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.

20 November 2014


I've said it before, but there must be thousands of bands that are only not considered crucial because of when they existed, not where they were from or what they played. Imagine for a moment that FATALITY was from San Francisco, circa 1984...seminal Bay Area thrash without a doubt. But take the same band and drop them in 1990 San Jose, realize that they existed in the same time and place as ASBESTOS DEATH and ask yourself if you think anyone gave half a shit about a band playing thrash metal. I'm guessing they didn't....but I'm damn sure that this demo melts my fukkn face in 2014 San Francisco, so someone please tell FATALITY that their legacy is in good hands. Colossal backing vocals, screaming guitars and an appropriately relentless pace - listen to the singer gurgle "crime pays the fukkn rent" and you'll wonder whether you want to grab your high top white sneakers or a knife (I suggest both). The whole thing (all three songs of it) is damn near perfect - this monkeys knew exactly what they wanted to do and they crushed it on their only release, nevermind that grunge and crust were hot on their heels. Raw and brutal thrash metal: you're welcome.

19 November 2014


RITUAL CONTROL played a show in Chico, California in the spring. It was everything you want from a house party filled with misfits and miscreants, and the 15 or so people crammed into that hole they call a basement had a fukkn blast and made us feel welcome. It was a good reminder that sometimes you need to get away to simply get real - and when I was done taking my picture next to a teenager duct taped to a barstool in the kitchen, I watched CRIMINAL WAVE rock the shit out of that sweaty ass hole in the ground and the kids that weren't drinking and playing video games in the living room showed their appreciation enthusiastically. Southern California sound, small town hardcore determination. I was pretty sure this demo would rule when Miles told me he was gonna drop one in the mail...and for once I was right.

18 November 2014


This 1989 demo was in a pile of stuff I got from a friend years ago and I just kept skipping past it until this past weekend....it was worth the wait. You want this to be some lost goth punk gem, and it gets close at times, but this is pure psychedelic freakout gold - tracks like "Old Nik" and "Drop Dead" just burn and the guitar is impossible to contain. Listen to the vocals on "Professor Heed," it sounds like she is so busy losing her shit that she can barely make it over to the microphone to lay down her tracks, and then the guitar starts off with some theremin sounding shit lurking under the surface, taking only a short break before filling the last 90 seconds with solos while the drums keep surging forward. I can't tell (nor do I care) where these maniacs were coming from and the recording is rough around the edges at times, but this near-hour long demo is going to be one hell of a reward for you monkeys brave enough (read: smart enough) to take the plunge. 

Also, more than once when listening to this for the first time, I thought, "This kinda sounds like AMEBIX." Tell me I'm crazy.

17 November 2014


Good Morning: "Black Poison." "Lycanthro Drunk." "Ruin." I mean, you already know what you're about to get into, right? SILENCER does exactly what you need them to do, and they do it with military precision. Blistering Scandi-by-way-of-PDX hardcore crust punk with hollow vocals and tasty leads (but only when appropriate...which is apparently often) and that half gallop, half fist in the air thing that people who love things that are awesome seem to be into. Because people who love things that are awesome are smart people. You want to be smart, right? Then I suggest you start studying.

16 November 2014


Epic doesn't even come close. Oakland's ABSTRACTER soar, pulling a blanket of suffocating despair over you while you listen. Only three songs on this 2012 tape (also released on vinyl and CD), confidently accelerating to a swampy KYLESA-esque crawl at their very fastest, but spending most of the time slogging through riff after powerful riff before laying back and letting the atmosphere take over. Black metal minor chords sneak into the slower parts, even though the reviewer that pegged them for an offshoot of that genre would be a very very lazy reviewer - Tomb Of Feathers is dark, heavy, and beautifully menacing, even if the torment seems to be pointed inward. And to think that this band is right under my very nose...

15 November 2014


It takes a lot to make something that I can't really talk about. I talk a lot. But I don't know what the fukk these kids are thinking and this short (short!) demo confuses me. Two short and super intriguing keyboard (organ?) driven soundscapes and two brutal and excellent lo-fi bass/drum powerviolence eruptions. Three minutes of magic on a 60 minute blank tape...that's all I know. 

14 November 2014


Before we trolled the internet looking for new (or old) sounds, those of us lucky enough to live in the broadcast range of someone more enlightened or informed would crowd around the radio and listen. College stations were the obvious sources of many early punk educations, but I remember tuning into a hazy KMOD from Tulsa and adjusting the foil outside my window so I could hear their "deep cut" classic rock LPs on Sunday nights (I recorded many of them, and the thrill of snagging an early '70s DEEP PURPLE record as a 13 year old was immense). When I was 15, I started a new wave radio show on the AOR/easy listening/schlock format station in my small town, and ran with it until I left town, so hopefully someone tuned in to hear whatever gems I had unearthed during the week (though for the first couple of years it was mostly non-single cuts off of CURE and VIOLENT FEMMES with a DEAD KENNEDYS or THRILL KILL KULT track thrown in here and there). Maybe (probably?) the internet will take over completely (or maybe the radio format will just transfer to the internet, as with the still excellent and still weekly Maximum Rocknroll Radio whose show this week features pals of mine) but there's something special about the static swelling in and out of a poorly recorded cassette recorded by a kid hoping to hear something new, and last winter I definitely cruised through Grants, New Mexico at 3am listening to a certifiably ill black metal show on a Native community station. Found a place to park on a hill where I could get a clear signal and I just listened...

Anarcho punk, late '80s college rock, reggae weird snippets, and two dudes talking about tunes they like and generally being weirdos. Exactly what we want.

13 November 2014


I got a bunch of shit that came from who knows where. Maybe it's one of the tapes Craig gave me? Maybe it's from the box Dan gave me in Milwaukee last summer and I just integrated into the "to be ripped" shelf gushing over the DYSTOPIA and DEVASTATION demos? I don't know how NO CHRIST FOR THE POOR came into my life, but those with a similar penchant for guttural, tense and shamelessly brutal powerviolence will be glad that it did. Massachusetts, and the samples date the recording as much as the sound (early '90s I'm guessing), these dudes lash out in sub-60 second bursts with a weirdness that would have had them right in line with the West Bay's finest (the 7+ minute hip hop track that closes the tape solidifies that impression) with erratic and utterly hateful downtuned dirges that erupt into fidelity-free blasts and pained distorted screams. This music is fukkn ugly. Oh yeah, and there is a 7+ minute power electronics piece before the hip hop, so...yeah, sometimes life is a harsh toke.

12 November 2014


I guess this one kinda sounds how it looks like it sounds, if that makes any sense? Fast, positive hardcore with gratuitous breakdowns - I suppose it's pretty early in the game for a country not exactly (or even a little bit) known for straight edge HC. This shit is by-the-books to be sure, but the shit is good and the fact that it's derivative does not bother me in the least. And it shouldn't bother you either.

11 November 2014


Peaceful ambient drones carefully constructed by guitar and electronics. Like a hum from a church bell frozen in mid-ring for what seems like an eternity, Terzakis' patience is astounding. Further description is really not necessary - either you have a place for these sounds or you don't. 

10 November 2014


There was a time a few years back when Mondays were reserved for regurgitations of derivative bursts of distorted noise punk...and a few people were really stoked about it. I'm a little more lax these days, but I feel like today's post should appeal to those looking to have their boundaries pushed a little more than they are really comfortable with. I give you Norway's PARLAMENTARISK SODOMI. Manic and insane one man HC/grind, I honestly do not think I have ever heard a band like this one, and this 2009(?) release is just the beginning - let them help you challenge everything you think you know about what you like. I feel like this band is going to kick people in the ass sometime in the future, it's primal and sinister hardcore grind metal mania delivered with terrifying precision, but I just don't think the world is ready for it (this was released in '09, and I still don't think the world is ready)...but once this shit sinks in? Fukkn look out. Next level space grind in your fucking face.

These songs come from a bunch of vinyl releases. Have you heard of 625? Did you think they were done because you are a lazy punk follower? That's your fault. Also, theres a thing called bandcamp.
I know it's early, but I promise you that you need these sounds NOW.

09 November 2014


It seems that this Parisian outfit is no more, but if a band's legacy is seven minutes of brutality than a band would find it difficult to leave the stage on more impressive fashion than AMER. Blasting hardcore of the highest order, these eight tracks are a fukkn bulldozer (and live footage indicates that it was not mere studio trickery) - take the knuckledragging pace of the intro to "Patriarchal Psychopath" and listen to it ease casually into a surge of powerfully violent hardcore with machine gun drums and then descend back into a hateful mosh. Shit is just ugly. Amanda's vocals are next level, especially for the style, and they suit the music perfectly....start/stop hardcore mania delivered with passion and maximum intensity - really wish this band had more tracks to offer, because these are going to get a lot of listens at TEHQ.

08 November 2014


In the late '80s when some hardcore bands were injecting funk into their songs and others were slowing things down and getting more and more schlocky, there were still new bands determined to play faster than ever but still managed to move away from the accepted formulas and make things a little dark in the process. The Bay Area was prime for shit like this, perhaps a reaction to the impressive array of high profile thrash bands from the region, and bands from here often seem like they have a different edge. Take CHRONIC PLAGUE from Albany (that's near Berkeley, and the town where a relatively well known band from area was formed around the same time this 1986 demo dropped) - first track is really just a crossover thrash screamer, but other shit starts to creep in on "Disillusioned" (especially the intro) and these primitive sounding yet quite complex bangers with their crackling guitar and teen frustration make a serious impression even on first listen. Do not expect a produced or polished assault - this is raw and very very real garage thrash. Also, I'm pretty sure the dude playing bass was my roommate in San Francisco ten years after this was recorded.

07 November 2014


I saw a few bands this summer. If you told me to make a list of the best five, then Milwaukee's FAILED MUTATION would be on that list. If you told me to make a list of the best three, then FAILED MUTATION would be on that list too. I could tell you some of the other bands that these kids are (and have been) in, but do you really need me to do that? You shouldn't. I'm not gonna lie and say that the demo kick my ass as hard as seeing them live, but band should be better live than recorded...right? This is Midwestern US hardcore punk.

06 November 2014


Chaotic and manic mid '00s grind/HC from Malaysia, ALL THESE WHILE... rip through eight tracks in as many minutes. Maybe that's not particularly noteworthy, but bear in mind that the final offering is a three minute echo laden doom/crust piece, making the preceding bangers seem even more off the rails. Light on the hooks, ALL THESE WHILE... crank out killer intros, killer breakdowns, and fill in the rest of the space with unhinged multi vocal mania - listen to "Fast God Fucking Violence" and then see how you feel about doing anything except wrecking shit. You're welcome.

Fuck off to: The insulter, fucker, abuser, sucker and torturer. We are the fucking sinners.

05 November 2014


Stylistically similar to the early '00s Brasilian band of the same name, Holland's POINT OF NO RETURN dropped this rough piece of uncompromising teenage straight edge hardcore in 1990. Vocals cracking, tinny as shit drums buried under a perfectly filthy guitar that dominates the entire recording - stylistically this is early DC with edge breakdowns and just the right mix of ineptitude and earnest determination. When they talk about their scene you feel like they really believe it, and when they tempo stows to a steady mosh stomp you can feel the room start to move. Call it a guilty pleasure if you like but I feel no shame, and if you don't find the the "Go!" at 1:39 in "Limbo Wolfpack" then you might need to reexamine your musical likes and dislikes because hardcore might not be for you.

"I'd like to know where your ideals have gone
I'm sorry to say but your attitude's wrong
I don't even know if you mean what you say
Get the fuck out of my way
We have to live with your violent shit
I could surely do without it
You're getting me angrier bit by bit
But we'll get our revenge IN THE PIT"

04 November 2014


Post punk is an increasingly easy (and inaccurate) descriptor to throw around. Throw some reverb on the vocals and all of a sudden people are filing your band in a subgenre pioneered accidentally by bands like THE FALL and GANG OF FOUR, which is obviously ridiculous. But every now and then, the classification makes sense, and sometimes it's spot fukkn on - as with San Francisco's FLEECE. Simultaneously harsh and relaxed, FLEECE roll through eight repetitive tracks punctuated by harsh guitar outbursts and sharp vocals. Hints of early JOY DIVISION creep through the slower parts, while the majority of these tracks would be right at home in the Rough Trade catalog...and then they seal the deal with a URINALS cover. Add this to the list of locals that I need to see live, I'll be the old guy in the back.