Last year Maximum Rocknroll had a fundraiser of sorts for their record archive. It passed a "collection" many years ago, and has evolved into one of the most comprehensive archives of punk vinyl in the world, well over 50,000 records (and growing). The funds were raised to help create a database (that will include original reviews, and will be free and searchable) and curate the existing archive - it was (is) a shitload of work, and shitloads ain't free, you know? Various incentives were offered to encourage donations, including mix tapes....giver's choice. Some enterprising (and brilliant) fukkr asked for the following tape: "one side Asia (non-Japan), one side Middle East." Well played, punk rocker. Archive coordinator Shivaun crushed this mixtape, and I hope that you will be as thrilled as I was digging on the gems she uncovered from all over the damned place. Not surprisingly, Tian An Men 89 Records makes several contributions (I mean, come on - of course that's the first place you look, right?), but Pakistani grindcore? OK....I'm sold. Bands from: Syria, India, Uzbekistan, Iran, Turkey, Singapore, Armenia, China, Indonesia, Philippines, Algeria, Israel, Nepal, Thailand, Malaysia, Sound Korea, Lebanon, Morocco and United Arab Emirates.
30 June 2017
29 June 2017
If you know the players, then you know you're in for a banger. Eddie (VAÄSKA, MIRROR, CRIATURAS) and Dru (CRIATURAS, MIRROR, KURRAKÄ) team up (again) and dish out even more addictive Spanish language punk. MUJERES PODRIDAS are a little less urgent at first, but they've traded the speed for a truly magnetic vibe, a sinister creep with Dru's vocals bellowing and beckoning and snotty, crackling '80s punk guitars...until the final track "Un Día Mas" ramps the intensity up to close a very short and very very good initial release. It's amazing that new versions of the same animal just keep sounding awesome to my ears....
28 June 2017
One of the (many) things in my life that I stumble across and wonder Where did this come from? Subdued freak beats and electronic pulsations from somewhere in the American Southeast. Imagine primitive '60s experimental/electronic artists with the access to today's modern technology but without the exposure to techno or EDM or anything of the sort....it's weird and erratic but it doesn't sound intentionally weird. It sounds intentional, to be sure, but organic. Some patience required, but definitely worth the effort.
27 June 2017
Perfectly executed and determined positive Y2K//SXE hardcore from Seattle. Of course, you would have guessed that if you had read the "Rain City Straight Edge" thing on the cover. Moshes on point, breakdowns on lock, cheat beat fastcore parts dialed in. It's all of the things, you know? And some of you....some of you know exactly what I mean.
26 June 2017
I work with this dude named Pete. He's a few years older than me, and was geographically blessed....so he saw BAD BRAINS in '79 and SSD in Boston in '81 and the Rock Against Maximum Rocknoroll gig in SF with AGNOSTIC FRONT and FUCK-UPS in SF in '82 where one of the B.A.S.H. boneheads got stabbed in the neck. By contrast, I saw THE DEAD MILKMEN in Tulsa in 1989. You see the difference a few years and a few hundred miles can make? Anyway...while I was getting into Punk, Pete was getting into jazz (he was done with hardcore by then, he's one of those rather annoying old(er) types who thinks hardcore died when they stopped going to hardcore shows. I'm all like "what about NAKED HIPPIES? What about LOGICAL NONSENSE? And that fool just ain't hearing it - at all), but Pete is a record nerd, and a few years ago after he had all of the jazz records he started digging deep into the hard rock record nerd world. He obsesses on $400 bonzers that are sometimes interesting, sometimes only noteworthy because they are rare, and sometimes readily available via reissue....but still, there's some jams in there and the dude's general taste is on point - I've used him more than a few times as a guide and/or advisor into the the jazz/freak rock underworlds, and his assistance is appreciated. So we were working together a few months ago and he was playing some tunes and I was digging them. They were heavy sounds....they were weird sounds...I liked them. The sounds were TWINK's 1970 LP Think Pink. All over the place and out of motherfukkn sight bizarro heavy psych/rock from a dude from PINK PAIRIES, and I was pretty instantly hooked - I didn't care if this was nerd fodder or $1 bin chud because the sounds were pristine. So I used the internet and I ordered a Burger Records 2013 cassette reissue while I was taking a dump (on the clock - "never shit on your time, never sweat on theirs") and before I left work that day a copy was headed my way. The reissue features an entire B-side of outtakes (and, jahbless, they are excellent), and I have listened to this tape countless times since it dropped through my slot. So...even though hardcore didn't die in '84 when Pete stopped going to shows, I am glad that those "other" ears are in my life to help keep mine open. Now....open yours.
25 June 2017
Decidedly more swing than their 2011 demo or even the (excellent) full length platter from the following year, 2013's Listen Once And File demo (OK, it was really just a tour tape and maybe that wasn't the proper title) burns from start to finish. I feel like the vocals didn't really settle in until after the first full length (check last year's Z2 - Judgement Daze for complete realization of place and purpose), and then ZEITGEIST parted ways just when they had shit dialed. Hey man...finish on top, I guess? Gritty punk with overt rock 'n roll overtones throughout - glad I got to see them in the flesh.
24 June 2017
23 June 2017
Made a trip to Oakland's Contact Records a couple of weeks back while the wife was getting her eyebrows done. Tiny ass shop near MacArthur BART, but absolutely fukkn rammed with gems. I was pleasantly surprised at the amount (and quality) of punk bangers in a store whose focus is concentrated a little deeper and a little further back. I snagged a few slabs, was introduced to Catherine Ribeiro (thank you), and impulsively grabbed two cassette volumes of African guitar music on my way to the register. It was a good trip. The two tapes are a booted version of Mississippi's brilliant but prohibitively expensive 5xLP box set and the title pretty much sums it up. Artists from Kenya, Sierra Leon, Congo, Zaire, Uganda and Zambia fill almost 90 minutes with sounds that are so clearly from another world. Early blues roots ooze through some of the tracks, tribal mesmerism, subdued psychedelic freakouts...just pure and beautiful sounds. Perfect lazy listening - and yeah, Volume 2 will be up here eventually.
22 June 2017
Utterly guttural Southern grind. Forceful, massive, chaotic, relentless....and fukk is it fast. Choice cut is "Infinite Regret" if only for the (slightly) slower kinda '90s sounding guitar part that creeps in just before the robotic lurch/squeal/mini mosh, but each of those parts whizz by in just a couple of seconds. This 2013 release from North Carolina's BRAINxTOILET requires maximum attention, and maximum volume comes highly recommended.
21 June 2017
I suppose that we never really should have been friends. In 2017, in the internet age, I seriously doubt that we ever would have been friends or even crossed paths at all. FUCKFACE were uncouth, snotty, drunk, sloppy and irreverent. SUBMISSION HOLD were concise, serious, witty but controlled, overtly political and exceptionally mature. And yet we stood outside the picture window at Koo's Cafe in Santa Ana, laughing together and watching the local band inside that converted living room and collectively wondering if any of the kids would bother to stay at the show to see either of our bands. They were having van trouble, our tour was almost over, we brainstormed ways to get them safely to their next show/s, we traded information and we promised to cross paths again. Then in the fall of 1996 we did cross paths in Vancouver (they were the relatively sane and conventional conclusion to one of the weirdest 36 hour periods of my life, in fact), John soaked the couch in their very well put together home before we headed east and I apologized the next time we saw each other....and we all laughed about it. Bands didn't sound like SUBMISSION HOLD then, and they surely don't today....and I dare say that it's even more special today, in the internet age, to cross paths with people as special and as real as those Canadians.
20 June 2017
Late '90s metalcore was all the rage everywhere is seemed at the time, and SE Asia was no different. But there's something about the pure and vicious don't give a fukk vibe about these recordings that makes me almost nostalgic for knuckle dragging monotonous E chugs and beat down mid tempo moshes. From the brief liner notes on this tape, I gather that BULLDOZED may not have been the most savory or supportive dudes in the Philippines DIY scene ("we never claimed we're the good guys") but they were certainly fierce, and growing up surrounded by poverty and a flourishing economy based on drugs and prostitution that funnels profits to foreign nationals and organized crime while leaving the local population to fight over the scraps....? Well, that might throw a little shade on your outlook. Even on these rough recordings - a 1998 demo and a live set from the following year - you can feel the power....and the hate.
19 June 2017
A couple of weekends ago I had a solid plan. Was going to go see some reborn '90s hardcore band in Oakland, then watch a high school crush in action back in San Francisco, then stop by an old haunt that I haven't visited in 15+ years (conveniently located on my route home) where my pal was spinning records. It was ambitious to be sure, but I am ambitious, the timing seemed right, and I figured I could squeeze all three events in. After an overpriced afternoon artisanal pizza, however, I found myself in the company of two people who wanted to do none of the things that I wanted to do and we were very much enjoying each other's company so....plans out the window and we found ourselves en route to a free jazz performance. A free jazz performance that turned out to be not a free jazz performance at all, but rather an experimental/noise/electronics show featuring a dude who also belongs to a free jazz outfit....and also this dude, who was halfway through his performance when we walked in the door. Roarke Menzies makes all of his sounds with his mouth and body, then spends each piece warping and manipulating those sounds with an array of pedals and effects, and watching him sink into his own world of sound was well worth missing out on all of the things I thought I was going to enjoy that evening. Sometimes accidents are the best.
18 June 2017
I was talking to Clayton last week about '90s pop punk and '90s hardcore, and how that line was sometimes more than a little blurry, to the benefit of both genres. GRIMPLE's Up Your Ass LP is so perfect (an make no mistake, it IS perfect) because it is super pissed, lightning fast and catchy as hell. Before pop punk was universally revered as a bad word/s, bands like 9 IRON loved getting schwasted on shitty malt liquor and playing fast and loud...and they loved GREEN DAY too. And that was OK. In fact, it resulted in some really great recordings. Dated, but still great. This band popped up just when I left Oklahoma, and I don't honestly remember if I ever saw them or not (I want to think they played one of the two Mission PunkFest gigs at 17th & Capp, but I might be confusing them with BOB OF TRIBES, who were on tour with BROTHER INFERIOR at the time....), but I know I played the shit out of this rough and snotty demo for a few years before it found its way into a box. Fortunately, it also found its way back out.
17 June 2017
UK punk from 1983...there's a reason why people worship and ape this shit 35 years later, because when "Soldiers Of Fortune" drops it feels like all is right with the world. I stand by my words in the initial post - start with the tracks from Woolshag's Last Round demo, as they are straight screamers and it makes you appreciate the band's humble ramshackle beginnings a little more (there are only four months between the two recordings, but still). I am enjoying revisiting these old posts....there's a lot to dig into.
16 June 2017
Another mix tape that I made for a dear friend who lives far away. I haven't mailed it yet (I am bad about that, along with many other things related to procrastination and distraction and delay), but I know that they never visit The Escape so I don't really feel like I'm cheating here. I'm just sharing. Sharing is a thing I am pretty good at. This tape contains some long time favorites of mine, included in the hopes that they will perhaps become someone else's favorites if they aren't already (SLEEP CHAMBER, OMEGA TRIBE, WIPERS, GLENN BRANCA), a handful of relatively recent discoveries (PATRICK COWLEY, M. NAGESWARA RAO, ROSA YEMEN, JEFF BECK), and some with presence in both categories (or neither). And while the tape was very deliberately curated for one specific set of ears, it's of course possible that the sounds contained will never land there...so this is why we share.
15 June 2017
DC based two man recording project...snotty hardcore with a few detours that are easier to embrace when there's only one person writing the songs (I'm talking about the NINE POUND HAMMER-esque untitled second track...though that one could be a cover that I don't recognize because I'm not cool). One demo in 2014...and thanks to the internet it will live on forever in the ether...instead of in a show box in some kids closet waiting to be "discovered" like the '80s versions of projects like this one.
14 June 2017
I wish that this tape could actually capture the fire that this trio started one afternoon back in March when I saw them lay waste to a glorified storage unit in Oklahoma City, but for the geographically challenged....this tape will have to suffice. Volume helps. CRUTCH capture the late '90s hc/blast/pv vibe perfectly - face melting hardcore tunes with brutally simplistic mid paced stomps trading off with grinding blurs and the things Max would always call "jerk off riffs" when WHN? were writing songs (you know, the hand just goes up and down the the neck...back and forth...sorry kids, I know this is a family friendly music blog - except for all the talk about drugs and stuff - but seriously....that is the motion, and that's what the riffs are called, and actually I'm not sorry at all). These dudes absolutely slayed in the flesh, and I was almost hesitant to press PLAY when I got home because sometimes it's just not as good, you know? But this collection rrrrrips right out of the gate, and CRUTCH have fully mastered that CROSSED OUT style 'hardcore into blast into slow DBeat back into blast' thing (and if you know what I mean then you totally fukkn know exactly what I mean) so perfectly that you feel like you know what's coming before they even do the damn thing but then they still manage to surprise you ("Exempt Employee" is a perfect example). I confess that I am not always (or even often) in the mood to listen to this brand of destruction (though I am always down to see it live), but when I am.....? This is the fukkn shit I want. 23 tracks (in just under 22 minutes) culled from comps and demos and shit, and every one of them is a banger.
13 June 2017
The world of regional USDIY '90s hardcore has yet to be fully explored. So many bands that existed - and thrived - in their own (then) isolated pre-internet areas and then faded away....legacies that are little more than legend and short run demo tapes. LARVAE is one of those...the 1995 demo (more on that later) is a ripper, but this collection of tracks from the following year is colossal dual vocal political crust in league with MANKIND? and other more revered acts. Ten tracks, and the whole thing fukkn cooks...even through a less than optimal demo quality recording. But everything is here, and tracks like "Ruled By The State" show the chops and vision of a band that deserves more than some grey bearded boner blabbing about them on the internet twenty years in the future. Picture this band blowing DEFIANCE out of the room, this is why '90s hardcore fukkn rules.
Check the post of LARVAE's 1995 demo here, and read a story about a dude named Jizz and his friend Shitbong. Even if you remember the story from when I posted that demo two years ago (yeah....as if you remember that shit), it's worth revisiting because good stories are always a good time. And who doesn't like a good time? Dummies. That's who.
12 June 2017
In this modern world where music, especially electronic music, can be created and regurgitated in the most sterile of environments, there is something so indescribably refreshing about hearing synth sounds created and recorded organically. I don't know how I can tell you that Serbia's ALONE sound different, but I can assure you that they do....and that's what sets an act apart from the pack. It's not "oh, that band is doing THIS....and THIS is different so it's NEW and EXCITING" - because that shit is easy. It's "this is.....it's real, and I don't know how to describe it" that makes me look up and take note. And that's what ALONE do...they make me take note. So....take note.
11 June 2017
You should just be able to read the spine on this one and know what's up. The HOMO PICNIC and 7 SECONDS sets are from around 1985 (they play "Just One Day" from New Wind, but it definitely seems like a new addition to the set), and it's good to hear HOMO PICNIC taking some jabs at the headliners between songs...7 SECONDS are straight fire on this recording by the way, positive and earnest and very fukkn real. CRO-MAGS demo has made the rounds forever (I honestly only included it here in the interest of presenting the cassette in its entirety); the URGENT FURY tracks are from the 1985 demo, one of the most underappreciated NY bands that I know of (these five songs were the A-Side of the Demos 1984-86 10" that Broken Rekkids reissued in the early '90s - highly recommended and still readily available in bargain bins around the US); and the BORN WITHOUT A FACE tracks will save you a cool $50 unless you need to hold the OG wax in your hand (and I kinda do). A relic from the tape trading days of the 1980s, collections like this used to be how people found new bands...you got one of these bad boys in the mail and you listened front to back, soaking everything in a mentally categorizing what clicked and what didn't to help guide you deeper into the unknown. The Unknown is good - it's full of wonder and discovery. And its way better than brainlessly filling up your hard drive....
10 June 2017
So here are six tracks from 1988, sweet lilting vocals floating over an almost cacophonous collection of driving late anarcho and metallic guitar leads. As I mentioned in the original post, I have two different recordings of these six tracks (both included today), and I opted for the dirtier version initially. I think that I've come to enjoy the (slightly) more polished recording over time...though the differences are subtle at best. Just because you miss the magic once, doesn't mean it's gone forever.
initial post - from the coverless black cassette pictured above
from the flipside of the even more awesome CYANIDE SCENARIO cassette
09 June 2017
From the north shore of the Black Sea in Ukraine....hard hitting midpaced SXE hardcore knows no boundaries, no borders. Melodic and melancholic, TIMELINE create tension with their almost casual approach, never unleashing but always teetering right on the edge with spoken/shouted vocals expectant and fierce. There are only four tracks here, and I confess that it took two of them for me to really lock into what TIMELINE were up to...but the power of technology makes repeat listens effortless, and I've listened to "Fume" five times this morning. So far.
08 June 2017
High energy Scandinavian punk crashing headlong into Y2K fastcore in a most glorious manner, Sweden's REGIMEN are a full speed time warp. Not Normal slapped their first three demos on to one handy dandy cassette for North American listeners, so what you get here is a 14 banger crash course (including the brilliant 6+ minute "Gick Du På Den Lätte?"). If you liked AMDI PETERSEN, if you liked SKATE KORPSE...if you like fukkn punk and you like to dance, then climb aboard.
07 June 2017
This one shouldn't be lost on any self respecting follower of current DIY hardcore....but maybe you missed a chance to snag their 2014 West Coast tour cassette? Here you go. Full throttle throaty DBeat hardcore from Boston, recorded live in the studio and sounding hot like fire. I don't think there's so much as a breakdown until "Concrete Nightmare" at about the halfway point of this sub-15 minute collection of creamers. They ripped that basement to shreds when we played with them in Oakland, and capturing that live fury on for a tour release was a class move. Even if you have the records, this one is worth your time.
06 June 2017
Welcome to a 22+ minute mindfuck courtesy of Iceland's Páll Parker. Buried beats, gross manipulations, and an overall presentation that will have you wondering if there's something a bit off with your download interface wiring harness capacitor because things just aren't supposed to sound this weird, you dig? It starts to really (really) get fukkd around the 15 minutes mark - the beats build in presence and intensity and trigger staccato washes of white noise, panic inducing sounds I can only compare to dreams of drowning...dreams that start to feel like reality as To Smear The Sexual Organs begins a cool down/breather before the finale that dissolves into just that erratic beat pulsating as though your life is skipping. And who is say that it isn't......?
04 June 2017
I still sometimes think about that MARSHSTEPPER show at The Lab in SF a bunch of years ago, when I showed up on time (stupid) and waited for HOURS before anything happened and then when something did happen it was a fucking laptop techno DJ kid and I was silently fuming because I'm old and sometimes I get cranky and sleepy and I just wanted to fucking see MARSHSTEPPER and then after a few minutes I was like "damn, this laptop DJ kid is fukkn banging" and then I was really happy and MARSHSTEPPER was super good too. Yeah....been a JOCK CLUB fan ever since that night. Good job, laptop DJ kid.
I've been spending most of my recent music listening time with artists that are "heavy," but decidedly outside of the punk/metal sphere/s. BROTHER AHH, PATRICK COWLEY, the recent BILL CONVERSE platter, ALICE COLTRANE reissue/s, and I cannot recommend the Numero JOANNA BROUK collection highly enough - some of the most beautiful and emotive sounds I have ever heard. But....sometimes things pull you back. And today when I got home I didn't want introspection or nuance, but I wanted depth and I wanted power. And I wanted rage.....so I listened to the three tracks on the 2013 GIDIM demo very fukkn loudly. And then.....? And then I listened to them again. Searing and discordant one man black metal....sometimes it's what a person needs.
03 June 2017
An early portal into the world of cripplingly prolific noise artist SKIN GRAFT, these two tracks take you on a 30 minute journey through ambient field recordings, subdued but harsh industrial and manipulated electronics. Rather than a slap to the face, 2007's Drug Addict drags you through the slog and pulls you under layers of sound until it feels like your drowning so that even 12 minutes into the first track, when the sound starts to release its hold, I find myself bound even tighter. This is lights-off-music, and among the first of many dozens of SKIN GRAFT releases over the last decade...like a premonition of dark Future Times.