30 September 2014


One of the more under the radar UK anarcho acts of the early '80s, ALTERNATIVE cranked out consistently interesting releases. Whistful (almost COCTEAU TWINS-esque) guitars and lilting vocals fronting a forceful Scottish outfit, hearing these tracks (many for the first time in my personal earholes), a decidedly more mellow take on the out front weirdness of many previous releases, is excellent. I'll still take If They Treat You Like Shit of course...but old punk demos are fukkn cool, and this reinterpretation of "Fuck Off Thatcher" is a total killer. Not entirely sure about where this demo fits in their discography, but a few of the tracks appear on the Get Away From It All In The Army and How Dare You cassettes towards the end of their run. 

29 September 2014


Perks of the trade, my friends: sometimes shit like this just shows up on my doorstep. Well, I don't really have a doorstep, but the mailperson puts it in my mailslot. But sometimes it doesn't fit and they just leave me a note and I bike to the post office annex on Bryant street on my lunch break to pick it up. But the point is that sometimes those trips are really worthwhile because those packages too big for my mailslot have tapes like this one inside. Ugly, menacing French hardcore/pv inside. A filthy, distorted, fist clenching killer with screaming and shouting and breakdowns and blastbeats - you know, exactly what you want (if you know what's good for you). The 20 second "Populace" is that jammer, though the breakdown in the following track ("Veine Cave") is about twelve steps beyond complete crush. Eight songs in just over six minutes - and one of those minutes is the fukkn intro (the last 50 seconds in the outro). Complete crush, total kill.

28 September 2014


I only saw this Bay Area outfit once, and they blew the roof off the joint. Discordant and ferocious hardcore reminiscent of late '90s clean cut (almost emo) stuffs, but PILLS are fukkn pissed, and it shows. The blasts before the breakdown in "Connected" raise the hairs on my arms, and the meandering guitar in "Blank" is a very worthwhile challenge...stick with it until that song's breakdown and you will be thusly rewarded. Only three songs here, but this shit is pure power. I shared a practice space with them for a while, and found this tape in a pile of trash after they moved out - grown ass man digging through the garbage? Yes. 

Members of ACTS OF SEDITION, FUNERAL DINER, BURIAL YEAR, NEGATIVE STANDARDS and other, if those sort of things matter to you...

27 September 2014


A near hour of accordion drone, hesitant vocal trembles and tape hiss has never sounded so good. I got lost in this artist for a few hours upon accidental discovery, feel free to follow my lead. You don't listen to this tape as much as you sink into it, but I suggest you do both. Preferably alone.

26 September 2014


There aren't even words for how good this is. SOCKEYE dudes incarnated as an Oi! band gone knuckledragging metal...and yeah, it's as good as you think want it to be. Of course it is. 

Kindly get the fuck out of my way ma'am, so I can enjoy Oi! music like a fukkn man
I'd ask you to come too, but your brain ain't fully formed
I can fukkn tell cuz your head isn't shaved - Oi!
- "Date With Oi!"
Physical copies from Rescued From Life

25 September 2014


Maybe it's listening to the vocals and guitar compete for my attention, or maybe it's the simple fact that these songs are rippers, but I listen to this thing over and over. Think Jen Mace (NERVOUS TREND, NUCLEAR FAMILY) as a vocal comparison, while the Brad's guitar drives a focused outfit that takes the straight forward hardcore model and shoves it into a dark corner filled with '70s SF punk records and Greg Sage songsmith skills....the animal that emerges from that dark place is really good. There's a magic to a collection of well crafted tunes, and that's what this demo is full of - you know what you're getting as soon as you press play, and you keep listening because you know you like it.

24 September 2014


"Resist Stance" is so fukkn simple, and it's exactly what I want from a hardcore punk song. Everything is in here somewhere: the drums are a little hesitant and drag ever so slightly, they sound tinny and real shitty like those '80s records that you love and you know I'm a sucker for riffs. The breakdown in "Shamed Or Honored" is just....dude. Seriously. CORRECTION learned from the best, and in this case the best reminds me of classic USHC, early Scandinavian punk and knuckledragging mosh all snuggling up on the couch watching skate videos. Listen to their eponymous track before you go to work today, trust me on this one.

23 September 2014


Warped and depressive missives, this is truly demented sounding bedroom black metal. From the deliberate monotony of "Juracan" that builds into disconcertion to the repetitive ambiance of "Yukiyú," SANGRE Y TIERRA crush with emotion as much as aural tonnage - distorted and frustrated drum machine driven darkness fronted by a hopelessly distorted guitar. The final track (which is solely keyboards and samples) is the most entrancing thing you will hear all day. A complete lack of light is suggested.

22 September 2014


Belgium's mincecore masters were far from passe when this split dropped, just bare bones hc/grind that might've been called powerviolence had they hailed from Cailfornia - too metal for the punks then, and too raw for the hessians. This is, perhaps, the plight of AGATHOCLES, and these recordings are some of the best I've heard from them. Go ahead and dismiss them based solely on the number of split releases and your preconceived notion of what they deliver...your loss. Ecuador's NOTOKEN are more forceful and more straightforward shred, 19 tracks of lo-fi hc/thrash/grind recorded in 1995. I love this shit. 

21 September 2014


An audio challenge for the adventure inclined, this St. Petersburg demo from 2003 is an all out assault that consumes a whopping 210 seconds. Nine tracks of rudimentary but blistering fastcore thrash incarnated as complete shit-fi supremacy. You can file this one along with the more difficult cassettes I've shared here, but SVINOKOP are as real as it gets. 

20 September 2014


Snotty, feisty, raw, disjointed yet somehow still catchy. ASH DANCE sound like teenage punk played by people who know exactly what they are doing but aren't quite able to pull it off, and anyone who knows me will realize that is a ringing endorsement.

19 September 2014


I loved the demo from a couple of years back (one of by favorite free bins scores to date), but these Canadians have really stepped up their game for this full length teaser from last year. Meaty and forceful hardcore that sounds more desperate than mean...and anyone who has been truly desperate knows which one is more powerful. Every song warrants a clenched fist, and the breakdowns are fukkn textbook. Clean guitars give the recording an edge than stands in defiance to the lack of "heavy" that the recording offers - WEAK LINK doesn't need to blow your doors off with tonnage, they manage that with the songs. Highlights: the lead in to the breakdown that doesn't happen in "Useless Sacrifice," the chorus to "Original Position" and the entirety of "Contact High" (a song that totally should not work from a band like this, but a song that totally works). You can trust me.

A lot of these songs are on the EP they released in July, and I almost forgot to mention that that these fools are from Newfoundland. That place is super far from my house.

18 September 2014


Aggressive (and manic) USHC influenced shit from Brasil. Burly as hell, and hooks galore without a hint of cheesy 'crew stuff in the mix. Equal parts '90s basement DIY and late '80s tough hardcore sounds like a combination I can get behind, and I get behind this.

17 September 2014


Last week, I went to a show in the basement of a stylish vintage clothing store in a neighborhood frequented by drug addicts, trust fund 20somethings, prostitutes, and the wealthy. All of them, often on the same block. It was really moist in a gross way in the basement, and there were fashionable shoes lined up on the shelves. While the first band played, I idly flipped at records upstairs and listened to people who look like caricatures quietly ridicule people who look like characters. And I felt my years more plainly than at any social event in recent memory. The only way to know if a gamble was worthwhile is to look at the payoff with a little hindsight, and my purse from that night in the Tenderloin is this EGRETS ON ERGOT cassette...so I think I won. Even though I flipped through records and lurked conversations for most of their set too.

16 September 2014


These folks came up on the ride home tonight, and it occurred to me that I had this split Wade gave me some time ago primed and ready...so here you go. APOGEE SOUND CLUB was already an established thing in SF when we moved back here in 2008 and have continued their underground lurkings while writing consistently better songs. Wade's guitar (and the way he works it with the vocals) brings to mind legitimate heavyweights like MINUTEMEN and BIG BOYS, even though those comparisons are cheap and easy, just a little time spent with these recordings will bear them out. The subtle time change and the lumbering (instead of funky) bass in "The Lie," the feisty determination of "Out Of Joint," the entirety of "Protest Is Sex" - the kids are next level. There's a "members of" pedigree that'll make your head spin, but never mind that part and just know that real and genuine outcasts still crank out compelling music in the shadows of this increasingly inhospitable metropolis. Plus, there's stuff on the other side: KAREN are faster, way noisier, louder and throw their oddity right in your face from the start. Editing radio snippets and a mac keyboard volume button into your own live recording is genius but this is a harsher toke to be sure. Not a hook in sight, just challenging jerky fukkd weirdo punk....and I prefer the APOGEE side (but maybe I'm too old?).  This split is something I would never have sought out, but I'm glad it lives in my house and I'm happy for you to have it in yours. 

15 September 2014


Five minutes of nasty, distorted, noisy filth that sounds about like the cover implies. Relentless guitar torture, drunken mutant vocals and an attack that's equal parts pogo punk on crack and a really unfortunate trainwreck. Halifax, man....the shit is good.

14 September 2014


My first exposure to REDROT was their self titled release last year, which I loved. Since then I've snagged a couple of also excellent older recordings, but I think On Drowning might be the most impressive statement from this long running and prolific machine. Powerful electronics mingle with heavy dance beats and gratuitous noise, hints of Wax Trax-era CONTROLLED BLEEDING suffocating on a fog of sound. "sekrets KILL ME sekrets" is the burner for sure, but check the synths on the title track and feel the seemingly erratic beats on "The Disclaimer" before you close the book here. Ryan Oppermann has outdone himself here. 

13 September 2014


This one made waves when it dropped a couple of years back, and for good reason: Barcelona's ARREST bang out top notch hook laden punk rock, simple as that. Easy to reiterate how perfectly the Spanish language fits with this style of music, but I don't want to gloss over how good the songs are; the guitar lead that plops down on top of the five note riff that makes up the verse of "Functionario" is so simple that you wonder why it hasn't been written a thousand times before - and maybe it has, but that won't matter one fukkn bit while you are listening to this demo. The two vinyl releases from earlier this year are stellar as well, though naturally I tend to lean towards the rawer presentation here. Those of you who are still upset that CRIMINAL DAMAGE shut down their operation after just three albums can rejoice, because ARREST will help fill that void.

12 September 2014


They are still out there, those scarcely unearthed bands from decades gone by. And in this case, some screaming Swedes get treated to a cassette reissue of their 1986 demo by a label from Croatia....I would like to thank The Internet, because I swear these two entities might have never met otherwise. These are the gems that fell through the cracks when that handful of movers and shakers were furiously dubbing and trading tapes in the '80s....and there must be more, right?! (feel free to send them to me, by the way) Off the rails, spastic and ultra catchy hardcore/thrash here, eight tracks from the demo and seven more from tape comps and who knows where else. Bring it on, because this shit is great (ROVSVETT, 16 B.U.H. people involved here, so the "great" part isn't really a shock). Cheers to Aftermath Tapes for digging this one up, raging shit. And to everyone else....you're welcome.

11 September 2014


I don't know if this is promotional tool or a fantastic snapshot of a scene, but Glory Hole and Hermetic dropped one killer collection of trippy pop music with this second volume of FSDC (the first volume rules too, naturally). The DMA track is my personal favorite, like an indie pop track chopped and screwed, and the SUICIDE-esque sparseness of CREEPING PINK is more than a little compelling. Psychedelic acoustic guitar missives and fuzzed out garage punk oddities fill the voids with tracks from HANZ BRONZE, BLACK NEIGHBORHOOD, HOLIDAY GIRLS, DAVID JABLONSKI and a couple of others...just really good tunes. We all need really good tunes sometimes.

10 September 2014


Suffocating and psychedelic black metal courtesy of the consistently successful Universal Consciousness label. While moments of this (likely bedroom solo) project are indeed sinister and terrifying, the majority of this 40 minutes is a swarm of dark and morose sound, more like a forlorn surrender than anything approaching a vicious attack. When percussion makes itself audible (as on the admittedly disconcerting "The Bees Are In My Head") the result is a cacophony that demands as much attention as the repetitive wall of guitars that rely on intent instead of fidelity. This project is a fukkn mission - feel the ferocity of "Pain Of Alethela Of Truth" that drops like a bomb and spends its entire existence disseminating despair with focused intensity...Seattle's QULIELFI will envelop you. I suppose this is black metal? As far as I'm concerned it's just heavy, in every sense of the word (but mostly the emotional one).

09 September 2014


My history with this band started in 1998 when I was driving BY ALL MEANS from Italy on their tour with AVAIL and BOY SETS FIRE. After the Memphis show, a friend of mine got piss thrown on his from a rooftop when he left the venue, a reaction to the table of politically left leaning books and literature he was peddling at the show (the Italians, of course, though this was fukkn insane...we explained to them that it was, in fact, Tennessee). We went back to Paul's place and, after a meal and a pleasant visit, we all started to forage for sleeping spots - I lost the musical floor space contest and was about to retire to the hopelessly hot and humid van when Paul offered his air conditioned bedroom (thanks, buddy). He put the Czarzły LP on as we laid down and I fought to stay awake so I could hear more of these magical sounds - I had never heard melodic punk like that before, and I didn't want to miss any of it (though I missed a lot because sleep always wins eventually). I snagged the Tragedia record shortly thereafter (and the others shortly after that) and joined the cultish legions that had figured out that there was a band in Poland doing something really really special. In Lublin a few years later, I picked up this 1988 POST REGIMENT demo (it was one of many that I bought on the suggestion of our hosts....and the only one that I still own); rough, low fidelity (at least on this initial recording) and absolutely brilliant melodic punk that deserves to be uttered in sentences with DEZERTER and ARMIA, there's something indescribably special about many bands from this time and place. Though Nika's voice doesn't really appear until the second side of this demo, you can hear the band's sound developing though the tracks...and when she does start singing you can hear a legend in its infancy. There seriously are not enough words for how good this bands is....my only apology is that this cassette is not first generation and is therefore a bit hissy (what do you expect for a mere seven złoty?), but I feel like that's exactly how this should be heard for the first time. So please do. 

08 September 2014


This shit dropped a couple of years back and I kinda snoozed (even though Ken fukkn sent me a copy), but thankfully there's nothing wrong with diving in headfirst after the fact. Only five songs here, and it's a sound worthy of at least twice that many...imagine the noisy hardcore filter applied to '80s California punk and '90s East Bay hardcore instead of DBeat. Sounds you are already familiar with, but sounds that feel new again, sounds that feel important again. "Decay" is the banger: starting with a squall of feedback and a UK82 drumbeat, then the low end rumble introduces the searing guitars and affected vocals to carry us through until a breakdown that screams filthy Oakland warehouse 1993 cuts the tempo in half only to have the song lurch back into gear with a brilliantly simple and piercing guitar lead - the whole thing is a killer, but that song is a fukkn classic. Sacramento noise punk that didn't forget that before you can destroy music, you have to create it.

07 September 2014


Late '90s straight edge fastcore from Uruguay...think about MOHINDER's off the rails mania with touches of melodic (or dare I say emotional?) delivery. PURPURA are raw, honest and...is it lame if I say pure considering the name of the band? More importantly: do I care? Pure Punk Power - sometimes I still miss the '90s.

straight edge es punk // punk es oposición

06 September 2014


The noise intro is ominous but, even though you pretty much know what's coming, it's hard to not get your socks blown off when New Zealand's TREPANATION drop. I guess they call themselves War Metal, but I decided to create a new all encompassing subgenre for them: Grinding DBeat Death. Devastatingly heavy churning old school death metal going to battle waving the ScandiCrust flag with healthy doses of blast to keep things uncomfortable. The sound is evil, the presentation is nearly flawless, and the vibe is one of pure punishment. 

And their new split with SABBATIC GOAT is even better...

05 September 2014


More time/place comp action, this time from Pensacola, Florida. Grind, hardcore, raucous garage punk, noise punk from a band called ZEROX '82 that will melt yr fukkn mind, catchy Oi! and the obligatory "our bro has a sampler thing and he made this song and he lives here so can he be on the comp?" track from BALDER. Personally, I'll take the ALTERED STATE tracks over anything else on here (though the BAD ORGASM jams are superb), but the whole thing is tops. Good job, and enjoy.