30 June 2013


Fast, jerky hardcore pushed to the absolute limits. Guitars are cranked higher than any reasonable engineer should let them (so I can only assume they recorded this gem themselves) but they are so damn busy with brilliant leads that I find myself wanting them even louder. There are shades of the '80s USHC by way of '00s Europe and healthy doses of nasty proto punk, but none of the influences come close to overshadowing the raw power of this demo....THE INSTIGATION deliver twenty minutes of magic.

29 June 2013


Decidedly more advanced than the first demo, Russia's UNBROKEN BONES have become a legitimate force devoid of even the most persnickety qualifier. The dual guitars just shred, and while the approach is pure ripping thrash, the vocals are punk as shit...ok - maybe I don't quite dig the slow part of "Survive" (even though it's more than slightly reminiscent of the cover of BROKEN BONES' "Never Say Die" on the last demo) but goddammit this demo rules hard, and rarely do I like guitar solos as much as I like these. There's not much I want from a demo that I don't get from UNBROKEN BONES.

Cheers as always to Drunk With Power....

28 June 2013

1in12 PEOPLE COMPIE (with extra 15% value included!)

A mix tape that Dick made for the punks at the 1in12 in Bradford circa 1989, and I'm quite happy that it made it into my hands. Definitely a time warp, with several bands that time has forgotten. A few undeniable creamers on here, a coupla definite classics and some tracks from bands I never really dug but enjoyed hearing in this context. Included bands can be found in the comments, so you can either download blind (like a real punk) or take a sneak peak to see if it's cool enough for you.

Just when I thought that my truth erased confusion // that's when I asked myself what's real and what's illusion

27 June 2013


I often get tapes in the mail at TEHQ; I gotta admit that it's one of the perks of this whole gig. But to be blunt: even the good ones are almost never this good. Pittsburgh's ILLEGALS are near flawless midtempo USHC. Full of attitude, full of swagger, intense as shit and screaming for an elbows high creepy crawl circle pit...heads banging, fists in the air pogo madness fills my cloudy brains (yes, both of them), this is absolutely THE shit that keeps me stoked. There are band comparisons that are justified, but I feel like they would dampen my enthusiasm and make it seem like I am so stoked simply because ILLEGALS kinda sound like some other band that I already like. No. I am so stoked because I came home from seeing a shitload of bands and this tape was waiting for me and I just wanted to see more bands. I wanted to see this band. Ugly and fierce hardcore punk...you need it

26 June 2013


Pulsating madness, rhythmic destruction. HANS HARMS is a brutal sonic assault spitting unbridled disdain, noise carefully masked as music, this is pure harsh bliss in the tradition of the true masters but manipulated for maximum effect. Even more bleak lyrically than the music might suggest, HANS HARMS challenge comfort in the purest manner....sit down with "Pigskin" and try to have a good day, especially when followed by the pulsating brutality of "Neanderthal." There are only four tracks on this cassette, but I dare you to successfully ingest more. Intellectually advanced music steeped in history and respect released in a criminally limited edition...I am sold.

"for the few who have yet to discover the wonders of upright walking from crawling"

25 June 2013


Chicago is pretty cool. It's a great town, filled with great bands and great people. This is one of the great bands, and one of the great people is the singer. Congratulations, Chicago, you win.

"I'm thinking again about you and me // I'm thinking again about what you did"

24 June 2013


The cover indicates that this is a memorial cassette for a punk who died far too young, but more information is little more than conjecture and/or hypothesis on my part - except for the sounds. This is raw as shit, but the songs captured on this tape are manic with brilliant guitars buried in the swarm of accidental lo-fi hiss. Think ACME (Japan, one of the earliest Escape posts) for a reference, but these sounds are exponentially less produced even though they are every bit as advanced. If you want non stop studded mania then this is not your lucky day...if you want noisy interesting punk then you are in luck. Curiously, the final track is a proper studio recording that indicates the direction this band would take if given the opportunity and/or budget.  More introspective than the rest of the tracks, but I dare day more interesting...I know I have a lot of words, but this tape is both a mystery and a challenge, so prepare yourself.

23 June 2013


This shit must have happened just after I left the bay area in 2003, and if it weren't for all the rad shit I saw when I moved then I might be really bummed at my choice of timing because these four bangers are sick. Not too far removed from early '00s ripping hardcore drawn from breakdown friendly 'crew sounds, but BEFORE AFER were ahead of the current wave of knuckledragging nasty sounds by a solid decade. This is the perfect middle ground between the presentation (lyrically and sonically) that kicked me in the pants 15 years ago and the ugly fierce sounds that keep me interested today. Not idea who this band is/was or what became of them...

22 June 2013


Yet another positively stunning release from the Universal Consciousness label. They describe WRATH OF THE WEAK as "wall of sound/noise/shoegaze/black metal," and while I'm not one to typically agree with promotionally provided tools, their generic all encompassing genre descriptor pretty much nails it. Hypnotic swirls, making distortion seem so brilliantly deliberate and full of passion, this cassette is an emotional workout and not one suited for casual listening. I should have waited until winter, as these are sounds best heard alone, at night, and safely bundled. Solace is apparently the final release from this Buffalo, New York outfit...we should all be lucky enough to go out with such style. 

21 June 2013


More a document of Berlin weirdos than a compilation per se, Cute Chaos #1 is all over the map and all golden. There's hardcore, ass shaking post punk, oddball sounds from out of left field and total strange noise attack all mixed in with some songs that might pass for D-Punk by way of The Stratosphere. Favorites for this guy are HURE, CAT 'N DUYEN, MAN MEETS BEAR, PARO and Escape veterans ON ON ON, but everything here warrants more attention (well, except one track that I think is a total bummer, but 14/15 is a pretty damn good score). Trim Tab Tapes seem to have the right approach with both this compilation and their label as a whole: "We are not limited to special sound, the music we put out has to be such one thing: super cool." Uh, yeah. Sold.

Also, I fixed a shitload of dead links today. I know there are plenty of broken ones...but I am only one man. Repaired links, as always, can be found at the bottom of the main page. Perhaps your request is there, and if it isn't then please write me again since I tend to procrastinate.

20 June 2013


I think I've probably been sitting on this one for so long simply because I don't know how to use mere words to properly shower it with praise. Profoundly full psychedelic post punk with shoegazing guitars and vocals that manage to channel Peter Murphy with a complete lack of pretense. The songs breathe, and I'm tempted to drop comparisons to THE MISSION U.K. as much as early '90s Sub Pop though I'm fully aware that the roots here are punk. There is a new EP around the corner from Seattle's RED LIQUID, and the internet tells me that their sound has matured even further and ventured shamelessly into psychedelia...which only serves to earn them more favor from The Escape.

19 June 2013


More tapes from bands made up of people I have played in bands with. This two-piece from Milwaukee features the drummer from CONQUEST FOR DEATH (also PEOPLE AGAIN, THE LOVE MOVEMENT, PARTY BY THE SLICE and others) and the guitarist from HIGH ON CRIME (also SEVEN DAYS OF SAMSARA, PARTY BY THE SLICE, KUNG FU RICK, LUKE SKAWALKER and others) - and the result of their damage is every bit as monumental as you hope it will be. Uncompromising lyrically and musically, it should come as no surprise that two people responsible for such personal and poignant vitriol would also crank out breathless blown out blasts of hardcore. SWING KIDS and DEATHREAT covers along with the members' lineage will give you a pretty good idea of what you're in for here, but LIFES sound even angrier and more focused than you might expect from two happily married and relatively recent fathers...but that's how lifes goes I guess.

18 June 2013


São Paulo's BANDANOS harness the best elements of later SUICIDAL and mid-80s DRI while avoiding the cheese factor that can so easily turn listeners away from those early crossover bands (unless, perhaps, the listener has the benefit of age and/or context). Vocals are spewed with an intensity that suits the musical assault - even when these kids "slow down" for a mosh part, their game is beyond fierce and there is not even a hint of party in this thrash. Not to say that BANDANOS take themselves too seriously, but simply that their attack doesn't leave any room for shenanigans. No frills, and no filler, this 2005 cassette just rips.

17 June 2013


Bombastic and chaotic hardcore from the Bay Area. We played our first show a couple of weeks ago, the next one is in July. 

Hard copies available for $4.50ppd (USA, write for international rates, which are fukkn insane):

16 June 2013


New York's JUNGLE BROTHERS and England's FREESTYLERS, both snagged off of BBC radio in 1998. JUNGLE BROTHERS pioneered the marriage of rap with house music in the late '80s and their set features music, interviews and tracks like "I'm Gonna Do You" that will remind you how to have fun. The last half of their airtime gets a little more rowdy and a lot faster (naturally this stuff is more to my liking). While JUNGLE BROTHERS were veterans when these broadcasts were made, FREESTYLERS were in their infancy - the internet tells me that their sound is called breakbeat, whatever the fuck that means, but I hear retro '80s freestyle (a style of dance music I can only identify in the most amateurish manner and even that is only because of B and Boo Boo) meshed with whatever kind of music URBAN DANCE SQUAD played in 1988. I'm pretty sure I've driven away anyone who comes here looking for punk, so I'll take this moment to add that FREESTYLERS version of "Breakers Revenge" is an absolute dancefloor crusher. 17 minutes from FREESTYLERS, 27 from JUNGLE BROTHERS, all offered in authentic moderate fidelity recorded on a teenager's boombox-in-the-bedroom-late-at-night-while-parents-are-sleeping sound.

15 June 2013


While it's impossible for me to listen to COMMON FEARS with unbiased ears, watching the crowd watch them play two weeks ago in Austin confirmed what I already knew. I admit that I was studying the band more than watching them, having spent nearly two decades in various bands with the guitarist. It was interesting picking his riffs out of the band's material and the bare honesty from the singer is a nearly absent quality from hardcore bands in the new millennium, an absence that I lament frequently. But while these are all personal observations and anecdotes, the six songs here absolutely stand on their own with no personal attachment or context. It's cerebral hardcore, filled with the desperation that helps set the bands who mean it apart from the ones who are going through the motions. Those riffs I was talking about range from infectious ("Burn Cures") to soul sucking ("Doomed" is painful in its simplicity), and even when COMMON FEARS approach the roads more frequently travelled, there's just enough weird in the presentation to keep them from merging into traffic. I want lyrics next time, something tells me the thought that goes into them might push this over the top...

14 June 2013


CONQUEST FOR DEATH played a show Tuesday night with ANS (who I seriously cannot believe I had never seen until that show) and another Bay Area band. I picked up a few tapes from the locals, tapes they had brought back from a recent tour of Colombia, which sounded amazing. A flight to Bogota takes about as much time as a flight to New York, yet it seems a world away from here. And then after the show I found myself listening to the tapes I got from (SECTA SUICIDA and PESADILLA DISTOPIKA will appear here shortly) and scouring the internet for more information about Colombian punk. Was I sleepy at work the next day? Yes. Did I care? No. Especially not after blasting these 25 searing cuts of distorted raw punk. The sound quality varies quite a bit throughout, and admittedly some of these tracks are best served as a "this is what they sound like" as opposed to regular listening, but these are the tapes that keep me excited about punk. The feeling I had Tuesday night is probably as close as you can get in this internet age to the feeling of discovery in the earlier days of punk. A friend makes you a tape and a door opens....all you have to do is walk through it.

13 June 2013


I've been sitting on this one for way too long, and I apologize. This band is a product of two nuclei - the Black Twilight and Silenzio Statico collectives combining forces is a terrifying prospect, and this relentless attack is more than enough justification for that fear. Cavernous Japanese hardcore vocals, an assault that annihilates with impunity and a passion that defies fidelity. There are two cassettes in today's download - Cocolia is more chaotic and frantic, while Todo El Mundo... is a little heavier and more metalcrust. But both tapes are essential listening - assuming you want to get pummeled, that is.

12 June 2013


There are qualities in punk that cannot be faked, and nothing will get you outed as a fraud faster than trying. Most of these qualities are difficult to define and often unquantifiable, just as much as they are undeniable. It's the sound of utter desperation (sometimes passion) in the vocals, the off the rails lurch of musicians barely staying inside of the lines and the electricity from a unit firing in complete unison. It doesn't always translate into the most advanced music, but it often results in some of the best. TORTURA are a hardcore punk band, but trying to describe their sound without mentioning these intangibles would be doing them a great disservice. There are only four songs on last year's self titled demo, but the band is searing, focused and true. Spanish language vocals suggest an intensity even greater than the music conveys, and moments of melody (such as "No Entienden") suggest a vision more even more poignant than this short cassette can convey. Don't sleep.

11 June 2013


The sound of a horror short played out in real life, View From The Mirror painstakingly doles out dark and criminally minimal industrial synth/drone in two six minute movements. Primitive industrial has rarely been treated with the profound respect that LIABLE manages to offer, without so much as one disingenuous note fouling the experience. The second half of this experience opens with a harsh metallic start and then settles into robotic bliss, commanding a return journey....LIABLE has never disappointed, but this release is of the highest caliber.

From Nostilevo, of course.

10 June 2013


When I posted the NO REFLEXION LEFT demo a couple of months back, I mentioned that Mike was sending tapes from a couple of his newer projects my way and that I was looking forward to hearing them. But I gotta be honest: I didn't think the shit was going to be THIS good. KRIGSKADE play forceful and lurching hardcore punk with (excellent and poignant) lyrics in Danish and tortured guitars that use '80s US hardcore as a starting point instead and proceed forward in the direction of total damage. The breakdowns sound like they are included out of sheer exhaustion rather than a desire to start any circular (or wall to wall) motion, and the English explanations give a purpose to the intensity in the vocals. This is everything I want.


09 June 2013


I think these four tracks are culled from their impossible to find 1981 demo, but they could just as easily be from a later session (though I can't find "Witch World" from any session other than that one). Whatever. This band is essential listening even if you think you already know everything you need to know. First wave, second tier Southern California hardcore. Maybe if they had been from LA....?

08 June 2013


Yeah, I've been gone for a while. I saw some great bands, played some really good shows and hung out with the kind of people that help validate one's existence. But never mind the stories and the self congratulatory back slapping and dive right back into the mix with Budapest's NORMS. There are NINPULATORS personnel involved in this trainwreck so the level of quality should come as no surprise, but this shit is seriously dark and exceptionally compelling in a way that a mere collection of ill riffs cannot even approach. The scream of "ANTISOCIAL!" in the demo's opening track sets the stage for eleven minutes of mental abuse disguised brilliantly as destructive hardcore punk. Guitars are beaten more than played, and the pace is frenetic rather than simply fast. NORMS are pure and honest, and the truth can sometimes be very ugly indeed.