Taking a little break. A few days in Albuquerque, where LAUGHING DOG and WORD SALAD will be grinding my face to a meaty pulp, and then RITUAL CONTROL heads out for a few dates in Texas and Mexico. See you fools in 2015, when I will continue tirelessly digitizing cassettes, rambling on about a different cassette every damn day, and hoping for some old punk to drop me a line and tell me that there's this box of old demos in their closet that they just "don't have room for anymore."
19 December 2014
Listen to the start of the second track. Just listen...this is what raw metalpunk is supposed to sound like. I heard their only proper release once, and I was underwhelmed (Late '80s. Alchemy records. Hit your dollar bins, thrashers), but this demo is a fukkn screamer. Equal parts MOTÖRHEAD, ENGLISH DOGS and ripping California thrash/punk, this demo is a power packed assault with So Cal hardcore vocals, metal leads and a drummer that is dead set on playing heavy metal beats, even while his band is getting all primal on some street level crossover thrash. How do you find this energy and honesty today....? I don't know, but I want to learn.
18 December 2014
Rarely does a band set a mood like São Paulo's GATTOPARDO. Piercing, gripping, dark sounds that land miles away from the '80s rehash that they are likely to get lumped in with. Visceral comparisons to early post punk and post-goth independent/alt rock and there's a WARSAW thing that creeps into certain aspects, but the determined sputtering vocals and the lazy buzzsaw guitars combine to create a sound that is totally their own. Four of these tracks were on the Virus Tropical comp that made the rounds both here and on RAKTA's recent tour, for those keeping track.
If it's possible for a video to capture a band's aesthetic, then this clip for "Jornada Noturna" does so brilliantly.
17 December 2014
I've blathered on about TROTTEL in previous posts, so I'll save a few cringe worthy superlatives and say simply that this demo is excellent. Late '80s Hungarian punk with elements of UK anarcho and mind melting psychedelia wrapped inside their unique approach to songwriting. While the "official" demos I've shared before are excellent, I think I prefer this session that came to me with nothing but song titles and a band name on the spine...TROTTEL were playing outside of the lines before the lines were even drawn.
16 December 2014
Worth a download for the eponymous track alone, MANIACAL GENOCIDE are the epitome of blurry late '80s crossover thrash. The San Gabriel Valley may have missed the hardcore explosion in the early part of the decade, but these mutants did their part to put the suburbs on the thrash mania map...even cheesy bangers like "So Trendy" have teeth in the current millennium (which might say more about this era than that one?). Screaming whirlwind thrash. You're welcome.
15 December 2014
Dark, aggressive punk sounds driven by a perfectly treated guitar and fronted by vocals that remind me as much of '90s political hc/crust as the death rock that STRANGER are likely compared to. The presentation and production commands those comparisons, while the songs themselves are straight ahead punk bangers. There's no faux morose vibe, no lurking in the corner, if this is death rock then the death is right in your face...you know, just like death will be.
14 December 2014
This could just as easily be a rehearsal recording from some burnout hippies as the product of a small gathering of forward thinking anarcho/art punks but, as rough as This Is Art? can be at times, even the 9+ minutes of "Walking Song" with its lazy violin can be rather endearing. Meandering jams like the opening "I Saw It In A Western Movie" are accidental classics even though LOST BOHEMIA are at their best on the cacophonous "She Wants," which sounds like a beat-era rap set to bookstore jazz reborn as noise rock. Shit is weird, and some of it sounds like drug addled garage blues. The title track is a total brain melter...but it is the last track on the tape, so I would be surprised if you have a brain left by the time you get to it. Can you last 62 minutes? Can....you?
13 December 2014
Vocal manipulations and adaptation presented as art. CARRIE FUCILE can describe her methods and intent far better than I can, so I will let her do so:
My interest lies in exploring what the hidden sounds of vocal recording can possibly tell us about unexpressed desires that constitute part of our attraction to popular music.
CARRIE FUCILE can be found here, and here body of aural and conceptual art is nothing if not interesting. I came about this cassette accidentally, but I am very very glad that I did.
12 December 2014
I was just on the back end of this band - I moved to San Francisco in 1995 but attended almost no shows in Oakland until a couple of years later (that divide is hard to explain, though it was much more severe then than it is now), and I feel like LUNG BUTTER wasn't really playing shows often by then. I caught them a few times in the late '90s, a crusty (looking, not sounding) bunch cranking out weirdo mathy East Bay. It never sank it, but this recording does. It's somewhere out there in the inter-dimensional void between SCHLONG and DYSTOPIA...I would say you had to be there, but I wasn't. This is from when punks could still actually be whatever the fuck they wanted to sound like, and LUNG BUTTER wanted to sound demented.
11 December 2014
Sometimes this is exactly what I want...not often, but sometimes. METHRA is the perfect band for those times, expertly crafted stoner/doom with tonnage for days. There's a higher, almost OZZY-esque voice that appears in "Blessings" and "SBS" and you realize that these kids are doing their own thing because it's almost funny....almost. The pace quickens for "Slumscraper," but the closer that follows is an exercise in deliberate delivery and patience. Heavy doesn't begin to describe METHRA; they can rely successfully on the riff or on the presentation and either way they win. Sometimes this is exactly what I want.
10 December 2014
I'm not sure what kind of shit you find on your street but, one morning in 2012 when I was walking to the bus stop, I found this DANG OLSEN cassette sitting on some yuppie endorsed seating area that should have been a parking space for a working stiff that probably had to park two blocks from her/his house. I didn't know what it was, but it was a tape....so I picked it up, because why would you leave a tape sitting on the street? (found a Jonathan Richman record there a few weeks later that I snagged and then sold on the internet for $20 to a guy who said he "knew me," so thanks, seating area) Turns out the sounds are solid as fukk ambient/synth/psych pieces with forays into goth (#07) and straight atmospheric noise (#12/13) that are every bit as successful as the more "normal" sounding tracks - and how much would I love an entire release based on that first track (#01) and its aggressive synth attack? So Much! The street giveth, my followers....the street giveth. Good Fortune Infinity is right, motherfukkrs...look to the street. (Also, #4 is absolute fukkn bliss.)
I know nothing about this creator...but I want to know more.
09 December 2014
A 13 song demo in less than 11 minutes? OK, sign me up. Raging São Paulo fastcore from 2000? OK, sign me up. Relentless and politically fueled hardcore punk played at a breakneck pace with breakdowns that are faster than most bands can muster up for their "fast" parts today? OK, sign me up. Throw "three really good dudes" into the mix and I will ask you again to sign my ass the fukk up for more DISCARGA. Their vinyl releases on 625 should be mandatory listening for fans of this era of hardcore....and it's an era that I miss more and more, so I'm gonna just say that DISCARGA is mandatory.
08 December 2014
My introduction to black metal was gradual...read a few interviews and got intrigued in the the early '90s (take my brief but ridiculous fascination with BLACK FUNERAL, for example), and I recently saw a picture taken during my first trip to Japan of me wearing a BURZUM shirt...I guess that was weird because I never really listened to them (I think I traded it with someone for a FUCKFACE shirt based solely on the fact that the dude was a weirdo? Didn't learn about the aryan shit until later...live and learn, I suppose). I made a few random purchases, shots in the dark, and most were forgettable (though I have a KVIST disc that has lasted several purges). Then WEAKLING were just the new metal band in town and Aesop lived down the hall and played all kinds of shit and some of it was good and some of it was stupid but all of it was different than the German metalcore I was probably immersing myself in at the time. The point is: I don't know that much, but THIS sounds like all of the good stuff that made me think that this subgenre was worth delving deeper into. And sometimes when you delve deeper, you find bands like Norway's HELVETESPINE. Harsh, bleak, plodding raw black metal in the tradition of the first wave of Nordic heavyweights. Maybe someone else will tell me that these sounds are unworthy for one reason or another, but I think you will find that this 2007 release is more than capable of making your skin crawl. Guitar solo at the 4:22 mark of "Helvetespine del I" is a particularly grim moment....let yourself sink in.
07 December 2014
Hiltz gave me this tape a while ago, just after I posted the TRIGGERVISION '87 demo...shit, that means he gave me this shit like five years ago, which explains why I found it randomly in the glove box a few weeks ago? Actually, what explains that discovery is my lack of organization, but nothing can explain TRIGGERVISION. Equal parts THROBBING GRISTLE, KILLDOZER and SWANS, this chaos was light years ahead of its time in late '80s Jersey...I'm talking PSYCHO SIN irreverence clashing with epic waves of troubled sound - tell me that "Slow Death" isn't one of the most fukkn tortured songs to pass through your earholes. It's not? You're lying (or you need to send me all of your tapes)...and then "Ultimate Border" is just a bizarro psych-freakout of the highest order. No background or context required, fukk me if this isn't one of the coolest tapes in my house.
06 December 2014
I just missed this band's run when I moved to the Midwest in 2003, but I was fortunate enough to see the outfits that emerged from their wake (PEDESTRIANS, MANIPULATION and REPERCUSSIONS amongst others). DEAD RECKONING sounds....well, kinda like a band that would have spawned the other bands I listed. Tinges of raucous garage punk mingling with knuckledragging hardcore riffs and glimpses of '90s DIY basement punk ("Mourning America") means I will listen to your demo...a lot.
05 December 2014
This is what all the cool kids are trying to do right now. Some are succeeding, to be sure, but this comp is what they are striving for. Dark, raw and fucked up punk rock. The more familiar bands included here are ones that don't typically get lumped in with "goth punk" acts, but listen to SELF ABUSE and PARANOID VISIONS in this context and I got a whole different vibe than when I shove them into the anarcho punk compartment in my feeble little brain. A TOUCH OF HYSTERIA, INSTIGATORS, VEX and SCREAMING DEAD round out mainstream contributors, and you can then revel in tracks from LEITMOTIV, BURIAL, PART I, VIOLATORS, QUEL DOMMAGE, FREUDIAN SLIP and several others. A seemingly out of place power pop banger from QUARTA LITE ended up being my favorite track, but they are all top quality. Some monkeys from Portland assembled and distributed these a few years back, and I must say they did an excellent job.
This one has your name all over it, Joel.
04 December 2014
I should just be able to say "metallic early '90s Japanese hardcore with a MOTÖRHEAD cover" and you start downloading immediately, right? That's what I figured, so here goes: "Metallic early '90s Japanese hardcore....with a MOTÖRHEAD cover." Shit rips.
03 December 2014
Hook riddled, laid back garage punk/power pop hybrid. The chilled out vocals are just kinda hanging out in the vicinity of the songs, with harmonies stopping by for a brief visit every verse or two. Kinda reminds me of DANGER LOVES, though these punks are a touch less poppy. I'm pretty sure this 2007 demo is all we got from NERVOUS WRECKS, before members went on to LIBYANS, SIAMESE TWINS and a host of others. Get down.
02 December 2014
It kinda sounds like a twenty minute prolonged explosion contorted into a musical piece. After awkward waves of false starts, 777 builds for minutes upon minutes, a digital rumbling from beneath the surface. And then the build starts to swell, climaxing at the midway point with waves of redlined debris and a few seconds of terrifying screams. And then the process examines itself in the mirror, disintegrating for more minutes upon minutes until the churning is distant, no longer threatening. There's a hint of a return near the close of the piece, a hint that is nothing more than a woeful sigh.
01 December 2014
Got this jammer from Laura when she was in town last month...and it's brilliant. Laura's guitar isn't that far removed from what she does (or did) in RAKTA, but NOITES TERRIVEIS are more over the top and feisty, I might even suggest more punk (as opposed to the witchy psych of RAKTA). "Recordando O Futuro" starts with a disjointed and awkwardly lurching pace, coming up behind you and shoving you into the rest of the demo..and they don't let up, not even the slow first half of "O Gigante A Deo Rex, A Rege Rex" can calm the listener because the barrage of beats and reverb that you know is right around the corner jolts you just like you know it's going to. Certainly the effects take precedence over the music for a fair chunk of these songs, but the songs are goods ones that have been tweaked and manipulated instead of drivel that's been coated in cheap makeup. First offering is a winner...now I want more. Also, "Cárcere" is the best song.
30 November 2014
Rudimentary UK punk that probably would have been more appealing had it been release a few years earlier (a common theme around these pages, eh?). Perhaps no one told these chaps that four minutes is pretty long for a punk ditty, but I'll eat up all 5:42 of "Sharpeville" and the creepy brooding "Asylum." How many bands like this just languish away in dollar bins and shoe boxes? The bands that are crap can just stay there, I just want to dive into the good ones that remain unheralded. UNIT 4 are one of the good ones.
29 November 2014
Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado were not necessarily prolific in the '90s, but the bands that came from those states were overwhelmingly excellent and I can assure you that those lucky enough to see Flagstaff, Arizona's RUINACRE have not forgotten them. With nothing but this cassette and an LP on Satan's Pimp that suffers mightily from a poor recording as a legacy, the world can be forgiven for skipping them over, but holy shit if this demo doesn't contain fifteen of the most intense minutes of your listening life. Grinding, blasting, fukkn exploding hardcore with dual vocals and a nauseous low end that churns through manic bursts of rapid fire drums that only seem able to play a beat when the band occasionally slows to an excruciating crawl. The guitars are crushing and relentless, except for that one almost clean track that sounds like it's scraping a hole in your brain while RUINACRE ascend on tracks like "Rotten" and "Most Difficult Test." Pay special attention to "Desperate Persuasion," especially when the bass and drums take it at the 0:49 mark: that's what face melting sounds like. Fast, heavy, difficult, filthy...this demo is the very definition of intensity, and there are few documents from this era that can hold a candle. If you missed them (and you probably did), you can be forgiven. But if you miss your opportunity now? Well, that one's on you.
28 November 2014
New York City scene is all over the place and pretty over the top musically these days. Handfuls of punks have taken the blown out noise paradigm and applied it to all kinds of weirdo subgenres with often excellent results. 23 bands on this cassette put together in the manner of a classic hype inducing mix tape with shout outs and samples galore - highlights include G.M.K., SURVIVAL, CHILDREN WITH DOG TEETH, WART HOG, SEX CROSS, and SPIDER MAN. Irreverent, raw bursts of punk sound. Also, there are a couple of bands from other places (Seattle, Boston)...I guess it's good to have friends in high places.
27 November 2014
Melancholy rarely sounds as good as on this airy six track offering from Kentucky's SALAD INFLUENCE. Vocals float above the recording, guitars jangle and drunkenly sway while the band plays the most perfect modern incarnation of '80s college radio alternative that I've heard since the first incarnation of '80s college radio alternative. The tracks breathe, and the careful, deliberate construction of the songs and their placement on the tape is subtly stunning. "Feeding Time" is an absolute pop classic, followed the six plus minute warbling dirge of "Re(a)d" that sounds as much like a struggle as a lament. Sink in.
26 November 2014
Spastic '90s nerdcore from a pre-Youth Attack Mark McCoy and other suburbanites. This is exactly the kind of music teenagers should make - fast, raw, catchy, punk with no fucks given. And there's an almost ska version of "Steppin' Stone" because...well, why not? There's something to be said for simply not knowing any better.
25 November 2014
No more brutality. No more murder. No more getting away with it because you're a cop. We keep saying the same things over and over again, yes....but we keep saying the same things because the things are still fukkd. I'm a grown ass man, and I teeter between complete disillusion and complete fury. This demo is really good, and I need this.
24 November 2014
Aside from their 1985 split tape with ABADDON, the only REJESTRACJA releases were comp tracks and blasts on various compilations (including their tracks from Jak Punk To Punk, which are obviously fantastic). The first time I went to Poland, this band was presented to me as a thing of legend; live tapes and stories passed between friends over the years but few actual studio documents of this band that should be filed alongside SIEKIERA, DEZERTER and TZN XENNA in that country's seminal first wave. I got this tape on that trip, a late '90s reissue of a 1985 live show and recordings from '82...screaming and absolutely crucial Polish hardcore punk. If you don't know, this this is a good place to start.
23 November 2014
There were a handful of really killer mid '00s bands that might have slipped by those who didn't live in the upper Midwest - East Coast tour circuit. I probably saw FIGHTING DOGS a dozen times and they were always crushing...but how many people in California talk about them today? Same goes for Ohio's BLACK DOVE; powerful and infectious low end hardcore with a touch of the melodies that were perhaps too common at the time (and perhaps not common enough today?) and a glorious metallic churn on the mid tempo bits. The songs are expertly constructed, the combination of riffs will make the nerds keep rewinding to figure out what just happened...it's easy to puke up verse/chorus/repeat over and over again, while BLACK DOVE cram six different parts into a two minute hardcore banger without sounding like they're even trying. First 80 seconds of "Black Doves" might be all you need to make it through a tough day....now I need to dig up a DISMAL demo.
This self titled demo is from 2005, and the tracks also appear on their excellent 2008 full length. Members went on to NUKKEHAMMER, VILE GASH, TOMES and many others.
22 November 2014
I know it's a minor thing, but the effects on the vocals on this demo grab me by the throat immediately. The vocals for this band are not supposed to sound quite like this....and it fukkn rules. Japanese dudes playing US style youth 'crew but seemingly unable to escape the general vibe of Japanese hardcore? Yeah, that's a killer combo and I wish I knew more than these six songs. "Factor Of Ruin" sounds like SICK OF IT ALL on speed, which is obviously awesome.
21 November 2014
Electronics and general audio manipulations backed by drugged out repetitive drumbeats, Virginia's EARTH MESMERISM took a minute for me to really sink into but the moment I crossed the threshold I just wanted to submerge myself completely. Intense and captivating raw drones, this hits the same nerve as BOHREN & DER CLUB OF GORE...and that's a powerful nerve.