31 January 2014

D.C. TODAY


I could talk about this tape in the context of the Washington, D.C. metro area and the current crop of ridiculous bands from there. Or I could talk about this tape in the context of the importance of mix tapes as a tool for networking and underground community. I could also discuss this tape as a representation of the progression of the punk scene/sound from the early Dischord days onward. Or perhaps I could just say that D.C. Today is a brilliantly crafted document of punk and hardcore from the area circa 1989. Bands that you may have heard of include MFD, AGENT 86, and SHUDDER TO THINK, but almost all of this shit is new to me - the east coast hardcore is crucial, the goth punk is completely legit, the ska is....well, it's ska but there are only two or three songs, and the sporadic between track phone interviews are fukkn brilliant little time capsules. I know Mike probably made this for a few friends, but I could not be happier that a cope made its way into my hands. Favorite jams: DESECRATION, GUT INSTINCT, STOMP, RANCID (not the one you are thinking of), THE WAIT and STRANGE BOUTIQUE. This is why mix tapes are fukkn great, especially 20+ years in the future.

As an extremely pleasant side note, I realized well into the digitization of these jams that the compiler was one Mike Straight, who was one of the first punks I met who really let me know (inadvertently, perhaps) that I was on the right path. The idea of putting snippets from telephone interviews in between choice tracks fits perfectly with my memories of Mike, and hearing his voice is a blast from my past (even though I probably didn't meet him until 5 years after he compiled this tape). Last I knew, Mike bought a house that was a glorified squat in Philadelphia and had convinced someone to give him money to go to school. Maybe my memory is incorrect (as is often the case), but someone should put me in touch with that dude because he was always super good to hang out with.

30 January 2014

CULTS


Four tracks over the course of twenty minutes that will uncomfortably alter the course of your Thursday. CULTS manipulate power electronics in a manner that will make most beg for relief, but relief could not be further from their mind(s).  Light years beyond simple assaults of harsh noise, these tracks are controlled and calculated exercises in aural torture, challenging as much as it is entertaining or terrifying. The very definition of a "harsh toke" awaits you...



29 January 2014

PROCESS


You can say that raw DBeat hardcore with howled vocals is played out if you want, but be forewarned that doing so will deprive you of the finest nine minutes of your day. Gainesville's PROCESS are blistering mayhem at its finest - the only thing that touches the fury of the drums is the sporadic but brilliant bursts of lead guitar. I'm guessing everything here is beyond calculated, but when the math adds up like this, I can't imagine anyone complaining (listen to the opening riff in "Give Thanks" and tell me I'm wrong). The magic is lurking behind the highlighted text below...and the decision is yours. I think you're worth it.



28 January 2014

HARSH WORDS


I am glad I loved HARSH WORDS before I knew who was in the band. I wrote some words about the tape in a magazine a while ago (just went back to check and confirm that they were indeed good words...and they were), and then NO STATIK had the pleasure of sharing a stage with them in Atlanta earlier this month. Imagine my surprise when I find out the drummer is Jason (NO, AMERICAN CHEESEBURGER, GOAT SHANTY, and so many more) and the axeman responsible for those erratic bursts of shred is Tom from QUEST FOR FIRE and The Breakfast Nook (those are Milwaukee references, sorry foreigners). So I was not even remotely surprised that the sum of these parts might equal a killer act, but I still was not prepared for the complete annihilation that HARSH WORDS were about to bestow upon me. It was everything that I hoped and expected from the live incarnation of the band that created Reptile Brain in the studio...and more. Pure US hardcore deconstructed and presented in minute regurgitations with insane leads and urgent vocals that harken up thoughts of the finest the Southeast has to offer (and they dish out 31 seconds of proof that this comparison is warranted on the second side of the tape). And absolute juggernaut, it's hard to believe that this many riffs can be crammed into just ten minutes, but these dudes make it seem effortless. On the one hand you need this...but it's might be over your head, so be careful.

27 January 2014

WEIRDING MODULE


On 2010's New Age Series Vol. 003, WEIRDING MODULE produce hypnotic primitive electronics that draw you in as much as lull you into submission. Subtle waves and meticulous transitions, the second side opens with ten minutes of FROESEian atmosphere and closes with a six minute awakening, making me wonder what Vol. 004 (which does not, as near as I can tell, exist) would have sounded like immediately after. This one is for a dark night - transformative and deep far beyond the mere drone of an analog synthesizer.




26 January 2014

ESPERANZA

so many experiences are passing you by // so much life wasted inside of those closed doors

The first few shows I ever played in Los Angeles were beyond disheartening. By the mid-'90s we (the "we" in this sentence was FUCKFACE) had found a few pockets outside of LA proper, and had some great shows in Orange County and the Inland Empire, but Los Angeles was still a total bust. Everything changed in '97 when we (the "we" now refers to WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?) played a show at the PCH with LIFES HALT. It seemed like the whole metro area had just exploded with fast, political (and fun) hardcore bands, and a house show with DIRTY DIRT &THE DIRTS on a subsequent trip (actually, it may have been the day after the PCH show) solidified that impression. Young kids tearing shit up with intent and purpose were everywhere, and all of a sudden Los Angeles was the raddest place on the planet to play. Countless killer bands came out of that era, and like ESPERANZA, many of them were gone in the blink of an eye. Rich from DIRTY DIRT and Steve from THIS MACHINE KILLS (who booked the shows at The Pink House in Santa Barbara [wait - shit, was it Biko House? am I getting my decades mixed up?], another former strike out city that had become a great place to play) joined forces to crank out this powerhouse demo - bare bones hardcore with breakdowns that perfectly personify the brand of New Millennium West Coast hardcore that turned my life around and opened my eyes. These dudes were fun as shit but the lyrics are smart and visceral - and this eight minute demo and a few comp tracks (Histeria and Barbaric Thrash Demolition) is all we got. Rich and Jake went on to PLEASE INFORM THE CAPTAIN THIS IS A HIJACK (and Rich is now a PhD), Steve went on to be insanely famous but still the same dude the few times I've run into him, and the other members were in DESCARADOS, MUGRE and certainly more that I'm either forgetting or never knew about. This demo makes me nostalgic and determined without lamenting for the past - it's a reminder that whatever your "present" is, it's going to be somebody's "past," so you need to make it as awesome as you can. 

Whenever someone has something to say you say "fuck it" but you, you never say shit
At the very least you could offer and argument but you never even say shit
It's quite plain to see that there's a lot more to be done,
And working for change isn't necessarily contrary to fun
This is a part of my life, not an escape from it
THIS IS A PART OF MY LIFE NOT AN ESCAPE FROM IT

25 January 2014

SEDITION


I don't know enough about SEDITION to put them in any kind of context, but I know the sound of punishment when I hear it. This demo churns out four downtuned burst of hatred, but it sounds like every moment is a struggle but emotionally and musically. The determination is visceral and pure, the final minute of the tape ("Killing With Intrigue") is a crushing (p)re-interpretation of ramshackle hardcore but through a lens of primitive crust/grind - awkward metallic breakdowns are the only break from the constant surge of primal power. Make no mistake, I am not implying that SEDITION are amateurish in any way - from the very first notes of "Caught In The Middle Of A Pissing Contest" you know you are in store for an absolutely disgusting aural beating and for six minutes that is exactly what you get. 


24 January 2014

INTERNAL AUTONOMY


INTERNAL AUTONOMY seems ripe for rediscovery. Simultaneously insistent and dreamy, their vaguely goth/new wave by way of anarcho punk should be perfectly suited for legions of '00s punks struggling to embrace '80s roots that they never actually had. Also, INTERNAL AUTONOMY are really fukkn good. Vocals take center stage, a howling caterwaul that relaxes into a lilting monotone when the music requires it. Decidedly more melodic and subdued than earlier demos, this mysterious 5th Demo ventures into what might have been college radio fodder in an alternate universe, but then there are certified UK punk bangers (like the third track) to remind you where these folks are really coming from. The final seven songs that make up the second side of this tape are are demo gold - drum machine rehearsals, blown out and way more "out there" than the studio efforts. Genuine gems, interesting oddities...the final three tracks might be the result of one dude in a bedroom with hallucinogens and a 4-track, but the result is mesmerizing and well worthy of release on its own. But today it is presented to you the same way it was presented to me, because that's the way it should be.


23 January 2014

PLEDGE ALLEGIANCE


Sometimes you meet people and you have conversations...and sometimes afterwards you really think about things. About your life. About the choices you've made and the path you've chosen. Tonight was one of those nights - a few relatively brief interactions that knocked me in my gut and woke me up. I hope that you have one of those night (and/or days) soon...and I hope that you actually and honestly evaluate where you are, even if what you see makes you uncomfortable. And I hope that you don't just look to the ones that came before you and forged your path, I hope that you look to the ones that followed and lived by ideals instead of examples...the ones who have made their own path. Punk has digressed far beyond a mere commodity, but the root is still valuable and more than worthy of nurturing - both for our own benefit and that of those who do not yet know that punk even exists. Look at yourself in the mirror. Live punk.

22 January 2014

ARSEN AKA KÖNIG DER MONSTER


I feel like this band got a little lost in the shuffle of late '90s/early '00s European apocalyptic emotional crust (to be fair, it was a pretty epic shuffle), but listening to these songs today makes me pine for that era of anguished screams and chaotic blasts broken up by drawn out quiet interludes. I feel like the people who made this music graduated to either melodic Eurocrust or black metal, as ARSEN AKA KÖNIG DER MONSTER creep right up to that form in the road without ever making a turn. For comparisons, start with AKEPHAL, ONE EYED GOD PROPHECY and ZEROID, though I think the in between bits from ARSEN... lean more towards whatever one might think emo sounds like than any of those bands. Just epic, and it holds up brilliantly after a decade (and perhaps especially if heard completely out of "scene" or context). This cassette from Fuck Yoga contains the entirety of their criminally limited vinyl output: 2002's Black Sunday EP and the following year's stellar No Gods...Only Monsters from Unsociable (who were responsible for ZEROID, ALLE DER KOSMONAUTEN and INSUICIETY, among many others). It's going to be a powerful Wednesday in your ears.





21 January 2014

FWY!


I cannot imagine how many times I have listened to 2012's San Clemente, and last year's Any Exit was a welcome follow up. Unspeakably perfect driving music (unspeakably perfect living music), when FWY! plays, whether in mind or in body, you just....you just go. A band whose output is themed around metropolitan Los Angeles roadways is novel beyond description, but these instrumental tracks brilliantly manifest the feeling of seeing those motorways in the dead of night with nothing in your hands but the wheel and nothing clouding your mind except thoughts of life itself. Rarely has a band or artist so effectively captured and presented a time, a place, an emotion...this is it. Parts of Any Exit approach new territory - there's the NEW ORDER-esque vibe of "710 Again" and the primitive synth outro "Pink Dust," but the mood set here is wholly familiar. Comfortable. Real. And dare I say...perfect.

Once again, Moon Glyph is responsible...

20 January 2014

OUT OF TOUCH


The band should be nothing new to most of you, so you will not be surprised at the 22 track assault that awaits you from one of Nagoya's finest. Manic Japanese thrashcore with high strained vocals, OUT OF TOUCH are fiercely DIY and punk as shit with occasional touches of US influence (on tracks like "Selfish," for example), and these sounds hold up brilliantly. As the title suggests, this is a collection of tracks spanning nearly two decades that was put to tape by Malaysia's Black Konflik back in the '00s.



19 January 2014

ATENTADO


Not the current crust band from Portugal or the current punk band from Spain, this ATENTADO comes from 1990s Argentina. Spanish language (and influenced) hardcore punk with a healthy dose of (early) SICK OF IT ALL and the kind of hardcore that stopped being even remotely cool in North America at least 20 years ago. Yeah...it's a pretty awesome listen.


18 January 2014

IN CONTROL


It's weird how punk generations work . I would swear that these dudes were fukkn kids the only time I saw them, but in reality they were probably just a few years younger than I was at the time (and probably a decade or more older than some of my current bandmates). If Nardcore meets third wave 'crew in the form of addictive fresh faced hardcore is your jam, then you probably have already devoured everything that IN CONTROL has dished out...but in case you haven't and that description appeals to you, then here you go. And if Hometown Pride '99 sounds like it might be just a little to "clean" for you, perhaps not edgy enough? Well then perhaps you need to open you mind a bit, because this shit holds up quite nicely and manages to sound insanely refreshing to these ears.


17 January 2014

NO SEX 'TIL BALTIMORE


I realize I've kinda gotten away from the Friday mix tape thing, but this gem is exactly why I need to get back on track. There is a really cool record store in Baltimore called Celebrated Summer. I bought some records there and I hope to do so again. A few blocks away from Celebrated Summer, around the corner from an Indian/Italian take out joint that offers a fierce (but over priced) Chana Masala, is a less cool record store packed with average rock and jazz records. But this record store (I cannot remember the name) is also rammed with genuinely interesting cassette oddities and a shitload of reggae/dub, outsider and jazz records that made me wish I had way more time to investigate. I only had a few minutes to power browse...and I think I did a pretty good job. No Sex 'til Baltimore is pretty much the embodiment of the beauty of the mix tape, both in design and execution.


16 January 2014

HOMO ERADICUS


It would be easy for me to overanalyze this tape and try to put it in the context of powerviolence, the late '90s collision between screamo and heavy introspective (but often overindulgent) hardcore and the bubbling cesspool of fastcore mania....but when I heard this tape I just thought it was awesome. Perhaps in retrospect I loved it because I listened to BORN AGAINST and CAVE IN, but I loved it nonetheless. Seattle's HOMO ERADICUS added a stellar EP to my collection before moving on to other bands that you probably already like....but I'll still take these six minutes of magic.


15 January 2014

CRUCIAL JUSTICE


I played in Southern California a lot in the late '90s, different shows in different scenes with bands from all over the spectrum...but damn do I wish I gotten to see these maniacs. An urgency that cannot be faked, and an intensity that is rarely equalled. Rapid fire hardcore punk with a drummer who was probably into metal (or NOFX, based on his gratuitous double kick drum) and vocals spit forth with pure fury - I want to teleport to 1998 and see these dudes rip the shit out of a backyard party in South Central. Screaming and honest can be a brutal combination...




14 January 2014

URBAN SKATE FANATICS


This demo is from Israel circa 1997, but the chaotic ramshackle thrash could easily have been recorded 15 years earlier in Italy. Intense and manic hardcore - 17 songs in as many minutes. No song titles, but I included a scan of the cover for the Hebrew proficient...seriously, this rules.



13 January 2014

NO CHOICE


Absolutely primal early '90s straight edge from Oakland. The shit is rough as hell, uncompromising and mean, but there's something here that is far beyond just being tough. Sloppy proto-fastcore meets youth crew, and the whole thing is raw beyond belief without sacrificing power. 

I'm back in the Bay Area after an excellent tour with NO STATIK and an excellent trip with my wife that preceded it. Cheers to the Friends Of The Escape I met while I was away (including the dude in Richmond who started talking to me about tapes while I was peeing).  I added a lot of demos to my arsenal while I was gone, so the next few weeks are looking pretty bright for you internet lurkers...


11 January 2014

GREY HOUSE


This DC inspired melodic punk probably came a half decade too late to a real impact, but time starts to blur a bit as it passes, so these sounds suit me just fine.

Last show update for a while, and back to wordy, well thought out posts soon. Richmond, VA with ASSHOLE PARADE, SUPPRESSION and DRUGS OF FAITH. Talk about a time warp....

10 January 2014

THE TOTAL END


Maybe you missed this the first time around, do not make the same mistake today. Absolutely mandatory early-'00s crust. This floors me still every time I hear it, and I cannot understand why they are not emblazoned across every studded vest on both sides of the ocean. Members of a ton of other amazing bands, but this stands alone...

While I'm bummed I can't see DASHER tonight in Atlanta, we are playing with ASSHOLE PARADE, HARSH WORDS and CHEAP ART, so that's pretty killer.


09 January 2014

URBN DK


Kenosha, Wisconsin legends URBN DK might mean a lot more if you were there, but who doesn't like high energy pogo punk? Dummies, that's who. I want to see the comments section filled with stories of Kenosha weirdos...

I haven't been to Gainesville in fukkn years. I will be there tonight with NO STATIK, ASSHOLE PARADE and SO PASTEL at Mars Pub. I look forward to it.


08 January 2014

THE RATS


Sweden's answer to ANNIHILATION TIME. Filthy hardcore punk rock 'n roll - perfect vocals and screaming guitars. The more worldly among you should already be familiar, but the rest of you need to get amongst this pronto.

Tampa tonight at Epic Problem with EX-FRIENDS, PERMANENT MAKEUP, SCIENCE and ASSHOLE PARADE

07 January 2014

VAN GOGH'S EAR


Well over an hour of pure unadulterated weird. I feel like this could have been come conceptual free form rock record had it come from New York City in 1966...but it came from Oklahoma in 1993. From the brain of Dan Riffe (ILLEGITIMATE SONS OF JACKIE O, ANCIENT CHINESE PENIS, BRUTAL GARDENERS, DON'T CARE BEARS and countless others) comes VAN GOGH'S EAR. Strap in.


06 January 2014

05 January 2014

OVERPOWERING


Oppressively distorted drum machine crust/grind from Mexico. A true challenge for those of you who can't get enough of the noise...are you up for a challenge?

You know what I'm doing today? I'm on a beach in Puerto Rico. I might go snorkeling. Who schedules a tropical vacation in the middle of tour? NO STATIK, that's who.


04 January 2014

IDIOTS RULE


It's getting later and words are getting harder to conjure. You like dirty hardcore punk with super catchy riffs? Then you like IDIOTS RULE, and you will enjoy this 2006 demo.


03 January 2014

HALF OFF


I was in a band once that played a HALF OFF cover. I was the only member of the band who was not familiar with the band when we started (I'm not even sure that I heard the original before I learned "Make Every Minute Count"), but then I was the only member who didn't grow up in California. This demo...just, damn. I want hardcore to sound like this.



02 January 2014

ELFTENBERRY


My guess is that this 1991 demo was meant to rocket some midwestern outfit into the college rock stratosphere. It might have fallen a little short in that department (though, to be honest, the name probably held them back as much as anything else), but this is quality early '90s guitar driven alt rock with more than enough punk and weird to keep it interesting. See early FLAMING LIPS and SOUL ASYLUM for references.



01 January 2014

DEFIANCE OF SHIT BASTARDS


Met these dudes on my first trip to Japan in 1996, and then when FUCKFACE returned later that year, we played with them in Tokyo. We figured it was going to be good...but nothing could have prepared us for D.S.B. live. I know it's a rather typical thing to say, but I do not think that any of their releases can touch this demo. Happy New Year.

NO STATIK in Baltimore at Barclay House tonight. WARxGAMES, SLEEP DISORDER and OLD LINES will be melting our faces.