45 minutes of varied material from one side of this compilation cassette (the flip side was destroyed well beyond listenability). An acoustic number from POLITICAL ASYLUM that serves as a preamble to their vocalist's current tenure in FOLK THIS, several live tracks from CHUMBAWUMBA's BANBERET NOBACON, one chilled out jam from CULTURE SHOCK, a noisy live fukkr from TOXIC EPHEX and the whole thing is interspersed with speeches from political festivals and rallies. But the real reason you should listen to this is for the 3:01 track from ATAVISTIC. Taken fro 1987's Life During Wartime EP, "A Question Of Priorities" is simply one of the most chaotic and intense blasts of sound I've ever heard. Totally relentless. One spastic electronic noise piece from STREAM OV ABUSE wraps up the side, and that's what you get. Party.
31 August 2012
30 August 2012
Obviously PSYCHIC BLOOD have done a considerable amount of research into late '80s guitar driven alternative rock since their first demo Leaves. On Autumn Curses, they dive headfirst into shoegazing walls of jangling guitars and more than enough SONIC YOUTH worship to last through that band's entire pre-Geffen output. Two of the tunes from Leaves appear on this tape as well: "Annihilator" is even more perfect than it was the first time and "Daydream" is shorter but more urgent in this incarnation. "Tuff Luck" is like Kevin Shields attempting to write hardcore, and "War Paint" is PSYCHIC BLOOD actually writing hardcore, primal and weird. The presentation is once again distant and the band seems impossible to reach, but though they wear their influences plainly on their sleeves they always sound comfortable and independent. I liked it the first time around, but this effort is approaching utter brilliance.
29 August 2012
After watching HYSTERICS and GRIMACE melt my face two nights in a row, it seemed logical to share some Northwest love. DEHUMANIZED feature HYSTERICS guitarist on drums and crank out some of the most awkward lo-fi music I've ever heard. Maybe their vision is black metal, but the result is just weird and uncomfortable (even more so live). Lurching blasts and metronome defying slow parts are all led by a buzzsaw guitar tuned to Welcome To Hell, but I honestly think that all of these comparisons to various bands and genres are accidental - DEHUMANIZED exist in their own bizarre metal punk subsubsubgenre.
28 August 2012
27 August 2012
26 August 2012
There's more history here if you like, but Ledbury's DECADENCE WITHIN kicked around in various forms from the mid '80s to the mid '90s and released a handful of quality UK anarcho thrash/punk records. Later lineups were definitely on the more metallic end of the spectrum (it seems to be the direction punks turn when they learn how to play...which probably says something about those of us who don't go down that road), but this 1985 slab pre-dates their vinyl releases and is brilliant raw UK punk. A rehearsal tape from a band who could have fit in on the Spiderleg or Bluurg rosters a few years earlier, brilliant bass lines straight out of the SUBHUMANS playbook and insistent youthful vocals with an honesty that age can't quite seem to duplicate. This recording is pretty blown out, but the songs are there, and anyone who wants more can enjoy the other side at Escape Is Terminal. It's live, it sounds a bit better than the rehearsal, the version of "Public Blood" is a total creamer, and the show made the newspaper after a big ass brawl (which is on the tape, of course).
25 August 2012
It's no secret that punks have taken to looking to the dreary sounds of decades past, but the nucleus of VOIGHT•KAMPFF have been working on these sounds since the last millennium and their efforts will reward your earholes with music dripping with dark basement sounds. Far from a goth punk rehash, this project leans heavily on guitar driven post punk, so much so that it's easy to overlook the superb brooding vocals and even to miss the subtle keyboards and concentrate on the gloriously simple guitar leads. The two fellows at the center of VOIGHT•KAMPFF know exactly what they are up to and are no strangers to killer sounds (one dude from CARDIAC ARREST and one from FORMALDEHYDE JUNKIES/DAMAGE DEPOSIT), but this is easily their finest work to date. Easily (though mistakenly) lumped in with both Swedish melodic sounds like VICIOUS or with the current '80s dark punk resurgence, this is one of the few fortunate bands who sound instantly familiar and fiercely original at the same time. There's vinyl coming soon, and I couldn't be happier.
24 August 2012
So I got this big ass tub of live tapes from Buzz a couple of weeks ago - a a hundred or so live recordings of shows from Mission Records from the first year or two of the new millennium. Killer stuff, most of which will appear on Escape Is Terminal eventually (although the first tape from that stash that I posted was from the CW Saloon...because who can resist a recording of the first LUDICRA show?) along with all of your other favorite live gems. But in addition to those live tapes (and a pile of unmarked tapes that it will take a miracle to identify) was this one marked KENYA & TANZANIA: WITCHCRAFT AND RITUAL MUSIC. This was on the flip side of the LUDICRA tape so I didn't have to look too hard, but it seemed destined for a Friday visit to Terminal Escape before I even pressed play. So here you go:
Through the power of technology, I determined that these songs are taken from a 1975 vinyl release of field recordings made by David Fanshawe. By "technology," I mean that I converted the cassette to a series of mp3s, then I held my phone up to the computer speakers and turned on the Shazam app. African ritual field recordings? Yeah, there's an app for that. And by "David Fanshawe," I mean an English dude who basically spent his life recording some cool ass shit from all over the world and composing and recording some weird sounds. He died in 2010, but after getting lost in his on line legacy for the past hour, he seems like a pretty amazing chap.
23 August 2012
'80s influenced east coast hardcore, but infected with the mean disease. The inward kind of mean that doesn't say "I'm going to hurt you," but instead frightens you on behalf of all humanity. Genuine and hopeless nihilism wrapped up in ferocious dirty hardcore. There are four songs here, but I was convinced after the 0:51 of "Locutus" - all that "Currency Of Legititude" did was seal the deal. I mean seriously, that guitar? You can't fukk with it.
22 August 2012
This one came to The Escape along with many kind words about past projects and current endeavors, and I confess that I put off listening to it for many months as a result. Someone says something nice about the shit you do...then what do you do if what they do totally blows? It's not like it's a show and you can say "it was really loud" or "you sure looked like you were having a blast!" so instead of being disappointed I just kept putting it off. I shouldn't have waited. BELLOW might turn a few Escape visitors off with their relentlessly brooding pace, but the introduction of piano and ambience into these three doom laden songs sets them far apart from the pack. This is dismal sounding music, but the beauty slips in between the cracks...easy to call it doom, or call it metal or focus on the harsh female vocals that make your skin crawl even when buried in the mix, but even within these confines, BELLOW are doing something very excellent, and something that is without a doubt theirs alone. Next time I won't wait.
21 August 2012
Some bands explode and before you know it there are a mountain of releases scattered all over the world and your excitement about this new act is overshadowed by sensory overload and you start to not even care. And then there are bands like Austria's RUIDOSA INMUNIDICIA. In the eight years since this demo (which was committed to wax by Way Back When a few years ago), they have managed only 2 EPs and a split full length, but each of these releases is nothing short of mandatory for fans of fast hardcore punk. Searing female vocals in Spanish (the band is from Austria, but the singer is Chilean) front an all out assault that leans ever so slightly on melody while never once sacrificing intensity. The emphasis is on fast and the result is stellar, all of this band's recordings make me yearn to see them live. Someday, perhaps.
HeartFirst still have copies of their 2010 EP, and you can snag the split with SOLID DECLINE from Residue. And yeah, I plug both of those labels because they are my friends and they are awesome. So what?
20 August 2012
Nothing to say except that this will destroy you. A one man band featuring the guitarist of YADOKAI, MORPHEME, VACCUUM and others, this nine song slaughter combines raw and in your face modern punk with the feel of classic '80s Japanese hardcore. I was hooked instantly, and the 5+ minute untitled final track is nothing short of genius. Life Sucker delivers the goods once again - if you like it fukkd then this is your crew.
19 August 2012
These dudes make their magic in the room across from me in a basement on Turk St. in one of this fine city's more decrepit neighborhoods. The sounds are intriguing, even through two closed doors, and the couple of times I've seen them I was quite impressed. Then I finally listened to the tape the singer gave me an embarrassingly long time ago...STARES make some of the meanest music I have ever heard. The disgust conveyed through their complete annihilation of sound is only rivaled by the frustrated and painful isolation in their words. Dark shit delivered with fierce honesty.
18 August 2012
This is all the tape said: ENCOUNTER. And when I started listening, expecting to hear some run of the mill mix tape packed with unknown '90s shit punk bands I would never be able to identify, I first heard nothing. Then, quietly and slowly, I started to get drawn in to the sounds on this barely marked cassette. After some research I was led to ambient pioneer MICHAEL STEARNS, whose time spent in the deserts of Arizona and New Mexico goes a long way towards explaining the images of a clear night sky crashing into another dimension that these sounds conjure up. Stearns' Encounter: A Journey In The Key Of Space from 1988 is an ambient masterpiece - surely you can dismiss it as New Age drivel if you like (and I wouldn't argue), but if you spend the right kind of time with this recording, the build up to "Dimensional Shift: Across The Threshold" and the aural travels that follow will take you to another place. If sound is an escape, then Encounter is express passage to another place.
17 August 2012
When I moved to Milwaukee in 2002 I was excited to hang out with several folks I had known casually for most of the previous decade - some of them I found I had little in common with, and others quickly became close lifelong friends. But there was also a healthy crop of younger punks, reared on sweaty basement pop punk and Midwest hardcore, with just as much for love for HICKEY as we California transplants had, but little interest in the early '90s DIY punk that made Milwaukee famous to a fresh faced out of towner (that's me without the beard). My favorite bands that had long before introduced me to my now new city (ANIMAL FARM, BURIED, DEMISE, DAMITOL) had been replaced by a crew of beer soaked kids in bands like HOLY SHIT!, TAB, and MODERN MACHINES. I liked some of the bands, some of them were too poppy for my tastes, but I was constantly amazed at the ability of these kids to get shockingly fukkd up and still manage to play - and usually pretty damn well. This scene was the epicenter of basement shows in Milwaukee for many years, and even when I had a hand in hardcore/crust/PV gigs while I lived there, many of those shows still went through those punks. Quite some time before John and I started the Milwaukee Mixtape Exchange, Hanson and I decided to make a swap. I think it was as much "let's make sweet tapes for each other" as "who the fukk is this punk? let's see what he really knows and blow his mind with how deep I roll," but the result was this 90 minute creamer and a tape that I made in trade that is almost certainly way better - no small feat, because Sir Hanson slapped together a total winner. I tried to join forces with them and was in a band for two practices (maybe it was just one?) with Hanson, Andy and Dan once - and the three songs we wrote were pretty damn killer...but we got distracted. Hanson lives in Portland now, and I live in San Francisco.
16 August 2012
BIOFILO PANCLASTA are a freight train. Ramming speed male/female fronted crust, a dozen songs fly by in less than eight minutes and the intensity level starts at maximum and only increases. SIN APOYO rip through five tunes, and while their attack may be slightly more restrained it is every bit as intense. A touch more melody within the same confines of blistering Spanish language hardcore (and they throw in a few solos too). Both bands hail from Chile, and this tape was released in 2002, you shouldn't need to know anything else.
15 August 2012
I don't remember how the conversation started. I knew Neal only casually from reviewing records at neighboring computers, and I can't imagine that our respective bands appealed to one another in the slightest, but somehow we started talking about his new band OiL! and I was intrigued. Whether Neal magically knew that this was exactly what I needed in my life or just wanted to make some new fans I may never know, but he left an OiL! tape in my box and my life hasn't been the same since. I could rant for pointless paragraphs about how many times I've listened to this tape, about how immediately catchy every fukkn one of these songs is, about how "Proud Of My Pride" and "Clockwork Violence, Leftwing Silence" would become a part of my life for the next decade (and hopefully more), about how the guitar that starts "Fuck You" made me reconsider music. But instead I'll just say that I like this OiL! recording A LOT and I have listened to it hundreds of times - whether the people around me wanted to hear it or not. Brilliantly catchy, this teeters on the line between brilliant and dodgy from start to finish, but you'll find yourself chanting "skinhead" with an non-ironic fist in the air before this shit is over. Sealing the deal, my advance copy of this work of sheer brilliance came with hand fukkn written lyrics to every damned song - now you can sing along with songs like "Red White & Boots," "Shave For Battle" and "I've Got Bills To Pay" and not feel even remotely guilty. Perfect punk, read the lyrics to "Crucified Hammerskin" if you still have any doubts. This has been officially released on vinyl and CD, but my copy is cooler than all of that shit - see the aforementioned lyric sheet if you don't believe me.
"Crucified skin in '93, I'm proud of my pride don't fuck with me, Oi Oi sussed by all you see // Still goin' strong in Y2K, I'll mop the floor with your face if you get in my way, me & my boots are here to stay"
14 August 2012
New York's IN SCHOOL have politely blown the ignorant hardcore paradigm out of the water in less than eight and a half minutes. If you want to mindlessly mosh and listen to disconnected image obsessed idealists scream about war then you might be better served elsewhere because, like the name suggests, IN SCHOOL is for thinking punks. Don't get me wrong, the breakdown in "Maggot Rot" and every second of "Gaining Force" are works of pure knuckle dragging genius, but read the lyrics and listen to the delivery of songs like "Acid Burn" or "Stand Up Or Die" and it's clear that this is a different animal. Every song drips with urgency, harnessing an unhinged energy that is so often missing from modern hardcore. Ferocious and smart is a dangerous combination.
13 August 2012
I was drawn instantly to these insane sounds. Raw and hollow hardcore from Tennessee played with absolute fury and determination - clean guitars that are tortured more than played, and vocals that are more in line with the by product of a backwoods exorcism. There are two demos in today's download, the most recent features 18 songs and clocks in at well under 16 minutes, while the 2011 slab blazes through 14 tracks in less than 9. There are hooks buried in that chaos and it's hard to tell if the distortion is by design or necessity, but the result is so gloriously twisted that I don't care. There's another demo available here, and I suspect that after jamming these songs into your holes you will be clamoring for more.
12 August 2012
This is small town 1980s. Waynesville, Missouri isn't quite the middle of nowhere - the famous Route 66 cruises leisurely through the dated downtown, and Fort Leonard Wood (named for my Great-Grandfather-in-law) is a mere 10 miles down the road which means that young recruits and grizzled vets often use Waynesville as their playground. St. Louis lies a little more than two hours to the east, leaving the town of just a few thousand pretty much to its own devices socially. So what do you do in 1987 if you are a frustrated high school hessian in Waynesville, obsessed with GG ALLIN and MISFITS, coveted DEAD KENNEDYS and METALLICA records sharing shelf space in your parents' basement, sneaking tall cans of Bud Lite in drainage ditches dreaming of an escape? The answer is simple: you start a band. BASE APES cranked out a healthy handful of tapes during their four year run (which not coincidentally coincided with the high school tenure of the members), bedroom heavy metal with punk teeth put awkwardly to 4-track with the help of beer and adolescent frustration. Instrumentals like the 6+ minute "On The Move" are simply head scratchers, but the majority of this tape (which features some but not all of the tracks from the first BASE APES demo from 1988) is classic small town angst - a vehicle for inside jokes and a shared experience, driven by a drum machine and screaming guitar solos. Several more tapes followed (fortunately for the modern day researcher, founder Sambone is a graphic designer and has put the band's entire story online), and the band continued their assault on small town existence until 1990. BASE APES aren't going to change your life, but they certainly shaped the teenage years of the members, and I can only imagine how much richer my world would have been as a 15 year old had I known that such a band were possible in the midst of such cultural isolation.
11 August 2012
I saw 10 bands during a 24 hour stretch Thursday and Friday, and strangely all of them were at least good. Some of them were really outstanding, but the worst one was still pretty decent. I wish FATHER IGNORANT had been one of them, but they weren't. Angst ridden and hook laden female fronted punk from Buffalo...vocals might be the focal point, but those with a wider focus will pay attention to the songs - great riffs and a captivating presentation. I'm probably going to listen to at least 10 cassettes during the next 24 hours, and I think I've set the bar pretty high by starting with this one.
10 August 2012
(stock blank tape image from the Terminal Escape archives)
09 August 2012
Waves of sonic aggression in the form of space age electronic sounds doing battle with ferocious noise rock bass and drums. Sporadic vocals affected into complete oblivion and a collection of sounds that command attention from start to finish. Like THE VSS harnessing tortured JESUS LIZARD vibes and interpreting the result through the filter of modern noise punk. Moody and dark, but DEN never lose their grip on chaos, and they often tighten the grip with alarming results. "The Ground" might be the most traditional sounding song (due largely to the steady tempo I suppose), but the synths that swirl in and out of that sound are deadly, and from that song they launch into "TDJ," a full speed mind fukk that shows DEN could rip you apart with blistering hardcore....if they wanted to. Likewise, "Kuiper Belt DNA" is a noise track that builds with a subtle intensity that would rank these kids well into the upper echelons of sound dealers, and the bizarro SABBATH cover that follows seals the deal. Thankfully their overall approach is substantially more awkward than any one of these angles.
This was the debut release from Retrograde Tapes, a pretty good start, I'd say.
08 August 2012
Posted to me a few months ago by a kind F.O.T.E., this is a two song taster from Birmingham, Alabama's BLACK HOLE KIDS. Steeped in '90s emotional hardcore and offered up in earnest, this admittedly short demo is like a time machine - let it transport you back to sweaty basements and a total lack of pretension.
07 August 2012
Chicago in the mid '00s was pretty bad ass. I lived in Milwaukee and made the 90 mile drive countless times for shows (and often food). The motivation was typically touring bands who didn't feel like veering far enough off of I-80 to venture into our beer soaked hamlet (their loss), but the bonus typically was the locals (the people and the bands), an unimaginably low asshole factor at most shows considering the size of the area and punks' propensity for assholitude, and sick bands like REACCIÓN. Ripping hardcore with as much fluid movement as all out rage, with dual F/M vocal delivered by the guitarist from CONDENADA and the singer from SIN ORDEN, REACCIÓN were relatively short lived, but this five song rager remains as a testament.
06 August 2012
05 August 2012
A few years earlier, F.L.D. might have become a band of legend, but female fronted moody UK post-anarcho/proto-goth was rather out of vogue by 1991. But thankfully they committed their work to tiny magnetic tape housed in plastic so I can share it with you. Four songs, 20 minutes.
04 August 2012
Repetitive and distorted sampled beats that lurch as much as groove make up this beast, but what drives the beast is the vocals. A distinct and powerful female voice that owes equally to SIOUXSIE, DIAMANDA and a robotic interpretation of Lebanese pop. It's a dark and creepy kind of dance music, digital and cold sounding but fronted by a voice that is sultry and oozes with urgency. If you could cram THE NORMAL's ground breaking late '70s sounds into Bay Area proto-cool THE VANISHING and hand it to a mid '80s Wax Trax records producer along with a bag of speed then this killer tape might be the result. Yet another essential product from Nostilevo (who never cease to amaze me) this is for those of us who don't pay attention to what's "cool" (which LA's TEARIST clearly already are) until it's too late. It turns out that every now and then, the stuff that is "cool" is actually, well....cool.
03 August 2012
I know more or less how you people work. Several hundred of you will stop by during the course of the day. You will look at whatever gem I have unearthed, and then you will move along in search of the latest black leather jacket shoelace headband band or perhaps some throwback to '80s death rock cranked out by kids who were not born until after that subsubgenre had long since turned into third rate college rock. But a few of you are smarter than that. A few of you will look past the poor penmanship on the cover of this mixtape and wonder to yourselves "What the fukk could this be?" and in this modern age, the answer is a mere click away. There is guitar damaged weirdness from SHINE ON (see earlier dis on college rock but insert the insistence and lack of pretension from early accidental no wave), PAGAN are unbridled frustration at 1000mph, while VS are noisy fukkd synth drenched dark dance friendly sounds. Several tracks here could make up a killer Bloodstains styled comp from Latvia: EJ DIRST, KRAMPI SARAVEJS, END OF CAPITALISM, M GVARDE and the angular Scandinavian sounding REZ GREZNIBAS to name a few, but the weird bands on this tape are ones that stand out to me...morose plodding sounds from PROJECT HALL, psychedelic downer TRUBAPSIHS, TUKSA MUCA (with a better recording this might be the standout song on the tape), glorious ineptitude from ULDIS DUMPIS, snotty old school Euro punk from NACIJAS URNIS (think TAMPAX and IVY GREEN), and a killer primitive death metal track from GRINDMASTER DEAD. But even amongst all this intrigue, curiosity and legitimate greatness there has to be a standout track, and that comes via TRANKVILIZATORS' "I Wanna Kill The President," a one note jammer that drips with attitude and screams "lost classic." But since they are from Latvia, TRANKVILIZATORS are just another creator of lost sounds, to be enjoyed and marveled at by the few dozen instead of the legions that they deserve. Naturally, this compilation cannot be all quality - there are a few clunkers stuck in between the gems, but the gems are plentiful and unknown (at least to these ears), and even abrasive acts like GATERA STRANDNIEKI and INOKENTJIS MARPLS and the surfing on Mars weirdness of KRUSTA PILS have still earned their place in my heart. I'd like to insert some pompous "whatever, you aren't even smart enough to listen anyway so why do I bother" statement, but that seems inappropriate...the question is: If you don't want to hear things you've never heard, then why do YOU bother?
You change all the rules, and you think that we're all fools.
02 August 2012
SUBMISSION HOLD are probably a "time and place" band for many people (including myself). I think if I heard most of their recorded output today, without context, then I might not be as drawn to the band as I was 15+ years ago when our paths kept crossing on west coast tours. Perhaps the pairing of drug addled hardcore punk outcasts with musically challenging and intellectually advanced anarcho/feminist/activist punks from Vancouver might seem a touch odd, but I assure you that in 1995 it made perfect sense and we all got along swimmingly. Their music requires full attention and comparisons to UK bands CHUMBAWAMBA and CRASS are not out of line, even if the similarities are more in ultimate effect than musical approach. This 1994 demo was the introduction to a band that went on to help solidify the political approach that shaped 1990s DIY punk.
Jen & Andy, if you read this, one of my band members might have peed on your sofa bed in 1996. I'm sorry, but I assure you that yours was not the only one. It was a rough tour.
01 August 2012
The third (at least) cassette release from these NYC nostalgist visionaries. Dispiritualized features longer dirges with more emphasis on the guitar, which can be heard ascending to the sky with a cacophonous flourish. The opening track "Burning Spirits" is like TANGERINE DREAM's evil cousin, spending a full seven minutes reeling you in with subtle electronic loops and quietly haunting you with screams and solos. "Troth" enters a more HAWKWIND/FLOYD realm, with incessant drums (more reminiscent of their current live configuration) building throughout. The studio side closes with "Heed" an intense goth hallucinogen induced excursion gone horribly wrong, six minutes that will leaving you shivering in the corner if you pay enough attention. The flip side of Dispiritualized is a 12+ minute live version of "Burning Spirits" that sounds much more primitive and angry, relying heavily on effects and sequencers, this version feels more like a man and his machines than the full band that RØSENKØPF has evolved into but is no less engaging. Some of you who were lucky enough to see them on tour recently know exactly how mandatory these sounds should be, but those of you who lived outside of their chosen path can find out for yourselves via these tapes of their recent self titled full length on Wierd Records.