30 April 2013


Lazy and exceptionally pleasant garage/popsters from Michigan, RADIANT MARKS manage to set a vibe mere moments into the cassette and spend the next 20 minutes building on it. Distant, wistful vocals lounge casually behind music that borders on shoegaze dreaminess but clings onto just enough bite...though they let that edge go on the tape's best track "Teenagers," which is nothing short of magnificent. This one just makes you feel good, something I rarely say about music that I share here.

28 April 2013


The guitarist from NO REFLEXION LEFT dropped me a line out of the blue a couple of weeks back, and the email made me dig out the NO REFLEXION LEFT demo I snagged when WHAT HAPPENS NEXT? played with them in Paris in 2003. I kinda miss the fastcore explosion of the early '00s - the energy was positive, and so many of the bands were as serious about the bigger picture as they were about thrashing hard, wilding out in the pit or looking the part (don't get me wrong, thrashing, wilding and wearing the uniform were very important aspects of the aforementioned explosion). When NO REFLEXION LEFT screams "No Rules // I Am Free!!" it sounds like they are celebrating something bigger than mindless blast beats or the discovery of an obscure band their friends haven't heard of...this shit really is about punk and hardcore and fastcore and thrash and friends without borders and without boundaries. NxRxL crank out seven of their own tunes and the 7 SECONDS cover that is ubiquitous to this scene as "Sonic Reducer" is to boring bar punk, but the energy is through the roof, the backing vocals are on point and every moment of this demo makes me stoked - even a decade later. I look forward to Mike's new sounds currently headed my way, and rest assured that you will see them here when they arrive.

27 April 2013


Howling raw crust from PAN ZLOBEK, more polished more thrashing version of the same animal from REPRESSION ATTACK. The former crank out a quite respectable BASTARD cover, while the latter crank out a respectable SHITLICKERS cover. Both bands are from Russia, this cassette is from 2008, and for some reason it came in this weird cloth case with a blob screened on it (see below for scan of blob).

26 April 2013


I live in San Francisco, California. I moved here from Oklahoma in 1995 (there was a really unpleasant year in Los Angeles in between the two, but it was sucky, uninteresting and not even remotely punk or worth mentioning), and even though a large part of my self was left in Milwaukee, Wisconsin (where I lived from 2003-2008) I feel like this is home. It's not easy here...living expenses are astronomical compared to most of the country, it can be impossibly hard to meet and connect with people - even people with whom you might be close friends in a smaller city, sometimes I can go a month without seeing friends I truly like and care about simply because we are busy, and there's the bizarre backlash against a left leaning upbringing that causes some of the punks raised here to act exactly like the fukkn morons I was so very happy to get away from. But this is home, and the punk scene is a large part of that home and a large part of my life here. I can walk to Thrillhouse Records in five minutes, and chances are good at any given time that there's someone working or hanging out there with whom I would enjoy a chat and/or a beer. And there are the bands...more good ones than you can capture on one cassette (hence By Any Means Volume 2 coming by the end of the year with any luck), but the punks tried. Several bands you've probably heard of, and several more that you probably haven't, By Any Means is all over the place but flows perfectly. Sides are presented as two complete tracks since that is how they were intended, this 52 minutes does more than entertain me, because it is more than entertainment.

Copies still available from Fully Intercoastal.

25 April 2013


NECKLACING make some of the most menacing hardcore/power violence I've come across in recent memory. Seven songs in seven minutes - the last track alone takes up three of those minutes and, as is so often the case with recordings like this, levels the whole fukkn place. These sounds are mean and desperate.

NECKLACING make hypnotic and harsh white noise. These two 15+ minute tracks will draw you in, and you will be punished for your weakness.

Necklacing is also one of the most brutal acts of humanity I've ever had described to me. And however uncomfortable it may be to read about it, imagine listening to a first hand and matter of fact description from someone responsible presenting it as what seemed, at the time, to be a necessary evil. Heavy shit.

24 April 2013


Perhaps you have heard the six hour John Joseph autobiography in book-on-tape form? Well this is a little more spontaneous than that classic piece of work, but the next 30 minutes will leave your jaw on the floor. Krishna consciousness, scene politics, MOTÖRHEAD, label politics, it's all here and then some. CRO-MAGS never clicked with me - I understand and respect their importance, but the records have never blown me away. Seeing them live a few years back and hearing John Joseph threaten a "CRO-MAG beat down" from the stage followed immediately by an offer to "hug it out" certainly helped, but every time I put on Age Of Quarrel I'm just like meh instead of like whoa. But I get it...the shit is huge, and John Joseph's personality is bigger than the band now, just as it was then on a Baltimore area radio station.

"spiritual people should be merciful, but there's just a certain class of people that no matter how hard you try and how nice you try to be, they just kick it back in your face"
This was on the same tape, so why not include it in the same post? Unknown UK punk looking towards EDDIE & THE HOT RODS and the like, these tracks are from a good quality rehearsal recording in 1987....and with a drawing like that on the cover, how could I not include the whole tape?

23 April 2013


You like fast? Then you like PUSRAD. Old school USHC riffing with the BPMs ramped up to just a hair shy of utterly ridiculous, this Swedish two piece blazes through 31 songs in under 11 minutes...and that's not a typographical error. There are hooks galore, just precious little time for you to grab them  -"Errare Humanium Est" is the longest song on this collection, clocking in at a whopping 0:37, and the mid tempo breather it provides (the only one on the tape) is as welcome as its simple brilliance. A far cry from ten second blasts of nonsensical grind or noise, this is full speed hardcore stripped of everything but the most essential parts...think about listening to an abridged version of the TOTAL FURY 13 Songs 12" or the first DS-13 EP on 78rpm. It's almost a shame to hear so many great riffs and manic changes "wasted" on such a criminally short release (which is actually a collection of a 12" and two EPs and the thing is still just over ten minutes) - but it just means that you listen to it again as soon as your done to pick up the parts that you missed. Both members come from RAPED TEENAGERS, which probably does more to explain their style of hardcore meets manic and weird than I just did.

This was a part of a very fast package I received from Yakuzzi Tapes a while back. If you like fast, then these are your kind of people.

22 April 2013


Howling and frantic from the explosion of sound that starts "Paranoid Freak" all the way through the next six minutes of torment, Florida's RAWHEAD mow over these tracks more than they bother to play them. The guitars are attacked as if the person playing is afraid of getting hurt, and the vocals approach borderline insane bewilderment without hesitation. The term cacophonous was created to describe sounds like this, and the final dirge "Why Try?" will indeed make you question if it's even worth it.

This comes from Meth Mouth Records

21 April 2013


Frenetic hardcore with absolute purpose. Everything goes red (that's an emotional response and a physical description of the input signal) when the mid tempo fierce mosh in the third track is interrupted by a shriek of "PITRIARCHPITRIARCHY!!" and that unwavering but still tongue in cheek determination personifies all five of these songs. I gather that FOUL CRUX is a side project of sorts, but I hope I'm wrong in this assumption...

20 April 2013


Nauseating swarms of disjointed pulsating rhythms treated with almost unimaginable cruelty. This is the  soundtrack to an urban avalanche of monumental proportions.

19 April 2013


No sense getting into a lot of conjecture and supposition, or dwelling on hypotheticals and confusion. KOWARD is a really good band and they made a tape with with their band and a lot of other good bands on it; GREEN BERET, BLOODKROW BUTCHER, GASH, SUBCLINIX....and more.

18 April 2013


Maybe you've become accustomed to it already, and if not then I suggest you start adjusting yourself now - Japan makes really good punk. The next seven and a half minutes of blown out, catchy as hell and fast as fukk hardcore from 2003 only serve to drive this point home. SQUARE THE CIRLCE are energetic to the max and the hooks fly by almost before you can get hooked, multiple vocals absolutely command sing alongs (and dogpiles) and frantic circlepits must have been a mandatory occurrence at their shows. Get stoked, this demo is every bit as fun as it is ripping.

17 April 2013


This is twisted and awkward hardcore. Seven songs in less than ten minutes. OTHER WOMEN will make you uncomfortable.

16 April 2013


I played a show in Lublin, Poland in late 2003. It was, in retrospect. a really killer evening, but at the time it was filled with stress and frustration....people came to see our band, we were fed well, and I bought a DEZERTER single, but we seemed to wait forever before we were able to play (a minor annoyance, but we had long drives on either end of that show and we were tired and cranky and when the reason we were waiting was the second band of six taking the stage for their second unwarranted encore and offering up nothing more than a DEAD MILKMEN cover, we could hear our drummer screaming "NOOOO!!!" even from our safe hideaway in the van downstairs), that stage was quite literally crumbling beneath our feet and we kept falling down in the holes and cracks, someone wrenched our singer's balls (which put him in a decidedly and understandably more foul mood), and the punishment from well meaning attendees was epic. I'm sure that our mental disposition was as much to blame as our environment, but everything that evening was irritating. Even people who were trying to be nice were working on our nerves...so much so that when the police came just before we started to play, we all saw it as a glorious escape and lamented that we would not want to be responsible for getting the venue closed permanently and we were so sad that we wouldn't be able to entertain these fine people this evening. Much to our dismay, an agreement was reached with the pigs and we were allowed to play...and people went nuts. But the main thing I remember from that show is ALLEE DER KOSMONAUTEN. They were on tour with another German band (maybe even the one that played THE DEAD MILKMEN cover, I cannot be sure), and musically they were the most impressive thing that happened in Lublin that night. Absolutely epic male/female fronted dark European crust that masters the melodic and impassioned approach to hardcore, songs frequently topping the 6 minute mark and paying as much attention to nuance as to aggression - they were awe inspiring thirteen years ago, and their vinyl releases (one full length and a split 10" with CRUDE B.E.) are a fantastic progression from this already excellent demo.

15 April 2013


Two of Pittsburgh's most irreverent exports team up on this cassette. DRUG LUST take classic Iron City punk rock and shove chaos up its ass, while RATFACE crank out more of their top notch rage. Both of these bands keep getting better (need to throw the DRUG LUST demo up here, dude mailed me a copy months ago and it rrrrrrips). Get into it.

14 April 2013


I don't know about you, but for me in the right room, with the right light and in the right mood, these sounds are nothing short of total perfection. 

13 April 2013


When bands that would later be considered grunge first started playing, most folks just thought they were rock and roll bands - a little dirtier perhaps, and definitely more aggressive, but it was still just rock and roll. Of course, most of those sounds quickly morphed into something that was little more than  mainstream rock (though mainstream rock did expand its parameters a bit to absorb this new crop of unkempt youngsters), but there were still bands in that first wave who were dishing out punk, or at least playing their rock and roll with undeniable punk attitude. That attitude is what makes Wisconsin's DHARMA DOGS so infectious - even the laid back "Hokahey" and "Laxadaisy" are delivered with more than enough barely contained aggression to tip it over the edge, and the majority of these songs are seething even when the band are obviously songsmiths of the highest caliber. "Billboard Blues" reeks from the stench of STT-era SONIC YOUTH, while the whole recording owes a debt to the more sinister side of Mark Arm (with maybe a small stipend to FLIPPER). These two EPs were conveniently packaged on one cassette last year, and the contents are guitar rock of the highest caliber - the closer "Longshot" is a ferocious journey in an of itself, but the entire collection is a winner.

12 April 2013


I've been sitting on this one for quite a while, years literally, because I didn't have the track listing and I din't want to seem like a moron by misnaming a BUTCHER track as ANATHEMA or some shit. So I put it on the backburner until last week when I pulled it out to have another listen...and fukk man, I don't give a shit who these songs were performed by because you need them. In case your eyes are bad, Acid Sound From United Kingdom (vol. 1) features FOREIGN LEGION, OI POLLOI, STALAG 17, ANATHEMA, WARTOYS, SUBHUMANS, X-POZEZ, PARANOID VISIONS, WARZONE, BUTCHER and two bands whose names I cannot decipher since the cover seems to be an octogenerational photocopy. Two songs each...lots of dark gothy shits, plenty of rousing fist in the air moments and an investigative adventure for those up to the  challenge. Favorite tracks: A3, B11, A5, B9, A8, B7, B6, A13 - and yeah, B13 and B14 are the same song, go figure. Now let's see if there was ever a second volume!!

11 April 2013


It's interesting to listen to DOUBLE THINK (and bands of their era) in the broader context of DIY punk and hardcore. Even though this demo came a mere decade after the explosion of hardcore, it shares more in common musically, lyrically and ideologically with bands that came twenty years later. While one could certainly argue that this means that punk and hardcore grew stale and stopped evolving, I like to think that punks found what they were looking for - the common bond that transcended dancing at a shows and listening to records, the sense that we really were all in it together and we were in it for the right reasons. Not that 1990's Slave To Machine is some posi "unity" anthem, but rather that the intensity and the attention to detail with explanations and artwork seized on something that new punks continue to seek out and desperately hold onto when they find it. I'm discussing an ideal here more than a demo, but DOUBLE THINK are all of the things I want punk to be...even if their DISCHARGE cover is absolutely bizarre.

10 April 2013


As good as the fast shit is (and it's very good, I assure you), the melancholy "Death Of Truth," with it's subtle guitar leads borrowed from early '80s LA and vocals that have the time to dish out the power that the rest of the demo might gloss over in favor of speed, really makes Extinct invaluable. Maybe it's the juxtaposition of this mid tempo track against the all-out multi vocal attack of the other sixteen tracks, or it might be simply that the fast shit is killer and that one particular song is also killer...either way this 2011 burner from the most isolated metropolitan city on earth has been getting a lot of listens at Casa de Escape.

09 April 2013


Clear nights, deep in thought. Doom meets BENEATH THE LAKE backed with serious sounds fraught with consternation. Peaceful acceptance followed by persistent resistance. Two artists, two attacks, two ideals.

This and more available from Constellation Tatsu. With this cassette they have earned new admirers...or at least one.

08 April 2013


Perhaps you missed the split cassette with fellow Albany denizens ANAL WARHEAD, and perhaps you are out of the loop, but NEUTRON RATS were amazing on that split and right now they are the best band on the fukkn planet. Of course, I am drunk at this moment, but I have never let that get in the way of a definitive statement of fact.

07 April 2013


DAILY OD dish out high tension multi vocal fastcore with hooks likes the ones that made Scandinavia kings of the early '00s. EGOHINE are reminiscent of chaotic screamotional hardcore from the late '90s, fast, furious and intense. Both bands come from France and this cassette comes from 2008. That is all for today.

06 April 2013


You might need to leave some of your scene cred at the door if blasting mid tempo mosh metal isn't en vogue in your world - but these downtuned lurches grow hair on your knuckles and the Russian language (I think?) suits the gruff chants perfectly. The approach has more in common with '90s SXE/metalcore (before tech crap completely took over) - the sixth track is a perfect example of dumbed down (and slowed down) metal riffing delivered with crew vocals that seem to be shouting "Skinhead, Skinhead, Headskin, Headskin"...and it rules. RELIEF hail from Bulgaria, probably early '00s, though this particular artifact does not have a date and my carbon dating machine isa in the shop. Song titles below for those of you who can read Cyrillic.

05 April 2013


A powerfully impressive world of sound from Honolulu has been bombarding me lately in the form of HARSHIST, yesterday's BAG OF CHISELS and this absolutely stellar compilation cassette. GNARWHAL's start to this half hour excursion is more than enough reason to dive in with both feet, driving early-FUCKED UP riffing fronted by snarls reminiscent of Mia Zapata, a comparison that should not (and is not) thrown around lightly. PHARAOHS follow up with a sinister burst of hardcore with hints of metalcore guitars peeking through otherwise burly neanderthal riffing and vocals pushed to their limit, and that flows into melancholic sounds from SUPER NICE. Chaotic and horribly disjointed hardcore from HERBIVOROUS MEN, while SIBLINGS and ILL STANCE are polished and ready for the mosh (it would be wise to learn some shout alongs for the breakdown), I TRAMONTI and WITCH BABY provide sweeter sounds (imagine swaying instead of raging), and MAKUA VALLEY BLAST TEST punish you for ever doubting the prowess of our most laid back state. Lazy garage sounds from DEAD DEAD MILLIES and an addictive combination of electronica and exotica from POG AND THE SLAMMERS (that would feel perfectly at home on the Dual Form compilation) round out this assortment, all the tracks mixed together like you are at one killer (and weird) party. I can assure you these kids are.

04 April 2013


Sometimes you have a really long day and you just want to do nothing when it's over. Today is one of those days, so I am just listening to these ten songs over and over, and each time I do it is the best three minutes and forty something seconds of my day. Do the math, this is frustration put to sound...and I need to go back to Hawaii. Members of MAUA VALLEY BLAST TEST are partially responsible for this beast - and I assure you that is indeed a fukkn beast.

get me out of here before I snap // wall closing in on me // why won't my hands stop shaking

03 April 2013


I don't like cops. I have had very few pleasant interactions with cops (although I am as sweet as honey when I am forced to talk to them). Even the times I have have thought "that cop ain't half bad...for a cop" have mostly just made me wonder why the fukk these seemingly pleasant and sane people chose to become cops. So when a Los Angeles cop named Dorner went all righteous and started killing people a few weeks back because the LAPD was racist, I was conflicted. On the one hand, this was a frustrated cop just calling it like he saw it and feeling pushed and wronged and lied to so much that he saw no other option. At the same time, this was a cop that killed people who had not one fukkn thing to do with any of his frustrations (your bosses daughter? really?), thus reinforcing the fact that he was, in fact, just another piece of shit cop. A piece of shit cop with an agenda that I at least partially agreed with? Perhaps. But still just a murdering cop. 

I think this outfit is from California, and they are to be commended on the swift (if not immediate) inclusion of current events into their band's moniker and aesthetic. Aurally, this is one track of feedback with poignant and anguished missives shouted erratically over the top, and one track of all encompassing powerfully electronic noise. Indeed, Dorner did not live every day like most of you...

02 April 2013


Sometimes I say too much...ok, often. But my point is that sometimes very little needs to be said. This music is fervent, harsh and passionate. It is also fast, and the vocals actually sound like those of a dude in the process of pulling his throat out through his face. Also, it is from Canada.

01 April 2013


Ramshackle Spanish DBeat of the highest order, DISTEMPER take rudimentary repetitive DISCHARGE worship to new and wondrous places on this seven song debut. The vocals are a far cry from blown out raw punk, falling as much in line with anxious '80s Southern European Oi! as with anguished noise punk, and the tempo is reigned in to the point of frustration - I want DISTEMPER to unleash, but in the end I am glad that they don't. This is primitive and glorious, and contact info is in the image below.