s UK bands who just simply came too late. The bombast and ensuing bass break that starts out "Democracy" would be at home with DEATH SENTENCE, DISRUPTERS or any number of second wave UK punks, but then Rob's vocals owe more to LACK OF KNOWLEDGE or Wayne Hussey styled self indulgent goth/punk and don't really fit the music at first. The affected guitars sit just fine on top of the awkward and disjointed drums and they quickly become the highlight for me...until the vocals settle in and I start to focus on them almost exclusively.  While "New World" drags on too long for my taste, and CORPSE GRINDERS mastery of UK ska/punk on this tracks is nowhere near the level of their dark punk stylings, they redeem themselves generously with the final track "Decongestion," a ripping gloomy UK82 assault that fills the final two minutes of this demo with thoughts of "shit man, the rest of this tape was good, but this is fukkn AMAZING!!" and then it's over. If this were from 1983 instead of 1989 then someone would surely have "discovered" it and exalted its virtues long ago...



28 June 2010

NECRO HIPPIES


NECRO HIPPIES are from New Orleans, and my pal Layla started raving about them a few months back. She played me their 12" and I thought it was pretty fukkn rad, and when they announced a gig in San Francisco, I was pretty stoked. I couldn't really tell if I was stoked to see NECRO HIPPIES or just stoked to see Layla flip her lid cause she was so damn excited about the show. If a band is good, then they are gonna be even better at Thrillhouse Records, and since that's where the show was, I figured we were all in for a pretty sweet evening. I didn't really hang out with them, just said hello and such, probably heckled just a little bit more than would normally be considered friendly, I just watched them fucking kill it. NECRO HIPPIES played like I remember playing when your band is young and you booked a tour that might have been a little too long for your sanity, your wallets, and your relationships with the other people in the van, but then there's a shitty room and it's rammed with dirty punks and that's why you got into the van 6 weeks ago when you still had your positive outlook - you did it all for nights like this. That's how NECRO HIPPIES played, they were fukkn great, and I even trekked across the bridge to see them in Oakland the next day (good show, RANK/XEROX were awesome, but it was more...sterile than the night before). I still didn't really hang out with them there either, just passed along a few awkward "I like your band" comments that still leave my mouth like a dumfounded teenager even though I'm pushing 40 and it's getting lighter every year...but I just felt like they were good damn folks, and that goes a long way with me. It doesn't hurt that the band serves up bare bones ultra catchy snotty American hardcore with a laid back attitude, and that the songs are in your face KBD worthy US punk put through a "fuck you" filter and then pissed all over.  No...that doesn't hurt at all.


Fast forward a few weeks and I saw the guitarist in Austin. We still didn't hang out, and I felt less urge to pass along "I like your band" comments since her band wasn't playing. We passed each other on Red River, I was headed from my total score of a parking space to watch Jerry A take a squishy dump all over whatever shred of a reputation POISON IDEA still manages to hold onto, and she gave me this tape.  A 2008 EP recorded "on a dumpstered boombox." I challenge you to get more punk than that. 

27 June 2010

ALIENATION



I posted their 1988 demo last year, and this is ALIENATION's offering from the previous year. Way rougher around the edges, but at the same time this one is way less punk...dark self indulgent guitars and a greater emphasis is placed on the "I'm so spooky" vocals while the rhythm section (particularly the bass) seems barely able to fake their way through a song. The result is confusing, often out of tune and disconcerting, but overly endearing in its urgency. 

GREATEST HITS VOL II



"sometimes I need to get away // away from what you say // sometimes I don't want to see today // sometimes I think I've lost my way" 

26 June 2010

COLD DEATH


Equally excellent and infectious female fronted punk/new wave hybrid from Germany. The vocals take about a song for me to really get into, but now I can't get them out of my head. Moody and atmospheric delivery with fantastic song writing, COLD DEATH manage to pull off complete 80s worship without sounding recycled or trite.  Check them out here, and listen to this shit all day long...


25 June 2010

BULSA BREAKOUT


Perhaps this tape is more valuable as a geographical marker than a musical masterpiece, but when I saw it sitting in Allan's distro I snagged it without a moment's hesitation. Bulsa Breakout is a 60 minute compilation of bands from Bulgaria (BUL) and South Africa (SA) released cooperatively by Sound Action in South Africa and Art Of Noise in Bulgaria sometime in the 90s (I'm guessing on the date based on band photos and musical styles). Bulgaria takes side 1 and starts with LAST HOPE (pretty basic dirty UK sounding punk) and STRATEGY X (an attempt at modern H'C with rudimentary drums and meaty guitars, it works really well)...both are fukkn brilliant. MEANSTREAM sound like a tougher STRATEGY X, and the lo-fi delivery suits them perfectly, FORWARD seem like they are trying to be poppy, but the shit is too fast and chaotic and they come off like 80s Italian thrashers, IN-CRIMINAL are slower plodding angry HC while FACE UP offer one song of late 80s NYHC. The South African side leaves a bit to be desired, and I confess that I almost left a few of these songs off altogether, but then there's beauty and eyes of the beholder and all that, so I included the garage quality NOFX rip off (FUNGY GONE WEST) and a band that sounds like a wimpy WEEZER who likely pre-date WEEZER (THE GLEE CLUB). But then our sub-Saharan friends redeem themselves with killer female fronted hardcore tunes from OUTRAGE (their second tune has a very anarcho feel to it, and is the best on the tape to my ears) and forceful plodding UK style punk from DIMINISHED RETURN. The SA side rounds out with FRIDGE MAGNET (more UK punk) and CRUSH (tuneful ripping HC not unlike SNFU). Just in case there was any doubt as to the international commitment put forth on this tape, things wrap up with a radio piece that features Malaysia's CARBURETOR DUNG from a previous Sound Action tape release.  A few of these tunes should probably be put in the trash file after first listen (not the most ringing endorsement of my potential download, I realize, but honesty always pays off in the end...right?), but there are great tunes buried in here, and the simple fact that two different corners of the world reached out to one another to make this happen makes it more than worthwhile to me. And if you care about the world, then you will download this tape immediately.






24 June 2010

NO MAN'S SLAVE


The two best things about going on tour are seeing people you like and seeing bands you like.  Luckily, a few weeks back I managed to take care of both of those things at once when NO MAN'S SLAVE played with us in Oklahoma City. They have honed their craft to a frighteningly sharp point, and these dudes have reached a level where it's not out of line to mention their name in the same breath as the band from whom NO MAN'S SLAVE lifted their moniker. The bass break in "Curbing Homophobia" has shades of LOGICAL NONSENSE, the guitar work screams IRON LUNG in the best possible way, but the overall delivery here is just plain brutal. 29 tunes in under 22 minutes, I think you know what's in store.


The singer from this band runs the not-updated-often-enough-but-still-totally-excellent Trapped In Oklahoma blog, and is responsible for a few of the Oklahoma posts that have appeared here as well. For those who feel the need to keep track, these tunes appeared previously on the Siege Mentality EP and the split EP with I RESIGN (both on Give Praise Records), the Ear Damage cassette and their self titled cassette from 2008.

23 June 2010

CHRISTIE


CHRISTIE are another mystery band (try searching the internet for a band named "CHRISTIE" - and good luck). These six tracks also appear on the flipside of my equally mysterious CYANIDE SCENARIO cassette (which might be an unreleased INTERNAL AUTONOMY recording, though I really can't be sure...but I digress), although in a slightly cleaner fashion. I opted to share the dirtier version, the white wash and distorted hiss suit the brooding melancholic music perfectly. Saccharine sweet female vocals are certainly the focus, but blown out ethereal guitars bring to mind a more rudimentary PRIMITIVES (or perhaps the FIZZBOMBS are a more accurate comparison?) and the songs are easily catchy enough to sit alongside many 80s bands of this ilk, although CHRISTIE clearly never achieved that status. If anyone has any background (or foreground) information, please share...past bands, future bands, other recordings? 


22 June 2010

WHITE WARDS


The best $2 I've dropped in a record store in ages, this 11 minute WHITE WARDS demo is an absolute stunner.  They combine the noisy self indulgent hardcore approach utilized by fellow Olympians SEX VID with the nihilistic spewings of GEHENNA and drench the whole recording in mystery sauce so you have to dig deeper to find out what the hell they are doing. A side note, last Friday I was driving home from Seattle, and planned a stop in Portland to break up the drive and hang out with friends...I was surprised that there weren't any shows that piqued my interest in PDX-Punk City on a summer Friday, but oh well - I had a great night anyway. Then today, while ripping this tape, I internetted WHITE WARDS and found that I drove through Olympia just as they were destroying a house with the Bay Area's MIGRAINE and ECOLI.  Sometimes I lose, but these eight songs will guarantee you a win, oh fine Terminal Escape reader.


21 June 2010

BLACK FLAG in Kentucky, 1984


I know that the historical importance of BLACK FLAG and their approach to music cannot be understated. I know that BLACK FLAG's contribution to American punk and hardcore was immeasurable. I know BLACK FLAG are likely the most enduring hardcore band to come out of the 80s. And I think BLACK FLAG are totally overrated. Their 8 hours rehearsals are legendary, but I have to think that the result of endless time locked in a room together (and together with Rollins, no less) was uninspired performances like the one featured here. After a 12 minute instrumental that must have bored the Newport, Kentucky audience to fucking tears in 1984 (the most groundbreaking thing FLAG did was Process Of Weeding Out; there were plenty of bands making equally ferocious music in the late 70s/early 80s, and not as dumbed down as BLACK FLAG were either, it's just that BLACK FLAG took their show on the road...a lot), Ginn launches into a tired delivery of a brilliantly simple riff, and "Nervous Breakdown" has never sounded so dull. A version of My War's "Can't Decide" completely devoid of any enthusiasm follows (My War was the first BLACK FLAG I ever heard...I gave the record to a friend before side A was even over), but then "Slip It In" sounds good and it seems that 20 minutes  into the set these dudes are finally hitting their stride. I always appreciated the sentiment behind "Black Coffee," but the tune falls flat on vinyl, and this rendition does little to revive the song...or the set. Rollins' presence is vapid throughout, and the 20-30 second lag between songs makes me think that the band were just as bored as he was. By this point in their career, they feel (live and recorded) like they are just going through the motions, appeasing the fans that pay their bills while Greg Ginn was suppressing the inner monster that would go on the make Process Of Weeding Out and form GONE after BLACK FLAG's demise. I can't deny the fury of tunes like "My War" (probably the best song on this tape), and bringing hardcore to the country at large is an admirable legacy, to be sure. However, memories of yourself as a frustrated teenagers blasting these jams on your Walkman on the way to get your ass kicked (again) at school aside, three years into the Rollins era and BLACK FLAG had lost nearly all of their zeal, and perhaps even most of their relevance.

Live at The Jockey Club
(download link removed by the Black Flag Reputation Preservation Society)


I understand that any dismissal of BLACK FLAG places me in a very small minority, and I'd like to stress that I don't hate, or even dislike them, I just think that an inordinate amount of historical attention gets directed at a band who released a couple of killer records and then languished in a "what the fuck are we doing" limbo for a few years too long, fronted by a seemingly self absorbed choad who has gone a long way towards showing his true colors in the decades since. There's decent footage of this show on youtube, pretty easy to track down if you want a visual aid. Admittedly the quality of this live recording leaves a bit to be desired, but like I've said already, so does the performance.

04 June 2010

TERMINAL TOUR

I've been posting backlogged drafts for the last two weeks or so...I was hoping to accumulate enough so that I could keep up my one-a-days from the road, but alas I cannot. I spent a great weekend in LA with Japan's CROW, followed by an equally great trip through the southwest with San Francisco bands BRILLIANT COLORS and GRASS WIDOW. Four days in Austin, saw POISON IDEA play one of the most pathetic sets of music I've ever seen, saw MORPHEME blow minds, BASTARD NOISE melted my face, and now I'm on the road with SUBHUMANS. Posts will resume June 20th, but until then I encourage you to stop by and see me on tour if you are on the west coast (in addition to my smiling face and the live show, I'll have several early 80s Bluurg cassette releases in tow, as well as the VACCUUM and OPT OUT demos. I brought 100 copies of the NO STATIK demo along, but I got wasted and left them in Austin...some janitor is stoked), and if you aren't then you should just peruse the Escape archives and download the TVOD and DECEASED demos, the shit seriously rules.

SUBHUMANS (UK) June 2010
05 Pomona, CA w/ A-HEADS, ANIMALITOS
06 Los Angeles, CA w/ A-HEADS, RAYOS X
07 Long Beach, CA w/ A-HEADS, TOYS THAT KILL
08 Las Vegas, NV w/ A-HEADS
09 San Louis Obispo, CA w/ A-HEADS
10 Santa Cruz, CA w/ A-HEADS
11 Berkeley, CA w/ MDC, A-HEADS, SAHN MARU
12 San Francisco, CA w/ A-HEADS, SIN ORDEN
13 Sparks, NV w/ MDC
14 Sacramento, NV w/ MDC, RAT DAMAGE
15 Eugene, OR w/ ARCTIC FLOWERS, RESIST, HAPPY BASTARDS
16 Portland, OR w/ ARCTIC FLOWERS, SALTED CITY
17 Seattle, WA w/ ARCTIC FLOWERS, WALLS

03 June 2010

ASS


I could go on about ASS for hours, but I'll try to keep it relatively short. Early 1990s I started touring, and on my second tour we played a dreadful show in Kent, Ohio. The gig was horrific, but we were on tour so we probably thought it was amazing, but we did meet some nice folks (and that's really the whole point anyway). The next year when MULTIPLE CHOICE hit the road, we stopped by Kent once again. The show was at the same venue/gallery/hovel as the year before, but this time the show was fucking great, and Kent became a regular stop until that band stopped touring in 1997. Kent is most famous for one legendary act of excessive force in 1970, but for us it was all about these killer folks we were hanging out with and the great music they shared with us. I didn't yet know about "lo fi" music, but these dudes personified it, and we left Kent each year with more tapes of incomprehensible nonsense. SOCKEYE (actually from Stow, Ohio - the next town over) were at the epicenter of all of the noise, and they spawned bands like HORNS, BOY IN LOVE, and today's featured "artist": ASS. Should you choose to download (and I'm certain that most of you won't) you will be assaulted with 44 minutes of the most ridiculous bullshit you have ever heard...in three acts. ACT I features the band playing live in Kent, probably at that shithole that had cheap beer right across from where we always played, then the live recording moves to the sidewalk, and the "engineers" interview some young passersby while ASS continues the assault inside, like a noise beacon through the cigarette fog. ACT II is ten tracks that are the very embodiment of noisecore: few notes, few instruments, just bizarre and unlistenable chaos. And then ACT III is like the chill out after you've gotten all worked up...22 minutes of ambient noise interrupted periodically by disco hits from the '70s and infomercials. This tape has annoyed so many of my friends over the last 15 years, and I'm happy to add my Terminal Escape readers to that list. Listen at your own risk, but please listen.

and other demos

01 June 2010

DEVIATED INSTINCT


A twelve song live set that was recorded a month before the 1985 demo I posted back in February. No introduction or explanation really required, DEVIATED INSTINCT were fucking ace. In late 1985, Mid says the band was "still very much finding our feet," but this live set sounds like anything but a band finding their footing. If there were a designated genre for Filthy Anarcho Crust, then I would put DEVIATED INSTINCT at the top of the tree...I'm looking forward to seeing them in September.

DEVIATED INSTINCT live 08/1985

DARGE/SECRET SECT


No bullshit crust attack from Gifu, Japan (DARGE) and Southern California (SECRET SECT). DARGE are noisy and full of hissing madness that melts into a wash of cymbal noise but the vocals and the unmistakable Japanese hardcore rhythm show through the white noise and these songs are the perfect  metal/punk hybrid, not unlike Tokyo's CROW. On the flip side, SECRET SECT deliver three songs of female fronted politically charged crusty hardcore. The recording is off, and the result is disconcerting but that's why I like it...rough and dirty, and maybe they want to be metal but it's not quite working out just yet.