Fukk man, I don't know much. But I know that HAKA is searing and raw and full of absolute fire, and I know that when I hear them scream "THERE'S NO HOPE!" I feel all of that fire. Six songs in under eight minutes....I get a '90s Pittsburgh vibe at times, but don't be surprised if you get a vibe that makes you want to break shit.
29 November 2017
The debate between Team BORN AGAINST/RORSCHACH and Team SICK OF IT ALL/In Effect Records in the late '80s is still awesome. It's still relevant. Sell Out Commercial Hardcore vs. DIY ethics. Old school kids grown up and wanting to get what they feel is theirs vs. New, hungry, idealistic anti-system punks. Decades after (most of) the players have rendered themselves (mostly) irrelevant, I think there are few pieces of evidence that can be entered into this debate that are more poignant than Stinky Grooves by LIMBOMANIACS. It's important to remember that this was the label (In Effect) at the center of a debate over the pros/cons of bringing punk/hardcore to "wider audiences" through more "corporate" distribution networks that could get CDs into shopping malls and chain stores, as opposed to the DIY, punk distros, mail order, ads in MRR, word of mouth network/s. More exposure means more punks...right? Let's discuss.... While In Effect was exposing kids to "important" acts like AGNOSTIC FRONT and SICK OF IT ALL, they were also responsible for tricking small town kids like me into buying complete garbage like 24-7 SPYZ and LIMBOMANIACS based on the latter's association with the former. SCATTERBRAIN was decent (LUDICHRIST was better though), and I confess that I did like that PRONG record, but the supposed "endorsement" of hardcore elite (In Effect boss Steve Martin was ex-AF after all, but in less than a decade he would be a publicity mogul representing FOO FIGHTERS, LUSCIOUS JACKSON, BEASTIE BOYS and RADIOHEAD, among countless others) was quickly deemed a ruse by anyone who actually liked punk and hardcore (I was a snot nosed brat from Oklahoma with a CURE subway poster on my bedroom wall, and even I managed to figure that shit out). In Effect claimed to be bringing hardcore the masses in the face of the corporate onslaught force feeding us CHER and GUNS 'N ROSES and MADONNA, but then they clogged their own pipes with schlock and dried up a few years after inception - only to be absorbed by scam-indie-with-major-ties Relativity, who in turn got swallowed by Sony-affiliate RED, all in a matter of just a few years, essentially proving the point that McPheeters, Maggio and Co. were trying to make the whole time: "and that's how you make your money, marketing records to people who don't care?" So yeah, anyway, LIMBOMANIACS, the tape you (likely) are not going to download today. At their best ("Maniac"), they sound like a second rate Friendly Fascism-era CONSOLIDATED, but mostly this thing is just pure suburban funk garbage. You know what my exposure to BORN AGAINST led me to: Gravity Records, MOHINDER, UNIVERSAL ORDER OF ARMAGEDDON, MAN IS THE BASTARD....case closed. I revisit this entire debate at least once a year, because it's good to stay grounded.
Listen to the WNYU debate here. Seriously, please.
28 November 2017
Awkward keyboard drenched French art punk lurches on one side, with frenetic no wave spastic attacks from Kansas City on the flip. This 2012 split is light years from anything I would consider "palatable" or a "pleasant listen," but check MEAT MIST (MO) simultaneously channel MELT BANANA, ISTERISMO, BLACK FLAG and MINISTRY on "TwerkUltra." Seriously...listen to it, loudly. Then check MORSE (F) on the flip lumber through "In The Grass" and wonder if you are listening to THE B-52's or some outtake from The Sexual Life Of The Savages. MORSE appear to have left us with nothing more than this and one two song demo (also from 2012), while MEAT MIST have been busy little beavers for the last half decade, amassing an impressing (and compelling) disc(tape)ography. Sure this one passed me by on its initial release, but sometimes the joy of missing the train comes when you get to jump back aboard, unhindered by urgency.
27 November 2017
If you lived in the San Francisco Bay Area in the late '90s and you paid even a little bit of attention, then you knew LITTLE PRINCESS. Three Japanese exchange students playing ruthless and only vaguely competent grindcore backed by three more women the band had enslaved to serve as dancers/roadies. There were different outfits (made by the band) at each show, and the spectacle of this crew of tiny women rolling in wearing pink dresses and laughing at their own ridiculous jokes that didn't make any sense to anyone else, and then leveling the joint with pure and genuine noise-not-music for twenty minute....well, it was pretty great. The thing was, even though they were presented as a novelty act (the members were from the planet Puchin Pring, and their space ship broke down, stranding them on Planet Earth, and they started a band and released and EP to raise money to fix their space ship and return home to fight the evil Madam Cactus, who was trying to destroy their planet.....so, yeah) with choreographed dances, the lyrics were legitimately serious and the band was legitimately intense to see live. LITTLE PRINCESS were short lived (I was fortunate to participate in their final show as a guest member), but GERI LIVE! were right on their heels. Most of the same women, this time dressed in black. This time playing with more ferocity. This time they looked evil as shit with Noto serving as an uncompromising frontwoman. This time they were serious and this was no fukkn novelty. Except that...geri means diarrhea, and all of the songs were about shit. "White Lover." "Angry Ass." "Poop Swimming." Finally this crew had honed their craft...and they just sang about poo. And of course we fukkn loved it, because it was fukkn great. They made an EP with a GAUZE ripoff cover, you should probably find it. I seriously miss 1999 sometimes.
26 November 2017
How many times have I asked how many times this band existed? I'm talking about the band that was a few years too late, or a few zip codes away from the cool part of town, or a few riffs short of a decent record, or a few cool connections away from anyone caring - even if they were actually good? MAD DRAMA could have been the band I saw at any number of Nightbreak Sunday matinees in the '90s (free snacks, no cover, and bands from noon until bar time...every Sunday. You're fukkn right this Oklahoma boy was there every weekend when I moved here). But no, this demo is from 1999, which means they are a solid half decade behind where they should have been, because San Jose's MAD DRAMA should have been destroying Trocadero monthly free gigs and laying waste to the aforementioned Nightbreak gigs in 1995. Instead, I can imagine that their high energy melodic/metallic punk went largely unnoticed....I mean, until now. MAD DRAMA drops three Mad Creaming tunes on this demo, even if they are tunes that refuse to subgenrecize themselves into any of our predetermined categories. I'm not going to lie and tell you that I want these songs in my life....but somewhere, in some time, they have merit and they deserve recognition. You see, this is why I still have too many tapes.
25 November 2017
It's been a while, but fortunately the sounds of Los Angeles black metal mysterians RHINOCERVS appear to be timeless. The collective has faded away, and I honestly doubt we will hear anything more from them in the future....but I cannot think of a corner of the underground black metal universe that has ever been as interesting and as unassailable as this one. Three tracks, recorded and released in 2012. Even, or especially, if the (sub)genre does not interest you, RHINOCERVS releases are very much worth sinking into.
24 November 2017
Do you remember when BAYONETTES and/or DANGER LOVES were killing it? I do. And I love every fukkn of of those records (and, sigh....CDrs). ALIMONY play wistful, love sick Canadian power pop and/or pop punk (and I swear the comparisons are not simply based on country of origin), and if you can't swoon and/or cry along with the chorus to "Love Me Anymore" then you might want to check to see if you still have a heart and/or soul. These three women do a thing that is just....right.
I might have loved you once but love can get it wrong // I'm ready to learn from my mistakes, I'm ready to move on...
23 November 2017
In The United States of America, many (most, in fact) will celebrate a thing called "Thanksgiving." What it is that they (we, in this case) are "celebrating" is a subject of much debate, but the line The Man has fed us for generations is that this day commemorates the Native Americans and/or First Nations peoples showing a bunch of dumb ass Europeans how to cook and hunt and shit, saving said dumb ass Europeans from certain death. So, yeah....I mean, we all have regrets. Anyway, this day is traditionally commemorated by overeating and watching sports, most notably a sport called "football," which is somehow different from the most popular organized sport in the world, which is also called football. But it's good to have alternate plans, and today I suggest three North American punk rock acts, all contributors to the "Do It Yourself" subculture through varying eras and decades and scenes, all worthy of attention, and all stupid enough to release one song demonstration cassettes. Think about it, if an entire civilization can make an honest mistake in the interest of helping others, why should underground punk bands be held to a higher standard?
FUCKBOYZ - "Errol Flynn Was A Motherfucker"
FUCKBOYZ - "Errol Flynn Was A Motherfucker"
Technically not a demo tape, this was likely the master for FUCKBOYZ' contribution to the Napoleon compilation EP, which featured A MINOR FOREST, DRIPPY DRAWERS, ALL YOU CAN EAT, NOT SO HAPPY, POSITIVE GREEN, 40% SALINE SOLUTION, and BABY CARROT. The Bay Area was a pretty sweet place for a while.
SUNSET BEACH - untitled
I don't know shit about this tape, but who the fuck releases a one song tape that lasts 71 seconds? SUNSET BEACH does (or did), apparently. This screams late '90s/early '00s melodic dirt punk, file alongside STRAY BULLETS or a thousand other bands who manage/d to combine earnest hooks with genuine aggression. Someone want's to tell me more, then I'm all ears.
EYE JAMMY - "Nuklear Beach"
Cheating just a little bit here, but if these hillbillies want to give me a fuckkd up two song cassette with only one damn song on it, then I'm gonna call the fukkn thing a one song demo. Fair? Fair. EYE JAMMY was one of the coolest bands I saw at this year's Everything Is Not OK festival, and the crew that they rolled in with certainly didn't hurt their casual claims of baller status (note to touring bands: always roll with a dozen rockers who know all all of your songs and can sing all of the choruses and dance their asses off - locals will think you are bad ass, and you will therefore feel and play like bad asses, it's a glorious cycle). I guess there's another song meant to be on this tape, but with a track as siq as "Nuklear Beach" I kinda don't even fukkn care...and also they are from Mississippi.
Thanks.....you are welcome.
22 November 2017
I think (hope) I don't have to introduce this Tokyo outfit to Escape visitors. The 3rd & Army LP is a stalwart of mid '00s fastcore/skate jams, and casual listeners would be well advised to dig deeper to check the 眩暈 LP, the El Burritos Skate Amigos split with STRUGGLE FOR PRIDE and the first two 7" platters. But, while the band's output since the turn of the decade has been limited to the DJ HIGHSCHOOL split (worth seeking, by the way), they continue to shred live shows and have arguably spent those years getting even better. Enter Kyodo, a cassette EP that some mutual Tokyo friends hand delivered to me in South America a couple of months ago....the world is a small ass place, y'all.
21 November 2017
A brilliant collection of bedroom minimal techno, electronic ambiance and general chill out sounds from Pedro Keppler (GATTOPARDO) and delivered to the public by Dama De Noite. A Fita Do Pedro Em Ibiza should not be considered a casual listen, instead I suggest letting the monotonous pulses of "Delícia" lull you before "Judeu" slowly fills you with subtle psychedelia. I feel like these two tracks together are the highlight for me, but the entire session is worthy of multiple listens. From ultimate sunrise beach chill ("Ibesad") to bizarro retro synth ("Putão"), Pedro covers a ton of ground without ever straying too far from his base. Excellent recording, excellent release, excellent people.
20 November 2017
Wild and nasty synth drenched raw garage goth punk.....it's all of the best things from all of these specific subgenres, but it's all of them at the same fukkn time. And the longest song clocks in at 81 seconds. This shit is ferocious, deserves repeated listens, and has so damn many hooks I can't even believe it. Plus, it makes me feel weird inside.
19 November 2017
Do you like mutants? Do you sometimes like to listen to art and/or garage punk even though you aren't really sure where the fuck it comes from or what scene these people could possibly exist in since all you ever go see is hardcore shows? And then do you ever realize while you're wondering all this shit that BELLY JELLY have been plowing through one damaged riff for just over two minutes with essentially zero variations? If you, like me, made it that far then you're in for a treat, because these Bloomington brillianaires are....well....brilliant. And weird. One song is like CCTV on mescaline, the third track is a nursery rhyme for children on LSD, and the thing ends with some nonsensical HALF JAPANESE meets KING MISSILE shit. So, while I don't actually know what this is, my day is seven minutes better than it was when I woke up.
Also....they wrote me a note. I like notes.
18 November 2017
Since the 2016 release of Promotional Cassette: A Pleasant Atomic Age Kitchen, Oakland's NEUTRALS have released a second Promotional Cassette and a Promotional Compact Disc that compiles the material from both cassettes. Pretty crafty, methinks. Allan McNaughton (GIANT HAYSTACKS, AIRFIX KITS) once again delivers endearing and addictive jangly indie/punk with guitars ripped from deep cuts from the Rough Trade and 4AD catalogues. It's fun music, light hearted but deep at the same time, and "Swiss" is an impossibly cool track. It is very likely that you have never created a track as cool as "Swiss," but that shouldn't make you sad.....because most people haven't.
17 November 2017
If you were anywhere the Bay Area in the '90s then you surely heard of Sacramento's LIZARDS, even if you never heard the band. Irreverent and unabashedly FUN punk that sounds timeless when blasted in(to) this millennium....the ten tracks here from their Summer '94 Tour Tape will put a smile on the face of nostalgic visitors and hopefully turn on a few newcomers. What if THE DEAD MILKMEN and pre-Hidden World FUCKED UP and HICKEY morphed into one band? Seriously.
16 November 2017
I've fawned over these kids in these pages before, and feel fortunate to have shared a split release with them a few years back. The recent release of XRDM's Fashkodato! EP (which is an absolute stunner) inspired me to spend some time with their earlier releases....and so here you go. Self titled 2014 cassette contains six blistering fastcore tracks in six minutes, with little bursts of heavy '90s crust and everything fronted by Nzt's relentless high end vocal attack. Power and speed and intensity - I really want to go back to Kota Kinabalu....
15 November 2017
Anguished and repulsively heavy sludge from America's Rust Belt, the lost and prolific land of desperations. MOLLUSK are (were?) nothing short of sonic annihilation, nuance/s coming only in the form of short quietudes that are more like a warning than a break....because though you are about to crumble from the weight of what you are already holding, that quiet moment is just MOLLUSK telling you that the universe is about to bury you.
14 November 2017
This one is beautiful, and also deadly. Distorted pulses and waves of sound that sometimes sound like a SCIENTIST dub treatment laid (unwillingly) on harsh industrial electronics. And then there's "Sleeping," that takes up 20+ minutes of the B-side of Sleepless...ominous sonic punishment of the highest and most hypnotic order. Highest praise here.....
13 November 2017
I recall a lot of people dismissing this demo when it came out a few years ago. Who knows...maybe it was NYC backlash, maybe it was just not quite as flavorful as something else cool that came out that month, or may the ears just adjust over time....but in late 2017 this demo fukkn creams hard. Six songs, eight minutes, nihilism as sound. If this is the soundtrack to the beginning of your week, then just imagine how grim things are gonna be when Thursday come rolling around.
12 November 2017
Someone want to fill the rest of us in here? I have no idea how this cassette came to me (this is a common theme in my life), and I don't know anything about the band. What I do know is that this four song demo from 1988 is a perfect (B)rat Pack montage soundtrack, brilliant synth heavy new wave/pop music from/for a lost generation. The second track leads me to believe that these kids (might have) had punk roots, but then the chorus drops and it's just brilliant outsider pop. Maybe I wouldn't want a full album, if only because these were the kinds of bands who had seemed to have a few good songs and then you heard the LP and the rest of the songs were shite, but I'll be damned if this sampling isn't pretty much perfect.
11 November 2017
A year and a half after I referenced the brilliance of this 2015 demo, and months after Big Achievements flew off of Iron Lung's shelves and into the greedy earmitts of all you mongers, here's the first offering from Washington (state) mutants NASTI. Well, the first one that I heard. And it blew my mind. Ferocious and discordant hardcore freakouts that don't try to sound mean or fukkd up....because they are mean and fukkd up. The guitars in the title track should be all the convincing that you need here. For those not already on board....
10 November 2017
I am always very pleased when I decide to pull this one out. Late '90s hardcore that defiantly clings to the unregimented glory of that oft unheralded decade, NEXT OF KIN was born out of the Wisconsin DIY basement scene but members had migrated west by 1998 when this document was recorded...it's angry, it looks inward, it's raw intensity in sound. Their existence was short, and they existed in the shadows of their previous and more prominent projects, but this demo......pure power.
09 November 2017
More anguished submissions from LIFE DRAG. 2016's Feel Your Grave was perhaps slightly more coherent than 2016's Feed Your Grave (that's not a typo), but this offering opts for desolation and darkness and misery brooding beneath a shroud of hollow sound. Well....I guess that's pretty much the same as the other one, but my point is that the vision feels more realized on this cassette. Listen to the dirge that is "Collapse Of Reality." Listen to the brutal monotony of "Transaction." Listen to the sparse desperation of "A Living Trend." Listen to your pain. Feel Your Grave once again.
08 November 2017
07 November 2017
06 November 2017
Project bands are cool, as this flash in the pan Ohio screamo outfit demonstrate. Vocals are maxed and broken, riffs are weird and the keyboards sometimes don't make any sense whatsoever - which is why they are so perfect. According to the liner notes, these tracks were essentially written and recorded in a week. Not bad, kids....not bad at all.
05 November 2017
It's funny that my first mental comparison is FUCKED UP....funny because CHILLER don't sound a fukkn thing like that (maybe on "What Can You Reach Through?" and the closer "You Reading New History") and also because FUCKED UP hasn't played hard and/or fast in at least a decade. But take those marble mouthed vocals and set them to ripping, meaty, Steel City hardcore and you're basically in the ballpark. A relentless eight minute collection.....you're welcome.
04 November 2017
Perfect fall weekend fodder for visitors who can't decide if they want to listen to lo-fi pop or retro shoegaze or Jay Reatard (on quaaludes) or dark indie/punk and kinda want to listen to all of them. But, you know, at the same time.
03 November 2017
We were supposed to tour together in 2002 - it would have been KYLESA's first - but they killed two vans in three days and (wisely?) decided to stay home before we even left the Southeast. While our shows definitely benefited from having their name on every flyer, I still really wish that we could have just done the damn thing together. But we shared a shitload of bills through the mid-'00s, and they were like family every time they came through. Obviously KYLESA was on the road a lot during that time, and obviously they had similar relationships with friends all over the country, but when they rolled up to our place on Achilles Street in Milwaukee it always felt like family. And then they proved that we were family when I went to Europe with them in 2008, but that's a different story....
I don't remember exactly when Laura made me this tape, but I'm pretty sure the tracks from the No Ending EP were yet to be released at the time, so that means 2002/3, pretty soon after we met. It's a pretty simple concept for a mix: throw some new shit from your band on a tape with some classic bangers that you want to turn your friend/s onto. And if the shit bangs, then you're finished...and this shit bangs. Ohio 1983 // Ontario 1987 // Georgia 2002 // Thanks, Laura.