I know that plenty of stuff slips by me, but I swear that I was paying attention in 1999. Maybe LURCH just slipped under my radar? Maybe they never made it far enough outside of Pleasanton to raise an eyebrow on anyone planted in San Francisco as I was at the time (though, to be fair, WHN? started practicing and writing in Pleasanton sometime in 2000, so even that isn't an excuse)? Of maybe this band never strayed from the path between their garage and the sports bar in the strip mall where they laid waste to a bunch of jocks on the third Thursday of each month. Fukk man, I don't know how they escaped me, but I'm glad to have them now. Dirty, filthy, guitar heavy and kinda psychedelic noise rock that would have formed a nice bridge between DYSTOPIA and UNSANE (or, if you want to keep the references era appropriate and Bay Area specific, CUTTHROATS 9). Loads of samples between tracks, and the band's overall approach borders on disturbing throughout the recording - the awkward stops in the middle of the distorted fukkd up riff the makes "Endocrine" seem like it about to cook (it cooks later) are a perfect example; it's just uncomfortable to listen to, but in the best possible way. So even if I didn't find out about LURCH for almost twenty years.....? better late than never I suppose.
30 September 2017
29 September 2017
Another installment in the excellent series of regional punk compilations from the fine folks at Commodity Tapes. As with Brazilian Pandemonium, there are plenty staples included (RIP, VULPESS, ESKORBUTO, MG15, ULTIMO RESORTE, IV REICH) but some ear popping discoveries for all but the most comprehensive (read: nerd) listeners (L'ODI SOCIAL, ESKORIATZA, COCADICTOS, VOMITO, CODIGO NEUROTICO, many more). 30 bands in all, grouped by region (Andalusia, Canary Islands, Madrid, Catalonia, Aragon, Basque Country), my only critique might be the absence of Portuguese acts, but perhaps Ben is just saving up for a Portuguese Pandemonium sometime in the future....
28 September 2017
PAZAHORA // ENSLAVE
Singapore's most intense metal/crusters, active for well over a decade, PAZAHORA perfectly mix melodic Euro crust with raging classic Japanese styled hardcore....stellar leads and vocalsthat stab you right in the fukkn heart. Japanese veterans ENSLAVE inject subtle '90s USDIY bits into their raging dual vocal attack. Their rolled back DBeat number "Rootless Wanderer" might be my favorite on the split, though I am very happy that I don't have to choose. Both of these bands have been cranking out consistently killer tunes for longer than most US bands have existed...this split from 2013 - initially released on both of the typical formats, recently regurgitated in a soulless plastic shell for nerds like me (and you....?) - comes highly recommended.
27 September 2017
A full bodied collection of schmaltzy Italian songs that is every bit as robust as the cover suggests. Domenico Mudugno was a staple in the late 1950s and through the '60s, and this kind of grandiose escapism is a thing that I think everyone con use from time to time....even if the escape is temporary and artificial. I mean, I've been known to watch '70s The Newlywed Game and '80s Press Your Luck reruns from time to time. So, same/same.
26 September 2017
A surprisingly compelling thrift store score, this release was about 7 years too late for the indie stardom that it deserved. With elements of HOUSE OF LOVE, SMASHING PUMPKINS, DINOSAUR JR. and other guitar heavy college/alt rock noteworthies, if this record had come out on Homestead or Matador in 1987 then I have little doubt that people would swoon "my sweet....valentine" and that the dreamy and distorted interlude "Hope" would have made it onto countless high school mix tapes constructed with attempted late night silence in my bedroom in Oklahoma. But alas, Sex Vehicle was released in 1995, when the underground and DIY scenes had made a full departure for lilting radio friendly indie/pop, even with heavy guitars, and so here we are....twenty five cents at a St. Vincent DePaul in New Mexico gets you a good listening piece of history. And two decades later, those seven years don't seem like such a big deal.
25 September 2017
Old(er) San Francisco residents may (or may not) remember D.J. LEBOWITZ (and I only use the past tense because I have not heard him mentioned in a while, I assume and hope that is still alive and kicking). I put him on a show in Norman, Oklahoma with NAKED AGGRESSION in 1993 and he stayed at my house...it was weird. He is weird. I am familiar with this cassette (also available on wax, because it was the '80s) and the brilliant Smoke, Suffer and Die EP, an exercise in aural torture the likes of which most people can only imagine....but LEBOWITZ is most noteworthy for is reworking of punk classics as works for solo piano. "Holiday In Cambodia," "Judy Is A Punk" and "Racism Sucks" make appearances here, and I can assure you that his catalog is endless. Released by Fowl Records (FUCK-UPS, BLACK HUMOR, VERBAL ABUSE)....which makes perfect sense and no sense at all at the same time. Sometime in the early '00s, D.J. LEBOWITZ was playing piano at lunch time in a downtown San Francisco shopping mall food court, because we all have to end up somewhere.
All jokes aside, I still genuinely enjoy letting this record fade into the background and then get shocked back by the familiar melodies of punk classics. Also, I have fixed the empty link to the Future Is Death post from a few days ago. We all make mistakes, thanks to the many who (politely) reminded me of this.
24 September 2017
These kids weren't around for very long, but every time I saw them they crushed. From somewhere in the North Bay (Petaluma maybe?), CHRISTIAN REICH only dropped this demo (as far as I know?), and we should all be so lucky to have a recorded legacy this concise (and killer). The Bay Area sound is there in the form of BLACK FORK and even MULTI FACET nods, but at a certain point it's just really good hardcore punk, and they were super positive folks to hang out with too. Three studio tracks followed by three extremely raw and very excellent rehearsal demos (especially the last two) on the flip - I say it all the time, but imagine how many rippers like this there are in the world...bands who faded away after a brief flash, but left an under appreciated legacy in their dust. Also, good band name.
23 September 2017
It's not as if I was surprised that Laura started a(nother) good band when she moved to Portland. And that's what she did. Pedestrian construction, no one is pushing any envelopes here...but ugh, a banger is a banger, you know? Solid UK influenced punk stompers - no point in reinventing the wheel when the shit rolls this smooth. And in case you were wondering, as the Northern Hemisphere slips into fall but the days are still warm enough to spend outside under the sun, "11:15" is this weekend's jam.
22 September 2017
FUTURE IS DEATH
Dark punk. Hardcore. Lo-fi garage bangers reinvented as pogo punk. Chaotic blasting grind. 12 bangers by ten bands, covering the Southern California underground that you missed in the post-2010 era. The content trumps the quality here, but if you come to The Escape for fidelity then you have surely become accustomed to disappointment by now. Also - the ELECTROCUTIONER tracks are fukkn sick.
21 September 2017
THE FUCK SHIT UPS
I'm guessing from the 909 area code that these mutants called California's sun baked Central Valley home, but once you hear the vocals crack and squeak in the pure energy burner "RnR Salvation," you won't fukkn care where it comes from. Raw and primal garage hardcore punk, the kind of punk that either happens in a cultural void, in the pre-punk 1970s....or, hopefully, in a sweaty basement. Hearing the tom heavy rumble of "Teenage Riot!" segue into "I Threw A Chair Out The Window" is total perfection, and the 38 seconds of "Stunt My Growth" that follows should be presented by scholars and historians to civilians and looky-loos as an example of how punk is supposed to make you feel - because that's more important that how it sounds. Six bangers in five minutes, the return on time investment is shockingly high today.
20 September 2017
After just two cassette releases, Mexico City's REVUELTA PROPIA seem to have officially called it quits in the late '90s, though the moniker continued as a vehicle for sounds increasingly distant from the classic ska/punk at the band's roots. Hard to say when they actually became inactive, but the point today is this four song cassette from 1998...keyboards, horns, vocals fluidly scat/rapping their way through tracks as equal parts front and hype man. The entire (short) tape burns, but "Las Vueltas de la Vida" as a closer is indescribably infectious, and the energy is so high that even subgenre naysayers (of whom I can be one, I confess) will start to dance.
19 September 2017
The world of ambience and noise and electronics overlap and merge in countless series of concentricity that I will never fully comprehend. The decidedly accessible nature of the media/medium further ensure that all but the most dedicated followers of these arts will miss something here and there...and by "something," I am referring to large swaths of sonic contributions worth of serious investigation. My point is this: Don't miss JUHYO. This Minneapolis duo has been casually and confidently cranking creating and cranking out brilliant sounds for a decade or so, and their most recent two track tape is an exercise in patience and dedication. Listen to the swell of electronics that takes up the first 5 minutes of "Grave Mistake," and then realize that this swell is, in fact, the track itself rather than an introduction to aural violence. It's a tension that is so calm that's it's difficult to put into words. And the unfortunately applicable "Buddhist Violence" on the flip...how something so peaceful can be this soul crushing is a statement on the times as much as it is an example of sound.
Presented as a double A side split release with each member's label (Housepig and Hear More) and releasing one side of the tape, and taking charge of the corresponding artwork. A brilliant way to package and disseminate a brilliant release. As is often the case: Maximum Volume Yields.
18 September 2017
It seems weird that today, more than eight years into this weird cultural experiment, marks the first appearance of BESTHÖVEN. Hailing from the relatively nowhere town of Gama, somewhere between the coast and the interior regions of Brasil, this one man/machine project is to South America what Kawakami is to Japan. With 50+ releases under his belt, Fofäo has been cranking out sinister and primitive DBeat for well over 20 years with no signs of slowing down. The live experience includes various other players, but the recordings are (primarily) just one dude, DBeating his life away for our pleasure. This tape features BESTHÖVEN tracks from splits with VIOLATION, SKELETON, TRIOXIN 245, SEE/GET, WARVICTIMS, SUBURBAN SHOWDOWN and DISCLOSE, as well as the More Victims Of War and Just Another War Song EPs. Raw and brutal Dbeat purism...
17 September 2017
FEED THE MACHINE
Disgusting US hardcore from (I presume) the 1990s. It's sloppy, it's ugly, it's mean, it's DIY and raw....and it's really good. I don't know (or remember) how I came across this one, but FEED THE MACHINE left a five track demo in their wake that is owed far than a passing mention on some passé one-a-day tape blog....but sometimes you don't get all that's coming to you, you know? And so you take what you get. You? Today you get a whirlwind of manic riffs and loose, blurred guitars and those hollow throaty vocals that no one does anymore...and if you have any brains left, then you will fukkn dig it.
16 September 2017
Maybe it's because I just got back from Brasil, maybe it's because the comp is just hot like fukkn fire, or maybe it's because Ben started cranking out the regional Pandemonium mix tape series a few years back and I have yet to share them with you. But you shouldn't wonder why you are getting this gift, you should just lather yourself in the pure primal power that is '80s Brasilian punk and hardcore. COLERA, OLHO SECO, LOBOTOMIA, RATOS DE PORÃO....sure. but also AUSCHWITZ, HINO MORTAL, FOGO CRUZADO, COBAIAS, GRINDERS and so many more. 29 tracks in all, every one essential.
15 September 2017
Killer '80s dark punk originally posted back in 2010, this WAR TOYS practice tape is on pretty regular rotation around TEHQ, so it seemed fair to revisit for everyone's benefit. It's unpolished, to be sure, but the tracks are quintessential brooding anarcho that swing hard when the drummer starts in on the toms. It's easy to imagine these tracks with a "proper" recording (and, in fact, I often forget how raw this practice tape is simply because the tracks are so solid)...and just think of how many more bands there are like this one - bands who created brilliance in a vacuum and with a flash. And then faded away.
14 September 2017
oooooooffffff. These Dallas punks deliver in the tradition of the finest the Lone Star State has to offer. Someone has been doing their homework and taking nods to their own pedigree/s at the same time, and the result is a gloriously bombastic collection of DBeat hardcore punk with tasty morsels or SPAZM 151's rock 'n roll and 2017's dupa dupa thrown in only where appropriate. Check the breaks and the riff changes in "Salvation," and if you aren't moshing, then you might not be breathing. There's an EP that followed this demo....and, yeah, it is a banger too.
13 September 2017
GAS STATION OF LOVE // TAPE MONSTER
From the same family of freaks that gave us BLEEDING IN THE MOONLIGHT, TURKEY TITS, DJ DICKWALLS and a host of others (all featured in these pages, of course), comes the one time pairing of GAS STATION OF LOVE and TAPE MONSTER. Power electronics, neanderthal drum machine grind, singer songwriter tracks about sexual fetishes. Yeah...it's all here.
Can't seem to make it stop // lying here with a rock hard cock // oh no, I'm watching tranny porn again
12 September 2017
When you find an Ascetic House release in an abandoned box of cassettes on the sidewalk, you take that box home with you. Because Ascetic House, you know? Sometimes though, you get surprised by things on the sidewalk...and sometimes that is a good thing. I'll leave you with those words, so that you can enter the world of OTRO MUNDO with the same predispositions that I did. Enjoy.
11 September 2017
FEED YOUR HEAD
The joy of unknown tapes. I have another cassette from this studio, a raw version of the 1984 SACRILEGE demo, but other than the studio name and the text on the cassette, I know nothing about this banger. I mean, I know that it's ten tracks of tough as nails throaty hardcore punk, and I assume that it's from England. You like punk....and mysteries? Well then you are welcome.
10 September 2017
Relentless Philadelphia hardcore. Get ready. This one rips. Deep breath.
09 September 2017
GETTING OLD IS NO JOKE
In 2016, on the 9th of September, my band STERILE MIND played a show with SUBHUMANS. Talk to teenage Oklahoma Punk Me and tell me that was gonna happen on my 44th birthday and I would laugh in your face. I mean....after I asked you who SUBHUMANS were, because I was (and, let's be honest, still am) clueless. The next morning, I got on an airplane and flew to Missouri and spent a few days with some crazy ass religious cult family that my father had somehow entrenched himself in while I watched the life leave his body. The year that followed has been rather intense, but full of life, full of learning, and full of adventure. My friend Katherine made this tape for me, not knowing the condition I would be in when it reached me, and not knowing the struggles that this reality would throw at me before I even had a chance to sit down and digest the contents. But it's a concept tape....and it's about getting old(er). And whether you are knee deep in the shit or not, it is a brilliant mix. This should come as no surprise, since Katherine is a brilliant woman. A woman full of life and knowledge and experience and wisdom beyond measure, and a woman I am very lucky to call a friend. I confess that it was months before I really spent any time with this tape (I was kinda going through some stuff), but as I listen to today to the deep SABBATH cut "Never Say Die!" placed expertly between THE PLUGZ and WIPERS, and I think about myself sitting in that hospital room on my father's birthday watching strangers wipe the piss and shit from his lifeless but still breathing pre-corpse, I'm like...."yeah, exactly." Because the rock keeps turning, whether you and/or yours are still on it or not.
I write this in late August, preparing to board a flight for South America (yeah...the posts you've been reading these past days were all prepared earlier, like a fukkn TV dinner - nothing personal, I just had somewhere time specific I needed to be). With any luck, and barring plane crashes and/or hijackings, I will spend my 45th birthday with my pals FLIPOUTAA from Tokyo at their tour final in São Paulo with ULSTER and DER and a host of brilliant bands. And with any luck, that night (this night) will usher in a brilliant year, filled with continued growth and renewed positivity. Also, I can never listen to "It's Good To Have Met You" without crying. It's simply not possible.
08 September 2017
I don't know man......sometimes you just want it to sound really fukkd up, you dig? WOOLWORM sounds really fukkd up. Chaotic and dangerous sounding, lurching Canadian noise drenched punk. Or....punk? I want to compare some of this to shit-fi black metal, I want to compare some of this to desperate hardcore punk, and every now and then I think I'm listening to a '90s AmRep band's demo, but with French screamo vocals. Yeah, man....it's all over the place, but it's completely together. Extra hails for execution, because this one sucks you in with mystery and then just pulverizes you.
06 September 2017
For those accustomed to the improvisational and acoustic nature of most DANIEL HIGGS releases over the last decade will be (pleasantly?) surprised by Surrender To Love. Looped electronics and psychedelic manipulations of the wailing missives of a modern day shaman, this is the first step on what could be an incredible journey of sound were the universe willing. And...perhaps the universe is. I am.
05 September 2017
How many bands named ELEGY do you know? I'm pretty sure this is the third featured in these pages. This ELEGY comes from 1990 and seems to have been on the front end of the quirky, genre-resistant and vaguely (pre) emotional hardcore surge of the USDIY 90s. You are, of course, welcome to make your own judgements and/or genre classifications. Because I like you to be able to have all of the freedom possible. You're welcome.
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