I keep wanting to call UDÜSIC "feisty." If you wanna break down their riffs, then the songs are pretty straightforward, but the guitars are anxious, like they want to get the song over with so they can go drink or something...and Sarah's vocals want to be catchy but it sounds like she's too pissed to pull it off. Check the beginning of "Mature" (the whole song, really) - it's the laid back number on the demo but it's teeth are like fangs and the swinging guitars are more like the sound track to a knife fight. Also, the OUT COLD cover is next level sickness. I guess when I wanted to call them feisty, the word I was really looking for was "punk."
28 February 2015
27 February 2015
COMING BACK TO HAUNT YOU
Early '90s European rough and tumble edge and 'core comp - from the hyper speed chugs from PROFAX that open the tape to the chaotic live X-LARGE track that wraps things up 90 minutes later, Coming Back To Haunt you is a killer glimpse into the less celebrated world of hardcore. THE CLOWN, LAST STRAW, X WOOLHEAD, HAMMERHEAD B.T., VITAKORN, ALL IN THE HEAD, and a slew of other bands you've never heard of....plus two rippers from MAN LIFTING BANNER. A heads up that a lot of the content here is live (or just generally raw), but personally I think that adds a little charm - the tape hiss just goes up with the volume. BETRAY (harmonics right out of the gate and straight into a whirlwind), ALL IN THE HEAD (pre-fastcore mania!) and POINT OF NO RETURN (best/worst bass tone ever) offer up my favorite tunes, in case anyone is keeping track.
26 February 2015
1988 hardcore from San Diego County - a tenuous attack from a tuneless, over-overdriven guitar (that would be better suited on a DISORDER record) that sounds especially out of place backed by thunderous drums. Snotty '80s HC vocals (check out "Secret Society," vocals are perfect) from the future BUCK-O-NINE frontman (there's someone from UNWRITTEN LAW in the mix as well), bordering on crossover thrash but the music never quite lets him get there. Confidential ain't gonna change your world and perhaps this is for the overly curious and/or completists only, but my world is filled with under the radar second tier hardcore...and this pretty much hits the spot. But second tier or not, the guitar break in "CID" is fukkn screaming.
we are victims of society // labeled victims, can't you see?!
25 February 2015
Walked into a living room in Santa Rosa a few months back and was pleasantly surprised to see a wall of gear lined up along one wall, indicating that all five bands would be using the same equipment (this makes shows run waaay smoother kids). And then I looked behind the table lamp in the opposite corner and was even more pleased at the pile of knobs and machines and noise makers assembled and plugged into a couple of small amps - these suburban punks and transient weirdos were gonna get treated to some fukkn noise, and I was gonna love it. RAE PUS BARA BUS started the show with a mind melting, fishnet laden, neck goiter bursting explosion delivered at a deafening volume and about a quarter of the attendees were at least intrigued (if not enthralled) while most chilled outside and took advantage of the garbage can full of Keystone Ice that was available for our enjoyment and lubrication. Count me among the former group, and if the bands that played that night hadn't been so damned good then that burst of noise might have been the highlight of my evening. But the bands were good, it was a great evening, and the dude with the fishnet and the thing on his neck that popped out when he screamed (which was often) hooked me up with two tapes of previous noise projects. CONJUGAL VISITS is one of those tapes - a fifteen minute journey through two rooms.
And rest assured that the image contained in the download features a non-pixellated image of the wiener going into the place where the poo comes out. You've been warned...
24 February 2015
The combination of sounds doesn't sound like it even belongs on the same tape until a few minutes into this demo...but when it all clicks things start to get really sweet. Bouncy pogo drums keep ELECTROCUTIONER from going off the rails while a blown out bass rumbles and a teenage guitar struggles to be heard over gruff Japanese-hardcore-meets-black-metal vocals cranks mercilessly high in the mix. The start/stop of "Undercover" is quick to remind you that these are not amateurs at work, and thankfully the plodding closer "Gentrified" comes after the listener has grown accustomed to the bizarre mix, because the shit is ominous as anything. It should come as no surprise that something this raw and catchy comes from our friends down south...the LA area is just killing it lately.
23 February 2015
I listened to the 1985/86 INSANITY yesterday on the drive back from Bakersfield (you can still find them here, and I still recommend it), and it reminded me that I've been meaning to plant this 1989 burner right on your precious little cheeks. The riffing does not stop, and these monkeys look at you like you are a fool if you ask for a breakdown....and then they drop "Ultimate Death" on your ass and the dancefloor just crumbles, it's as if they are saying "What, punk? You asked for it, you get what you asked for. We are going to get back to thrashing now." This is raw Bay Area Thrash - nothing more/nothing less.
22 February 2015
Mid '90s dark punk that just bleeds Oakland (and I say that even before the song "Oakland" closes the demo). Multiple vocals, with the main roles filled by author/poet/performer Wendy-O-Matik and Noah from NEUROSIS. These ten songs are like a time warp, a window looking back to a time when "punk" seemed to mean something entirely different...
21 February 2015
Brad Misanthropic made this tape for the Milwaukee Mix Tape Exchange in the early '00s, and it's still a regular jammer around TEHQ. An insane collection of crushing '70s heavy rock from an A-List of collector nerd fodder. If you aren't familiar with SEOMPI, DARK, ICECROSS, DIES IRAE, WICKED LADY, BUM (pre- IRON MAIDEN), POOBAH....well, today is your lucky day. A few slightly better known heavyweights are included as well (MAY BLITZ, HIGH TIDE, Brasil's MODULO 1000, T2, JERONIMO), but these are "well known" to freaks and mutants and afficionado more than your average punker. Can't even stress how much this tape jams, listen to the BULLETPROOF track repeatedly. You're welcome.
20 February 2015
Hugely important band in my life, CHAINSAW KITTENS were one of the hundreds (thousands?) of almost famous bands that should have made it instead of hundreds (thousands?) of piece of shit schlock acts that crammed the airwaves and rock clubs in the '90s. Brilliant glam/pop delivered with a fiery and borderline psychedelic live energy. I saw the band countless times, and no doubt those live shows are part of the reason why this band (and this record, specifically) still blows me away. Violent Religion was released in 1990, and the band almost rocketed to superstardom (at least I like to think they were that close...) with their follow up. But they didn't, instead releasing three more quality full lengths on an assortment of indie labels before bowing out a decade after they started. Perhaps there are a few editorial critiques that could be made ("Feel Like A Drugstore" seems like filler or a JANE'S ADDICTION outtake, and it's followed by "Savior Boyfriend Collides," which is arguably the weakest song on the record), but I think this is one of the best collections of songs that I own , and few bands hold such a perfect time/place marker for me. And, while I know I've said it before in these pages, "I'm Waiting" is without a doubt my favorite punk love song ever. You're welcome.
I have also updated the link in the CHAINSAW KITTENS demo post from a few years back, in case you would like to hear slightly less awesome versions of some of these songs.
19 February 2015
CHAIN GANG GRAVE
Really tough to nail what these fools are going for, but if they wanted to make a punishing noise rock opus when they recorded When Your Friends Become Cops, then they fukkn nailed it. Ominous from the first note, and (inadvertently?) steering clear of virtually every cliché, this New York outfit sounds cool as fukk without trying to sound cool. What they are trying to do is bulldoze you with noisy guitars and riffs like molasses, all drowned in mystery and vocals that land closer to THE VSS than any band they will ever get compared to. As usual, I'm late to the game, and dribbling over a demo that was released a year ago...but my goal is not to give you what's new....my goal is to give you what's good. Listen to "Ask Girls" at maximum volume...CHAIN GANG GRAVE is good.
18 February 2015
I don't go out of my way to post the noisy raw shit every Monday like I used to, but if I did then Halifax freaks LIFE CHAIN would be first in line. I know it's Wednesday...but you can pretend, right? And you can pogo your ass off when "Mind Pollution" starts, right? Perfect. Guitars fukkd right and proper, everything drenched in the wake of every pedal available at the pawn shop and high female vocals soaring over the whole mess, more suited for urgent anarcho punk and then raging assault that is "Nightmares," but they are fukkn perfect. DISCLOSE cover is legit, and the two EPs that have dropped since the release of this demo two years ago are well worth your time. Obviously, some punks have tired of this style but, when it's this sick, I don't give half a shit whether or not something is now, or ever was, en vogue.
17 February 2015
There are a few crews in the world that can seemingly conjure up perfect hardcore riffs at will and execute them with terrifying precision...this is one of them. Pay close attention to the chorus of "The Grip," you monkeys, because that is what it feels like to get kicked in the face by a hardcore song. And the intro to "Turn Your Back And Run" that follows? That's what it feels like to get ground into the pavement by a hardcore song. You should already know this one inside and out since it came out in 2013, but I'm sharing it today to help the poor, sad souls who missed the boat. Those drums, man....fukk. Snap to it, you monkeys, get amongst it.
16 February 2015
I've been in several bands and played lots of different shows in different places. It would be impossible for me to say "this one show was the best show I've ever played," or been to, or seen, or whatever, because there are so many different factors that make shows appeal to different parts of the ears, the brain and the soul. But the show RITUAL CONTROL played in Mexico City in December was right up there....everything was right, it was an awesome night, and CADENAXO was a huge part of it. We knew we were gonna play with TERCER MUNDO and MUERTE, so obviously we were stoked, but the criminally short blast from the final ESPECIE FALLIDA song when we arrived (we were late) let me know that this night was going to be extra good. ANTI SEX were stellar, SACRIFICIO shredded...and then there was CADENAXO. I mean, perhaps it's just hardcore...right? But sometimes there's something different and, maybe it's just because you aren't expecting whatever it is you're about to get (and for whatever reason, we were NOT expecting CADENAXO that night), and everything just clicks. These kids bash out perfectly executed US hardcore, nailing all the breakdowns, all the guitar breaks, the harmonics, the intros, the fukkn power of hardcore - and never once do they feel, sound, or seem like they are going through the motions. Sink your teeth into the breakdown in "Prejucios," and then dig the simple (perfect) bass in the intro to "Reaccionar" (naw, bruh - peep that whole damn track, cuz the mosh in that one melts the whole rest of this tape, foo!) - these fukkn maniacs know exactly what they are doing. I'm not telling you that you have to get into this shit, because you are your own human and you will get into whatever the fukk you want to get into...I'm just telling you that this tape is really good if you like hardcore. And I'm telling you that when I saw them play in DF....? That was sick.
15 February 2015
The first thing you have to do is get past the thwapping paddle boat sound of the bass drum. As soon as you do that, you'll be able to sink your teeth into some seriously brutal early '90s communist crust from St. Paul, Minnesota. Ultra low end vocals grunt and growl while the band churns their way through three tracks of the heaviest caliber - primitive death metal stripped of all schlock and reduced to its purest (and ugliest) form. Lyrics and info are included with the music file to remind you that these dudes are not fucking around...the third and final tracks here is a fukkn crusher. So get crushed.
14 February 2015
These Santa Rosa mutants blipped onto my radar when STERILE MIND shared a living room with them a few months back. Teenage energy driving songs constructed by old ass souls trying to break free from the constraints of moronic hardcore. Two demos from 2014 in the file today, the rawer Mother Was A Baby (the title track surely channels Ginn during the slow part, but that super simple riff that brings the song back to hardcore is just....they nailed it, and you are welcome to drool over the guitar sound in "Here In My Room") and Fuck Freek, which shows them starting to hone their approach (The track "Freak" is probably a tough one to pull off live, but it is stellar on this demo). Hard to put this one in a box, which is exactly what you get when you pile up a bunch of young punks with slightly different ideas of what they want to be....sometimes that combination falls flat on its pimply face, but these kids are on point and getting better.
Not coincidentally, NO STATIK is playing Santa Rosa tonight with LIVING EYES, SKIN LIKE IRON, WALLFLOWER and SPELLS. Then next Friday we share a house in Long Beach with ACRYLICS, RATS IN THE WALL, FRAUDE and GENERACION SUICIDA. Methinks the next seven days are bookended nicely...
13 February 2015
WHAT IS MUSIC?
I've touched on my time in Oklahoma several times in the virtual pages of this e-publication, but it's really difficult to explain how formative those few years were for me. I lived in Norman (about 20 miles south of Oklahoma City) from mid 1990 to January 1994 and many of the bands I was introduced to during my time there are still favorites today. I pull out Violent Religion at least once a month (and tend to jam it a few times in a row when I do) nearly 25 years after its release, I still contend that CONCEPT OF NONSENSE are one of the more under appreciated hardcore bands of the era, and the SONS are no doubt one of the coolest and most unique sounding bands I've ever heard. Perhaps some of the bands don't really hold up to first time listeners who never saw them live but I saw every band I could, from TALL TALES to SUBSANITY and, to an 18 year old who had simply never had the opportunity to see live punk...it was fukkn incredible. This 1992 comp tape from Sound Noise Music concentrates on the weirder end of the punk spectrum...the freaks and mutants and casualties leftover from 1980s hardcore (yes, Oklahoma had that too) and the nasty skinhead explosion that dominated the final years of the decade, and this was the end of the spectrum that I wanted. I didn't yet know that I loved hardcore because, quite simply, I hadn't really heard it yet, so ILLEGITIMATE SONS OF JACKIE O were the fastest and most intense thing on the planet as far as I was concerned (three of their tracks appear on this comp, including a burner called "You're Ignorant" that might be my favorite track of theirs). SONS frontman Dan Riffe is also behind this tape's VAN GOGH'S EAR offerings, and I'm pretty sure he's playing guitar on this incarnation of UNSOCIETY (Chad's band between CONCEPT and BROTHER INFERIOR), who I don't remember sounding this Oi!, but that might be because I also didn't really know what Oi! sounded like. And speaking of Chad, we've got THE KIDS WHO NEVER LEARNED HOW TO COLOR INSIDE OF THE LINES (whose songs were always too long, but who were always a blast live) and THE SENSUAL UNDERGROUND BAND (Sensual Underground was Chad's house, Tulsa's coolest DIY venue, and his record label/propaganda machine). FACELESS UNITY are screaming US hardcore that could have come from anywhere...but should have existed ten years before this tape was released. The highlights of the comp for my ears are the weird shit - there were no rules in Oklahoma, and no one had to sound like anything to be cool (because, unless you were THE LIPS, essentially no one was cool except BLEMISH, but they just thought they were cool), so of course there were a lot of cool bands as a result. First time I was terrified at a show was GLUE in a basement, their pal was collecting money at the door and ran up to the mic wielding a knife screaming "motherfukkr if you don't give me a dollar I'm gonna fuckkn cut you!! one fukkn dollar you piece of shit!!" and the band just laughed, playing on at full volume while the audience crept outside. The GLUE tracks here might not match up to either of their proper releases, but "In The Basement/Party At Perry's" is a total killer and the drums on "Blue Cloud" are textbook awesome. Straight noise freakout from FOREHEAD DAWG, honest poetic weirdness from LONG PIG, and eleven minutes of psychedelic jamming from TATTERED REMNANTS. Think about how warped your adult tastes would be if your first exposures to live underground music were frat bar bands trying to hop on the grunge bandwagon and mutant rock like this...and then look at the virtual pages of this e-rag it will make a lot more sense.
12 February 2015
How many thousands of "bands" like this have dropped demos that flew under the radar and then anonymously fell to the ground? SHADOWED VEIL were a two piece bedroom anarcho outfit from Oshkosh, Wisconsin, and this 30 minute offering is nothing if not compelling. TG styled proto industrial noise with CRASS politics and awkward moments of rudimentary dark punk...the fact that this is a winner is a complete accident. Tracks like "E" and "The Children's War" would be complete schlock with a different production, but in this environment it sounds like sheer success. A glorious collision between raw 4-track punk, noise and art. Standout track: "Blood Blister Coitus."
And adding to the appeal of this tape is the mystery that lurks behind the SHADOWED VEIL. Only presented as ETC..., I figure this half hour of noise and samples and manipulations was created by the duo responsible for the SV sounds, but without any of the punk leanings. Just pure, primitive and dark sounds ranging from psychedelic loops (track 09 and the eleven minute closer) to harsh noise (tracks 02 and 05) to ominous dirges (track 11) and general weirdness (basically the rest of the tracks). In a way, I find this more compelling than the SHADOWED VEIL material simply because it's more mysterious, but either side would be a swell find on its own...and to find them both inside one little plastic shell? That is what you call victory.
11 February 2015
This one knocked my fukkn socks off the minute I pressed play. Captivating retro synth/cold wave, these kids totally nail it on the tape, and their new LP on Dead Tank promises to be even better. Shades of '80s Belgium in the presentation (and the vocals) even though DECADES/FAILURES concentrate on the vibe more than the beat, this is solitary listening more than a dance floor banger. 002 hits every nerve with me, as close to perfection as I could ask for. Obviously, these tracks are highly recommended listening.
10 February 2015
I would like to be a fly on the wall while the average HOAX fan pops Jesse's offering into the deck and slogs through minutes of subdued, pulsating power electronics...waiting for the riff. The riff does not come, but FEJHED's approach to electronic music is refreshing and captivating, and hopefully this will win over brainless hardcore mutants as well as potentially skeptical industrial fans, leery of a potential bandwagon jumper. This release doesn't assault you; it breathes, it reels you in, it flows through you, and it's almost soothing in a way that makes you feel subtly uncomfortable. Industrial electronics, but adult and calculated and with sparse, buried vocals...this one is good, punks. Really good.
09 February 2015
The bass that starts "Breed" is straight up ALICE IN CHAINS (I'm talking "Would?"here) and from that high mark, Concord's TORQUE churn through three low end burners that took me by complete surprise. While I'm sure that many lamented the transition from thrash metal (especially the justifiably Bay Area brand) to what would eventually become nü metal, demos like this are primal and punishing. The pace and attack are more akin to meaty east coast hardcore (the knuckle dragging ignorant kind) than any kind of long haired metal, and the backing vocals on the opening tracks confirm that assertion. Maybe this appeals to me because in high school I revered Cowboys From Hell and Blood Sweat And No Tears equally or maybe the shit just jams, but the whirlwind of "Again" is gonna rock me through my ride to work later this morning, shouting "again and again and AGAIN!" in my own head...or maybe at full volume while cruising the sleepy morning streets of San Francisco, startling a few well to do joggers and the cross fit crew that meets on Folsom Street.
For a lineage, TORQUE came from the final line up of Bay Area thrashers VIO-LENCE when the singer left to start MACHINE HEAD. Dudes from this demo have done time in MACHINE HEAD, TESTAMENT, FORBIDDEN...and two of the dudes were in SOCIAL UNREST.
08 February 2015
The vocals are what grab me, throaty and fukkn pissed and so unmistakably '90s. Post NYHC and pre "hardcore/thrash revival," there was some really excellent music that history seems to gloss over with asinine statements like "there were no good bands from the '90s," and there are boxes in closets full of demos like this one that prove those statements wrong. Emotional and powerful, heavy and determined, plenty of groove in the most positive way imaginable. "Let Go" is the standout track, a slow creepy crawl that sets a mood equally harsh and dark, topped with tinny guitars and those nasty vocals dropping seriously heavy knowledge. New Jersey, man...New Jersey.
Can you feel my anger? // Can you feel my pain? // Can you feel my hate? Because I can // This world, this life, feeds my fire and it's burning bright // taken all I can // Swallowed all the shit // Tasted all the hate...now I let go
07 February 2015
KATA SARKA // BODDICKER
Ripping blackened crust from Indianapolis' KATA SARKA. Grinding blackened crust from Detroit's BODDICKER. Sometimes, this is exactly what I need, and tight now is one of those times.
06 February 2015
FEASTS OF BLAZE vol. 1
A slightly different vibe that what you found on last week's Feasts Of Blaze vol. 2, this mix focuses more on driving dancefloor friendly goth and dark punk jammers. RED LORRY YELLOW LORRY is an under recognized band from these worlds, and it was a good initial introduction for me to acts like ONE MILLION BULGARIANS and AURORA (whose track is excellent dreary '80s with anguished vocals that seem like they would be more comfortable fronting a hardcore band). Great combination of underground standards and unknown bangers, and the level of quality is just as high as the later installment...I can only hope that the two volumes indicate a budding series?
05 February 2015
Seminal late '80s Orange County thrash, ATTAXE cranked out a handful of demos during their run but never seem to have made the jump to wax. No matter for these ears, as the marriage of professional production and amateurish reproduction (in the form of cheap demos) is one that I fully endorse. Plenty of early METALLICA, both in the construction of the jams and the vocals, but these thrash maniacs are far from a run of the mill rehash, barreling through four breakneck headbangers packed with moshtastic breakdowns, monstrous backing vocals and flawless, screaming leads. The title track is the fukkn winner - an relentless fist banger that will leave you exhausted after just three minutes - while the closer "Crabs" is a classically moronic punk/thrash banger about parasitic testicular invaders...delivered with every ounce of the panache you would expect from a crew of thrashers from Brea, California. Picture me blasting this while riding to work this morning.
04 February 2015
2014 brought me two fantastic releases from Cincinnati's SHREDDED NERVE, both on the Chondritic Sound label. Hanging In The Balance is a collection of loops, audio collages and aural manipulations that transform into cascades of lurching sound. Even when SHREDDED NERVE approach crescendos, the delivery is still hesitant, preventing any comfort whatsoever for you, my dear listener. "Left In Capable Hands" is the most cacophonous, and there are two breathy respites following each of the tape's anchor pieces. Perhaps best suited for intent listening...
03 February 2015
STANCE OF CHAIN
There's an easy comparison that I totally want to make, but I feel like it would lessen the impact of this crucial demo. I don't know if the band is STANCE OF CHAIN or 力と正義 (roughly translated: POWER AND JUSTICE), but I am certain that the four songs featured on this demo are a steamroller of Japanese HC obliterating nihilistic early '90s intensity. The sole hook is in "Only One," and that jammer is followed by the most crudely essential breakdown in the demo's closer (titled, naturally, "Break Down"). Clench your fists.
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