30 April 2011


Milwaukee's LEFTY LOOSIE do all of the things that I encourage bands to avoid, and still I loved them. "Jangling melodic Midwestern pop punk with mournful but adorable female vocals" is not a description that would typically have me reaching for the play button, but whether it's their undeniably simple awesomeness or the memories of beer soaked basements...I reach for the play button over and over again. The LP is perhaps even better than this 2006 demo (good luck finding a copy), but these five songs will have to satisfy LEFTY LOOSIE newcomers. Like a naive and awkward THIS IS MY FIST, these songs will sink into you and melt away your hard exterior in the process, because you aren't really all that serious and intense all the time, are you?

Bay Area residents: Come see PALMS SPRING, LIVID, NO STATIK and SOURPATCH tonight at Thrillhouse. Shit starts at 7:30, shit is a benefit for Clitfest DC, and shit is gonna be awesome.

29 April 2011


Not to be confused with the similarly titled Wessex '82 EP, also released by Bluurg, the Wessex '81 cassette also features bands at least loosely associated with SUBHUMANS. A-HEADS are criminally under appreciated - these songs could easily qualify them as the English AVENGERS, they just don't have the catalog (or recognition) to command such comparisons. "Isolated" is a timelessly brilliant song that sounds every bit as important today as it must have 30 years ago. ORGANIZED CHAOS are the stars of the tape, and also appeared on the following year's vinyl Wessex collection with A-HEADS. Killer driving UK82 punk (technically, it's UK81, but is it really worth splitting hairs?) that could have easily found a home on Riot City. WILD YOUTH blaze through four tunes of their own, with a slightly more laid back but snotty approach - "Plastic Age" and "Last Punk In Town" are true winners, even as the tape starts to give way towards the end. ORGANIZED CHAOS and WILD YOUTH both came from the ashes of STUPID HUMANS, who also spawned the slightly more well known SUBHUMANS. I sold the last copies of these on tour, so I cannot offer you one for your very own, but I'm pretty shit at sending people things they ask for, so that's probably for the best anyway.

In other news...if you live in the Southwestern part of the US, go see my pals NEGATIVE STANDARDS on tour. I just played their "we are going on tour" show last night, and I assure you that they are well worth your time. If you like to get crushed, that is...and I know you do.

28 April 2011

27 April 2011


This was waiting for me when I came home from tour, and I was so smitten when I put it on that it became the soundtrack for my day. This New York City three piece captures the dreamy hooks of the Girls In The Garage comps and inject a liberal helping of raw honesty without sacrificing any of the charm. I am seeking an adjective, but the word "bare" is the one that keeps coming up - not that these tracks are rough, but rather that AMERICAN SUN are completely exposed. The drums are often distorted to a distracting level, and the guitars are dirty in the most charming way, making even the "Fortunate Son" cover somehow forgivable. I got a lot of shit on tour, and even picked up a 5xLP German No Wave box set yesterday that I ordered last month, but these are the songs that filled my afternoon - and hopefully yours as well. 

26 April 2011


These Wisconsin maniacs live and breathe West Coast Powerviolence, right down to the urban movie samples. But when the jams are this crucial, even a curmudgeon can easily forgive blatant genre thievery - 9 minutes of churning madness, half of which make up the final obligatory dirge.

25 April 2011


You like Noise, Punk? This is why you stop by on Monday - a complete blown out DIStorted assault in four movements that don't resemble music in the slightest. I picked this gem up in Boston from Tim, and I suggest you do the same while they are still available.

24 April 2011


Back from tour, and back to one a day posts instead of that "waiting with baited breath - is there going to be a new demo today" feeling that I've been inflicting upon you for the last four weeks. LA's HALF OFF have always seemed to be stuck between eras - too late (and arguably to metal) for the early '80s heyday of So Cal hardcore, but a few years before the wave that included INFEST, NO COMMENT and other bands that they fall more in line with musically. These seven minutes come from a 1987 rehearsal, and this band is too good to keep slipping under the radar.

23 April 2011


Imagine Saira/DETESTATION singing for DIRECT CONTROL, and fill it with hopelessly catchy riffs and an awkward gangly guitar tone that wails on nonsensical leads that are over in an instant. Not one song approaches the two minute mark, this is fukkn perfect. Get at them here, get at the demo here:

21 April 2011


Fierce UK punk from the Northest of England, SOCIETY'S PROBLEMS never made it past the demo phase, but they wrote some brilliant tracks in the process. This top notch rehearsal tape features searing guitars and several tracks that never made it onto their 1984 self titled demo. There's another demo/live tape floating around with even more songs...but there are a lot of things floating around that I might not get around to dealing with.

19 April 2011


I cannot endorse the use of the Black Panther on any recording released by a bunch of white dudes in the new century (it was fine when HICKEY did it, but that was last century, and it was propaganda aimed at gaining Aesop's release from jail - where he was being held for being a sharpie wielding anti-pig terrorist). But I can heartily endorse the sounds that hide behind that image on this 2007 demo from Providence's most brilliantly named and brilliantly damaged garage punks. There has been a wave of bands approaching ramshackle garage music and delivering it with the intensity of '80 Midwest hardcore, and I'm full into it. Raucous and rebellious, these tunes are in your fukkn face and balls out rock 'n roll (no balls in your face jokes please, it's too easy). Four demo tracks, two covers that might offer a better clue to where these kids are coming from (and where they might like to go), the tunes from their then-unreleased My Wall EP and a live set on the flip side that captures every drop of the intense load left on the studio floor. Sorry, I couldn't resist.

17 April 2011


All it would take is a quick blurb about this band's lineage, as TORTURE UNIT are made up of some of the best the Bay Area has had to offer, but that might detract from the crushing hardcore punk that they bring to the table. Early '80s hardcore rage is clearly the inspiration, but the result is more unhinged than that comparison would imply. "Angst ridden" is an understatement, "unrelenting" is appropriate, and "awesome" pretty much nails TORTURE UNIT. The slow and creepy "No One Cares About You" is my fukkn song of the week, so totally simple but executed with veteran precision, and the riff that brings in the following track sets me off every time. Ugly and internal hardcore punk.

16 April 2011


Black Twilight just keeps making magic...black magic perhaps, but magic nonetheless. Stalwarts VOLAHN return with more bleak high end madness, this time with a spaghetti western guitar lead meandering occasionally through the ten minute main track. TUKAARIA are associated with RHINOCERVS, and it shows in the songs. Melodies are buried under a wash of hiss and guitars, but the melodies are there...

14 April 2011


Rarely does a release by a new band live up to every bit of it's hype...but the MORAL HEX demo does. I snagged this at Blackwater when NO STATIK played there in February, and B and myself listened to to the tape a half dozen times before we made it back home. Absolutely perfect execution - absolutely perfect goth/anarcho punk that manages to not sound like a rehash or a mockery. Folks have been asking for this one, and it's easy to see why. Seriously, how does Portland do it?

12 April 2011


The A side of the tape that brought you the LAST RITES and POST MORTEM recordings features a 30 minute rehearsal recording from the dual female fronted REFUGEES. Dual female vocals will draw you in, but the guitar will hook you (pun intended) with mid tempo riffing that bridges a gap between UK anarcho and '80s Midwest hardcore ("Shrink" features a simple lick that is a dead ringer for HÜSKER DÜ's "Target," and is my favorite song on the tape). Ex-HEALTH HAZZARD, for those keeping track. Fukkn great, for those who just want to rock.

10 April 2011


Blasting and chaotic noise core mayhem, presented in two live sets - one 6:22 and one 3:51 in duration. The noise seems almost nonsensical, though I suspect NUCLEAR II are quite deliberate...power electronics, meet non stop mechanical grind. This one will weed out the wimps for sure.

Detroit (Hamtramck, technically speaking, where the falafels are other worldly) ruled last night - greater Cincinnati metropolitan area get ready for tonight.

08 April 2011


Bleak and discordant raw metal/punk from France, VEUVE SS appear to have spent as much time packaging these tapes as they did recording them (this is not a slight on the recording, rather a kudos on the package). They seem to like replacing 'u's with 'v's which leads me to believe that VEUVE SS are seeking classification under the kvlt umbrella, but instead my ears perk up at harsh and angry punk sounds. The kind of dirty and hoarse vocals that make GEHENNA (the punk band) so appealing, with primitive noise intros and a pace that is more flailing than relenting. This is dark stuff, to be sure, though there must be an element of comedy involved when a band dishes up a song called "Ironique Movstache" - even if it is the finest song on the tape - and many of these songs could easily be re-presented as youth crew jams, they are just given the "evil" treatment and reworked for a black clad audience. This tape will suck you in with raw guitars, and keep you hooked on their metal tip for all the reasons you started liking punk in the first place...and it gets better with each listen.

06 April 2011


I listened to this tape dozens of times before I even got around to ripping it, I kept getting drawn in by the  often unsuccessful attempts at anarcho/post punk, and found that L'ORAAGJE were often more successful when they failed. 1983's It's All Utopia was the only release from this Dutch outfit, and it's a full hour of experimental avant punk noise with guitars and occasional synth very reminiscent of early '80s CURE tracks and an approach to punk that owes as much to THROBBING GRISTLE (check out the 10+ minute "Destroy") as to primitive punks. I asked Jos about L'ORAAGJE, since he is old and Dutch, and it was no surprise to me when he just sent me to former member Jan. Jan told me that members went on to form the decidedly more goth FREISCHWEBENDE INTELLIGENZ while he continued with POST MORTEM (not the UK band obviously) and CONTACT T.B.D., and continues making noise that can be found here. Get into this - TRANSFORM MUSIK.


I know that trends cycle every couple of decades, but I am still bewildered at the droves of kids rehashing the dreary synth driven new wave music that served as the soundtrack for most of my adolescence. Quite pleased, but confused nonetheless. POPULATION might be a little weak in the vocals department, but it gives them an inadvertent edginess that polished goth bands lack. The guitars are perfect in an early SISTERS way while the tempo gives off a perfectly pompous P.I.L. vibe - I'm sold, I just wish they had included contact information so they could sell you a copy of your very own...

03 April 2011


COLLAPSE SOCIETY have been mangling this chaotic noisy hardcore punk for nearly two decades, get into it.


02 April 2011


It's ironic that it took me until I was an adult to appreciate the eternal teenage enthusiasm and energy of Lance Hahn's music. It was never angry enough for me, it never made me want to break stuff, so I dismissed it as sappy bullshit. Then, sometime after I passed 30, it just clicked. The music wasn't sappy - it was just honest - and I started devouring J CHURCH and Lance's band that came before them, CRINGER. Knowing the man certainly helped, the pure and youthful energy that was always present in the songs (even, or especially, the sad ones) was always front and center with Lance, and you could feel it from the moment you met him. The guitar and the heart can indeed be worn proudly on the sleeve, and Lance proved it over twenty years of writing, playing and recording. Oh yeah, he also started (and almost completed) the definitive book on UK anarcho bands - just in case you felt like dismissing him as a pop punk hack (like I did). This isn't an anniversary or a special day or anything, I just came across this tape and spent my afternoon listening to CRINGER and J CHURCH, and I wish that Lance was still around. This demo is from 1986, just after CRINGER relocated to Los Angeles from Hawaii, and I think that I'll just lift a phrase from the first sentence to describe it: eternal teenage enthusiasm. Something to strive for, I suppose.