30 November 2012


I just spent the evening hanging out with one Spaniard and one yank living in Madrid, so perhaps it would've been wise to ask them what the hell was on this tape. But I didn't. Instead, here's a 24 track comp of Spanish punk....most of the songs are excellent and all are at least good, and track #5 will either win you over to my team immediately or you will wonder why you bother reading the drivel that I write every day - either way I hope we are still friends. The tracks here lean in the HC/punk direction, with an understandable Spanish flare (if you pay attention, then you will know what I mean - if you don't pay attention, then you should start), and the comp was released to bring attention to several anti-fascist and left leaning political causes in Spain. I'm guessing this came out in the '90s (this is only a guess), but I know that the content is superb and I welcome any attempts to identify the artists.

And lest you assume that I didn't actually listen simply because I didn't know who was on the comp, my favorite tracks are (in no particular order): 10 (killer 7 SECONDS vibe), 24 (I know I said no particular order, but this song is amazing), 22 (goth punk on speed vibe meets RAMONES? yeah, it rules), 7 (63 seconds of rudimentary hardcore, you know that's my jam), 21 (seriously, what is up with that flute? I love it, but who told them that was ok?), 11 (the closest this comp gets to neanderthal thrash, and it's fukkn perfect), 12 (speed is king, and this one wears the crown), 16 (raw and nasty). See? I paid attention. Now it's your turn.

29 November 2012


Absolutely killer thrash metal circa '89. These tracks were recorded around the same time the band moved to San Francisco to dive into the then thriving scene packed with bands like VIO-LENCE, DEATH ANGEL, FORBIDDEN and the like. THE HORDE OF TORMENT changed their name from PESTILENCE after one of several other PESTILENCEs got a record deal, and cranked out a few more demos almost as good as this one before they fizzled along with the Bay Area thrash scene. This demo was put to wax a few years later (on a 12"  backed with three more bangers that are almost as good as these and one certified scorcher called "Liquidation"), and one dude later joined MACHINE HEAD, for whatever that's worth.

Interview with two of the dudes here, conducted by a total thrashaholic who clearly has zero patience for aging metal dudes dismissing their speed metal past in favor of broadening their artistic horizons. His commentary at the end of the interview is superb. 

28 November 2012


In 2003 I was in two different bands that toured Europe back to back. After a little over nine weeks with the first band, I had a ten day gap before the next crew of victims (bandmates) arrived. I made plans to meet my wife in Stockholm and we would spend a week driving rather aimlessly around Sweden and Denmark - it was a wonderful way to decompress and remove myself from the world that I was about to dive back into. I arrived at Arlanda Airport in the afternoon, and Karoline was not scheduled to arrive until early the next morning so I had some time to kill. After two months surrounded by people, the thought of solitude was rather pleasing, and after I sorted our rental car and our room, I decided to get a jump on our "driving aimlessly" agenda and cruised into Stockholm in the mid evening with no destination (or maps, or GPS, or direction, or plan) and just drove. As the evening turned into night and the streets gradually emptied, I found myself virtually alone in a place that was totally comfortable, but that was so totally removed from my reality, and I just drove. Turning randomly, driving nowhere in particular....just driving and watching the night get darker and more empty. But I wasn't without direction, and when morning traffic started to appear I turned the car north, and trekked the 40 kilometers back to Arlanda airport and scooped up my wife, and the days we spent there were excellent, some of the best I've ever spent. But the point of all of this is that on that night before she arrived, I listened to one record over and over, and that record was the soundtrack to my night alone in and out (and back in and then out again and then all over the inner streets) of Stockholm - that record was BOHREN & DER CLUB OF GORE's Sunset Mission, and that record is forever etched into my brain in a way that few records can ever be (we're talking in a league with Zen Arcade, Red Headed Stranger and Big Lizard In My Backyard...it's that important). And really, the point of all of this is that the moment my ears heard San Clemete, I knew this could be the soundtrack to someone else's experience driving in Los Angeles. With tracks named for stretches of Southern California freeway, this cassette was absolutely made for nights like the one I had on the streets of Stockholm, and I fukkn hope that someone in this world has had (or will have) a similar experience late one night, hitting Corona Del Mar just enough before sunrise that it makes sense to make another loop up the coast before picking up the person that makes life worth living at the airport. I imagine the perfect end to that experience would be cruising the Orange Freeway while listening to "Orange FWY" at maximum volume with the windows down and still slightly chilled dawn air whipping your cheeks, but everyone's experience is different...

Moon Glyph is responsible.

27 November 2012


There are good tapes. There are tapes that stick with you and maintain your attention long after they have been filed away in some box or upon a shelf. There are some tapes that sit in the "new arrivals" pile for ages, simply because every time you listen to them you hear something new. And then there are tapes like this one. Norway's THE UPTIGHTS have done masterful things to the potentially stale world of shoegazing sounds, and made stark cold winters At The Worthersee Hotel sound like a comforting and terrifying experience. The vocal wails on "Geraldine" might be just a touch over the top, but total honesty is well worth an occasional cringe (a theory that applies to things far beyond the world of cassettes). Garage punk gone the way of dark synths and noise scapes born out of disconcerting distortion...perhaps this cassette is a perfect accident, or perhaps THE UPTIGHTS are your favorite band. 

I suspect this band has long since been not a secret in circle far removed from my own, but nonetheless I encourage you to visit Keep Secret, responsible for this release.

26 November 2012


More KRÜEL? Why the fukk not? Like the title suggests, this banger was thrown together for their 2010 jaunt with UNLEARN, and features tracks from the Terror Tape and DIS demos, along with assorted live and comp tracks (including the killer No Tomorrow four band DBeat comp from a while back). The earlier tracks lean more on Spanish raw punk, but by the time this tape was released, KRÜEL had (d)evolved into pure, raw and nasty disnoise, a sound they have built on in the years since. Enjoy your week.

25 November 2012


Two decades later, and this still lays waste to most of the bands on the planet. This is DROP DEAD's first two demos from 1991, issued in Japan by D.I.Y. Records - the incredible live radio set on the flip side can be found at Escape Is Terminal. DROP DEAD are important.

24 November 2012


I can be a little late to the party sometimes, and my first introduction to HIVE MIND was through the Steel Trap compilation I posted a couple of weeks back, but since that swarm of disconcerting drones I have been devouring all the sounds I can find. Over nearly a decade of production and dozens of releases, (HIVE MIND's sole member Grey) Holger's approach seems to be one of subtle variations on a relatively simple theme, and 2012's They Made Me The Keeper Of The Vineyards (also from Chondritic Sound, who gave us the aforementioned Steel Trap collection) delivers two off putting doses of bleak drone punctuated with pulsing bass and casually disturbing synths.  Simultaneously gorgeous and damaged.

23 November 2012


The art of the mix tape has perhaps gone the way of the playlist, and while it's true that assembling a nice playlist might take a fraction of the time and errors in judgement are quickly rectified, an organized list of files will never take the place of a well crafted cassette. I started putting this cassette together yesterday afternoon for a friend of mine in Europe, a friend who already owns all of the records. The result is a collection of primarily lesser known and under appreciated bands, my attempt to throw him a curve ball or two. I got distracted (focus is a key component of mix tape construction), but dove into the second side after I had a pretty good heat on last night. No problem sharing it here first, since this tape's intended recipient doesn't bother downloading music on the internet - since he already owns all of the records.

22 November 2012


Way under the radar hardcore punk from Grand Rapids, Michigan, THE REEL BODEANS (I'm guessing the "REEL" part was added after THE BODEANS from neighboring Wisconsin achieved popularity) cranked out one big record and one small one during their decade long run. I believe that the tracks in today's post are with third vocalist Marshall on vocals (you can listen to three songs with second vocalist Clint here), in your face shit with tons of attitude. THE REEL BODEANS bear more than a passing resemblance to CRUCIFUCKS (if only from the irreverent vocal stylings) and MDC, but they are less weird than the former and slower than the latter. 13 tracks here, two of which made it onto their 1986 two song single (hell, maybe this is even the same recording, I wouldn't know since I can't seem to find a copy of the damn record anywhere). Classic Midwestern USHC.

21 November 2012


"Media Distortion" is a UK punk classic born just a few years too late. On their 1991 demo, SHOCK TREATMENT crank out 6 ripping studio tracks including the aforementioned burner - songs that would have the band's ST logo emblazoned on scores of punk vests decades later (even though the logo is pretty much the same as the logo for that band from Venice with the initials 'S' and 'T'). Maybe in 1991 punks didn't want searing and vaguely melodic UK punk with sharp vocals, but it's exactly what this punk wants in 2012. Nine minutes of live material follow the studio tracks, completing the package for the diehards amongst you...


20 November 2012


Mark left me a box of tapes when he moved to Madison, many of which were remainders from his time  in the Midwest before relocating to the West Coast. This 1990 demo from Portage, Wisconsin's NO JOKE is indicative of the punk that the Midwest spawned in basements throughout the region (including Milwaukee's LSD, Madison's INSPECTOR 12, a pre-PROTESTANT Corey and a pre-PROMISE RING Davey, all thanked on the insert). This was personal hardcore, and community mattered more than riffs or posturing...but two decades later these tracks hold up remarkably well. "Waiting For The Rain" is the fastest number, and not surprisingly the one that suits my modern day ears the best - SUBHUMANS (UK) meets mid period Dischord (the latter seemed to be the model for so much Midwestern hardcore from this era), but all of the tunes here are packed with purpose. 

Karoline tells me that two of these dudes were the rhythm section for NAKED AGGRESSION when my first band crossed paths with them in Albuquerque next door to the THEY MIGHT BE GIANTS show in 1992. That was a weird night, and I have a memory of those dudes pulling up to the show sitting on an open bed trailer that they had just driven from El Paso in...I find it hard to believe that this could be true, but that is my memory (not to be confused with the final track on this demo, "This Is Reality").

19 November 2012


Further proof that the Japanese have been doing the shit you kids love for way longer than you kids have loved it. Noisy and chaotic politically charged punk from the early '90s with nasal vocals that will make fans of WANKYS and SAD BOYS cream themsleves. Awesome.

18 November 2012


Filthy modern hardcore from Nashville, Tennessee. These tracks are technical and sinister, but there is more than enough primal blasting insanity to reel in those scared of things like complex song construction and...well, something different. Chaotic and spastic sounds delivered with amps set to death metal makes for an initially confusing listen, but YAUTJA pull it off handily, and breath much needed life into a FLAG track to wrap up nine minutes of madness.

17 November 2012


Dual vocal crust brutality, fast as shit and heavier than your band. Come to think of it, they are probably faster than your band too, but you should see that not as an affront to your worthiness in the world of hardcore, but rather as inspiration to, you know, play faster.

16 November 2012


Just like the title suggests, the next 90 minutes of your life will be filled with the most screaming and essential hardcore that 1980s USA had to offer. There's a reason some of these bands are often considered starter bands for new punks...because they are awesome and new punks need to hear them. So if you already know it all, then maybe you can skip this one. But then again, maybe you need a refresher, a reminder, a retraining of sorts? And if you are under 18 years old, then you must listen to every song here - this is  mandatory and not up for debate. I only WISH that someone had commanded me to do so when I was 17, and I promise you'll thank me later. Take notes.


15 November 2012


My friend Peter gave me this tape a few months ago, then a few weeks ago called me out, knowing full well that I had not yet listened to it. He knows my earholes are often stuffed with noisy and abrasive sounds, and he probably knew that I would put these (presumably) introspective and pleasing bedroom recordings at the bottom of my new arrivals pile (and he was right). But that night I listened, and I heard the solo musings of someone as rooted in early '90s as I am, even if those roots have sprouted into trees of (slightly) different species. Four tracks here pieced together over half a decade, from the breathy peace of the opening "Le Cheval" that falls inline with CODIENE (but even more subdued) to quieter shades of AFGHAN WIGS through lazily meandering guitars on the subsequent songs. The Embarkation is a natural extension of the sounds I heard when I was walking the line between all the various subgenres of independent music - when it wasn't weird to listen to punk bands and indie bands and grunge bands because, shit, none of it was on the radio so it was all interesting. No preconceptions, just good music. Interesting that ten short minutes can be simultaneously introspective and retrospective, so job well done.

14 November 2012


I received a formidable package from Nostilevo a while back, and this was one of the more trying cassettes it contained. Equal parts morose and harsh, YORK FACTORY COMPLAINT lurch their way through a half hour of mangled industrial beats and oppressive distorted electronics. Initially, the vocals on the first track are an afterthought, hollow and sinister missives shouted at uncomfortable intervals in the late '80s tradition, but far more painful....and eventually far more essential, as those same vocals begin to hold my attention as much as the increasingly chaotic musical accompaniment. The second track is a wall of tortured madness, and the descent starting at about the 8:00 mark is nothing short of brilliant. This shit is dark and uncomfortable.

13 November 2012


The intro riff is a killer, and then comes the guitar break and you know you are in for some serious shit.  OBLIVIONATION deliver on the promise they made with those first two riffs, and maintain a level of intensity for the entirety of this criminally short demo. Two of these dudes were in OUT COLD (among the most under appreciated US hardcore acts ever), and after the 2010 death of OUT COLD vocalist Mark Sheehan I wondered if Evicci would keep making music...thankfully he did. This is every bit as forceful as the finest OUT COLD material, and even more desperate. Only three songs here, but I can only imagine what we are in for in the future. At least those of us who care.

Sold out from the band, but thankfully reissued by Bleeding Edges. Don't settle for mp3s, just use them to get you through until you can hold it in your hands and sit back with the lyrics sheet on the first listen, then you flip the tape and mosh the shit out of your house. Trust me, it works.

12 November 2012


Relentless and chaotic, Vancouver's KOSZMAR come off like a white noise treated DBeat assault cranked up to 78rpm. Forceful high end vocals (from a voice touched with a slight dusting of the Japanese yeowl) pierce through the wail of manic cymbals and tinny guitars doing battle in the upper registers. But there are songs, and they are damn good - addictive riffs and a frantic pace are uncomfortably tempered by the harsh recording with very aurally pleasing results. Lyrics all in Polish, and there's a MOSKWA cover for those interested in such things...somehow their version sounds like DISCHARGE taking speed and writing more complicated riffs, which is difficult to explain but easy to enjoy.

11 November 2012


Unknown outside of nerd circles until Dischord released their 3xCD anniversary comp ten years ago, DC's ROZZLYN RANGERS were a project featuring members of MINOR THREAT, TEEN IDLES, GOVERNMENT ISSUE, IRON CROSS and so on. Ian plays piano on the theme song that was featured on the Dischord reissue, but the other two songs here are legit burners (correction in the comments section - apparently the "other two songs" are not ROZZLYN RAGERS and apparently I need to brush up on my Dischord). These tracks made the tape trading circles in the '80s, and now I'm helping them make the new millennial version. I like to help.

10 November 2012


When the tape comes with no cover and looks like this, you know you are in for a treat. Active from '87-'93, Buffalo's BAPHOMET (who changed their name to BANISHED to avoid being confused with other metal bands with generic names...but still they chose BANISHED, which is weird) cranked out a healthy slew of demos (this tape is unmarked, but I believe this is a chunk of 1990's self titled promo) before dropping a full length on legions of rabid fans. Maybe there weren't quite legions, but I like to think there were. Guttural, primitive death metal.

09 November 2012


While I expect very few people to download this compilation, I can assure that the contents are of the highest quality. 18 bands spanning three cassettes and almost as many hours of your life...prepare to be intrigued, enthralled and occasionally disturbed. This one requires a substantial commitment, but the payoff is well worth it.

Released by Chondritic Sound in an edition of 300 in 2010.

08 November 2012


Rampaging Malaysian thrash in three brutal movements. The melody here has more in common with Gothenburg than with Portland, and there are shameless moments of power metal hiding beneath the crunch on this 2011 banger. Let us thrash.

07 November 2012


This gem got slipped into my greedy tape loving palms when I passed through Las Cruces, New Mexico this past summer.  Chris and I had crossed paths a few times, and he managed to pull off a damn fun show for us even though their little metropolis had hosted touring outfits seven days in a row, a tough sell in any city. In hindsight, my only complaint is that I didn't get to see LOW CULTURE play that night, and hopefully there will be a repeat performance so we can fix that. Insanely catchy (and yeah, I'm sure lots of people will say 'poppy') jams that have a je ne sais quoi similar to HICKEY or JAY REATARD. I can't necessarily tell you exactly why or how LOW CULTURE are awesome, I can just tell you that you need these four songs. Sort out the lyrics to "31" and it'll validate you, I promise. You might not know it, but you do.

06 November 2012


1992's Die A Peaceful Death full length is a screamer, but this recording (an advance for the then unreleased Agitate Power flexi) is some next level shit. Full throttle Japanese hardcore with thrash metal energy and blistering solos and a relentless pace. This is the most essential 7 minutes of your day.

05 November 2012


Decades before the current wave of kids cranking out meticulously distorted and deliberately fukkd sounds there were waves of kids bashing out their own brand of desperate sounds. These blown out aural explosions laid the foundation for years of careful imitators, many of whom would make sounds far more memorable than the accidental originators. There are exceptions of course...enter AD NAUSEAM. Plodding and painful UK anarcho punk from 1982 delivered amidst complete chaos and a whir of analog distortion. The guitar alone could be a blueprint for countless hangers on, but these songs have so much more to offer than unintentional mastery of an EQ knob. Songs like "What A State" are worthy of DISORDER level accolades, and "Daddy Daddy" is a legit UK82 burner, but it's all hiding under a wall of fuzz (this is either a deal breaker or deal maker depending on how noisy you like your noise punk). Included are the 10 song demo and a 30+ minute live set from Winchester Art College - and you just thought the demo was chaotic. The political punk construct blown to oblivion, think THE DECAY and CHROME trying to bash their way through a set of primitive first wave hardcore...this shit is raw.

04 November 2012


Maybe I should have included the This Is Not A Final War demo when I was shoving Bay Area's finest into your earholes, but I forgot. Sometimes I make mistakes. Sacramento's RAD do not make mistakes on this demo, they just thrash. Bratty and infectious female fronted fastcore mania of the highest caliber, RAD rip through 11 songs in less than four and a half minutes, and there is not a second wasted. Sometimes "Creepout Crew" leaves a bit to be desired, but I think the song is a bit tongue in cheek so I'll give it a pass...but every other second on this tape is nothing short of magic. I'm ashamed to tell you how many times I have blasted the shit of this while pumping fists and raging the shit out of an invisible guitar while sitting on the Terminal Escape Throne (a dumpstered office chair that constantly wants to roll down an uneven concrete incline into a dumpstered desk, in case you were wondering), so instead I'll tell you that RAD take '80s USHC a la 7 SECONDS and YOUTH BRIGADE and ram it into a time and place translator to give it DS-13 and TOTAL FURY energy...and then they play it faster. Like a LOT faster. This is awesome and this is addictive - you have been warned.


03 November 2012


I waited a while on this one, assuming that everyone would order their own personal copy anyway. In case you didn't, or in case you just didn't know, prepare yourself some of the darkest sounds on the planet. Uncomfortable synth drones more akin to what you might find at the bottom of the ocean than in the far corner of a smoky warehouse, but stamped with the most ordinary and easily digestible monikers; "Dinner Face," "Oil Change," "Comb Over," Business Expense" - you get the drill, right? This is what your life actually sounds like. Essential, and a notable progression from their already excellent debut release. 

Another quality product from our friends at Iron Lung Records.
MUTANT VIDEO can be found here.

02 November 2012


A 21 band solidarity compilation released to support the Autonome Kulturzentrum in Hanau, Germany (a squat near Frankfurt,  active since 1986). Melodic acts like PEACE OF MIND and KELLERBASSELN reek of the catchy but powerful political punk of the '90s, while Poland's HOMOMILITIA start the tape off with relentless dual vocal crust. Other highlights include SCUM OF TOYTOWN (comparisons to early CHUMBAWAMBA are not out of line), ROTZLÖFFEL and GEHRINSCHLAG (totally blown out noise drenched D-Punk), KÜPPERS ROTE ZONENKUGEL and PANZERKROIZA POLPOTKIN, whose dark minute dirges could easily inspire new legions of goth obsessed jungen. The tradition of gruff German street punk is well represented also (REICH & SCHÖN, KINDLE, MARKSMAN), and while there are surely a couple of clunkers (30 songs here, what do you expect?) this is top quality from a slew of lesser know late '80s/early '90s acts. 

01 November 2012


The hand written sticker on the tape case read: Buzz-saw punk as balls bass bum-out! Have Fun! 
A few dollars and 21 minutes later I was a happy man.