28 February 2014


Mateus brought a handful of these comps up on his last visit, and I owe him big for slipping one into my grubby paws. You should get real familiar with RAKTA if you aren't already, their recent 12" is an absolute stunner and these tracks are in the same department: demented and dreamy ethereal post punk drenched in fuzz and confusion. LIKZO take the bombastic bellowing hardcore approach - teetering on the edge of too distorted creates the right kind of tension throughout, and "Cornered Rat" is pure power. CADAVER EM TRANSE pleased me with last year's flexi, and I continue to be pleased with these goth/post punk tracks. The vocals are the hardest thing to pull off in bands like this, and the vocals are the strongest element here...I look forward to more. GATTOPARDO are by far the mellowest of the bunch, 17 Seconds-era CURE styled guitars lazily lead the band through subtly plodding tunes as suited for an introspective afternoon as for a drunken rager. All four bands are from São Paulo, and I would be quite happy if I get to see any one of them when I'm there in May....hint hint.

RAKTA tracks are from a yet-to-be-released EP, though with an alternate mix. LIKZO recorded their songs at their first rehearsal, which is very very punk. Two CADAVER EM TRANSE songs are from their demo and two are from the flexi session (though only one made it onto the flexi). GATTOPARDO tracks were originally released on their 2013 demo, and Mateus is pretty good at taking pictures.

27 February 2014


The hardcore is off the rails. The riffs are killer. The tension is palpable when they slow it down (I'm talking the start of "Monotongue" here, or the flawless execution of the middle of "Host Becomes Parasite"). The vocals have an almost McPheeters quality. Vile Bodies are clearly on their own path, which is refreshing. And the tape is really really fukkn good.

26 February 2014


It's bands like this that will keep me from ever saying that I don't like "melodic punk," even though most bands saddled with that moniker are indeed complete garbage. VADER'S command singing along from the very first tune, and even though my Spanish falls somewhere between horrible and non-existent I find myself repeating these hooks over and over in my head. A blast from a lost generation, when singers could croon away and the punks fukkn loved it. This tape will inspire bouncing, joyful dancing and perhaps even a few smiles - and you won't care how many cool points you lose for loving it. For fans of GOMEZ and LA FRACTION, and all bands both in between and parallel.

(and I have no idea what's up with the apostrophe)

25 February 2014


The (cassette version of the) first 12" from New York City's STARK RAVING MAD is an absolute ripper. You should be familiar with this already, but for the less fortunate: I am here to help. Screaming political start/stop spastic thrash from 1984 - there are connections to (fellow former Texans) DRI and MDC and in a different world perhaps this band would be just as renown....but the second record from these freaks dropped off a bit and that was the end of the road. But these 15 songs, clocking in at a whopping 10 minutes, are pointed and chaotic in all the right ways. 

Interview with the band from March '85 here. I'm guessing these are my kind of people, and I sincerely hope they stayed that way...

24 February 2014


I honestly do not think that most of you are ready for this. Even you punks who stop by every Monday for the noisiest, most fukkd sounding shits you can sink your teeth into...even you are about to have your brains oozing our of your ears. Maximum volume is mandatory.

23 February 2014


It's hard to tell if the forceful guitar melodies or the powerfully determined vocals are the focal point of this demo, but they work together from start to finish. And while those might be the first things you notice, it could be the rhythm section that makes NERVOUS TREND so completely indispensable. Rarely does a band work so well as a unit, and this one kinda demands to be listened to over and over. This is easily one of my favorite demos from 2013, and I will listen to it more than most demos that come out in 2014...the internet seems to already think they are awesome, and this time I'd say the internet is right, but if you're late to the party then do yourself a favor. 

22 February 2014


Did you know the GORGONIZED DORKS have well over 100 releases? That's an average of more than one release per month for their almost ten year existence. Impressive, no? Barely controlled and meticulously restrained power electronics make up their side of this split - it makes me a bit anxious when I listen to it, which is almost certainly the point. DAN GARNELLI (for what it's worth, the To Live A Lie dude is responsible for this alter-ego) on the flip are a more focused and singular animal. Instead of a wall of sound, we get one layer of madness that flirts with sparse and primitive electronic noise. I keep coming back to this side, the last five minutes are particularly engaging...good night.

21 February 2014


Just like the cover says, this 1987 comp is stuffed with punk and hardcore bands from New York, Connecticut and New Jersey. A relatively known acts (VATICAN COMMANDOS, VIOLENT CHILDREN, 76% UNCERTAIN, SHEER TERROR) and some absolute killers that I heard for the first time (JAVI AND THE BASTARDS, UNJUST, KRIEGKOPF). Nearly an hour of jams, and I'm guessing this comp was released years before "metalcore" became a bad word, so don't let that scare you off. It's all punk shits.

20 February 2014


I sincerely hope that PROTESTER evolve from a one man studio project into a functioning band, because the thought of perhaps seeing this live gets me pretty fukkn juiced. If you like hardcore, then you need this in your life. Now. Aside from that, all I can say is that I want more.

19 February 2014


Two songs from an antiquated (and dilapidated) tape with QUOD MASSACRE on one side and these former Yugoslavian street punk masters. That's the good news. The bad news is that the tape snapped after these two tracks...but sometimes when the songs are this good, two is enough. I should probably look to Matt for context and/or history, as all I can discern is that this is probably the same band responsible for a couple of passable releases in the late '00s...

18 February 2014


A 1988 Peel Session from this STUPIDS offshoot, recorded off of the radio with plenty of commentary from Mr. Peel himself. Four tracks (including a bad edit in the middle of "Baby" that I cleaned up as best I could) of high energy melodic late '80s punk, the UK answer to Minneapolis or DC post-hardcore. Versions of three tunes are available on SINK vinyl releases (of which there are several), but I can't seem to find "Rebegin" anywhere else...suitable that it's the best track then, eh? As for why Pete Rose is on the cover? Your guess is as good as mine.

17 February 2014


Malaysia's Black Konflik threw several killer cassette reissues into the pot last year, and while it's great to have SVART PARAD and DISORDER tapes blasting out of the boombox, but this 12 song banger from 1984 is probably my favorite reissue of last year from any label. These pre-teens from Göteborg were an absolute force - hyper fast blow out hardcore, unhinged and full of the kind of energy that I've come to believe that adults simply cannot conjure. The drums are a textbook example of hardcore punk drumming, and that element of NISSES NÖTTER is where I keep turning my ear, even while the rest of the band is raging beyond belief and the singer is wailing in pre-pubescent frustration. A full LP/CD re-issue came out a few years ago with live and rehearsal tracks, while this release is simply the Knäckta Nötter demo in all its fury. It blows my mind to think that I am basically the same age as these dudes, and that when they were making these sounds, I was listening to QUIET RIOT and THE CARS. 

16 February 2014


I got a stack of demos from killer new DC bands at our show there in December - all of them are good, and most of them are really good, but NUCLEAR AGE is just off the fukkn charts. This is hardcore punk, and it leaves me wanting nothing...except more. "Power Of Youth" is as close to perfect as I could ever hope for and, even though it might take longer to read these words than it will to digest these three songs, NUCLEAR AGE is about to kick you day in its ass.

15 February 2014


My introduction to DINO & NIC was 2010's Plays Theme From Dino & Nica piece of carefully controlled minimal ambience, but this two track gem unravels that control in the first 60 seconds. The opening minute of At The Arc Of Nic & Dino is SUICIDE-esque synth heavy mania, but the duo quickly descends into space age psychedelic weirdness. Only slightly less minimal, the approach to electronic sound on this tape is subtly menacing, foreshadowing for a crescendo that never comes..even though the second side spends much of its seven minutes threatening. Instead, DINO & NIC just trail off into the rest of the day...

14 February 2014


The first ARTIMUS PYLE tour in 1998 was with these Bristol maniacs. A quick trip to the Northwest that included a hallucinogen laced weekend in Tenino, Washington, the undeniably dark combination of methamphetamine and a lightbulb, and a show in a marina community center in Eureka, California. What can I say, we knew how so show foreigners a good time. MUCKSPREADER's style was probably a little much for late '90s West Coast, especially with the ex-AMEBIX billing (they shared a drummer) that brought out miniscule hoards of proto-oogles simply yearning for Arise in the flesh. What they got instead was a group of true freaks bashing out mid tempo aural dystopia. Disjointed and manic and vaguely metallic mid tempo dirges interrupted by bursts of demented hardcore ("Original Sin" is the standout in this category) and samples. The band was real, even if this country wasn't ready for them. I'm ready now.

13 February 2014


Absolutely fierce '80s hardcore from New Jersey. Noise freaks note the guitar, thrash fiends dig the relentless all out attack, and hardcore maniacs get pumped on the breakdowns. So far ahead of their time (but somehow still a few years too late, no?), 1987 has never sounded so good. I'm serious, kids, this shit will turn you out. You think you are pissed? Get into "Kill Or Die," "Taste My Gun," "Fuck Your Mind Again" or the title track...you aren't alone. Six demo tracks and nine live stunners, mandatory listening for thrashers, punks and bangers.

12 February 2014


I'm not really sure how to compartmentalize these kids, but I snagged the demo a few months ago and I keep coming back to it when I need something different. It might help to start by mentioning that they are from the college town of Davis (between San Francisco and Sacramento, and somehow isolated from the perceived coolness of one and the defining narcotics of both), though a simple point on a map does not even begin to capture the vibe set by this tape.  ENNUI TRUST play what is essentially noise rock, rooted in the guitar driven bands of the late '80s (I'm talking Homestead, Blast First and later SST), tweaked in just the right way (maybe they didn't stay away from those drugs after all) and the singer's snarl is absolutely legit, like a hardcore guy who got asked to sing for some dudes who loved FLIPPER but are trying to get all adult but the singer guy keeps dragging them into the dirt and enveloping them in their own roots. There's plenty of lumbering guitar antics, but it's all weird instead of pretentious, as if DETENTION or CRUCIFUCKS took over the first SCRATCH ACID record. Standout tracks are "Patrol" and "Human Baggage," but then "It's Official" dishes awkward hooks that bring to mind a filthy incarnation of EDDY CURRENT SUPPRESSION RING, and I wonder if maybe that is what they are going for? If nothing else, I am intrigued.

11 February 2014


I picked this one up blind based solely on the presentation, then I completely submitted to the sounds and let them sink in. A dark collision of '80s goth and ambient music with distant dreams of industrial depression that never quite set in, all while predating synth heavy bleak beauty that would evolve out of black metal. Moments of "In Command Of Constellations" are perfect recreations of '80s dark dance floor brilliance, but this release is far deeper than such a casual comparison would suggest. Orchestral elements seep in through tracks like "The Precision In Drowning," but it's with the weight of Barber, crushing in its gorgeous simplicity. For fans of CLOCK DVA, BOHREN & DER CLUB OF GORE, those who celebrate Pornography as the greatest record by THE CURE, and anyone losing the battle for meaning - The Grey Subaudible is nearly an hour of sounds bookended by walls of noise.

NOTHING is the creation of J. William W. (current AGALLOCH bassist and prolific solo artist). This 2000 recording was initially released on CD, but was re-issued in 2012 on cassette by the very impressive Nostalgium Directive. 

10 February 2014


When No Statik played Tampa, Florida last month, we arrived to find EX-FRIENDS and PERMANENT MAKEUP already entrenched behind the venue's merchandise area. No big deal, but we had a stupidly large array of shirts and needed to spread out, so we set up our veritable shopping mall on the other side of the room with our pals/tourmates ASSHOLE PARADEand proceeded to have a quite excellent evening. As we were on our way out, a one of the guitarists from EX-FRIENDS walked up to me with a scrawled note wrapped around a tape. Dude gave me a sick demo, but couldn't come to the show because "work sucks" (feel your pain, buddy). The vaguely interesting part is that he put it in the merch area, where no one from our band set foot all night, and since the outside of the small package read "Terminal Escape," it's only because someone got nosy and read the note that the tape ever made it to me... and I'm glad it did. SHADOW LAUGHTER play earnest UK82 styled hardcore punk with vocals that seem to be trying to break out of '80s US hardcore shouts with only occasional success. This sounds like a teenage band in all of the best ways - the drummer is trying so desperately (check out the lurching start to "Living In Fear," it's pure ramshackle bliss), and though the songs are relatively simple, the way SHADOW LAUGHTER attack them is fukkn great (and on a side note, they have the coolest name I've heard in ages). Shit like this is just a part of what makes going on tour just as exciting as it always has been. 

09 February 2014


Sometimes bands come around and everyone says they are real good and I figure that I'll get around to getting into them eventually so I snag the records based on recommendations from The People I Trust and then they...they just kinda get filed away because I got into something else. Or I had to work. Or I went on tour and got juiced on a bunch of bands I played with. It's not that I'm proud of this shortcoming, and I freely admit that bands I am friends with and/or have done shows for in the past have fallen victim to what is either my short attention span or the maximization of input, but it's a fact that I'm also not exactly ashamed of. KYKLOOPIEN SUKUPUUTTO were one of those bands, I even fukkn saw them on their 2010 US tour, but I was "working" and couldn't soak it in. My loss. But I've been making up for lost time this week celebrating their vinyl output (I kept the records - I knew their day would come) and this absolute ripper from 2004 (also released by the band as a CDr demo). You can describe it simply as Finnish hardcore if you like, and you wouldn't necessarily be wrong, but these dudes are just so damn fast, and the vaguely ramshackle quality to the drums gives the whole recording such a wild vibe. The best breakdown you will hear all day ("Sivustakatselija") fumbles into the one midtempo track, "Itsekkyyttä Itsesuojelua," which sounds almost Swedish but it's just too damaged and and abrasive. These nine songs will absolutely kick your ass. I may be late to the party, but I'll show up eventually...and fortunately for me, this one is still raging.

08 February 2014


Ominous and hostile, Houston's STAGNANT YOUTH bring worlds of warcrust and relentless UK metalpunk crashing into each other with unparalleled force. Fronted by deep, gravelly vocals and seasoned with Swedish leads, these kids make it clear that they using familiar elements to create a sound that is wholly theirs. What if S.H.I.T. relied on fearsome power instead of affected guitars and reverb (to be clear, that was not meant as a dis on S.H.I.T. in any way)? What if PROXY skipped the leads, kept the hooks and then played crust? I could easily pick apart my favorite moments on this stellar demo (the half time finish of "Shameful" would be near the top of the list), but the transition from "Invasion" into "Reign" is just a few steps short of Word As Law-era NEUROSIS without seeming remotely contrived, and when that transition is over...? You're moshing.

07 February 2014


Look, I already know that posting a 70+ minute noise compilation is a sure fire way to get most of my legion to move the fukk on to whatever other internetting you do to waste your workday (and good job on that day wasting, by the way - your boss is probably an ass and you probably don't get paid enough anyway, so fukk 'em). But for the more adventurous, for the hungry, for the curious, I give you the 2011 Christmas Tree Tape. From TANGERINE DREAM-esque ambiance to bizarre electronic tape manipulations, this compilation had me hooked immediately. Sequenced with care, even the more terrorizing efforts (DR. QUINN MEDICINE WOMAN, THE DAVID RUSSELL SNAKE, 56K, DEAD PEASANT INSURANCE) are palatable when presented between minimal synth (WATCHWORD, TUSCO TERROR, TOUCH SCREEN, RADIO PEOPLE) and some seriously transcendent other worldy shit (OUTER SPACE, COAGULATOR, HEADBOGGLE, MOTH CLOCK). Favorites for these ears are HOWLAND RUSSELL (sparse and brilliant minimal techno), LESLIE KEFFER (analog synths pulsing like mad, "Caves, Finally" is mesmerizing), and TROGPITE (somewhere between early CONTROLLED BLEEDING and late '80s Wax Trax Records fodder reproduced 16rpm, if this doesn't trip you out in the dark then your mind is perhaps made of steel). ALLEY VISION, QUICKSAILS, and COLLAPSED ARC round out a well designed collection...those of you who take the plunge will be justly rewarded. As it should be.

06 February 2014


It's difficult to explain what exactly "Japanese Hardcore" is and how it differs from "hardcore punk." But it's different, and this YUMEFUDA demo is a quintessential example. Gangs of chorus vocals and lead yowls snarled with pure fury that almost completely masks melody. The riffs are infectious, but the maximum charge of the whole recording makes it hard to do anything but break shit. The leads here are more sparse than many of their contemporaries, allowing all encompassing raw power to take center stage. If the swarming madness of "Meet My Dream" isn't the jam that kicks you in the ass today, then you might need to reevaluate things (and "Live On Alive" might just be the track that reminds you why you're here - it's rare that anyone can drop a COMES comparison in the vocals, but here it is). For those trying to compartmentalize YUMEFUDA, they could perhaps get lumped in with bands like GESHPENST and ACCOMPLICE, though I think that might be more due to scene affiliations than actual style. From what I can gather, this demo, a screaming EP and a track on the all female Hard Core Mess Japankore Omnibus (with GAIA, SINK and others) is the extent of their output...but if the shit is this good then I will happily digest all nine tracks repeatedly.

05 February 2014


Sometimes you don't want to know if a band is succeeding intentionally or if they are just some mutants who slipped on a banana peel and fell face first into brilliance instead of dogshit. But however it was concocted, HEDLOK's brand of primal thrash metal is unfuckwithable. Utterly sinister basement filth from Indiana (BLACK FUNERAL anyone?) that sounds exactly like the pure evil it purports to be. This four song banger is their second tape in as many years, a complete departure from the much more produced Behold The Deathsquad full length that came in between the two, a release that makes it clear that HEDLOK is no accident. 

04 February 2014


I remember a dude from this band hanging around shows we played and put on in Upper Haight in the mid/late '90s, which was weird to us because he had purportedly been in ATTITUDE ADJUSTMENT who were obviously a real band, and this was the area where the mutants that no one really gave a shit about spent their time. Rarely did anyone who was actually cool play at Nightbreak (don't get me wrong, heaps of cool bands played there, just not bands that were "cool," if you get the difference...and ASSFORT and GAIA were obvious exceptions), so it was random and curious that this guy would come to our mutant shows occasionally and hand out a few tapes every now and then. The dude was chill...and if memory serves, very tall. I eventually saw DEFACE and it was exactly what I expected: old(er) bros (at the time that probably meant 30 or so) trying to adapt their meat and 'taters US hardcore into raging DBeat. I'm not saying it didn't work, I'm just saying that the end result was probably not what they intended. The honest simplicity is refreshing today - not trying to be more over the top, more chaotic or more insane, just bashing the shit out of some riffs and being pissed as hell, all things I can absolutely get behind. I'm pretty sure DEFACE only managed two EPs, each containing a couple of these tracks, DRI crashing headlong into DISCHARGE.

I will show you no emotion...

03 February 2014


Paul gave me this banger last summer, and a quick peep at the personnel involved left no doubt that EXIT ORDER would be every bit as screaming as they are. The first thing you notice is that fukkn guitar - so totally tortured and adversely affected, but a tone expertly crafted by people who still understand the power of a riff (or even [gasp] a song), all of the hooks are there, and they are all in your face...they just sound like they are coming from Jupiter. Positively maniacal drums bash out a flurry of UK82 by way of DBeat and erratic methamphetamine abuse and the pace is pure power. Vocals are perfectly out of place, half shouted/half whined and coming off more like GR'UPS than anything riddled with studs and obscure '80s Euro hardcore patches, but oh man does it ever work. Reinventing the reinvented wheel? 

You're a pretty one...aren't you?

02 February 2014


I spent most of my day working next to some dudes listening classic heavy metal all day, and I knew when I came home I wanted to post this tape for you to start your week with. South Carolina demonic thrash metal from 1988, an obvious SLAYER influence (I mean, what late '80s thrash metal band didn't try to emulate SLAYER at least a little bit?) but the slower bits are pure and primitive, unhindered by success or expectation. The vocalist sounds like he was reared on punk, and barks with the intensity of pre-thrash hardcore, but the guitar leads are always there to remind you that this shit is metal. "Contaminated Nutrients" is the banger here, and the drummer later joined the ranks of MALEVOLENT CREATION and HATE ETERNAL, in case you were curious.

01 February 2014


It was absolutely fantastic popping this baby in and letting the memories roll. Countless times my drunk ass (mentally) thrashed around the room blasting BOMBENALARM's Mötorcharged DBeat hardcore punk - every element is so perfectly presented that it's tempting to assume that they were making calculated (and successful) strikes. Imagine a combination of crushing European crust, Swedish DBeat and Japanese hardcore that still sounds urgent and important...that's exactly what BOMBENALARM were in the early '00s. Their demo graced these e-pages in The Escape's infancy, and this cassette from Fuck Yoga delivers their EP and LP (from '04 and '05, respectively). "Destination Fucked Up" was one of the jams of the year in 2004...yeah, it's so good that it still kicks everyone's ass a decade later.