Me and this little lady are getting in the van. I'll be posted up at my usual location in Milwaukee next Friday (Checkpoint 2 at the Riverwest 24 - feel free to check for live leader board updates during the race, this is my favorite day of the year). Then we'll take the long way home through Oklahoma and New Mexico before the official end of summer. I know you'll be fine while I'm gone, but the PRESSING ON demo is just below this post for your enjoyment...and if anyone along my route has an annoying tape collection that's just taking up space, drop me a line. See you monkeys in August.
17 July 2015
Straight up: this is the best demo I've heard in I don't know how long. PRESSING ON quietly dropped this absolute monster a few months back and I was speechless when I heard it...Grant's guitar is unmistakeable and Will's voice is every bit as powerful as expected, but these boys hit a spot that I haven't had tickled in quite a long while. This is as close to perfect as you'll find on the internet...or anywhere else for that matter. Listen to the breakdown on "Breaking Through" (dude, when that breakdown falls right back into the rage....? It's magic) and you'll think I'm right. And then you'll listen to "No Capitulation" and you will break shit. Seriously, shit will be broken.
I look around, and I don't know what to say // overwhelmed by all the bullshit that's headed our way // the future may look dim, but I know one thing is true // I'm gonna rise above this shit if it's the last fucking thing I do
16 July 2015
That box of tapes I got from Brasil last year just keeps on delivering. Chaotic and high energy early '00s fastcore/crust from São Paulo with a singer that is even more off the rails than the frenetic drummer. Seven songs in a hair under ten minutes - shouts, screams, blasts and moshes...pretty much all of the things you need.
15 July 2015
Manipulated breakbeat and hardcore techno mingle with North Korean pop music and military propaganda samples to create one of the most genuine mindfukks I've ever shared here. Total overload, and it's great. It's also not Korean, but I cannot imagine that you will gave half a shit about that once you let this brilliance seep into you. Do it.
14 July 2015
Perfectly executed emotional hardcore from Southern California. Twinges of DC and early '90s San Diego dominate, though my pal Travis tells me he thinks they kinda sound like SWIZ. But people also tell me that band GIVE sounds like SWIZ and I think GIVE are really atrocious (nothing personal, just an awful band), so I'll continue my original train of thought. Guitar leads that drop 39 seconds into "Capital" are some of the coolest sounds on this blog...total simplicity, but it's about the meaning and the execution, both of which are absolutely on point here. They are playing Oakland pretty soon, but I'm leaving town for a bit so I'm going to miss the damn thing - hopefully my pal Travis can snag me some more jams, since there are only three songs on this demo. All of 'em are sick though, so I'll just keep it on repeat.
13 July 2015
This one is just....I don't know. Fukk. So much power and so much noise and so...so fukkn insane. I snagged a 12" from Osaka's NATÏONSTATE when I was there in 2006, but didn't know about this cassette until a few months ago. Over the top insanity. Blown out Japanese noise/crust. Two studio tracks, two live numbers and 63 seconds of noise linking them all together. You know what to expect by now, and I can assure you that this is what you are looking for. Folks from NATÏONSTATE went on to LAST SENTENCE, in case that's the sort of thing that encourages you...but really you shouldn't need any encouragement today.
12 July 2015
I know that all of you punks have scooped the RIXE single by now (and if you haven't, then you should), but there's another French Oi! band, slightly more under-the-radar, that you need to get hip to. You can thank me after you listen to this shit.
11 July 2015
Screaming political straight edge (obviously) fastcore - this was the shit that turned me on my ear in the early '00s, and Portugal's TIME X were way ahead of the curve (and the pack) with this 2001 demo. Nine blasts of fierce and uncompromising hardcore played with maximum intensity. The excessive samples are also an indicator of the time, but here they make it clear where the band is coming from and provide welcome breathers instead of killing the flow. Listen early and listen often.
10 July 2015
Another discount discovery, this mysterious double cassette seemed too interesting to pass up for a few dollars and, as usual, I made a good choice by purchasing a cheap mystery tape. Very mellow, sometimes to the point of being background music, but often disconcerting if you listen carefully (as you should, obviously), the sparseness of tracks like "Distant Drums Eating Henry" is as off putting as the piercing "Nest" and the terrifying "Swallowing Bees," and all of them will leave you on edge. Every aspect of Terminal Swan Songs seems calculated - sometimes the tracks are so casual that you can actually forget they are playing ("Sympathetic Orbits"), and sometimes they are so brilliant that you don't want them to stop ("The Man Who Invented Gold," as an example). There are more than two hours of sounds here, and I'm sure that many of you will move right along to the next hardcore gem, but (as usual) the adventurous will be rewarded with a truly interesting and eclectic collection of sounds...compositions that will both intrigue and engage. Also, in the last few years, this dude has cranked out a TON of shit, so if you like it then dig the fukk in.
09 July 2015
I remember when I first heard this band, after everybody kept telling me they were the second coming of NEGATIVE APPROACH or some shit and I was just like....meh. But I can assure you that if I had heard this demo instead of whatever less than stellar vinyl release (I honestly don't remember which one it was) that I would have been frothing at the mouth like everyone else was, because this is bare bones USHC at its finest. Released in 1991 in a quantity of 50 (what the fuck?), these 15 songs are stripped of all the extras until nothing is left but pure punishment. It's not heavy, the riffs won't melt your face, it's not faster, it's not tighter....but it's fukkn right. I listened to to a few of the records after I pulled this bad boy out a few weeks ago, and I still think this is the best VOORHEES has ever sounded. This was reissued as a flexi sometime later in the '90s by Armed With Anger (because good luck getting one of the tapes), so you can own the physical manifestation of this magic if you're down to hunt. Or you can just jam mp3s on the bus tomorrow morning. Fukk man, this is so good. Blast "Death To The Pigs" into "H.C. Rules" every day going forward, and your life will seem a little more worth living. Trust me.
08 July 2015
I sat on this one for a while...those eyes on the cover just chilling on the shelf while I slogged through review shit or bargain bins scores or whatever other things happened to worm their way to the front of the line. Admittedly, the line can get pretty long at TEHQ, but I have no excuse whatsoever for this one. I kept saying to myself, "yeah, I know it's gonna be good, but this other stuff is a mystery so I'll check it out first." This is the wrong thing to do when there's a PILLAGE demo waiting for you. Just relentless and powerful and...fierce hardcore. They blast when they want, they break down into fast parts, eschewing the mosh completely aside from the odd intro, old fashioned more than old school, PILLAGE strip away all the pretense and use power. Ugh...this thing is a monster.
07 July 2015
This is one of those recordings that just takes you away. Released in painfully limited quantities in the early '00s, Blackmass Of Hate was given the proper (cassette) treatment by Parasitic Records a few years ago (thanks for that). A quarter hour into this release, when the drums painfully slog through the last moments of "The Imp Of Perversion," is the first time that I was aware that AGHORI were not permanent...and still it seems like their presence will continue indefinitely. Crushing, somber, all encompassing doom in three excruciating movements that will rattle your bones and your soul. Should go without saying that maximum volume and darkness only serve to enhance the experience...let it sink in.
06 July 2015
1987 collection of outtakes and live tracks from a band that should need little introduction. If you are like me and think that Martha Splatterhead is "fine" and More Fun Than An Open Casket Funeral is actually not really essential at all, then I suggest you get into this cassette immediately. As the title suggests, these bangers all pre-date their first studio platter, and everything contained in this plastic shell is fukkn gold. The later stuff here flirts with the crossover/thrash they would become famous for, but way more punk tracks then I was expecting (foolish, I realize, given the timeline of these recordings). So yeah, I shouldn't have to talk about the band, because you already know them - you just might not have known that they were this good. That's why I'm here...you're welcome.
Was it colored by hand...? Maybe.
05 July 2015
Sometimes, the discount experimental section at your local record store can be your friend. Two separate doses of layered ambiance from Portland's EXCAVACATIONS and Milwaukee's BLACK EAGLE CHILD. Both acts compliment each other well....EXCAVACATIONS have an calm but eerie ambiance not dissimilar from some SIGUR RÓS stuff, while BLACK EAGLE CHILD offer a campfire comfort that I'm not ashamed to say I quite enjoyed. An excellent way to end the day, and $2 well spent.
04 July 2015
GORILLAXMONSOON spend the first 90 seconds of this split with a one riff intro that creates a mountain of tension that you just know is going to come crumbling down on you, and even when it does you aren't quite prepared. After an intro that features a gutsy five second silence and a fist clenching yeeoowl, they launch into five tracks of killer 'crew incarnated as devastating heavy hardcore. The breakdowns, the backups, the chugs, the determined falter in the vocals...it's all there, but GORILLAXMONSOON are none of the posi hardcore that those elements might imply. Pissed, desperate and brutally honest, these five tracks are real. And then GORILLAXMONSOON hand the torch to their neighbors in VEXED and the reality gets dark in a hurry. That desperation fades into depression, and the grey area comes out in the music as much as the vocals - which is saying a lot, because the vocals give me chills. Five minutes of crushing, blasting hardcore/pv sandwiched in between four minutes of painfully slow riffing, the VEXED side of this tape is a really dark counterpart to the already dark flip...none of these kids are fucking around, and I would love to hear more from both. And for those keeping track of the places where all the good bands come from, GORILLAXMONSOON are from Chico, California, and VEXED are from up the road in Redding.
03 July 2015
I know that history somewhat relegates STIKKY to the joke-band category, maybe it was the lyrical content? Perhaps the artwork and/or hilarious liner notes? But take a minute to listen to those fukkn drums and find a hardcore band that was playing faster in 1987...or any year since for that matter. An absolute blur of teenage angst and fart jokes, these three kids from Santa Clara were relentless and the tracks hold up brilliantly today. So good.
I was feeling generous and re-upped the "3D-and-a-half" demo, because if you need eleven STIKKY tracks, then you probably need 63 more. Also threw in a live Gilman set from 87. You're welcome.
02 July 2015
There are a few stamps of approval that will make me buy something blind almost every time, and Los Angeles by way of Detroit label Nostilevo is one of them. There's no "sound" per se, but the label's distinctive layouts are a guarantee of quality, and it makes taking that step into darkness as easy as ordering that second cocktail...you may not know what's going to happen, but you know you're going to like it. 2013's The Alliance is one hour of sound that proves my point - 13 artists culled from the Nostilevo roster to create an impressive collection of hypnotic noise and carefully controlled industrial chaos. There's the minimal electronics of SCORPIO & GLASS, a devastating SUICIDE-esque tracks from RITUAL HOWLS, dark dance synth in multiple forms (dirty and ominous: CRAOW, classically self indulgent: PHASE FATALE), a filthy rhythmic industrial collaboration from LIABLE, and BLUE KRISHNA's perfectly placed sample laden cool down track at the end of the tape...there's more, but you need to be listening and not reading my drivel. A stunning collection, you're welcome.
01 July 2015
A little something different for you, my friends. Maybe you want some weird christian outsider rock with a singer who is (sometimes) a dead ringer for Fred Cole, especially noteworthy on tracks like "The Kids Were Tough As Nails" and "Ineligible Contestant For Life." Somewhere between the story telling style of DAVID ALLEN COE and freaked out acid drenched space folk crashing face first into your annoying dad jamming in the garage after a few too many Old Styles. One of many greats I've scooped from the bins at the St. Vincent de Paul in Albuquerque, second only to the antique mall near my mother-in-law's house for potential scores. I've seen the private press vinyl issue listed for sale as "garage punk," which makes me laugh a bit, buyer beware!! Favorite tracks: "Different Shade Of Love" and "Old Hippies."