You already know about this, right? Right?
31 March 2014
30 March 2014
If I were to create a street punk band in my mind, a band that all future bands who took the moniker would look to for inspiration and guidance, a band that would personify a genre for punk generations to come...then that band would be this band. MURDERER sound like walking down the street late at night with purpose, perhaps with trouble on their minds or perhaps just trying to survive. These are the sounds coming from behind the door in the dank alley...the sounds that compel you to open the door even though you are kinda scared about the scene waiting for you on the other side. It's a room filled with punks, punks with chains and safety pins pogoing their asses off and spilling beer with abandon like it was the blood of the vanquished. It looks reckless. But it looks fun, and you want to be a part of it. You can, just walk inside.
29 March 2014
CAT 'N GUYEN
You can leave your preconceptions at the door and start digging these tunes immediately. Imagine Detroit House injected with Riot Grrl energy. It's weird as shit, yes, but Germany's CAT 'N GUYEN are solid fukkn gold in the "improbable success" department - when was the last time you sang along with lyrics about masturbating on the red carpet? (.....exactly). "Alone In 4 Walls" and "Onions" are my personal choice tracks, but this shit is on it's own planet and it is a place I would love to visit. Get weir, my friends....get weird.
Trim Tab Tapes released this shit...support them
28 March 2014
TAMPONS ARE HEAVY
The music? A killer cross section of Australian punk/hardcore focused on the '90s bands like TOE TO TOE, SUBVERSION and FRENZAL RHOMB interpsersed with classics like HARD-ONS, COSMIC PSYCHOS and EXPLODING WHITE MICE. Solid regional punk rock mix tape.
The title? Your guess is as good as mine.
27 March 2014
Early '00s German crust/grind, a brutal attack that is relentless and metallic. Six studio tracks and four live rippers - you like to have your face melted? If the answer is yes, then good...because I have found your dudes.
26 March 2014
Spastic and challenging heavy synths are treated with heaps of analog disruption and schizophrenic arrangements on this 2009 cassette. Throw some hesitant rhythms that come across more like frantic pulsations than beats (that's when they aren't buried by the weird shit on top of them) and a booklet filled with photographs of aesthetic and/or societal carnage, and you have the soundtrack to a very stressful and challenging listen. KID KRUSHER did a good job, but all I can find from them (her? him?) is a myspace page that has a few songs from this tape. So yeah...get down.
25 March 2014
Late '90s German punk that well deserves to be lumped in with infectious '80s DeutschPunk, this Bremen band popped onto my radar during the Oakland B.O.B.Fest in 1998 (the year I toured with MUCKSPREADER, and the fest at which I snagged this tape) and to be honest I never heard from them afterwards (the internet tells me there are a few vinyl releases I am missing). But ages later, I can't tell you how psyched I am to unearth this cassette - terminally catchy and shamelessly dark punk tunes, this is just awesome. I would file KORRUPT closer to EA80 than to SLIME, but both comparisons would be easily justified and both are more than complimentary...so, essentially, I suggest you listen to KORRUPT and find all of their records.
23 March 2014
OXYGEN DESTROYER has reigned it in a little but (just a little) from last year's debut effort, and the slightly more "in control" approach gives them heaps more power. Still wild as shit blown out hardcore punk, but these songs slow down in places and the whole tape highlights the weird and vaguely off kilter aspects of the band that made me like them so much when I finally saw them a few month back. The sub-60 second "Chatty" is a total killer and my choice jam on the tape - walking bass lines buried under a pile of distorted guitars (the second side's standout "Preoccupied" shines for the same reason). These dudes are on their own trip, and it is an awesome trip.
The 1971 LP from LEAF HOUND is a bonzer of sorts for those who dabble in heavy/psych rock, and for good reason. "Drowned My Life In Fear" is my personal standout, LED ZEP caliber hard blues, with so much gravel in the vocals that you wish the dude was singing for proto punk or NWOBHM bands, because he would have killed it. A veritable proving ground for would be classic rock stalwarts, after Growers Of Mushroom members went on to form and/or join FOGHAT, ATOMIC ROOSTER, FREE and CACTUS. Not pretentious or over indulgent, just killer hard rock.
This record only took up one side of a mix tape, and someone was nice enough to fill the other side with more jammers, which are included in the above link (because I am also nice, obviously). Aside from the 2006 EP from CIRCULUS, which is some third rate hippie throwback shit that I do not like (and has a flute), the tracks are all bangers. Spain's MAGIC takes the cake with their 10+ minute split with T.N.T. from 1983, but the more I listen to the two 45s from Scotland's E.F.BAND the more I think that they might be the champions here - "Comprende" is simply screaming. A banger from FIST (UK) and the way under the radar 12" from Colombia's CARBURE round out the attractions. Also, there's (most of) a mysterious and atrocious version of "Iron Man" that I know I've heard before but I can't quite place, so assistance would be appreciated.
22 March 2014
You can compare it to Spain in 1984 or to Copenhagen in 2002, but I'll just compare Vancouver's PURA MANÍA to punk rock if it's all the same to you. Vocals are melodic but dripping with intensity, and the "hoo-ha" backing vocals in the opening tracks set the stage for a killer demo. One of the dudes from FRACASO is at least partially responsible for this outfit, and I think the casually off the rails vibe fits right along with PURA MANÍA's catchier sounds. Sure, you can sing along, you can bounce around the room with your drunk ass friends and have a fukkn blast....but this is punk...and these punks never lose that edge.
21 March 2014
NOTHING EVER CHANGES
While an admitted novice in the worlds of noise and modern industrial sounds, I know what I like when I hear it. And with very few exceptions, I like what I hear from the Nostilevo label. This 2012 compilation teams up artists I already wanted to hear more from (SIOBHAN, LIABLE [whose sounds here are arguably more accessible and digestible than ever, which is strange...but awesome], TOLLUND MEN) with the rudimentary dance sounds of BAD USER EXPERIENCE, the sparse electronic meanderings of CHURCH SHUTTLE, and a stunningly dark churning piece from GLASS PATH. Every time I dig deeper into this world, I just want more. Yesterday I got so sucked in that I put on a FRAMTID record just to make sure I still loved hardcore. After I realized that I was indeed still a punk rocker, I went back to listening to a big ass pile of electronic tapes. This tape was in the pile, and so I share it with you today.
20 March 2014
Absolutely killer under the radar Yugoslavian hardcore punk from 1986. Put this shit in the US around the same time and QUOD MASSACRE would have been massive. MOVING TARGETS caliber hooks delivered with a gruff Eastern European edge and a hint of metal - the guitar alone is worth the price of admission. As for exactly what is on the cassette...? That's a little tougher. The tape itself appears to come from No Profit Tapes, who released 1986's Fait Accomply. But the cover was handwritten and, instead of the aforementioned demo, there were tracks from QUOD MASSACRE backed with DVA MINUTA MRŽNJE. The first three songs on this tape match up with the tracks credited as "Demo 3" on Fait Accomply, and the remainder are live tracks, some of which appear to also be from the demo but in a different order (and maybe they sound a little better than the other couple of versions I've come across?). Whatever, I'm talking nerd shit here, but the songs are really really good and if I got some weird special version of the tape then hooray for me...since regular visitors will remember that the thing snapped while I was trying to rip DVA MINUTA MRŽNJE anyway.
19 March 2014
I'm pretty sure these are the tracks from the Women's Liberation disc on Selfish (someone else put out the vinyl, can't remember...), but I foolishly packed that CD up in storage when we moved back to SF. WORMCAST are hard charging full on Japanese hardcore, distinguished by powerful vocals and a clean, high end heavy guitar tone that doesn't quite fit the style. Leads are sometimes closer to rock 'n roll instead of screaming hardcore, but I like them that way. Six songs, all female, otherwise unmarked cassette, second and fifth jammers are the standouts.
18 March 2014
After repeated listens, I do not know what to say. Their chosen moniker actually describes their sound quite well - dirty and ominous ambient music from the Ascetic House family, the Froese-ian model diverted into darkness. Five tracks spanning half an hour...get down.
17 March 2014
It's possible that this cassette is actually little more than the bedroom musings of some lonely weirdo. It's also possible that out of the thirteen untitled tracks on this tape there are moments of serious outsider success. Drum machine musings with tweaked guitars, sometimes like VICTIM'S FAMILY with the odd time changes (not a fan) and sometimes more subtle and introspective (track 08 could be from a BOHREN & DER CLUB OF GORE record, I am a fan). As worthwhile for the mystery as for the content.
16 March 2014
I don't want to complain about tour. Tour is great. Cruising around with people you (hopefully) like and playing punk...shit rules, that's all there is to it. Sometimes things go wrong - van trouble, your stupid bandmate is being an idiot (again!), shitty show, etc. But just about the only complaint I have from the NO STATIK east coast tour in December/January is that I didn't get to see TESTÖKRA. The members were at our show, just not playing music....I would have loved to have seen "Witch" live. Maybe next time.
15 March 2014
DIME STORE HOOD
Breakdown heavy thrash tinged hardcore with killer gruff NYHC vocals and hook after hook crammed into a scant quarter hour. Maybe the world would have been different for Richmond, Virginia's DIME STORE HOOD had this slab dropped in the mid '00s, or maybe they flirt with enough subgenres that most folks wouldn't have had the patience? Who knows, but this eleven song demo holds up shockingly well. After nineteen ninety sk8, the band became WHHELBITE and released one screaming EP.
***A dude from DIME STORE HOOD/WHEELBITE named Adam (or Alan....? shit) mailed me this tape after we hung out once sometime around the turn of the century. Super nice fellow who I enjoyed meeting, and the tape was packaged much more elaborately than this simple cover scan implies. In 2009 I went to see LOGIC PROBLEM at a bar in SF called Pissed Off Pete's and I got shit ass wasted. Was debating puking in cab, puking on the bus or walking and hoping I could stay awake and on my feet long enough to make it home. The bright lights of the 14 Mission made my decision for me and I stumbled aboard. Adam (or Alan...? shit) was sitting right next to me and I really wish that I had been able to carry on a conversation. Even remembering someone from that long ago is not exactly my strong suit (massive understatement), but it would have been cool to actually have a conversation. If you read this, drop me a line.***
***The vocalist Freeman is (I believe) the frontman for the band FREEMAN, who are basically the original AVAIL lineup with that dude singing. 2010's It Doesn't Matter is an undiscovered gem for fans of the first few AVAIL records.***
14 March 2014
NO EXPLANATION // J.O.B.S.
Mostly noteworthy as an artifact, these two bands hailed from Moncton, New Brunswick (you'd kinda drive through it if you were going from Bangor to Halifax) and appear to have been remnants of the scene that brought us Artifacts From Venison Creek several years earlier (see below). Two tracks from J.O.B.S. that seem to be related inasmuch as the first is a minimal synth version of the blown out sludge/punk mindfuck of the second (I'm talking about the random banjo in one channel when I use the term "mindfuck"). NO EXPLANATION are are less successful in their endeavors, and the result is some weird ass outsider punk, which obviously I support, and they also provide an alternate version of one of their tracks. The further away from cool you go, the cooler you sometimes get - these recordings are rough (to say the least), but there's something of interest here for the adventurous.
The above cassette made me revisit the Artifacts From Venison Creek compilation, which I posted almost three years ago. Released in 1983, the tape features bands from the same scene that would later produce today's split from J.O.B.S. and NO EXPLANATION. I find this first wave of Moncton bands far more interesting, to be honest, and I feel like this tape is definitely worth re-rediscovery. So here's what I said the first time around...dig in:
An amazing artifact, this compilation was released in 1983 in a run of a scant 20 copies by a collective of punks from the New Brunswick town of Moncton. Chronicling an incestuous scene that featured musically diverse (and in the context of early '80s North American punk, quite original) bands, Artifacts From Venison Creek starts with the drum/vocal art punk of THE WHORE MOANS (1978), then moves on to killer sloppy Midwestern sounding punks THE ROBINS. The 0.5 McMEGADARES tracks are recorded live (at their only performance), and are probably more akin to early college rock if presented in proper form, but that's just a breather before DEATH CAMP - great angular KBD punks who blow through four live burners, probably my favorite tracks on the tape. HYPERACTIVE ADULTS and VAN KLEEK SOCIETY share a member and both play variations of dreary goth with drum machines and affected guitars. VKS (technically from Toronto, but featuring a Moncton transplant) could easily have polished up their recordings and dished out truly memorable tracks, but they existed for just a few short months in 1982 and these demos are all we get. After a FLIPPER cover from another short lived band (NOTHING), STATE CONTROL and CANCER SOCIETY make their case for status as stars of the tape: ripping hardcore that could easily sit along with sought after gems of lo-fi early '80s HC/punk, though the recordings are live and raw and the attack is a little slower than raging HC fans are probably used to. DAGDA MOR close the tape with fast and catchy art/punk tracks that struggle to be discovered through the white hiss of live cymbals. Many of these bands' existence was only a blip on the chronological radar of small town punk (STATE CONTROL started in October 1982 and called it quits in December), and this tape makes up the only recorded output for several of them. The tape comes with a ridiculously detailed booklet (hand written and glued, of course) discussing the history of both the bands and scene that surrounded Venison Creek: "Venison Creek formed as an idea in 1978, as an ass kicker to all the glitter and shit of old rock ways."
For what it's worth, STATE CONTROL's "Brooke Shields Doesn't Like Classical Musicians" might be a ROBINS cover. Or maybe it's the other way around.
13 March 2014
And hour of completely untreated field recordings made in and around Las Vegas in 2007. Perhaps more interesting as an exercise in patience than as a recording, but there are moments when that patience is rewarded through the ambient tape hiss.
12 March 2014
Underappreciated '80s New Jersey punk dripping with originality. There's the almost TSOL vibe that comes across on their Damn The Past LP from 1988, but this (admittedly rough) demo also has tinges of metallic crossover hiding in the hooks. I sent this one out to a few Jersey folks hoping for some song titles (or background), but I got a big goose egg. I first heard the band from one of the Shredder Records comps (with MORAL CRUX and CRIMPSHRINE, I believe?), and the aforementioned 12" is frequently seen chilling in bargain bins - which on the one hand is a shame, but on the other hand is pretty good for you, my dear record hunter.
Ritual Control will be playing our last show of tour tonight at The Knockout in San Francisco with CRABAPPLE, THE NERVOUS and A PRIORI. Not the New Jersey band I just blabbed about, of course.
11 March 2014
THE HOUSE OF LOVE
1988's self titled The House Of Love LP was an absolutely essential piece of my Oklahoma high school life. Perfectly dreary British alternative pop music, but they were somehow darker than bands like THE OCEAN BLUE and you couldn't dance to them like you could STONE ROSES but they were nowhere near as cool as MORRISSEY, which made them way cooler. That album's opening track "Christine" is still a desert island song for me, the perfect realization of a wall of guitars and vocals possess a stoic confidence. This collection from 1990 ties up some loose ends left by the band's first few releases - some tracks from scrapped sessions, some early demos, but mostly it's some amazing Britpop before the term could deem a band virtually unlistenable. It blew my mind (still does) that bands like this could be Top 10 fodder over there while we were being flogged by Vanilla Ice and Garth Brooks....but such was humanity back then. "Ray," "Scratched Inside" and the "Love" series are the standouts here, but it's "Shine On (the second mix)" that makes the whole download mandatory. Granted, pieces of this tape are too mellow for my taste, but I contend that if all pop music were this brilliant then my record collection might be quite a bit different than it is today.
10 March 2014
The vocals on this NEVER HUMAN demo sound so far beyond twisted...distorted and demented howls from a very very dark place. Six tracks of ferocious thundering raw punk with massive drums lurching between riffs with a confidence that will give you a start - "Prone Pathetic" alone plows through three distinct (and distinctly different) parts that somehow make total sense together. UK82 on PCP...and those vocals. I need to go to Halifax.
09 March 2014
Brutally raw Bay Area thrash metal. No hint of melody or temperance, this is visceral and fierce and hellbent for pure speed and complete thrash. Two rehearsal demos from 1985/86, INSANITY were way ahead of their time. This one is not for the weak.
08 March 2014
You can practically smell the cheap black market alcohol wafting up from this Polish trio. Male/female vocals and a painstakingly lumbering punk gallop, this is rudimentary chaos at its finest. Hints of classic Polish punk, heaps of sloppy magic...just look at these fukkrs, because that's what they sound like.
07 March 2014
ICING ON THE GRAVY
Conceived sometime in the early '00s by a dude from THE END OF THE CENTURY PARTY but not released for several years, this comp is an excellent time warp if nothing else...but fortunately it is also smoking. A veritable who's who of bands that rarely got the recognition they deserved while they were around: FAT DAY, PRETENTIOUS ASSHOLES, GODSTOMPER, EPAJAESTYS, DENAK, along with some heavyweights of the era: KUNG FU RICK, PALATKA, ASSHOLE PARADE. Czech Republic's MRTVA BUDOCNOST and Japan's D.P.P.S. were surprises, but the penpal was a powerful thing in pre-message board punk world. AUTORITAR, VILENTLY ILL, DEAD END, CROOKED COPS, WARSORE, KATASTROFIALUE and CHAPTER 13 round the tape out, I miss comps like this.
06 March 2014
In 2001 I was assigned the Pleasure/Disgust LP from Finland's HERO DISHONEST to review. I fukkn loved it - hyper energetic fastcore that was smart, witty, and had more thought and originality in one song than most bands of that ilk could muster on an entire record, and my positive review reflected those impressions. The following year when I was assigned their second album, Juggernaut, for review, I assumed it would be a let down (if only because the first record was simply that damn good). It was anything but. In addition to espousing the virtues of this excellent (and, it would seem, prolific) band, I mentioned in the pages of Maximum Rocknroll that should HERO DISHONEST ever want to tour in the USA that I would be more than happy to host them and book a tour....because no band would ever take up a total stranger on an asinine offer like that, would they? A few weeks later I got a call from the then coordinator who let me know that a certain Finnish band was looking to get in touch with me...uh-oh. After trading a few messages we realized that we were going to be playing together in København later that year and figured we would use that opportunity to make a plan. Instead we just used that opportunity to get really really drunk and dance to G.I.S.M. and then Vellu told me sometime after dawn that all Finns are naked, drunk and wielding knives. I informed him that he was, in fact, clothed and knifeless (the drunk part was well sorted), so he stripped in the middle of the street and started pleading with passerby to loan him a knife since he was Finnish. So yeah...the tour was on. HERO DISHONEST came over in fall of 2004, touring on their third excellent record Let Your Poison Scream, and then they returned two years later. I love the shit out of this band, and their lust for life is rarely paralleled - bands that play punk music are a dime a dozen, but when you cross paths with the right people, it sticks with you. 2006's When The Shit Hits The Man is easily one of my favorite records of the '00s (yeah, they just kept cranking out quality), and I think last year's Alle Lujaa might even be better still.
This tape was released by a collection of Russian labels for one of their many tours there. The first two LPs, split EP with REBOUND, the demo and various compilation tracks and covers. 62 songs in all, clocking in at almost 80 minutes, and I can assure that it is all quality. A band that covers OUTLAST and AGNOSTIC FRONT on the same release gets my vote, the guitar solo in "Part III - Let Go" is just icing on the cake.
05 March 2014
OUT OF VOGUE
Fukk it, why not stick with Los Angeles for a third day? OUT OF VOGUE eschewed the raucous thrash of the early '00s for meat and potatoes hardcore punk - more akin to NEGATIVE APPROACH than DRI, and tracks like "Fashion Victim" and "Ol' Joe Rides Again" are quintessential Southern California bangers. I first remember seeing them at The Smell with SCHOLASTIC DETH at the start to ARTIMUS PYLE tour in '02, they were little ass kids and they killed it. They seemed to be the next generation of positive and determined California hardcore, roaring down the road blazed by LIFES HALT and then HIT ME BACK...but punk generations are relatively short and only a couple of years separated those bands from one another (and only a couple more separated them from us). Eric has since played in JUMP OFF A BUILDING, INDEX, NODZZZ (with fellow Thrash2K youth veteran Ant from DOWN IN FLAMES) and others, Uly has been in RAYOS X and a host of seminal LA bands in recent years, and the other two.....I dunno?
04 March 2014
Rarely does a black metal recording completely consume me as this one does. More concise than 2010's debut Toplov, the second release from Los Angeles solo outfit MOONKNIGHT takes calculated detours into fuzzed out drones before crashing repeatedly into walls of guitars distorted to white drone status and vocals that reek of despair. Moments like the guitars two-thirds of through "Thyrsgreiden" give a glimpse into the insular world being created, an all encompassing swarm blasted through the prism of emotion by despondent and relentless primitive metal. "The Translucent Path" closes the release, an almost 8 minute electronic exercise that (hopefully) segues into a future chapter from MOONKNIGHT. You will find nothing approaching closure from this track or from Legeia as a whole, just longing.
03 March 2014
So you like that primitive simple punk and you like the bouncy 1-2-1-2 and you even like the snotty (read: whiny) vocals and you love it when the bands make it noisy on purpose but try to make it seem like an accident? But you still want your shit to have teeth. You don't want your hardcore to be happy. STUPID LIFE are childish....and menacing, the kind of not giving a fukk that is actually terrifying instead of a mere nuisance. Six bangers in as many minutes, raw and pure.
02 March 2014
LOS VAGINAL BLOOD FARTS // JERK
Pop punk wasn't always a dirty word (or a dirty combination of words), and I still turn happily to many feisty, energetic and fukkn punk bands form the '90s that fell into that category. VAGINAL BLOOD FARTS play hardcore with hooks, JERK dish out poppier punk all snotty and dirty, and both bands have the power to validate your anger and frustration while giving you something to sing along to (even if it's just "I Hate Bad Religion"). This tape came out in 1993, before VBF members moved on to form the excellent garage punk outfit CHINESE LOVE BEADS and the nucleus of JERK started AT THE DRIVE IN.
01 March 2014
A mid tempo mosh riff extravaganza from Japan, V.C.R. keep is short with just two songs (three if you count the intro) that continually threaten to unleash but instead maintain a steady creepy crawl pace. Think "Sergeant D" regurgitated for 14 minutes. The vocals indicate a desire to be weird instead of tough, though the end result is really neither.
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