Total freek noise/synth punk mind assault ACTIVATE. I don't know why it's taken this long for me to bring SOCIETY PROBLEM into my (and your) life, but I can honestly say that this freakout was worth the wait. Manic hi-NRG punk and garage sensibilities crash headlong into some next level manipulated shit-fi assault. Like "Can You Feel It" era-MR. FINGERS getting attacked by PSUDOKU at GonerFest in like 1993. Did GonerFest even exist in 1993? EXACTLY MY POINT!!! The year is almost over, y'all, and this is a "time to get weird" command from twenty eleven...aimed straight at your brain. So get weird.
31 December 2018
30 December 2018
Sometimes I don't need context, or even fukkn relevance. Sometimes a dose of LAMF punk rock 'n roll does the trick, and that's surely the case with this NEW YORK TAPS demo. Snotty and shitty and loose and raw like that New York - DC corridor in 1978. Dig those double snare taps, dig the unwieldy guitar, dig the acoustic number dropped in the middle for no apparent reason other than they do what they wanna fukkn do, dig that fat low end Black Dots session bass guitar. Yeah...sometimes you just need everything to click.
29 December 2018
2015 release from this extremely prolific Dutch drone dealer. Ultra minimalist offerings, constructed with care and casually building to white noise crescendos over the course of several minutes (and often over several compositions). The seven minutes of "Moulding Tongues" is worth the price of admission on its own, but be warned that a journey through the MOWLAWNER catalog will consume a healthy portion of your day....and night.
28 December 2018
It's impossible to talk about SICK BURN without talking about RAD. Im (not) sorry, but one is a simple continuation of the other, and the importance of the former's place undeniably helps describe the starting point of the latter....so: In early 2013 NO STATIK went on a (short) tour that culminated with a show in Oakland. It was a ripper - PERMANENT RUIN played and they were at their most fierce. C.R.A.S.H. jumped on the show (and played first, in case you ever wanted to check the legitimate humility of a James Beard Award winning chef in action). The short lived freak show COPS, and REPLICA was straight fire. Every band was shit hot and the crowd was awesome...it was one of those affirming nights that remind you exactly how awesome this punk thing can really be. RAD hadn't really been down to SF/Oakland much, we all knew how ripping they were, but it was the first introduction for a lot of people at the show. There was one lanky longhair wilding out in the pit during their set; dude was having a fukkn time, but he was kinda harshing the mellow of some of the people in attendance...a bump here, a slam there, maybe he was wearing a NIRVANA shirt or some shit, and people were starting to give him mean mugs. And then RAD vocalist Lori, perhaps because she is awesome or perhaps because she sensed the vibe tide turning, took a moment between songs to introduce the rager to everyone at the show. "Hey!! This is **Tom. He came down with us from Sacramento and he's having a really really good time - hopefully you can all have a good time with him!" (or something to that effect). And instantly, the vibe changed. **Tom was now the fukkn center of the party, and the energy level of the room leapt off the scale as everyone (and seemingly, it was everyone) was in the mix with **Tom leading the charge. Things stayed amazing after RAD played, maybe they even got better, but I still credit Lori and RAD with making sure that night started great and stayed great, and it was one of my favorite NO STATIK shows.
SICK BURN are three of the four people in RAD, and they play like they never missed a beat. These people are, in all honesty, fukkn RAD. Eight songs in as many minutes, blending brilliance and irreverence with high energy thrash 'n roll. Think early '00s acts like RAZORS EDGE, but with just enough California sprinkled on top. Highest regard for the people and and the sounds they make.
** I have no clue what the dude's name actually was. But "Tom" seemed to have a nice ring.
27 December 2018
My affinity for '90s DIY is certainly not hidden in the annals of this virtual perzine, so this random 1994 demo should come as no real surprise to even casual visitors. 1994, Chicago, DIY hardcore/punk, very much a product of their time and of the times in general, from the cringeworthy Mark Arm squall in "Bum's Beach" to the SUBMACHINE caliber ode to Schaeffer Beer brilliantly titled "Schaeffer Beer" to the weird guitars that could have evolved into BUZZOV•EN level discordant fury to the blatant equality politics ("Pro Homo," "Youthful Idealism"), it's as if everything from that era is packed somewhere into Always On Strike. And that's exactly what is so appealing about the era.
26 December 2018
You ever feel like just stomping? So hard you think you're gonna shove your foot through the floor and you can feel the nerves tingling though the bones in your leg? Just stomp repeatedly, make things fall off shelves until you're stomping in and around and all over the shit that used to be neatly arranged in and around and all over your life? And you feel like getting sweaty, getting so far beyond caring about anything except getting sloppy and going for it? That's what BLOODY MARY feels like, but with fukkn soul. HOT MACHINES, DANKO JONES, SMUT...even BLUES EXPLOSION. Listen her scratch out "I'll wait, baby for your love" on "Two Days" and thing about how drunk "One Bullet" makes you feel - and then imagine what it must feel like to drop a bomb like that on a 9sqM basement room packed with lost people looking to be found. It would be transcendent, wouldn't it?
25 December 2018
Some people spend this day with family and have weird celebrations ripped from a variety of pagan traditions. I'll spend this day driving through the Mojave with Karoline, celebrating driving through the Mojave with Karoline, maybe pissing on a cactus under the moonlight. Basically, just being glad I've made it this far, wondering how much farther we have to go, and trying to grasp how little control we have over the destination or the outcome.
24 December 2018
I'm not going to get pretentious and try to regurgitate a googled history of COUNT OSSIE, or of this specific record. I knew nothing at all when I dropped $5 on a cassette in Oakland on the recommendation of a (trusted) record shop owner, and this cassette is probably my single favorite sonic acquisition of 2018. A triple LP released in 1973 (reissued a few times since), it's hypnotic, weird, powerful, beautiful, spiritually advanced in an indescribably aural sense. It's wonderful, and I am grateful to have the sounds in my life.
23 December 2018
Back when the '00s morphed into the '10s, there was a crap of disgustingly fierce hardcore bands in and around the lesser travelled corners of Michigan. I feel like most of them were a flash in the pan, just a demo or two and then GONE....but ugggghhh some of those demos are burners. DIPSHIT SYSTEM for example - ripping and erratic USDIYHC, with '80s California punk sensibilities creeping into a mind melting collection of raw blasting hardcore tracks. This thing is just fire, that's all - eight tracks in ten minutes, chaos and gold.
22 December 2018
Relatively short lived Oakland act NASTY DILEMMA took punk's casual and secret flirtations with '80s ethereal dark wave and brooding shoegazing goth and just ran. They ran until there was no semblance of anything modern or aggressive lurking in the mirror, and they let themselves disappear into the darkest of nights. Elements of Guthrie and Hook, but deconstructed completely so that the only sounds presented here are components struggling to make a whole. I know it takes a full nine minutes for any steam to build up...commit. It's worth the wait. I only saw them once....and it's burned in.
21 December 2018
Somebody please, give me just a minute to explain my misery...
Y'all want to go for another ride, right? As if THE VANGUARDS opening track weren't enough, East Side Story vol.4 delivers a dozen ounces of solid fukkn gold, anchored by two gems from BARBARA MASON, perfect curation demonstrated by casually slipping THE RADIANTS "Ain't No Big Thing" in between Mason's call and answer/coming of age "Yes I'm Ready" and "Oh How It Hurts." This one is all about love and pain (I mean, aren't they all?), ending up with THE CRUISERS' "I Need You So" and (oh yeah) they drop in PERCY SLEDGE as if to remind you that the '60s legacy is so much more than AM radio toppers. Instead of a summer strip packed with rounded steel, this fourth volume feels like a quiet, lonely winter road on a crystal clear night...pulling your someone closer when BILLY STEWART hits that falsetto yowl before the chorus of "I Do Love You." Simpler times musings surely abound, but we can find these corners of simplicity in any reality....sometimes you just have to reach a little deeper.
I give you everything I got trying to hold on to your precious love
20 December 2018
Do you ever want to listen to something that's really just a complete assault on all senses? A band that takes a palatable brans of chaotic and passionate crust and dements and contorts it until all of the fine edges are crushed beneath a wall of distorted bliss. Maybe the demo recording is the reason, or maybe the whole thing was calculated, but it makes the sole quiet break "in "Young Til I'm Not" soooooo much more powerful when it's preceded and followed by an onslaught of raw sound. Like '90s north american basement crust conjuring SYSTRAL and the like, ESCALATOR simply pummel, and the around the edges roughness creates a mystery that suits them quite well. At the close of the demo, you get one last hint at what might be lurking when everything drops out revealing a lone low end rumble (that might be a bass?) before "Compulsory Castration" wraps with one final burst of rage. Sometimes you need to step away from the slick and manufactured and listen to a real intensity.
19 December 2018
All hail the non-profit bootlegger, I suppose, because how the fukk else am I gonna hold this shit in hand? DEEF's 1984 Real Control demo is fourteen tracks of nihilistic Japanese punk violence, starting with the sinister stomp "We Kill All Punk Rock Heroes" and only getting meaner from there. Fast, raw hardcore punk - pure, simple and rarely heard with this kind of filthy precision. Check the two chord STOOGES-esque intro to "Y" and the way it launches into a three different two chord fits played with maximum intensity, or the unhinged BAD BRAINS caliber fury of "幻想的教育論" into "キ・ン・タ・マ!?"...it seems so easy, but I promise that it is pure genius. I'm surprised someone hasn't already slapped all of these demos on wax.
18 December 2018
Two 14 minute exhales make up Revaluation, a cassette that is worth of more (and more in depth) listens than most casual sound collectors will be able to muster. Chants and (as) instrumentation swirl in the background as the sound builds and swells over the course of each track (side), creating the impression that there are pieces of a story that are not completely available to you....like two radio stations colliding on neighboring frequencies in the middle of a clear desert night. Both tracks (sides) hint at beats, at rhythm, at structure, but neither fully give in to a pulse and the result is full immersion into something that wants you to relax but keeps creeping under your skin. Never let your guard down, you might miss something important.
17 December 2018
A new week, a new dose of deadly bombastic blown to shit noisy hardcore? Yes, exactly. Vocals ripped from the throats of self indulgent crust lords and tortured to submission while a guitar/bass/drums outfit uses traditional instrumentation manifest actual death and real world destruction. TRAUMATIZED either sound like real life demons or a crew of punks more than willing to steamroll over whatever you thought you knew about punishment. Check the guitar riff coming out of the instrumental bridges in "Nine To Five" and tell me I'm wrong.
16 December 2018
Someone wanna tell me what the fukk is happening here? Like, how can this shit that is the best just keep flying under the Collective Radar? This band is from fukkn Oakland and why do I keep hearing about the next coolest or shit hot hardcore act but no one breathes a word about RESIDUE? This defies all logic, because contained in the link below is five minutes of perfect hardcore punk. Like...perfect. It's pissed, there are tracks, the tempo changes are deadly and they start/stop on a goddamned dime. And that guitar....how the fukk do you make a guitar sound that mean? There's the oooofff that kicks off the intro to "Newborn." There's the bass lick in "Laughing Stock" that isso obvious that you can't believe you've never played it before yourself (and let's talk about the filthy guitar break in the same song a bit later, ok?). And the HATED YOUTH cover? Yeah....come ON you fukks.
15 December 2018
Sometimes reliving the darker periods of my adolescence is horrible...but then there are times when something jogs a memory of the moments that weren't miserable and I wasn't suicidal. Discovering OCEAN BLUE with Scott Danbom and watching with wonder as this 14 year old (?) kid made music on his then-state of the art keyboard. Driving aimlessly with Chase Valdez in his Karmann Ghia (I think it was orange?) and listening to THE SUNDAYS. Hearing THE PRIMITIVES and trying to convince my pal Dotti that they were great (maybe it worked, but I never sold her on THE PIXIES, she thought "Monkey Gone To Heaven" was noisy crap). Making mix tapes for Laurie and hoping to find some CURE b-side or live cut that she hadn't heard before...this was all happening while I was reading No More Censorship inserts in DEAD KENNEDYS records and mail ordering SCREAMING TREES and RUN WESTY RUN records because they were on the same label as MINUTEMEN and HÜSKER DÜ. And it was all the same to me. It was all an escape. It was all a connection to worlds outside of our shitty town, and connections to the lifelines that we maintained within it. And this is where I went the first time I heard BUMMED.
14 December 2018
This was made for parties. Made for punks and ragers who don't mind having a few beverages and/or substances and hanging their pretense on a coatrack near the door. One side is a collection of mostly shit-fi angular art freak sounds that fall in line with much of the Trim Tab catalog - heavy synth presence, lots of drums machines, a stripped down Neue Deutsche Welle vibe running through tracks by JPGRR, FUN FARE, PURPURSPYTT, THE STACHES (who steal the side with "Total Commitment"). MOSQUITO EGO...too any to run down the full list, but twenty tracks of pure freak musik filling almost 50 minutes with joy and intrigue. But it's arguably the flip side that really confirms the party is coming and YOU are fukkn invited. Shameless celebration of catchy commercial dance hits, some you know better than you'd like to admit and a few that were new to me on this mix...SUGABABES, DOJA CAT, PRINCESS fucking NOKIA just to touch on a few, then the side ends with the brilliant "Dye My Hair," which may or may not have been the first body blow in a fist fight with mainstream youth culture that ended with my mouse hovering over the *buy now* icon on ALMA's webstore, wondering if I could get away with wearing a neon yellow sweatshirt with printed tribal sleeves but knowing that "Chasing Highs" was going to be my winter jam. You need to just submit and trust me on this...better yet, trust Riso Club in Leipzig.
13 December 2018
A Washington ripper from 2013, MULTITUDE's four song banger is like modern metallic ScandiCrust crashing headlong into '00s US mutant hardcore. So maybe you listen to GENOCIDE SS and think that's as fierce as it gets? Or maybe in your world "hardcore stomps" start and finish with 1-2-1-2 and you're scared of guitar solos? Or maybe you just need a serious kick in the fucking ass, like most of the world. Clench your fist, and don't forget the Late NeoLiberal Holocausts EP, released the following year.
12 December 2018
More nostalgia for a lost era of loose, arguably shitty and intensely earnest USDIY punk. It's the same charm that makes WHITE TRASH SUPERMAN more than just "some band from Mississippi" to anyone who can really hear them. It's the guilty giddy feeling you get when you crank Boogadaboogadaboogada when no one else is home. It's being sweaty and half drunk and not giving a shit about anything except that very moment, even if that means you might wind up crying in the bushes before the night is over. STAG push all of those buttons....and they did it on the first listen, even though (or especially because) that first listen came in 2018.
This generation Memorex suggests to me that STAG were a product of the early '90s, but with no information included, your guess is as good as mine. Date your demos, kids!
11 December 2018
Harder than normal to find the right words for VERA MALETA. These are sounds and feelings and conjurings that come from a distant time and an unimaginable place. Truly meditative, with layers of vocals and assemblages that take you on an inward path. Recommended for night listening, and seasonally appropriate...I don't throw out the "witchy" descriptor lightly, but rarely have I encountered an artist more worthy.
10 December 2018
I'm going to assume that Tokyo's UNARM need no introduction at this point. Maximum energy Japanese hardcore of the highest order, period. Four songs on this banger, released for their West Coast tour in 2017....relentless rage and riffs for days.