15 August 2018


I figured after VACCUUM had run it's course that I would never do vocals for a band again - I had always been curious, and it felt exceptionally awkward, so I was happy to have given it a go, but even happier to go back to hiding behind by bass. Then a few months ago a few pals asked if I would be interested in this project....and here we are. 100 copies of the demo, pressed for the tour that started with our first show on Sunday (why fukk around, right?), these four tracks along with five more from the same session will make it to 12" wax be the end of the year, and careful listeners will note the blown out analog nature of this cassette reproduction vs. the stuff already available on the www. This one wasn't easy - self destruction, bad decisions, a soul crushing amount of pain, hate and then ultimately, gratitude. Enjoy. 

Remaining dates on the COMMUNICATES (Tokyo)//SHIT COFFINS tour: 
8/15 - Mexicali
8/16 - Los Angeles
8/17 - San Francisco

14 August 2018


I want you to think about something, really consider something: This is Volume Fukkn FOUR. Your weird uncle's bedroom hobby dreams realized in homemade cassette form, even his version of Conway Twitty/s creepy ass "You've Never Been This Far Before" sounds harmless when presented with Fawcett's North Woods drawl. For purists and weirdos only, of course. 

13 August 2018


This thing....ooooofffff, I swear you don't find 'em like this very often. São Paulo's PRESTO? are utterly mindblowing, with 21 songs clocking in just over 17 minutes, and they still have time to throw in flares like the face melting lurching blasts in "Auto Ajuda" that make up what is one of the most intense segments of a hc/grind song ever. Ever. Yeah, I said that. Released in 2001 at the height of fastcore, Odio Pure Concentrado is quite simply head and shoulders above vurtually all of their contemporaries - from the metallic riffing in "Correna" (and ugh that breakdown - are you kidding me?!) to the devastating and ominous opening 40 seconds of "Progresso Accelerado," it's literally everything I want from this style of hardcore. It doesn't just hold up after all these years, this one still sets the fukkn bar.  

12 August 2018


Playing music between bands at shows is an important skill. No one wants to hear full volume death metal while the next hardcore band is setting up, and even at a reasonable volume it can get pretty old just playing music over the PA that sounds more or less like the bands playing on the stage. When Karoline and I see Willie Nelson (which is as often as possible, to be clear), we can expect to hear a newer Willie Nelson record played at a moderate volume over the PA - this works nicely, but probably doesn't translate to punk and hardcore shows very well. At 2015's Everything Is Not OK festival, John and I thought we would be funny and we convinced the sound engineer to play COLLECTIVE SOUL before the headliner took the stage...imagine our surprise when we realized that we had not considered the generational gap before we plotted our joke - that proto commercial grunge hit that came out when we were in our mid-20s and was a source of ridicule for the decades that ensued? Well it was pure classic rock to these kids, as if someone had put on AEROSMITH's "Toys In The Attic" for us in 1993, and those kids loved it, all singing the "yea-ayuh"s in unison at the bridge. At the now defunct Balazo aka Submission Gallery in SF, a constantly revolving bevy of men seemed to have two things in common: an inability to make any band sound good, and a steadfast determination to play raw punk and/or metal at maximum volume whenever there was not a band playing, rendering conversation or any other activity virtually impossible. Anyone who went to hardcore/PV shows in San Jose during the early '10s surely remembers the amazing R&B/Soul dance parties that would spontaneously break out nearly every damn time, it was an amazing and addictive break from the fury, and going from CAPITALIST CASUALTIES to MARY J. BLIGE almost always seemed perfectly logical. Then Friday evening at the CELL ROT show in Oakland, between bands we heard the hits from a young(er) punk's youth: 4 NON BLONDES, WEEZER, 311...hell, that COLLECTIVE SOUL track would have fit in nicely. It was all at a reasonable, conversation friendly volume (keeping us ne'er do wells in the venue and off the street), and every now and then you'd see people quietly bobbing their heads, maybe getting into the groove a little too much, or maybe just having a nice reminisce....it worked, and I hope it works again tonight.

There's a reason for all this, I promise. Other than the desire to just bloviate, that show last night made me think of this GRINSPOON demo, it somehow landed in my brain between the modern hardcore with a penchant for a mean breakdown and the between band easy listening radio alternative heavyweights I kept hearing between bands. Like when Eric mentioned that there's an OFFSPRING/311 split EP coming out soon (this is real, y'all...seriously) I just thought about posting this tape. Australia's GRINSPOON land(ed) more on the heavy end of the '90s alterna-spectrum, more in line with SEASON TO RISK, HELMET, BRUTAL JUICE and the like, but you kinda get the feeling that (at least some of?) these dudes used to be legit heshers - the same way that MACHINE HEAD is almost completely uninteresting, but they still have "something" that you can't quite put your finger on. I mean...you're hearing me here, right? Listen to the fukkd sounding guitar on the breaks in "Post-Enebriated Society" (sic), and the drums that lead into the chorus of "Pig Pen" totally remind me of NUNCHAKU, while "Champion" is straight RATM complete with the Morello waka-waka guitars. Maybe this whole thing stirs something in you. Probably not, but I felt it necessary to share nonetheless...and hopefully someone, somewhere will pump this bad boy through the speakers between bands. At a reasonable volume of course. 

11 August 2018


Once again, the things that slip by you sometimes blow your mind more than the things that you paid attention to at the time. This BAD BLOOD tape is a hard banging high energy stomper from start to finish, but I swear the band was little more than a blip on my mental radar at the time. It's the right kind of distortion, the kind that comes from just being full wylde style all the time, and damn I wish I had seen this outfit in the fukkn flesh, because their self titled 2014 cassette just drips with sweat and raw ass energy. Yeah, ass energy. Raw. Dripping all over the tape. And I played it anyway....like several times. I guess the association with Not Normal should mean that I'm not surprised, and i'm not surprised exactly, I'm just blown the fukk away. 

Worth noting that "Mono-Scented Freak" starts of with the same (admittedly generic) two chord progression as ARTIMUS PYLE's "Already Dead" (2003) and that one IRON LUNG song that I contributed backup vocals to - the irony of me pointing this out will not be lost on close followers and/or nerds. 

10 August 2018

09 JULY 88

I don't need to (further) discuss the beauty or the importance of mix tapes, but there's something especially magical about an unmarked cassette filled with new and sometimes mysterious tracks. Like many folks, one of my first introductions to "underground" punk and hardcore was the P.E.A.C.E. double LP, but my copy was dubbed onto cassette with all of the artists listed.....in alphabetical order. So this Oklahoma teenager had exactly zero chance of figuring out who was DECLINO and who was SHIT S.A. and whether that was CONTRAZIONE or R.A.F. PUNK doing "Sbarre." But that was half the excitement (who IS this....? WHAT is this?!), and today's 09 JULY 88 mix tape taps into some of that joy - 63 minutes of punk and proto-punk and outsider music. I was able to pick out classics from MENACE, ARTISTIC DECLINE, AVENGERS and DESTROY ALL MONSTERS, contemporary late '80s US punk from STIKKY, BEAT HAPPENING and MR. T EXPERIENCE (all of whom sound insanely fresh in this context - BEAT HAPPENING providing one of the highlights of the tape, in fact) and nuggets from THE FUGS, THE MOCK TURTLES and a coupla burners from THEM. But there are loads more tracks that escape my far-from-encyclopedic brain, and I think that this mix is expertly crafted for long drives and/or party settings. So....a tip of the hat to the creature who created this, and a casual nod to the invisible hands of the universe that guided it from The Creator's hands to mine, and now to yours. 

09 August 2018


If you asked me about the best Bay Area punk band that you'd never heard of. If you asked me who was the one band that you had missed out on, the one who had slid in under your radar and then disappeared into the forgotten realm while you were understandably busy discovering MOZART and DEIMOS CULT and MASS ARREST and revisiting APEFACE and HICKEY and TRAGIC MULATTO. It makes sense...there's a lot of shit to dig into from around these parts. Our version of a lull would make lots of places jealous. So when a band plats a few songs and drops a five song banger before calling it quits, it's perfectly reasonable that people would kinda forget. But, my friends, the internet was invented to make sure that you always get a second chance. A second chance to fukk up. A second chance for other people to see shit that you did years ago that you wish no one had ever seen. And a second chance for you to listen to the FIRST WORLD PROBLEMS demo. It bangs relentlessly, and packs a relentless mid-'90s East Bay fury like a motherfukkr...plus the tracks themselves are pure gold. I've said it in assorted ways over the years, but if you decode to only leave a handful of jams as your legacy, then they might as well be good ones. Or, in the case of FIRST WORLD PROBLEMS......great ones. 

08 August 2018


I think you could easily argue that up front and in your face left wing politics are more necessary now than they ever were in the '90s (at least in the so-called "west" and/or "first world" countries), but I guess there's no harm in reaching back for a taste of that fire now and then. What HUMAN ERROR lack(ed) in proficiency, they more than make up for with grit, delivering 40 minutes of bulldozer hardcore (four studio tracks and a 30+ minute live set) assailing the rich and the corporations and abusers....you know, the same people who have been fucking the collective "us" for generations. AUS ROTTEN via DISORDER, with a Death And Pure Destruction-era DEATH SENTENCE guitar sound that is wholly endearing. Rough, forceful, unashamed....it's what we need in punk.

I want to thank people for turning up to the anti-McDonald's protests, and thank the people who turned up for the Rock Against McDonald's gig - we made $900 that night for the Global Support Campaign. 

07 August 2018


Sometimes it's simply a matter of how far you are willing to travel off the path. Different approaches to electronic/psych/folk/trance/noise from each artist here, and while I find the RIGHT EYE RITA side entirely more listenable, I think that FORCED INTO FEMININITY's utterly abrasive approach a worthwhile challenge. This 2015(?) cassette is a highly recommended detour off the beaten path, and the version of "The Applicant" here is worth the price of admission on its own.

06 August 2018


Sometimes vacations are unannounced, and sometimes sabbaticals absence just leaves you wanting more. Returned last night from a ten day jaunt through the Yucca Mesa and wondrous Wonder Valley, the Riverwest 24 in Milwaukee (aka The People's Holiday, aka The Best Day Of The Year), a LAUGHING DOG show in the middle of a few days in Albuquerque, and several guerrilla photo exhibits in and on abandoned things across the southwestern United States. My intent was to stockpile enough posts to get you through the hard times, but sometimes hard times are just....hard. 

The final (I think?) offering from these NYC children, DEFORMITY's 2013 demo serves as a nice portal to the manic and psychedelic KALEIDOSCOPE attack that was to follow. Raw and disjointed punk, still shaking rules off its back...but with great success. I recommend referring to the band's earlier work ALSO, but absolutely not instead of this demo, as the progression is noteworthy. "No-One" must be one of the screamingest pogo/thrash attacks I have ever heard, and DEFORMITY warrants more than a casual glance in the review mirror. 

24 July 2018


A recent evening spent with Struggle To Survive reminded me of all of the dead links from The Early Escape Years (and it's weird to think that there is such a thing...but there is), but this post has way more to do with how good this tape is than how many other tapes are left dangling in the abyss of lost servers and mediafire data dumps. The pures might claim that hardcore was dead by 1987, and the self righteous might claim that nothing worthwhile happened after 1985 (incorrect), but there are so many underrated bands that popped up in that weird spacial void between punk's 1980s heyday and the birth of the DIY network in the 1990s. Not quite linked to the anarcho scene, removed from early hardcore, but playing by a rulebook that seemed to allow them to get away with whatever they wanted, these bands often appear to exist in an ether devoid of scene association...which is what makes them so appealing. BLACK OVER RED approach tuneful punk with the fury of the UK thrash that popped up around the same time, and it just manifests fiery punk. Killer punk...and I really like killer punk. 

23 July 2018


This one is distorted so right. Dark and murky raw hardcore with a thunderous low end that's perfectly suited to that weird bouncy squirm that seemed to take over punk a while back. I was just talking yesterday about boogie and how most good punk has a nice ass shaking rhythm, often hidden beneath the leather. And while LA's NO PEACE might not remind you of "People Of The South Wind" (insert "people Of The Southland" joke here...a joke that perhaps only SoCal residents will get, and a joke that perhaps isn't really very funny), there's something about that rumble that gets me going. Weird ass chopped up edit of this demo, which only serves to make it more engaging - it's good when punks keep you on your toes, even if by accident. If the rest of your week is a crushing as Volume One, then I'd say you are doing OK. 

22 July 2018


Delivery is important, sometimes more important than the content itself, and delivery is where BLACK MONUMENTS really fukkn nails it. A stark and cold and abrasive synth driven monstrosity that crams early art punk/wave weirdness that lives at the intersection of SCREAMERS, DOW JONES AND THE INDUSTRIALS and DEVO...an intersection with no traffic signal and countless blind spots.  Farty bass, thin drum machine, piercing synths and ferociously barked vocals, it's like all of the hype with none of the pretense. 

21 July 2018


Someone want to help me here? Because I seriously cannot tell what the fukk is happening. I keep listening, but I genuinely do not know what I am listening to or what it's intent was. Or is. Please help yourself....please help me. 

20 July 2018


Punks. When something goes wrong or someone needs help, they just seem to say "let's do a benefit." And as easy as it can be to dismiss this allocation of financial and personal resources (seriously, it's really easy), it's just as important to recognize the common struggle and speak in a unified voice....even if that voice is straining to be heard over screaming guitars. This compilation was released to raise money for and awareness of refugee Camp de la Liniére in Dunkerque, France during what was then the most heart wrenching public refugee crisis of my adult life. That crisis has now faded into the shadows, shrouded by packed nationless boats in the Mediterranean and unforgivable crimes against family and humanity at the US/Mexican border. So, do we need another compilation cassette? Maybe not, but it helps to know you're not alone in your thoughts....and maybe it will help you know that you aren't alone in your actions. 

It's worth noting that this comp fukkn screams from start to finish. The bands you recognize on that cover all offer stellar tracks, and some of the bangingest bangers included are from bands that were heretofore unknown to me. Also, I fully recognize what a pass my passport gives me...it's a pass that every resident of earth should be afforded. 

19 July 2018


Mexican punk rules....y'all already know this, right? I mean, you must know this. Mexican hardcore also rules, but that should have been an obvious conclusion. I'm not trying to say that across the board Mexican bands are the best or anything (though I would not argue if you tried to make such an aassertion), I just mean that there's a specific bent to Mexican punk and hardcore that I can never quite put my finger on - it's distinctive and it's awesome. Also, CADENAXO are very very sick. 

18 July 2018

weird unknown guy

Anyone know what the fukk this is? Or where it came from? Aside from the dreamboat on the (photocopied) cover, the context of this offering is a complete mystery. Vocal/piano musings that lie somewhere in a bedroom across the hall from ANDREW W.K. and two floors down from NICK CAVE, a bedroom in which TOM WAITS and DJ LEBOWITZ occasionally rest their weary heads between gigs. Also, there's a wild ass saxophone in one song. I simultaneously praise and curse the makers of cassettes like these - the people who include no information and not even any clues in the packaging of their homemade works. So we listen and we wonder and we ask...we ask what and we ask why. 

17 July 2018


You want it to be sharp and sassy, right? You want it to have teeth, but still want the bass lick that leads into the guitar solo to fukkn swing, right? You want the vocals to whine just enough to get on your nerves, and then you want to rip your clothes off and get sweaty and get the fukk down, right? You want it to be so cool that you fukkn hate it, and then you want it just be just a little cooler so you won't care. I have good news for you, friend: You want DILETTANTES. 

16 July 2018


Texas punk. Squirmy and weird. And fukkn pissed. One of the best bands I have seen (so far) in 2018. You'll maybe want to trash the first two bangers since both copies of this tape I got were duped like shit, but on first listen it makes the mosh in "Paz" that much sicker when it drops, so I present the tracks as they were presented to me. 

15 July 2018


I saw San Antonio's AMYGDALA last night with a new local screamo band called HAWAK and PROVOKE. Small show - Sick show, all of the bands were stellar, and it was sweet to say hello to a really nice group of Texas folks that I hope I keep running into for years to come. It was their first time to California, and I when was chatting with Yole about their route I asked if they were going to Chico. The next day, in fact...which is today. And I thought: "man, that last OUTSIDE LOOKING IN demo is a certified banger, I should post that tomorrow." Say what you will about the Oi! chants during the breakdown of "Fortunate Son" (yes, that one), and say what you will about the main riff from "Content With Discontent" (a straight rip of HÜSKER DÜ's "Target"), but mostly just note that this band just fukkn smokes. I've only seen them once, and that was years ago...but I need to see them again. 

14 July 2018


I've said it countless times, but I've thought it countless more....one of the best perks about dragging this out of date cassette blog (because, I mean, who even writes or hosts or curates these anymore - much less bothers to read them or use them as anything approaching a resource? That's what discogs and googletube are for, right?) is the random donations. The promo-esque stuff is swell, don't get me wrong, because who doesn't like free stuff? But when someone is like "I think this rips and I want people to know about it but it seems like history and punk's short attention span relegated this to the shadows" and then they offer up a cassette for the archive? Well....it's fukkn rad, and that's what today is. Post-TEAR IT UP Dave on vocals, these five songs are rock 'n roll tinged US hardcore that I honestly think could have been huge had they gone a slightly different route (or perhaps if they had simply stayed together). Crazy melodic noodling on one of the guitars while the band charges full force at all times, and an instantly comfortable listen because it's a sound that you already know....but THE GOOD BOOK offer just enough of something to hold you tight. 

13 July 2018


Listen To Me Last is brilliant mix tape, a remnant from a relatively small circle of friends and sound dealers active in the mid-'00s....a circle we called the Milwaukee Mix Tape Exchange. Me met one Sunday a month at RiverHorse, where John and I played records to a tiny room that was typically half full. But on Mix Tape Exchange nights, that room was sometimes as much as 2/3 full, and that extra bump came from people like Jen and Ellie and Patsy and Brad and Dave....people who fukkn loved sound, loved new sounds, and loved creating mix tapes. Because a good mix tape isn't just a thing that you make, or a thing you put together, it's truly a thing that you create. From Gambia's SUPER EAGLES to EXCLAIM, from CIRCLE to FIONA APPLE, Dave absolutely crushed on this one...carrying a melancholic vibe through artists as diverse as his chosen audience and closing with the curve ball (and, to be honest, arguably lazy) move of dropping his own band's 12" near the end of side B. In its entirety. Who does that?! Dave does. And its a sick move (and Dark Well is an underrated banger to the extreme), allowing the listener to completely settle in (read: submit) before wrapping up with a peppy track from MILKTRAIN and a superb come down from SUNNO))). Keep for casual dips if you like, or settle in for the long haul (recommended), but Listen To Me Last is a benchmark for sonic collections...and for friendship. 

12 July 2018


Ten tracks in as many minutes means I am probably interested. Ten hardcore tracks filled with intensity and hooks and '80s SoCal swing delivered with turn of the century US hardcore intensity means I'm definitely hooked. Take "Lo Arruine," a track seamlessly introduced by SUN RA that launches into a kick drum heavy B'LAST pace and comes to a halt after an infectious ass shaking mosh starts to really settle in....and then it's as if ASALTO is like "nah....we out - we feel like playing a different burner right now." Urgency often reserved for harsh blasts is manifested here in midtempo, in your face hardcore, and this listener couldn't be happier. Also - what the fukk is the guitar doing in the main riff on "Dualidad"? I don't know, but it's the kind of shit that keeps me coming back to this tape over and over. 

11 July 2018


Instant love on this one, proving that it's not all about volume and intensity...sometimes just the delivery is enough. Take drug addled shuffles, add vocoded backing vocals and an indescribably endearing childish attitude, ADAM HEALTON takes his Nuggets by way of early '80s LIPS freak/psych through laid back burners like "Ima Rollin' Stone" and "Mutate Ma Brain" while keeping his feet planted firmly in the bedroom. Or the closet. Wherever the 4-track tape machine lives, that's where Adam lives. I'm still not sure if this guy is devoid of or consumed by pretense and careful calculation, but if III is any indication then this keyboard crusader is gonna lose a few hours not caring why or how and just letting this genius wash over me. 

10 July 2018


Seriously....listen to the guitar at the beginning of this fukkr. So loud, so fukkd....so good. It's like a damn icepick in your face, Repeatedly. In your face. And CANDY doesn't get any easier. Don't let those cute ass clackering teeth on the cover fool you, this shit is straight motherfukkn fire. 

09 July 2018


Yesterday at the house, Karoline and I spent some serious time with JERRY REED's extensive (and flawless) catalog, then cranked CHRIST ON PARADE's A Mind Is A Terrible Thing LP before hitting the HETEROFOBIA/LAMPS/CREMALLERAS show at Thrillhouse. And this  morning....? I listened to this 2014 demo from Texas metalpunks VERSKLAVEN. I listened to it really loud. A lot of people in San Francisco live in rooms in shared houses, but me and the wife? We got our own spot (for now), which means that volume is not an issue. Ever. And these three songs sound really fukkn good when they are really fukkn loud. Emphasis on the metal in that metalpunks descriptor, VERSKLAVEN's guitars are relentless, as is the galloping double kick, but those howling vocals are pure stench crust and it makes everything sound so much more real. The volume helps too.