31 October 2012


A couple of years back I saw this band called ZERO PROGRESS play a show in SF. They were raw and energetic, youthful hardcore with a fire that can't be faked and can rarely be delivered by those of us strapped with the burden of adulthood. The dudes were weird and awkward, the band was good, and they were from the other worldly far reaches of the Bay Area. They started playing a somewhat regular shows in SF and Oakland, raising eyebrows, pushing buttons and dishing out killer fastcore with infectious mosh parts, and sadly some of them ended up being dicks. But then one day ZERO PROGRESS brought their friends with them and STRESSORS were younger, weirder, more punishing, just better and dished out an attack that needed no "they're young" or "they're from the suburbs" qualifiers. This demo is a total killer (the title track and "Midnight Convulsions" could make up a legendary mysterious guy hardcore 45, though I think that genre is passé now, no?), and Justin released an EP earlier this year if you can find one.


ASSUMPTIONS are to STRESSORS what STRESSORS are to ZERO PROGRESS, if you follow. Snagged this tape at a show (I missed the band, of course) on recommendation from STRESSORS vocalist Noah. Brutal and pissed hardcore with riffs that are just flawless. Total power from a group of kids who are unhindered by age and scene standards. Cut from the classic '80s USHC mold ("Wake Up Call"? I think Maumee, Ohio called to get their riffs back) but injected with the frustration of youth. Press play and you're moshing.

30 October 2012


CANCER ALLEY was a brief flash in Oakland in 1995, a time when I was paralyzed by a double decker bridge and excessive amounts of amphetamines and rarely left my neighborhood, much less San Francisco. There were plenty of shows to see in SF, my band had managed to get blacklisted from 924 Gilman without ever playing there (something I'm still simultaneously proud of and confused by), so I figured I didn't need to cross the bridge for much of anything, and certainly not a punk show. I do not always make good decisions. CANCER ALLEY was made up of the rhythm section from GRIMPLE, the guitarist from ECONOCHRIST and Adam Thompson on vocals.  I loved every band that each member of CANCER ALLEY had been in, and I knew they existed at the time, but still I chose to stay in The Mission and get high and go see MENSCLUB in a bar. Don't get me wrong, MENSCLUB were great, but they aren't this. Adam's vocals perfectly capture the BORN AGAINST/ECONOCHRIST all consuming frustration, and as good as the songs are, those yowls are still the highlight for me. CANCER ALLEY were through after just a few shows (Adam quit, he does important things now), but the rest of the band continued after Adam left, adding the vocalist from MULTI FACET (one of the most underrated bands from that era of Oakland punk) and a second guitarist (Grant ex-ANIMAL FARM, pre-TALK IS POISON). They renamed themselves OJOROJO and several of these songs made it onto OJOROJO's full length. Only 7 songs here, but this demo is mandatory listening...dark and desperate.

29 October 2012


Mondays around these parts have become my repository for chaotic and damaged walls of distortion, typically adorned in black studded jackets with '80s Japanese obscurities scrawled across the back. But today's assault comes dressed in appropriated thrift store neon and wearing grey lipstick - two casually determined women making a casually ferocious racket. The guitar here is well beyond damaged, and dances between bone jarring heaviness and total chaos (take "Torres Gemelas" as a perfect example), and the drums could back heroes of SABBATH worship if they were content to just bash out rhythm...fortunately they are not, and the pummeling takes frequent and deliberate turns in uncomfortable directions. Both contribute vocals, and like the music they fill a wide spectrum that covers atonal droning, jarring wails and SPITBOY-esque no bullshit shouts. I have listened to this tape countless times in the past weeks...crushing and challenging.


Half of SISTER FUCKER also hits drums for HUMAN BAGGAGE. This 2010 demo is a a laid back and passively abrasive jaunt through post punk by way of early SONIC YOUTH. Saw them once - loved it. Figured these double shot posts of Bay Area bands was a perfect excuse for this long overdue share.

28 October 2012


More Bay Area love from an Oakland band who sent their shit to me ages ago...but I am easily distracted. YI dish out snarky melodic sounds rooted in '90s guitar driven college/indie rock - probably not what I would typically go for, but there's something here that drew me in. Maybe it's the murky swarm of vocals that lurk under the blown out mix on 2010's At Home demo, or perhaps the smart and sharp approach and more angular guitars on 2011's Host Body (tracks that were put to wax earlier this year). Way more of a noisy post punk angle on the second release, but both are included here for your pleasure. I like pleasing.

27 October 2012


The first demo was good, this one features a few of the same tracks, and is way better. A truly damaged bulldozer, this is hardcore made by people on another plane. Listen to WHITEHOUSE and CROSSED OUT while drinking tequila and strange things happen. Strange and glorious things. COPS live are one thing, and this second demo is getting close to that thing.


Langford told me this tape was really good. That recommendation and hearing that this was one (or more?) of the $2 OUT THE DOOR was more than enough for me to cough up three hard earned dollars and trudge up the hill with a shiny new cassette. I put it in, I pressed play, I hated it. But some months later I decide to spend a week on the internet focused on bands from the place where I live and I figure I should listen to that tape again. And it was great. Same tape, same ears, same brain, different mindset. Bass, drums, synths and monumental vocals combine forces to create an amalgamation of hipster indie sounds and Nuggets styled psych punks after they ingested a bottle full of somewhere else pills. I get the feeling after diving into my second listen that after spending some time with this tape I could start to find BLEAK ETHNIQUE potentially life altering. Well, at least mind altering in a very temporary interpretation of the term. Tuck in to some sound.

26 October 2012


RUDIMENTS were well established before I moved to San Francisco, but I was lucky enough to watch their evolution into a terrifying whirlwind of narcotics and punk. If you are scared of ska, then perhaps you should stay away, but 1996's Bitch Bitch Bitch is a mandatory release filled with chaos and drug fueled depression...everything from the blazing sinister '80s hardcore of "Neon Crucifix" and "El Camino" to the chilled out "Underwater" or the unquestionably danceable "Terror In The Heartland," tracks that could teach fans of the dirty ska/punk from more well known bands a lesson or two in the ways of determination in the face of squalor. The recording is damaged in the manner of later FLAG or a distorted basement amalgamation of Albini's work, and that edge gives songs like "Superhero Chickenshit" an authenticity that is impossible to manufacture. They toured relentlessly for half a decade, exporting Mission District ethos to the heartland of the country for $50/night, sharing the stage with much more popular and less worthy bands. Their live shows in the late '90s were epic, and while few of their other releases capture the final era of RUDIMENTS, this full length definitely does. 

Scottzy made me this tape before the LP came out, and I played the shit out of it. The LP on one side and a slew of demos and live tracks dating back to 1994 on the flip. The RHQ 4-track recording of "Smokin' Hubbas" might steal the whole tape for me, but you are welcome to choose your own favorite. Had some of the best times with these dudes - cared about stuff a lot less back then but, in retrospect, perhaps it meant a lot more.

"They comfort my buns, they keep me, you know, supported and able to be endowed to do what I do...which is, you know, get high."

25 October 2012


Continuing what is shaping up to be a pretty healthy run of Bay Area worship, I introduce you to San Jose's NO MISTAKE. With Rich (PERMANENT RUIN, SOUR PATCH, IN DISGUST) sitting behind the drums, you can be assured that it's going to be good, but I genuinely had no idea what was in store for me when I first saw them. Throw Mike Bullshit (SFA, GO!) into the mix and the result is something akin to NYHC put through an early '00s thrash filter. Fiercely determined and more than a little cynical (punk offers the former, while the latter is perhaps enhanced by age), but there's a positivity here that's impossible to hide. Also, they shred.

24 October 2012


DISPLEASURE are certainly the best local band to hang up their hat in recent memory (that is assuming NOSE DIVE will play another show someday...if not then it might be a close call). Their final show a few weeks back was also the release show for their second cassette, and while I thought that the first one was an excellent if somewhat raw snarky punk offering, Neanderthal is an absolute screamer. These five songs are smart and infectious, with a searing guitar, a forceful rhythm section commanding attention and sharp female vocals riding the crest of their chaos wave. We should all be lucky enough to go out like this.


Rarely have four songs grabbed me as instantly as these. INDEX are punk in the most addictive sense imaginable - Jess's vocals are drenched in attitude but maintain the dreamy pop sensibilities that help make her other band so popular and the tunes this band cranks out have all of the appeal of hook laden post punk but crammed into 90 second stripped down burners. Punk is supposed to sound alive, and it's supposed to make you move. INDEX lives, and I'm dancing.

Both cassettes released by and available from Cut Up Tapes. You will also find a FUZZBOX video on their website, which is pretty rad.

23 October 2012


I've seen a lot of bands over the last few days, and almost all of them have been quite good. There were a few out of town heavyweights, but the Bay Area bands I saw over the weekend reminded me how lucky I am to live here. I've been sitting on THE NEW FLESH demo for a few months, and watching them open the show last night (a show absolutely stacked with great bands) just reminded me how great it is. Brooding uptempo sounds that have more in common with late '80s indie/new wave acts (RED LORRY YELLOW LORRY, FOR AGAINST, or Escape alumni BÜLD and ZERO POINT) as with the early dark anarcho that more and more bands have been turning their ears towards. "Age Of Reason" is an absolutely perfect song, and that was the song that I had stuck in my head this morning - even though I had also seen RANK/XEROX reinvent post punk, SICKOIDS level the room and watched THE MOB deliver a near perfect set of life affirming music. Yeah, THE NEW FLESH are absolutely that good.

22 October 2012


Many FOTE have sent me cassettes to share, but few have languished for as long as this piece of work from Sugarland, Texas (20 miles out of Houston, this is a town that has more in common culturally with it's nearest neighbor of note, Missouri City). HELLGASM are a total trainwreck of blistering riffs, howling and snarled vocals and awkwardly distorted guitars. While some metalcrust and noise punk bands take their edgier cues from heavy metal and crossover stench core acts, HELLGASM seem to look only in the direction of G.I.S.M. - but please remember that they are looking from Texas, and that is a really long way from Tokyo. This shit sounds like the cover looks...and you should see what the envelope looked like. 

21 October 2012


Oakland's SPACE BURN start with low end heavy swarms of sound, emphasis on the drone and a constant swell of breathy synths driven by throbbing bass. Whatever place they take you to, they just as quickly extricate you with an abrupt move into "Where The Fabric Stops," a disjointed three minute lurch of FROESE-ian ambience colliding with spastic primitive electronic sounds. The title track, Chapterhouse, is ten minutes of chilled out mid-tempo beats and a dizzying array of disorienting sounds...subtle swells and a feeling of awkward comfort. The world of electronic music exists almost entirely off of my radar, but sounds like these make me realize that I need to expand my vision - or maybe I'm still riding the high from last night's BASSNECTAR gig.

Part of a three cassette series highlighting new Bay Area electronic artists from the folks at Break Up

20 October 2012


Fast, straight forward shit rooted in early '80s (east coast) punk/HC. Never saw this St. Louis band, but this is exactly the rapid fire shit that made me jump for joy in the mid '00s, and still does now. Born from the same admiration that birthed TOTAL FURY, but with an eye pointed a few metropolises up Interstate 95 towards Boston. A five year old interview with the singer here, 9 songs in 10 minutes can be found below.

I hate the world and I hate all of you // Maybe it's true - I'm no fun

19 October 2012


Holland's SUFFERING QUOTA will crush you. Members of GRINDING HALT and the criminally under appreciated THE LAST MILE are responsible for this insanity - a total head spinning dervish packed with death metal leads delivered unparalleled fury and (very slight) glimpses of melodic crust as in "Wasting Your Time" or "Keep Them Lower."  Throat searing vocals throughout, a mind blowing pace that never relents, and the mid tempo mosh in "All You Fucking Fakes" is absolutely the best 24 second stretch of my day. Five songs in less than six minutes, these tracks will validate your existence.

18 October 2012


Maybe a 9 minute long beating wasn't quite enough for you yesterday, so here's more brutality from Chicago. PIT OF SPIKES are just ugly, churning madness - faster than hell and shockingly heavy when they slow down. A couple of KUNG FU RICK dudes in the mix here, this demo is frightening.

17 October 2012


Sometimes you just need to have your face melted, and sometimes you need to listen to WORN OUT. This Chicago grind outfit rip through eleven downtuned ditties that will make your head spin in less than nine minutes, early '00s heaviness injected into a searing assault rarely paralleled in any era. So damn fast, vocals that make my brain hurt, and "Jesus S(l)aves" is unquestionably one of the most devastating songs I've heard all year....that last minute expends every effort lulling you before "Void" severs the last tendon connecting you to sanity. This demo is long overdue.

16 October 2012


Absolutely killer Midwest hardcore circa 1981 from these Kalamazoo, Michigan rippers. A bootleg EP titled Reason was issued a few years back that featured these 11 tunes plus a few others, and some of these tracks can be found on the Master Tape and Process Of Elimination comps, but the important thing here is not necessarily the origin, but rather the impact these sounds will have on your life. The frenetic and frantic pace is reminiscent of N.O.T.A. while the open guitar chords are classic HÜSKER DÜ - but this was recorded before either of those bands reached their prime. The vocals are lazy and rife with disillusioned adolescent frustration and the songs are light years more advanced than most '80s hardcore...great hooks, total passion, 9 minutes of pure magic.

15 October 2012


This is how you want to start your week. 1-2-1-2 distorted pogo punk insanity along the lines of INJECTIONS, WANKYS or LIFEFORM, but with shrill female vocals that demand comparisons to THE GRUMPIES. This is frantic pop punk with ear splitting white noise guitars...childish, amateur and awesome.

14 October 2012


Late '90s Spanish punk in two glorious movements. HOW? are stripped down raw hardcore with a deliver that conjures up aural images of INFEST, while UPRISING are stripped down raw hardcore with a delivery that conjures up aural images of INFEST. Both of these bands don't actually sound just like INFEST, but if you like INFEST then this is probably your jam. UPRISING throws an INFEST cover in there just in case you doubt me, but this whole thing just fukkn rips. "Decriminalize Peace" is absolutely the most crucial song you will listen to today.

13 October 2012


I doubt that kvlt metal enthusiasts spend much time perusing The Escape, so I'll avoid the effort required to truly categorize these sounds. But LORD TIME have managed to create something genuine and unique within the confines of harsh black metal. There is a longing here that is tempered by a self imposed separation...a want for compassion that is constantly trumped by a need for isolation. These are dark sounds - primitive and devoid of any warmth whatsoever. Eight untitled tracks on each side, and even though the songs themselves are repeated, the ambience in between the tracks manages to create a completely different vibe when you flip the tape. This subtle mind trick alone makes Forgotten Future a legendary release, but the sounds that comprise the whole experience take this production to another level. Intense sounds, from an intense label. I'm not an expert, I just know what I like.

(there's actual blood on the tape, in case you needed the evil bar raised just that little bit higher)

12 October 2012


This is one of the many tapes that's been sitting on a shelf for months (years) politely waiting for me to throw them up here. More of a collection of recordings than a proper mix tape Italiano Punk features live IMPACT tracks and I REFUSE IT songs from the Sfregio Permanente split cassette, but these were unsalvagable even after a ridiculous amount of time performing manual (and then digital) surgery...the things I do for you people. But what you do get was well worth the effort: a few from CRASH BOX's 1983 demo, CANI's Guai a Voi EP, an insanely good under the radar hardcore influenced Oi creamer, and a collection of songs from S.I.B., who could have almost been lumped in with parts of the UK anarcho scene (their frontwoman was a Brit, which helps the comparison). The S.I.B. tracks are taken from one show in 1981 and their final gig in Cesena in June 1982 as well as healthy chunk of their 1981 Third World War LP. Everything here is delicious, even if you don't get to eat the whole thing.

11 October 2012


Simple and aggressive Spanish hardcore weaned on NEGATIVE APPROACH and DISCHARGE. To the point, to the throat, awesome. 19 songs in less than 17 minutes will kick your ass.

10 October 2012


If 7 SECONDS had toured the US as relentlessly as BLACK FLAG, then the face of punk and hardcore in this country would be much more attractive. Please discuss.

09 October 2012


Maybe this wasn't your jam in the '90s (hell, maybe you were still shitting in your pants in the '90s), and I certainly got the opposition to bands like Ohio's THREE STUDIES FOR A CRUCIFIXION at the time. It was impossible to make these songs without some people thinking it was all contrived...but I wasn't one of them. This is anguish and frustration set to sound, complex and utterly intense. COLEMAN, HEROIN, HINCKLEY, THREE STUDIES... I never saw any of them (probably because I was touring in a band with songs about beer, though we did play at HARRIET THE SPY's house once, and had some pretty interesting gigs with BRAID and CHRISTIE FRONT DIVE) but this world of proto-emo was just another step forward for hardcore - disillusioned, pissed, hopeful and terrified all at the same time. And the sound of determined youth.

08 October 2012


Chaotic and raw hardcore with vocals that teeter between whining and snarling in the most adolescent manner possible. Three short bursts led by a genuine explosion of guitar that truly sets this tape apart from the pack. Dense and furious - excellent sounds. And while I am well aware that the cover art is stupid, I suppose it makes it very clear what you're dealing with before you dive in, so there's that.

07 October 2012


COLD CIRCUITS feature two of the dudes from SYNTHETIC ID and they played a show today in a venue that is less than a 15 minute walk from my house. They played with PERMANENT RUIN, DIE TIME from Chicago, GENERACION SUICIDA and APOGEE SOUND CLUB, all bands I like a lot, and many people who I am happy to consider friends. I believe this was the first COLD CIRCUITS show, but I cannot tell you how it went, since I didn't go. Instead I took a nap and woke up long after the show was finished. I don't always make good decisions. 

06 October 2012


Ugly Canadian sounds that bear more than a subtle resemblance to Tennessee's most noteworthy '90s export. Simply crushing, and for the record I don't mind the resemblance one little bit - there's something visceral about this sound that is missing from a lot of current bands, a desperation that has been replaced by a need to succeed, even when "success" in this context is often little more than a few passing mentions message board du jour. But then, I'm applauding BRAZEN HELL by mentioning them on a blog, so who the fukk am I to point fingers? No one, that's who. I'm just going to finish this beer and crank the shit out of this tape one last time before I call it a night.

05 October 2012


A cooperative effort released in 1997 benefitting Dare To Care (a human/animal rights collective from Philippines) and Callus Collective (an anarchist leaning group from Malaysia focused on helping the underprivileged). Not surprisingly, this tape is made up of bands from Philippines and Malaysia, places where dishing out raw hardcore punk was way fukkn different than it was for me in the late '90s. There's something special about punk made in a time and/or place where just being a punk is/was a political statement, and I think that No Racism, No Authority! captures that brilliantly. BAD OMEN (blown out but still kinda melodic punk), N.S.A. (excellent 7 SECONDS styled posi-HC) and A.D.A. (ripping gruff ramshackle raw punk) from Philippines on one side with SILENT MAJORITY (accidental '80s Italian worship, easily the coolest songs on the tape), KHESOM (raw, sinister and borderline inept - this is high praise coming from me actually maybe these are the best songs on the tape), and F.S.F. (fast irreverent hardcore with killer vox and perfect guitar leads - So Cal fans rejoice, especially on "Tolerate No More," an undiscovered classic jam) from Malaysia on the flip. Tapes like this frustrate me, because I want everyone to listen - but I can only say "you need this" so many times before the words become meaningless (and I'm afraid that happened sometime in mid-2005). But there's something different about punk that means something - and whether geographically, ideologically or musically, this comp nails it.

04 October 2012


Maybe you don't care about this ILLEGITIMATE SONS OF JACKIE O side project from the early '90s, but maybe you should. Fuzzed out, freaked out bizarro punk rooted more in the acid drenched garage musings of a thousand forgotten hippies than anything I would call punk, but delivered with a stiff middle finger to the Oklahoma bible belt culture that weaned and corrupted them. As much as Dan's guitar tone is the focal point of the whole recording, the bass is straight Funkadelic via later SST and if you described it to me then I would tell you there's no way it could possibly work...but it does. Aside from early LIPS meanderings (that were clearly at least a peripheral influence on both THE SONS and this offshoot), I assure you that you've never heard anything like "Lawn Mower" before (with the possible exception of those of you who have seen CAPTAIN EYEBALL EXPERIENCE live, but I'm guessing the cross section of CAPTAIN EYEBALL fans and Terminal Escape followers is pretty fukkn low). Just trust me...for once just trust me: "Egg Oddysey (Bitchin' Version)" is what you need today.

03 October 2012


Bombastic and devastating, Denmark's DOGMATIST combine the punch to the gut of churning crust with elements of Scandi DBeat and an over-the-top presentation more reminiscent of modern blown out crasher crust acts. Whining vocals raise the hair on my arms, commanding attention and setting them apart from the flock. These dudes know exactly what they are doing.

02 October 2012


I heard you are holding on to more than your fair share of brain cells, and Cleveland's DUMBSHITS are here to help bring you back down to an acceptable level of (un)intelligence. These tracks from 1982's This Tape Sucks comp that also included THE OFFBEATS, LOUD AS FUCK, ZERO DEFEX, THE AGITATED and others (no, I don't have the whole tape and yes, I want it) make MEATMEN seem like PROPAGANDHI, so get out your dunce cap and get ready to wreck shit. Listening to songs like "Bald Guys Farting," "Turds With Corn In 'Em," and "Tastes Like Fuckin' Shit," it's no surprise that this comes from the same state that would bring us SOCKEYE and SLEAZY JESUS AND THE SPLATTERPIGS less than a decade later. Two dudes on a mission for idiocy.

For those paying way too much attention, this collection of songs includes "Joe Drank Piss," which is not on the aforementioned cassette comp according to any track listing I can find. So maybe you finally found that one elusive DUMBSHITS track you've been searching for. Probably not, but maybe.

01 October 2012


Jakarta's PEACE OR ANNIHILATION were an early visitor to Terminal Escape -  raw and unforgiving raw DBeat crust insanity. These HELLOWAR tracks are masterfully crafted and perfectly delivered brutal crust with hints of melodic Swedish melody and forays into the more epic corners of the genre. Maybe you think that you are too cool for this sound? Well maybe I think that you don't like things that are awesome, prepare to get crushed. All of these tracks were recorded in 2009, and this creamer was released by the fiends at Full Force Hardcore Destruction.