30 September 2012


Basement garage punk sounds ripped out of the jangly psych-rock '60s and thrown headfirst into a modern world of nostalgia. STRAIGHT ARROWS fall somewhere between Nuggets and the notably sizable crop of echo friendly head bopping bastards from their island state, and It's Happening makes me feel like I'm cruising around in my old roommate Todd's '70 grey LTD at dawn...reflecting on the good times that made up the night that is coming to its end. Pleasant Screams recently gave the 2010 release the cassette treatment, simultaneously serious and seriously fun no matter how hip you are(n't).

29 September 2012


Raw, affected hardcore from NAW DUDE - uncomfortable and ugly sounds drenched in reverb, fast and unforgiving. And disjointed female fronted punk from OVARY ACTION on the flip - manic, snotty and insistent, sounds like it could be from 1993 (and I mean that in a really good way). You need these songs, that's all.

28 September 2012


Anarcho punk, hardcore, crust and chaotic art punk are all represented on this 1994 compilation from Israel. The quality level is exceptional, especially considering the decade of release and the relatively remote  country of origin (at least in terms of geographical proximity to other countries producing punk music - touring Euro and North American bands didn't pass through Jerusalem all that often). Highlights include a ripper from NEKHEI NA'ATZA (probably the most well known band outside of the region, with a few releases on Western labels and a drummer who relocated to the states and played in Okaland's LANA DAGALES), A-SIGN BRIGADE (ridiculously low fidelity and utterly inept anacho punk), LIQUID SKY (raw and catchy punk not that far removed from '80s Spanish sounds), SARTAN HA'SHAD (almost goth sounding effect drenched weirdness, but nowhere near professional sounding enough to not be punk), BETRAYER (maybe they wanted to be a death metal band..but instead they play raw guttural punk), ETHOS (a legit mid tempo mosher, regardless of era, country of origin or intent), and of course the subtle mindfuck that is the DEAD REIGNS track that ends the release. 20 bands are represented, and virtually every one of them is worth your time.

27 September 2012


Terminal Escape veterans SARJAN HASSAN bring modern crossover thrashing back to your earholes with 12 blasts of face melting 'core. At times they owe more to EXODUS than to the '00s fastcore that was clearly their initial inspiration, but then tracks like "Play Fast Or Die" come blasting out of your speakers. Proving that this split is rooted more in ideology than musical similarities, DAIGHILA fill the flip side of this tape with metallic emotional hardcore devoid of even the most subtle shred of thrashing madness. Think more along the lines of MAJORITY RULE or ENVY but with more blatant nods to metal and a disjointed/distorted approach that blends mid '00s US emotional hardcore and early '00s German metalcore - think Per Koro records here, with more black metal leanings. I salivate at the thought of living in a place where there two bands that sound this different would not only play a random show together, but find that they have enough in common to collaborate on a split release...apparently I need to spend more time in Malaysia (but I already knew that).

26 September 2012


Iowa ain't a hotbed for hardcore killers. I came from Oklahoma, not exactly punk's ground zero, but Iowa? Shit is rough. Perhaps NERV are trying to go back in time and rewrite their state's hardcore legacy, and if that's the case then this demo is a great start. Screaming hardcore ripped right out of the backwards attitudes that dominated '80s Midwestern culture. This is teenage anger dished out in sub-minute bursts - addictive riffs bashed out at a frenetic pace and frustrated vocals barely keeping it together. The guitar leads alone make this worth the price of admission, nine songs in as many minutes. Maybe my opinions about hardcore in The Hawkeye State are worth reconsidering.

25 September 2012


After the evening I just had, perhaps I could use a little bit more of this. A few more breakdowns, a few more sing alongs and a few fewer beers. YOT vocal yeowls, heavy breakdowns with an almost comical lack of weight but still Osaka's POSITIVE OUTLOOK draw me in. Maybe this is just what you need too? 

24 September 2012


From the same arid concrete abyss that brought us ROTOZAZA comes ABSURDIST. Heavier on the Scandinavian and death metal influences and simply heavier on the heavy, this is a churning blast of filthy guttural stench forced through tortured guitars. HELLSHOCK and ACEPHALIX crashing headfirst into DISCLOSE.

23 September 2012


Don't get me wrong, MINOR THREAT is pretty bad ass, the S.O.A. EP is unfuckwithable and you'll never catch me bagging on VOID. But DOUBLE-O? Why the fukk is this stuff under the radar?!? This demo dishes out furious, primal hardcore with one of the ugliest and most tortured guitar tones I've ever heard. It's Superfuzz Bigmuff pre-incarnated as blistering hardcore...and it rules hard.

22 September 2012


Early '00s Portuguese thrashcore. I can't lie - I'm a little disappointed when the weird ass Euro techno intro is cut off by those searing guitars, but 33AT45 manage to win me over pretty quickly. I hope you stretched this morning, because these breakdowns command you to thrash, and this fastcore demands a circle pit. "Why Do We Kill?" is the jam here, but the whole 5 minutes will likely suit you just fine. Also - these dudes are pretty rad to hang out at the beach with.

21 September 2012


South Africa is one of the most powerful places I've ever been, and I cannot even imagine living there during my adolescence. And to be outspoken political punks in South Africa in the years immediately following the fall of apartheid? A heavy time in a very heavy place. Musically, OUTRAGE dish out spastic bursts of uncompromisingly political dual vocal anarcho punk that has more in common with '80s UK than anything else, but there is a pervasive edge to the band and their sound. Some of that edge can be easily attributed to ineptitude, but I like to think that some part of Johannesburg has managed to work it's way into their sound. I'm rambling....international punk is important. That's all.

20 September 2012


Ever been to Bakersfield? SELF INTEREST sounds like Bakersfield. Hopeless, furious, ugly, mean, damaged, frustrated. 

19 September 2012


A seriously under appreciated Polish hardcore assault. Refuse released a CD that I hyped a while back, but those of you who didn't listen to me can shove these eleven rippers into your earholes. Absolutely primal thrashing sounds with unmistakable Polish punk roots. These tracks come from a split with MOSKWA (whose tracks are patiently waiting for you at Escape Is Terminal) released in 198something (methinks 1986, but me can't really remember).  There is no logical reason that this band's logo shouldn't grace the back of every vest in hardcore...you don't have to always believe me, but when I say that this tape will slay you, I am telling the truth. 

18 September 2012


Dark and brooding sounds for the modern age. Not far from the goth punk explosion, but rooted in punk, and with mature guitar work that would not be out of place on an INTERPOL *gasp* record. In fact, "The Fool" is exactly the kind of track that makes indie bands like that appeal to me, the bands that make me realize that there are fancy pants wearing 20-somethings that were raised on the same sounds that I was, and have taken those sounds into the mainstream world. But then there are songs like "Isolation," a total punk burner by way of T.S.O.L. or ADOLESCENTS, and then there is the saturated off kilter ambiance of the title track or the COCTEAU TWINS on codeine vibe of "The Hermit" that closes the tape. This is calculated but wholly organic sounding music - unpretentious even though bluntly somber. A BLACK PEOPLE is an even more appropriate name after you spend time with these sounds.

17 September 2012


KRÜEL are getting noisier in their old age...and faster. Blinding white noise distortion is brutally penetrated by galloping DBeat madness delivered at a frenetic pace and distant, howling vocals. Formula? Perhaps. But KRÜEL have been perfecting this craft for a few years now, and this is their most searing offering to date.

16 September 2012


From the bordertown of Moncton (that's the border between New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, in case you were confused) come COP SHADES. Bass, drums and a weird ass sounding dude wailing into a microphone and making some electronic synthesizer sounds. The traditional half of the band is not far from KARP and the like, while the weird part is like THE VSS on mescaline playing theremin with their collective ballsacks. Shit sounds fukkd up and it totally works. So good job, kids: you don't sound pretentious, you just sound really awesome.

15 September 2012


From the same crew of fukks responsible for the brilliant MUERTE A LA MUERTE demo comes ALTERCADO ESPIRITUAL. Blatant Boston '83 aping forced through a decades old Spanish punk meatgrinder. Irreverent vocals (shit, irreverent everything) and buzzsaw guitars cranking out riffs like there was no tomorrow. Six songs in six minutes - I don't know man, if you like hardcore then you like this.

14 September 2012


Released in '98 by our friends at Tian An Men '89, this is the second volume in a series of comps featuring bands the far corners of the punk universe. Malta's VALDALS open the tape with a blistering  metallic thrash punk assault, sharing the first side with Paraguay's KAOS offer up mid tempo lurching Latin American punk that could have come from 1983. INFLATE hail from Moldova and come off somewhere between accidental goth punk and snotty garage weirdness - I can definitely hear him say "Fukkn fukkr, I'm fukkn drunk" and "Punk Punk Punk Punk Punk Punk Punk Punk Punk Punk, red wine," though most of the lyrics are a little tough to work out. Accidentally eerie garage sounds from Bruneis' PINK DAEMON (might be the best on the tape after repeat listens - such a weird vibe on this track), and and a Spanish language scorcher from EL BOSQUE representing Costa Rica. I know many folks who tend to write off TAM89 releases, chalking them up as a novelty label more concerned with geography and quality, but I think Luc is more concerned with community than anything else, and even though sometimes his releases don't melt faces, they are almost always far more relevant than whatever flavor of the month the kids are listening to. This time, the quality is as over the top as the achievement.

13 September 2012


As anyone who stops by here with any frequency is well aware, I love hardcore. But I am also shamelessly nostalgic, and bands of youngsters trying to recreate the sounds of my youth is oddly appealing to me. But when those kids (or in this case, one "kid" named Patrick) pull it off like UNUR does, the appeal is not the least bit mysterious. These angular, robotic minimal synth sounds make me feel instantly comfortable...15 year old me with the headphones on in the corner, or perhaps 17 year old me sneaking out of the house to drive the 96 miles to Oklahoma City and dance until dawn at The Wreck Room, hoping that I could make it back before the folks woke up. The vocals will haunt you and the sound will make you swoon. This is their second tape, and both are now available on wax.

12 September 2012


Seriously, those Southern California dudes are really good at this black metal stuff. Minor keys and howling vocals imprisoned by a blinding night fog, TUKAARIA have progressed beyond the shrouds of white noise on the earlier releases (splits with VOLAHN and ODZ MANOUK) and entered the world of truly mesmerizing sound. The voice is wrapped in a shroud of guitar, and the pace is frenetic even when not blazing. Subtle slow guitar leads soar above the chaos, and after six songs I'm left breathless. Get intense.

11 September 2012


Johor Bahru is the closest Malaysian city to the SE Asia's economic hub of Singapore. While it's a relatively short bus ride from one to the other, in many ways they are indeed a world apart (I base this uninformed and admittedly uninformed statement entirely on my few hours spent there in 2008). None of this really matters of course when you are getting your face melted by a fastcore assault. You might only need to know where the band is from so you can scour the internet looking for more songs. Even though I already did that for you (they are here), I'll tell you that I think MAKHLOK PEROSAK are from Johor Bahru. You like to have your face melted?

10 September 2012


Chaotic sound born out of art and expression that bows to no rule (and seems to write no riff). The Bay Area's STILLSUIT are a veritable explosion of sound, treating classifications with about as much kindness as they do their instruments. Maybe the sound is rooted in an extreme amalgamation of '80s post punk, '90s riot grrl and modern electronic experimentation, but I challenge the listener to find any cohesion in these sounds. If their mission is to challenge the ears, then STILLSUIT have struck gold with a dual vocal/dual guitar assault - piercing and aurally trying at every turn. And yet tracks like "7" manage to lure me in...a mesmerizing sonic experiment that stops as abruptly as it exists.

09 September 2012


My pal John sent me this a few weeks back - fast, dirty, mean hardcore from Oklahoma City. From the crushing low end opening notes to "Myth Math" right into three minutes of tension in the form of "Ropes And Ladders," these kids approach their sound like seasoned veterans bent for destruction. After the opening tracks, GRG blast through a series of sub-minute crushers (including a MIDDLE CLASS cover delivered with venom) before closing with the anguished "Used." An intense journey through 15 tracks that will take you just a touch over 11 minutes, as if early ABC No Rio hardcore collided head on with CAPITALIST CASUALTIES. I like when my friends send me things like this.

08 September 2012


It's easy to throw around awe inspiring descriptors all willy nilly, but this demo fukkn rips.  This 1989 banger is the second of four efforts from San Antonio's MERCYNARY, and it shows them with their bare bones thrash flag flying high. Falsetto vokills, shredding leads and a primitive presentation that would have likely found them a wider audience had the band started just a few years earlier. Vocalist Angel Fuentes still fronts this outfit that started in 1984 (along with several other death and thrash metal bands), but these early tracks are certifiable burners. Since this copy came from an '80s tape trader, you are treated to a few live tunes and (presumably wasted) hessian audio collages on the flip. Sometimes, you win.

"Eat shit and die, fukkn scumbag don't you fukk with me."

07 September 2012


No mystery here, no inebriated ramblings about some deep personal connection I have with the bands presented, just five killer Argentinian punk bands on a ten song tape from sometime in the early '90s. LA FUNERARIA are catchy Spanish sounding punk, their faster track on the second side is a total creamer. FLORES DE TUMBAS and G.D.R. are more stripped down, quick tempo basic punk - spoken/shouted vocals from the former, a slight goth/post punk bent from the latter. The winners on the tape are TERCER MUNDO, churning hardcore tracks delivered with earnest, while SUBVERSION offer up UK styled snotty punk with buzzsaw guitars. Nothing fancy, just some bands you've never heard before.

06 September 2012


I was a new wave kid with punk leanings. Sure, I had a METALLICA tape (Garage Days...Rerevisited was where I started) and I bought Reign In Blood the day it came out because CREEM magazine told me it was gonna be sick (snuck out of school on lunch, bought it at Sunburst Sounds and listened in the back of drama class...I was terrified), and my affinity for TWISTED SISTER was intense enough that I got the tattoo well past my 30th birthday, but still I knew nothing of the world of underground metal until years later. I probably would have pounced on BRUTAL TRUTH had I known about them simply because of Dan Lilker (not because he was some legendary dude, but because he had been in S.O.D.) but I didn't even hear of the band until 1993 when I was on my second tour. Austin's PAIN TEENS were very much on our radar however, and their label (Trance) had cranked out some excellent proto-alt rock/grunge stuff that we really dug, and we were quite stoked that there was a PAIN TEENS show in Cleveland that coincided with our day off after our Cleveland show with SLEAZY JESUS AND THE SPLATTERPIGS. And what's more, Japanese bizarro band BOREDOMS was opening up, so we were extra jazzed. Some band called BRUTAL TRUTH was opening, but the only person who really cared was Matt since he was into that whole world of metal that I knew nothing about...but he told me the dude from S.O.D. was in the band so I was pretty pumped. In order of appearance: BRUTAL TRUTH was boring as shit, BOREDOMS blew my fukkn mind, and PAIN TEENS took boring to heights never even imagined by BRUTAL TRUTH. 
Fast forward to 2006, and a reunited BRUTAL TRUTH was playing in Chicago the day before my friends from Sweden started their tour in Milwaukee. After a brief stop in Kenosha to jump on a Punk Picnic with some friends and some maybe white power/maybe ex white power bands, we all went to see BRUTAL TRUTH. Actually, while we were in line, Peter said something along the lines of "Wait...what am I doing? I hate BRUTAL TRUTH. Can we go see AVENGERS instead?" Conveniently, AVENGERS were playing across town, so away Peter and I went (AVENGERS were great, EFFIGIES kinda sucked) but still made it back in time to see some of BRUTAL TRUTH's marathon set. Thirteen years hadn't done them any favors, in my opinion. So while I kinda liked a few BRUTAL TRUTH recordings, their live shows left me several steps short of impressed. Ditto their performance in the Bay Area a couple of years back - I just don't get it. The drummer is supposed to be this blasting stud but he tickles the snare drum like it's a precious little infant that bruises easily, and while I cannot begin to say how much I support the singer's injection of politics into the world of apathetic metal, he's pretty fukkn dull to watch. Lilker? Yeah, well the dude is a legend for a reason, and he definitely chilled with me and aforementioned Swedish band at a basement in Buffalo a few weeks later. Hessian personified and legitimately down. 

But this demo? Hold the phone and a big "eat shit" to all you who thought I only stopped by today to hate on some legendary band. This demo is a fukkn masterpiece and it would have changed my life had I heard it when it came out. Politically charged, socially conscious deathmetalgrindcrust that was light years ahead of it's time. Nothing short of essential.

05 September 2012


Four glorious minutes of churning Japanese hardcore with crazed vocals and guitars pushed to their absolute limit. It's a pretty simple formula: turn the shit up and fukkn GO!, but when the shit it right then it's all you need and ULTIMO RAUSEA have been making it right for almost 20 years. Three tracks from 2004, get busy.

04 September 2012


No explanation necessary, right? Irreverent, wacky, sloppy, hilarious. Eight track 1986 demo from New Jersey's most tongue in cheek hardcore band.

03 September 2012


Total rage in five short movements. Throat searing vox, drums distorted to complete oblivion, a bass blown to complete shit, guitar doing constant battle with the glorious white hiss of insanity - all the elements are here. And if the brief breakdown that closes "No Control" doesn't sell you, then the mindfukk onslaught of "Triangle System" will spend the next 0:22 showing you that you can take an en vouge subgenre and still turn it into something fukkn incredible. 

The record is gone, but Noise For Mobbish made a tape. Lucky for you. Oh wait, the tape is sold out too. You know what happens when you snooze, right?

02 September 2012


A four track opus from 2007, Land Of Marred Normalcy shows this collective of outcasts trudging through dark soundscapes. The nucleus Kortland is joined by Priehs for a torturous distorted totalitarian drone accented by the death bringer of all synthetic percussions on the tape's opening tune, followed by two punishing solo compositions harsh and hypnotic. The tape's second side is a disturbingly minimal 9+ minute track from Creasy (UNPERSONS) and Reynolds. Odd sounds and sparse(ly) controlled feedback create unspeakable tension...earning the track's uncomfortable title "In Another Room Of The House." While PIG HEART TRANSPLANT might vary from one release to the next in terms of membership and intent, consistent quality is guaranteed.

1PM this afternoon at Thee Parkside, San Francisco: DROP DEAD, PERMANENT RUIN, VACCUUM, BUMBKLAATT,  ELEGY
3PM this afternoon at 1234 Go! in Oakland: RED DONS, THE ESTRANGED, NEON PISS, KICKING SPIT
6PM this evening at 924 Gilman Street, Berkeley: IRON LUNG, SLICES, BRAINOIL, WALLS, WHITE WARDS, MUTANT VIDEO

01 September 2012


13 minutes of devastating Mexican crust. Five tunes from Mexico City's HOG and four from INSURRECCION. HOG throw brief melodic respites into the mix, but the bulk of this is churning downtuned mania - ugly sounds as influenced by primitive Latin American hardcore as by HIS HERO IS GONE. INSURRECCION are more rooted in lurching Mexican punk, a raw and brutal attack that makes their decision to cover WRETCHED seem completely logical. This is about as far from subtle as you're going to get.

For those readers in the Bay Area, Prank Records is dishing out some serious shit this weekend. NO STATIK and VACCUUM shows for a while, plus most of my favorite local bands, IRON LUNG and two pretty sick visitors from the east coast. Not a bad coupla days...
And CITIZENS ARREST are playing today at Thee Parkside with YADOKAI and others, but you probably just woke up and that shit starts at 1PM.