DANIEL HIGGS draws his inspiration from an entirely different place. This cassette features sixty minutes of musical improvisations, stream of consciousness aural manipulations and mind bending sounds cut and pasted together with seeming abandon. The first side is minimal; childlike audio excursions placed end to end with great care, a banjo wandering in drunken bursts between emotions often returning to variations of one refrain. The second side is more lively, minimal percussion sometimes urging the banjo onward into droning electronics, the banjo sometimes meandering with only a hint of purpose towards field recordings and casual cacophonies, with an infectious two and a half minute uptempo organ romp in the middle of the side. Vocals are almost nonexistent (save a one minute reprise of "Holy Bible Time" that closes the first side), but while the voice is so often a focal point of HIGGS' recordings, this time they are wholly unnecessary. This might be a lot to digest for the uninitiated, but your efforts will be rewarded.
29 November 2013
Only one vinyl release from this late '80s Bay Area outfit (I think the EP came out in 1990?), which is perhaps why they are so often overlooked, but both demos are in today's download so you can spend your day playing catchup. Fast melodic punk with guitars ripped out of a searing hardcore outfit and melancholic vocals that lament as much as they sing. A Disappointment sounds hesitant and awkward, aside from the guitars, and the result is endearing from the very first note. Lost is certainly a stronger and more mature release, the guitars are reigned in to focus on melody, the vocals are more confident and lilting, and the songs are more dynamic - hard to say which I like better though (part of the reason I just threw 'em both up here). This music comes from before my time in the Bay Area, but I can imagine that if there had been any connection whatsoever between FILTH and JAWBREAKER (I don't think that there was) then it would have sounded like this.
28 November 2013
I don't know exactly how to describe this band, but Austin's SIGNAL LOST brought something to early '00s punk that was important and lacking. The influences might have been drawn from older punk sounds, but the manifestation was urgent from the very start. As great as this 2003 demo is, it is just a taste of the two superb full length records that this band left us with before they parted ways (2007's Prosthetic Screams is undoubtedly one of the most overlooked DIY records of that decade). These songs eventually made it onto Children Of The Wasteland in a more mature form, though there's a purity to these versions that I still endorse. Members now play in CRIATURAS and ARCTIC FLOWERS, in case you need extra incentive.
27 November 2013
New Jersey....wow. This is absolutely primal death/thrash metal from Lodi, NJ circa 1989, six tracks of face melting shred of the highest caliber. All of the necessary elements are presented for your enjoyment: rampaging, forceful drums seemingly just a hair ahead of the beat, screaming (and dueling) guitar solos, sporadic breakdowns with ominous gang vocals and a singer trying desperately to cram all of his wisdom into each verse. Equal parts (early) DRI and SLAYER with a thankfully subtle element of cheese, these maniacs dished out a slab that holds up perfectly today - in fact it makes me want to wreck shit. After this demo and one single SLAUGHTERED GRACE called it quits...I can only imagine how good they would have gotten had they kept going.
26 November 2013
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT? played with these dudes and they absolutely killed it, then I scooped the demo when I went back to Japan the following year. Crucial hardcore sounds from Tokyo - riffs that nod equally to early '80s USA and Japan and an energy that is unmistakably early '00s, I can assure you that as well as this demo holds up today, my memories of their live show are even better. Remember when you first heard TOTAL FURY and the whole game just changed? Yeah, well that's about to happen to you again.
25 November 2013
Absolute nonsensical noise punk taken to new heights before it was even a desirable subgebre, these BOG BRUSHES fools embody accidental no wave and childish punk. Idiotic keyboards, primitive drum machines and a completely moronic take on what was then the new wave, this tape takes some serious context to properly digest. So...yeah: noise fans? Good luck.
24 November 2013
I saw DISCORDIA a few times in the late '90s and they were never short of amazing, and I listened to this tape habitually when I first got my hands on it. Dominated by DISCLOSE style guitars years before it was the cool thing to do and overpowering vocals, these dudes from Tijuana made a fucking insane ruckus that translates perfectly a decade and a half later. Distorted and furious rampaging metallic crust at its absolute finest - volume up until your ears hurt.
Not coincidentally, dudes from DISCORDIA have spent the last decade or so in BUMBKLAATT, whose last LP has just been given the deluxe treatment by Prank Records. The record is a total stunner, and should not be overlooked.
23 November 2013
You can't make this shit up, and you can't fake it. The guitars are ugly, the vocals are filthy and hateful and the songs are catchy as all fukk. The next five minutes are going to remind you why you love punk rock and why you have (hopefully) dedicated your life to it. And if you haven't yet dedicated you life to it, then perhaps this tape is exactly the motivation you need. Draw a line between WHITE TRASH SUPERMAN and early FUCKED UP and throw in an affinity for (the good kind of) skinhead music - high praise, to be sure, but this tape warrants it.
22 November 2013
Sometimes I put tapes on here because of the sounds they contain, and sometimes it's more about the context. Today's cassette is the latter. NOT MY SON were from San Antonio and our singer had a correspondence with their singer that we all razzed him about endlessly. Basically this razzing was because we were immature and the singer was a girl (our singer was a boy). We stayed with her in San Antonio in '95, she was super hospitable and way punker than us...I'm pretty sure that was the same show that essentially nobody attended except August from CROWN ROAST (and now PLEASURE CROSS) and he gave me a tape that had INITIAL STATE on it which pretty much blew our minds. Also I think he sang for us that night and we were paid in beer...and not a lot beer. This is snotty vocal punk with a guitarist who sounds like he'd prefer playing metal - I think it holds up well. These tracks were released on wax as well, and I don't know if this cassette ever had a cover.
21 November 2013
You can dismiss it as "just noise" if you like, and I wouldn't even argue, but this half hour from SALVAGE is an all encompassing sonic experience. A mind melting blur of overwhelming distortion, electronic blips and whirs and manipulated anguish that sporadically hints at a more subtle being trapped in complete madness. Though a hint is about all you're going to get. This is aural insanity.
20 November 2013
The concept of putting two completely different artists on a split is a good one, but the execution often leaves a bit to be desired...that's certainly not the case here. GUERNICA Y LUNO are charging, passionate hardcore - hints of metallic influence in the guitars and and brilliantly forceful vocals. JANUSZ REICHEL played in ZIMA during the late '80s, but these tracks are haunting psychedelic folk weirdness, acoustic guitars and layered vocals work together to create a mood that is hard to shake even after the tape is over. I would have thought the hardcore tracks would be my jam, but even though they are great I find myself drawn to the quiet intensity of the acoustic material...and I wish my Polish was better.
19 November 2013
The "no rules" approach to hardcore that epitomized the '90s (with mixed but predominantly positive results) in the US seemed to turn into an unabashed love for metallic crust by the mid '00s (a love affair that has now also joined the ranks of the passé). But the early '00s also brought us these fools from Singapore, applying that '90s philosophy to aggressive and metallic multi vocal hardcore with roots in SXE, crust and charging hardcore punk. Yes, UNITED BY FATE sound a bit dated, but these ears perk with excitement when I feed them these sounds...
17 November 2013
Just fukkn killer bombastic hardcore punk. Unbridled ferocity, and while they might lean on a few of the trappings of new millennium noise punk, they stand strong on the strength of their songs. In other words: this shit rules and would arguably be just as good if there was no reverb on the vocals and the guitarist didn't have a phaser pedal. "No Uniform" is so gorgeously relentless, and the drum fill that starts at 0:45? That's the shit that we listen to music for. If TALK IS POISON started a raw punk band and had a teenage singer then I like to think they would sound like MERCENARY. This rules.
When looking on the internets for some interesting fodder related to this tape (I do that for your benefit...you're welcome) I hit the fukkn motherload. Apparently some dude from MERCENARY is the son of Kevin Kinney from DRIVIN' N CRYIN' who I feel like I saw in Norman, Oklahoma about twice a year while I lived there (and I remember them being insanely loud) and who I still jam from time to time. But what's even weirder is that Scavenger Of Death bothered to mention the Kevin Kinney connection because he was in the seminal Milwaukee band THE PROSECUTORS, whose EP is an absolute stunner and impossible to find. Scavenger Of Death reissued that record this past summer (probably because they are bros with the dude from MERCENARY whose dad was, like, in a really rad punk band a long time ago). Anyway, shit is weird so listen to this superb tape today and then order yourself a hard copy while you are getting that PROSECUTORS single, which is really good. You need it. Seriously. Would I lie?
I came home from work tonight and listened to the new NO STATIK record and got really stoked. Whenever I listen to a new record from a band I play in, I tend to backtrack and get nostalgic...hence today's post. BRAINBLOODVOLUME was a relatively shortlived project that started when two members of REINA AVEJA moved to San Francisco in the late '90s - one of my bands had played with them on their west coast tour and we all got along swimmingly...Becky's husband Jud played the shit out of a guitar, it seemed a logical grouping and so we made some magic. We never made any records (there were a few CD only compilation tracks) but we recorded a few times and this tape is the result of my favorite session. After more than a decade I am still quite pleased to hear some of these tracks - Jen's vocals are legitimately fierce, and Becky's drums are devastating...if only we had been financially reckless enough to put these tracks to wax. Someone else should tell me what genre this falls in to, because although we were referred to as stoner rock at the time (it was the genre descriptor du jour for any band that was heavy) I don't think that really suits the sound...
After we split up, three of us started LAUDANUM, and after I left the Bay Area, the guy who recorded this session joined LAUDANUM on bass. And LAUDANUM are playing their last show in a few weeks, so I guess this is timely for a few reasons...
16 November 2013
The only thing that these two tapes have in common is that I've been wanting to post them each for quite a long time but know so little about each band that I keep putting it off, waiting for....the magical information fairy to fill me in on all of the morsels that you punks cherish? Or perhaps just some context? Basically I just know that TRANSVESTITE are from Atlanta and THE CHAIN are from Olympia and that I like both of these tapes. So today you are lucky. Today you get to choose.
Not that far removed from the stuff that we lazily refer to as "emotional hardcore," TRANSVESTITE combine desperate female vocals with earnest and overly intense punk. Guitars affected in a weird Mould-by-way-of-Gravity manner (and if that means anything to you then you are likely intrigued) drive a band that clearly leaves everything out there. I like this tape a lot, and have jammed it dozens of times since it came into my life. I hope that you like it too.
You know those bands that almost play a kind of punk that you don't like but they are so good at it that you remember that you really dig punk songs and not just killer riffs? Those bands whose earnestness (and, more importantly, honesty) transcend genre and you find yourself not caring what scene they come from or what scene you align yourself with...you just want to see them play live? Enter: THE CHAIN. This is just right, and once again the guitar is transfixing. Maybe someday I will see this band live, because while I cannot really imagine all of these sounds happening at once (emotionally and aurally) - I'm sure it does.
15 November 2013
This is today's cassette, it is from a band called SWIPE. They are from Japan, and play a style of emotive hardcore reminiscent of the stuff people call "revolution summer" (at least I think so), but they are sometimes more chaotic. I enjoy listening to this cassette.
14 November 2013
There must have been thousands of bands like this in the late '80s, dirty crossover hardcore/thrash that could just as easily come from the punk underground or from dudes who want to be SLAYER but don't quite have the chops....or both. TRANSGRESSION come off like a metallic midwestern D.R.I. with a few extra hooks, but comparisons be damned once you start thrashing, right? The file has their 1987 self titled demo and Better Days from from following year. You get two tapes because I like you.
13 November 2013
I don't know why adolescent hardcore punk appeals to me so much. I mean...I'm a grown ass man, so why does this shit still sound good? I can't tell you in words, but please listen to "Kool Aid Man" and try to understand. These ten minutes pretty well sum up my desire for enduring the rest of my day.
12 November 2013
POPULATION were really good, but they got better. Bleak and yearning sounds from some calculated Chicago punks, pinning the tail squarely on The Donkey Of The Resurgence Of Goth Punk. Seriously punks, if you are trying to bring back the sounds of my adolescence, then you need to do it like this.
I don't believe in love // I don't believe in you
11 November 2013
I posted HELLGASM's Luciferian Cum demo last year, and I still think that it's a gloriously fukkd sounding piece of audio dementia. But this tape? This tape is complete mastery. Tortured vocals fly at you from all directions, defying your ears to focus on the blistering Japanese influenced hardcore that propels them through space. I made a G.I.S.M. in reference to the first demo, and I definitely think that comparison was their goal, but on their sophomore effort, these Texans (two have since relocated to Portland) are a monster they have made all their own. Seriously, those of you who stop by on Monday for the shoelace headband shit? You might have found your holy grail. HELLGASM are way out there, making indispensable sounds that can barely be contained by a subgenre increasingly filled by half assed distort-o-ramas. Consider this essential.
10 November 2013
I talk a lot about the 1990s, that historically maligned decade in DIY punk that according to some modern listeners produced but a handful of worthwhile bands. I talk about how that period of hardcore was great in part because there weren't any rules yet; you didn't have to play DBeat or crust or emo or post punk....you could just rage. And bands raged. These five songs from KODIAK are a perfect example of what happens when earnest music is played by earnest people who are simply putting everything out there. You can feel the intensity, and it doesn't come from a huge recording or technical perfection, it comes from honesty. "Antietam" is an overwhelming track, thirty seconds of piercing guitars and total anguish that just implodes and then the dust settles into the introduction to "Anicin Awakening," a tempting calm interrupted by the harsh aluminum distorion of that same guitar coming back to wreak more havoc. Vocals lean towards what we now call screamo, but if you want to malign this kind of intensity with a supposedly derogatory descriptor then that is your loss. Just some dudes from the '90s, unleashing fury.
09 November 2013
An absolutely stunning presentation of sound, CIRCLE OF EYES spend more than a half hour slogging through painfully dark and sinister drones. I remember Flenser's mailing list referring to this as "ambient doom," and while that hits pretty close to the mark, it also fails to convey the sheer anguish that CIRCLE OF EYES leave you with. Slow motion punishment at its absolute finest, I can only say that this is what my poor drone ignorant ears wanted today. A short lived project from members of OGHAM, SWAMP WITCH, SUTEKH HEXEN, NECRITE and others...my ears are appeased.
This 2008 cassette was recently given proper treatment by Antimatter with beautiful presentation and loads of extras. HIGHLY recommended
08 November 2013
I'm pretty sure that the last two Friday compilations have been made up of relatively unknown (at least in Thee Americaland) Japanese punk and hardcore, so it seemed logical to continue the trend. Six bands are featured on this tape, recorded in 1992 at Narusis in the northern suburbs of Tokyo (technically it's Saitama, but you can get there on a fukkn JR line, so it's pretty much Tokyo, right?). Raw hardcore from MAU MAU and BAD TASTE (the latter is faster...and probably the best shit on the tape), and rudimentary (and endearing) melodic punk from STRAW DOGS. DOWN BY LAW were the only band I was familiar with before I heard Always Next, and their tracks are screamers with an enviable guitar tone, while 5 MINUTES and REFRESHING JACKUP play gritty, bouncy and adolescent punk that would probably sit well in the southeastern regions of Thee Americaland. REFRESHING JACKUP are like MINUTEMEN reincarnated as drunks who are into and FYP and can't tell what they want to do - I'm pretty into it. So yeah...dig on some bands you don't know.
07 November 2013
Sometimes you hear new bands and it's like "yeah man, this is pretty cool, I like this." And sometimes you just get knocked to the fukkn floor. I remember the day I first put the DASHER demo in - I had a bunch of shit to do and wanted to jam some new tunes while I was slogging through mundane tasks. Five listens later I realized I was laying on the floor, the volume several notches louder than it had been two hours earlier, and my mouth was just kinda hanging open - rarely have I been punched in the gut so immediately (and effectively) as I was by this Atlanta three piece. For the most simple explanation, drummer/vocalist Kylee put it perfectly: "It's like pop music with a punk foundation," but even though it fits, that description sells DASHER short; this is simple music interpreted through the power of a truly phenomenal vision. Reverb cannot hide the power of these vocals no matter how hard it tries, and the soaring walls of guitar do their very best to mask the straightforward brilliance of the songs, but the presentation of Yeah I Know is perhaps what makes it so perfect (of course, it might also be the fact that it is, in fact, perfect). Maybe the beginning of "Get So Low" sounds like PIXIES, and maybe sometimes the guitars can't decide whether they need to pay debts of gratitude to Mr. Shields or Mr. Mould, and maybe "Resume" is the weird amalgamation of so many bands that I loved the shit out of during earlier junctures...or maybe (and I think this is the real hook, so pay attention) these fukks just created some perfect music. Yeah, I said it. That afternoon months ago, slack-jawed after I had listened to this tape continuously for hours, I determined that at that moment I did not need anything at all from the world of sound that DASHER had not given me. And when I listen today, I cannot argue with that determination.
06 November 2013
Raw guttural crust/grind from Chiba prefecture. There is a rudimentary appeal to this demo, even though I kinda passed it over at first listen. Primitive as all hell, it's possible they were going for a death metal sound and just couldn't quite pull it off, but I'll never really know. Four tracks of speed picking (and dive bombing) guitar, throaty grind vocals and the most earnest blast beat you will hear all day. It says "Studio Rehearsal" right on the cover, so you've been warned.
05 November 2013
They don't really seem to make this kind of hardcore anymore. Metallic riffing and tones, stylistically leaning towards the New York brand SXE but with a determination seemingly unearthed primarily in Midwestern basements. The solo in "Security" reminds me of later SUICIDAL, and even though this 1991 demo sounds dated...I miss this.
04 November 2013
I was talking to Fred at Thrillhouse a few weeks ago and spotted a band who had posted a "members wanted" flyer on the bulletin board. No big deal, lots of bands need drummers or singers (but somehow never guitar players? weird), but this flyer caught my eye. How do you catch my eye? ...Sounds like CIRCLE JERKS meets CONFUSE... "Hey Fred, who the fukk is this?" "New band, the dudes are around, their demo is inside." "SOLD."
OK, so it doesn't sound like CIRCLE JERKS or CONFUSE or anything in between, but it IS a gloriously fukkd distorted mess and I hope they get their lineup sorted so I can see them in the flesh.
03 November 2013
I went to England for the first time in 2003. It was pretty cool. I got to see ARMY OF FLYING ROBOTS, and I think I saw Sned play drums (perhaps even at the same show), I got the CUDDLY TOYS "Mad Man" 45 about which I was pretty fukkn psyched. I got to play the 1 in 12 in Bradford, a smoke filled reggae bar in London, a high school prom in Margate, and at least one dude from AMEBIX was at our show in Brighton. I snagged some cool records to be sure (first POLICE single for 5 quid? don't mind if I do) and hung out with some killer folks, it was a really good time and our shows were damned solid. But there's one show I can't really remember...I think it was in Leeds, it was upstairs in some bar, and there was a band with a MÖTORHEAD ripoff logo shirt that played (they were pretty ace) and there was another band who were rather popular at the time and I remember that they were really fukkn good even though I can't remember who they were (maybe THE HORROR? Yeah, I think that was them). Pathetic...my memory, that is. What I can recollect is that one of the dudes in that band was also in SEX MANIACS and he gave me this tape of their then new recording....and it rips. Look at what he wrote: Punk Rock 'n Roll influenced by BLACK FLAG, TURBONEGRO, AC/DC, OUT COLD, POISON IDEA. Seriously, that just about nails it, and SEX MANIACS totally own this sound. A decade later you can spend your Sunday getting rowdy as fukk all, and if you make it back to Leeds before I do, which is likely, then tell these dudes I owe them all beers. Or pints. Whatever they drink, that's what I will buy them, because I have listened to this tape 100+ times since that tour.
You can talk talk but you know I won't listen // Turn up drunk when you think I've gone missing
02 November 2013
Shouldn't need much in the way of introductions here, FUEL stand strong and powerful nearly 25 years after this tape was recorded. Two sessions, each with the same eight songs in a slightly different order, each recorded at 924 Gilman in November 1989. I personally prefer the second batch, but I quite like the idea of releasing multiple versions of songs like this. Thanks to Spencer for loaning me this tape for you to enjoy...hard to believe it's been almost a year since Sarah died.