31 August 2015


In order to have a good DBeat band, you need to have riffs. The drum beat isn't the hard part, it's making that drum beat seem like it's necessary...and that's what North Carolina's NO TOMORROW do on this demo. Riffs for days, killer leads and throaty crust vocals, everything that you need is here. This creamer came out a few years ago, and it has five tracks. You're welcome.

30 August 2015


Every bit as weird as they are great, Tokyo's VESPERA are simultaneously catchy and raw, pop and punk. This tape compiles three separate demos - the first suffers (and benefits) from a recording that highlights the vocals and turns the low end into a tinny mush while the guitar screams. The second is just a touch thicker, and the third sits somewhere in between. The tracks themselves beg to be compared to LA FRACTION, forceful hook laden punk with powerful female vocals. When presented with a proper studio recording, VESPERA will conquer the world...this tape from Black Konflik will keep you busy until then.

VESPERA drumer Eiji runs a killer vegan cafe/falafel spot near Tokyo's Koenji station (called VESPERA...coincidence, I'm sure). I ate there a few months back and it was delicious...especially noteworthy for vegans visiting Japan, but worth visiting for anyone who likes good food and doesn't mind a massive beer selection. Also, Eiji is a super good fellow.

29 August 2015


SKI MASK play aggressive mutant hardcore/punk fronted by a singer pushed to the very brink...of everything. They play six songs. EYE FORMATION sound like they just stepped out of 1979 and they are pushing the realms of punk and rock 'n roll to their very brink. They play five songs. One band is really good...but the other band is really good too. It doesn't make any sense that they are on the same cassette, but that's why it makes me happy. Favorite SKI MASK song: "Coffe Pot." Favorite EYE FORMATION song: "Short Song" (though "Metal Heads" is really really sick).

28 August 2015


"Be" by THE VERNON WALTERS is one of the coolest songs I've ever heard. It's all of the things that were great about tuneful and catchy punk when it was still punk as shit - even the lilting vocals are undoubtedly earnest and intense and the hooks just make me wanna play the shit over and over. No Justification II is packed with bands I've never heard of, but the whole hour is top fukkn noth international hardcore punk. Five bands on this 22 track comp - the thing is set up like others from the series, and the level of quality is similarly high. Metallic hardcore from FORTHRIGHT, snarky UK punk ala-BUZZCOCKS from HUMIDIFIER, while ALGKVARN can't shake 7 SECONDS comparisons. SEVEN SIOUX are kinda hitting that same VERNON WALTERS "remember back when melodic punk was cool" vibe ("Doubt" is an absolute killer), and I keep listening to this comp. Over and over. Not surprisingly, I suggest that you do the same....

There are other comps with the same presentation - all awesome and all packed with bands I was not already familiar with, which is exactly what I want They appear to all have been animal rights benefits (something else that I want) in the late '80s. That time was not a waste, my friends, so much quality like this:

27 August 2015


Visitors to this blog should be familiar with Sacramento's RAD, but here's anew installment for you monkeys. This is what we want from hardcore, right? Riffs, hooks, speed, power, and not a given fuck anywhere in sight. 20 songs in 12 minutes? Yeah. Exactly. "Never Turn Your Back On A Mosh." I know, me too. Real talk, though: I don't want this band to do anything different. It might not be perfect, but there's nothing that RAD needs to do that RAD aren't doing. This is hardcore motherfukkrs, this is fastcore motherfukkers, this is RAD motherfukkers. Get into it.

Fools even make me believe that "Sacramento Is Rad" (it actually kinda is - believe it) and there are some bonus cover tunes on here because I love you. Don't tell anyone though, because I like to maintain a really tough image.

26 August 2015


MALCRIA have a weird edge, like there's something they aren't telling us. It's forceful hardcore with engaging song construction, but then that bass almost sounds like it wants to be in a goth band and the singer sounds like he could be in an Oi! band if he wanted to be but then they just rip through a mid-paced stomp like "Histeria" and I can't picture them playing any brand of punk other than this - because this is theirs. VDS are a little more raw and unpredictable, but no less powerful. Blasts and whirlwind hardcore with multiple vocals, plenty of dirt unsuccessfully trying to hide the hooks that populate these creamers. "No Sé" is the jam of this 2014 tape, and these two Mexico City bands deserve your attention.

25 August 2015


I first saw MARSHSTEPPER at a place called The Lab in San Francisco a few years ago. I don't remember why I wanted to go to the show, because I didn't really know anything about the band, but I had convinced myself that it was gonna be a thing...so I went. I didn't know anyone there, and it was a big weird open art gallery, so I sat in the corner and drank....and I waited. A long time. And nothing happened. I texted Karoline something to the effect of "I am an idiot. Why am I waiting for something to happen? There's no way that whatever is going to happen is going to be good enough to justify all this waiting once it actually happens, which might be quite a while from now." And still I waited. Alone. I mean, there was one dude that I kinda knew, and we said "hi" but that was it because he had actual friends there....and by "there" I mean The Lab in San Francisco, where exactly nothing was happening. Apparently there was a fellow from AVON LADIES in the band, because I saw him walk in with some equipment, but we had only met that one time in that really hot warehouse (I mean, most things in Phoenix are hot) so after we said "hello" I just kept waiting. I went to the store and bought two beers, drank one of them on the way back from the store and then went inside with the other one....and I waited. Seriously, either I was really early, or the show was really late, because I waited for a long ass time. No way a show could be good enough to justify the waiting, but I kept waiting because of a thing called FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out). What if it was really good? What if it was worth the wait? So I waited....and then a band played. By "band" I really mean "dude with a laptop computer and he was called JOCK CLUB and it was pretty cool (actually very cool) so I kept waiting, encouraged by optimism and FOMO. And then it got dark. And there were candles. And there were robes. And there were naked men. And it was transcendent. Perfect. Awesome. Everything I hoped plus so many things that I never dreamed. It was the thing you wait for. It was the thing you are afraid of missing. It was the reason that FOMO exists - because you do not want to miss what I saw. I've tried to see MARSHSTEPPER several times since, and every time something has gotten in the way. I like to think that this is the universe telling me that I saw the perfect show, and that I do not need to see another. Maybe, for once, the universe is right.

24 August 2015


Noisy and demented hardcore from the creep depths of hell....tweaked and manipulated and distorted to oblivion with what might be a ghost from the cassette's previous life murmuring in the background of one channel. So fukkd sounding and gloriously hellacious, CRIME ZONE are about to pollute the next 13 minutes of your life with madness. This is the shit that used to make Mondays so good around here....maybe we should start playing that game again, no?

23 August 2015


Snarky Irish button pushers PARANOID VISIONS sometimes get lumped in with regional anarcho punk acts but, appropriately perhaps, they don't really fit in with most of their contemporaries from England. Bluurg released a cassette, All The Madmen had a hand in an EP in 1986 and there's an association with CRASS, but during their 10 year run starting in 1982, these kids mostly released their own stuff and did their own thing (including a pretty hilarious anti-U2 campaign in the late '80s). Halo Of Phlegm was recorded near the end of their initial run and circulated only on cassette until a recent CD reissue (that included other material recorded around '89/'90) and it's all over the place in a glorious way. "Afraid Of Life" has an early MISSION/SISTERS vibe, "AIDS" might be presented as an interlude but acts as a chill inducing quasi-industrial track, while "Autonomy," "Cycles Of Christs" and "Vandals" are pretty straight forward punk numbers and "Death To The Poor," "TV Ads" and "Lies" are hardcore punk burners. Combine this with the drawn out art/goth/anarcho title track and the full recording is more than a little scattered - which is a bit of the charm.

22 August 2015


You are all familiar with this Nagoya based band, yes? Active in the early-mid '90s, C.F.D.L. released a formidable array of noisy and chaotic vinyl slabs and a dizzying number of raw cassette demos like this one. With tracks like "Alcohol....Makes Me Happy" and "I Love DISORDER" I think that even the uninitiated can get a pretty good handle on what's in store when downloading today's cassette: noisy, chaotic, fast, raw, hardcore. Bristol noise filtered through Japanese energy.

21 August 2015


Met one of these dudes when WHN? was in Brasil in 2002...I think he lived with Pedro, but I know he was super nice, he wanted to talk about ZZ TOP (something I'm almost always ok with), and he gave me his band's demo when we were rolling out. High octane rock 'n roll with hardcore punk delivery and a little extra swagger in the vocals. Tracks like "Motherfuckers Set The Pace" are just pure screamers and these kids crank out the leads like nobody's business. I mean, you like to rock....don't you?

20 August 2015


Between this demo and watching MYSTIC INANE positively own an art gallery two blocks from the ocean last night, I feel like New Orleans might be where it's at right now. These punks deliver snarky and disjointed (and catchy) tunes that launch into "grab your throat and pay attention you fukk" hardcore that is about six steps beyond punk as shit, and their ability to combine 2015 retro hardcore with a delivery that actually sounds like it's from the '80s...? That's a feat. And "I Hate Burlesque" is a pretty untouchable jammer.

19 August 2015


Screaming '80s hardcore...I don't know how many times I've heard this band dismissed as soon as some punk sees that their first two records were on Lookout! (your loss, monkeys), but this 1986 demo just smokes everything. 

Nice looking bunch of boys, too....

18 August 2015


One more hour of trance inducing synth drone from Boise, Idaho's MEMORY SMOKER. At some moments terrifying, and at others indescribably peaceful. I enjoy this outfit, and recommend them.

17 August 2015


This demo floored me. It's everything that deathpunk should be...which is mostly to say that it's fukkn punk. Dark, terrifying punk. Hailing from Mexico City, MUERTE come from a lineage that includes INSERVIBLES, HOG and TERCER MUNDO and absolutely live up to whatever expectations that lineage might bring. There's a brief moment at the start of "Nadie" when it sounds like they are going to settle into a goth punk groove for the final minutes of the demo, but then a horrid squall six seconds into the track crushes that thought. Instead, that final track is an aggressive, mournful burner that leaves you drained as the vocals trail off....a suitable conclusion.

The folks who saw them live on the recent North American jaunt are very fortunate, and their full length on SPHC is every bit as good as this demo would suggest.

16 August 2015


Ripping DBeat hardcore from Budapest. The language here is worth more than a passing mention, as Magyar gives the whole recording an off-putting edge (perhaps the only time I have ever agreed with the historians who claim an association between Hungarian Magyar and Finnish). A whopping ten minutes on this tape, overall even more raging than their split with DISPLEASE that I shared last year....and listen to "Gazdagok" before you shrug and say "meh, another DBeat band, why bother" because they take that midtempo shit to another level before settling back into full tilt rage to close out the demo. 

15 August 2015


Last year, I pulled this tape out of the demo box at Maximum Rocknroll and figured I would give it a spin because it looked pretty good. I read the introductory-slash-promotional material that came from the folks who released it (who are also responsible for rippers from PURE DISGUST, OBLIVIONATION, PROTESTER, and THE FLEX, and many others) they mentioned that the band brought to mind UK82 punk and some other stuff, including the Boston band SLAPSHOT...and with that in mind, I set out to write my review for the magazine. I listened. I loved it. I made the entertaining mistake of mentioning that I have never heard SLAPSHOT in the review which bent a few folks on the internet the wrong way, but I guess those are the breaks (I mean really, you can't expect everyone to be familiar with EVERY starter band, can you? I have since listened to SLAPSHOT and think that they are basically fine). That nonsense aside, the shit is raw straightforward hardcore punk with a serious "almost Oi!" edge. And it's really good. "Bleak" is the burner, while "Doesn't Matter" keeps up a midpaced creepy crawl that's just a teensy bit faster than a breakdown for its entire existence...and if the subtly flanged guitar intro to "Cross" doesn't make some idjit in a bleached jean jacket stage dive then I don't know what will. The vocals are almost breaking for the entire demo which gives every track an edge, and the solo in "Doesn't Matter" is some serious Mould channeling and it works frighteningly well. Nothing fancy here, just the good shit....sorry about the SLAPSHOT thing, dudes.

*Go back to your shitty life // I don't care what you say* - "My Path"
*You're a piece of shit // you fucking suck // we don't need you* - "Spineless"

14 August 2015


Near the end of 2014, I went on a short tour from Austin to Mexico City. At our second show, a nice gentleman told me that our driver was probably gonna listen to shitty music and he handed me this mixtape for our first drive (which was 20+ hours). We never listened to the tape on tour (I don't think Mapex has a tape deck in his Renault anyway...), but I popped this baby in when I got home, and it seems that, in addition to being thoughtful, motherfukkr knows how to make a killer comp. Full power ass shaking punk, with an emphasis on bands with saxophones. ESSENTIAL LOGIC, BLACK RANDY & THE MEETROSQUAD, CONTRAZIONE, TIPEX...solid bangers placed with care. There are the "cool down" tracks (STOOGES, 39 CLOCKS, KLEENEX, RITUAL) and there are straight burners (I had never heard DEBIELE EENHEID's "Million Volts Anal Vibrator" before this tape), and an appropriate smattering of newer bands (MALLWALKERS, PUFFY AREOLAS) that never fuck with the flow. The deep cuts (and there are many) aren't pretentious "neener neener, look how much underground music I know about" tracks, they're just good ass songs on a really good comp tape...and the inclusion of "Grim Reaper" from SIEGE is a bold (read: perfect) move. Everything is presented in raw fidelity, perfect for blasting out your car window while driving down the highway....which is exactly the point.

13 August 2015


I heard about this band not long after I moved to San Francisco, but they were a band that had existed WAY in the past, an entirely different era. I moved to SF in 1995, so that distant past was really just a handful of years (which of course seemed like an eternity at the time). UNIT PRIDE dropped a demo in '87 that deserves to be placed on the same shelf as countless more revered contemporaries - the thing is rough, but I'll take "Wide Awake" over half of YOUTH OF TODAY's output, and the energy here is just right. But then they recorded an EP the following year, and that thing bangs! No qualifiers, no "well, it's pretty good considering they were from San Ramon and not somewhere cool" bullshit, that six song piece of wax is deadly. The hesitation from the drums is gone, the tones are honed, the pace never lets up (except for the breakdowns - this is a straight edge band, after all), and "Wide Awake" sounds even better than it did the year before. Members of UNIT PRIDE would later play in more famous Bay Area bands REDEMPTION '87, SCREW 32, and NERVE AGENTS, and the internet tells me the guitarist moved to Toronto and played in WOUND UP and PINK EYE (good bands, records readily available in the cheap bins). 

Today's link has the '87 demo, 11 tracks of rough and intent hardcore, and a plainly packaged cassette from 1988, which seems to be the same recording session as the band's sole vinyl release - six tracks here, and "All In The Head" sets the shit off right by letting you know that these kids upped their game from the demo. Maybe there are many bands like this in many pockets of the world...but monkeys keep listening to the same shit over and over instead of searching for the gems. UNIT PRIDE is one of 'em.

12 August 2015


Vancouver's WRITE OFF drop a bomb in 14 movements in as many minutes on this 2013 tape. "The Unknown Crushes You" is pure devastation and it's the track I keep coming back to, but the whole thing is packed with desperation and fury....just the way I like it. Keep the fast parts fast and make the slow parts heavy, but make sure it all comes from the right place. WRITE OFF is a powerhouse.

I hate the human race // I despise this fucking place

11 August 2015


If I say that Colorado's VEX bear more than a passing resemblance to NAKED AGGRESSION and (early) RANCID would you keep reading? Mayhaps these stylings aren't exactly en vogue, but you have to remember that this was 1992, and VEX were from Colorado...and that should be enough. This copy went unloved for years so I had to do a little surgery on the shell, replace the pad and splice the tape. I do these things for you.

10 August 2015


Ferociously punk UK82 stylings with healthy doses of new millennium distortion has risen from the ashes of Long Beach's MANIA. Loud, raucous, punk as shit..."War Song" is the song I'm going to play on repeat all damn day. I recommend you do the same - have I steered you wrong before? No? Exactly.

09 August 2015


While I feel like the formidable '80s goth/new wave rehashed by punks might soon be cast aside for the next regurgitation du jour, releases like this one give me pause. France's LITOVSK just fukkn nail it on their 2014 demo, and I have every hope that the upcoming vinyl release will be even better. It's as close to perfect as any brooding punk could ask for - driving, forceful, catchy, engaging...all of the right adjectives apply. Five tracks that have been passed around the internet for some time already, but I like to be thorough and make sure your needs are met.