A slice of essential blurr that some helpful thrasher put together some 30 years ago, these two demos back-to-back are a superb taste of what life as a DIY hessian was like in the late '80s. Portland's SPAZZTIC BLURR are easily dismissed as a joke band, but fuuuuukkkkk they were fast (I presume that they still are). The humor of STIKKY and YOUR MOTHER...but way faster and played with the proficiency of actual thrashers (the band started in the shadow of WEHRMACHT). But perhaps tongue in cheek isn't your thing....maybe you don't seek high energy Flintstones theme songs? If you need your reprobate thrash delivered with windmills and guttural early-Araya yeowls, then look no further than this primal dose from REGURGITATION. As with many tapes I come across that are relics from the trading days, this one may not contain the Bathrooms Rule or Organic Backwash demos in their entirety...but it contains seven absolutely steaming doses of breakneck death thrash. When I think of hungry, pimply faced 15 year olds getting shit like this in the mail it still blows my damn mind.
21 May 2018
20 May 2018
The early '00s were a pretty fukkn special time for Bay Area punk and hardcore. The divisions between East and West Bay that permeated most of the '90s has partially dissolved, and you had freaks from the Tri-Valley jamming in bands with West Bay Coalition OGs. Shows in Santa Cruz and San Rafael were not an anomaly, and were often packed with hungry kids while San Jose shows seemed like they were damn near always banging. The Peninsula was still weird, as a crew of emo kids started to come into their own in the shadow of NO LESS and PLUTOCRACY...we would see UNDER A DYING SUN and DEADBODIESEVERYWHERE in the same weekend. TIME IN MALTA played with TRAGEDY in San Francisco because it made sense - hell, ICE 9 had played with HIS HERO IS GONE just a few years earlier in Indiana, so why not? And at the center of it all? Mission Records in SF and 924 Gilman in Berkeley. The Bay had finally gotten (back) to point where people just came to shows....not that it didn't matter who the bands were, but there were just so many good fukkn shows that you knew it was worth gambling. And there were kids everywhere...high school kids screaming the words, high school kids starting their own bands. It was awesome. I know that hardcore now is every bit as vibrant as it was then and I'm not some "living in the past" relic, but perhaps with advancing age comes the distance...and of course it feels more intense and more relevant when you're always in the mix, right? So sometimes when I attend (or play) a show and I find myself somewhat reserved and/or reflective, I come home and I blast something like this.
Y'all know Tony Molina, right? A decade or so after this 5+ minute collection of relentless blasting teenage rage, the singer for DYSTROPHY was featured on some NPR "must hear" new artists or some shit. And as much as I confess that Dissed and Dismissed is worth the hype, watching the trainwreck that was Tony's current power violence project HEALER try to set up and tune their instruments was waaaaay sicker. DYSTROPHY live set from Mission Records at the end of 2001 has been up on Escape Is Terminal for a couple of years...link is still live and worth your time.
19 May 2018
This is why Midwest hardcore rules. Milwaukee's FAILED MUTATION harness the energy of '80s desperation instead of just aping their ancestors moves...and it works. The sound is weird, the double snare taps are on point, the riffs are super squirmy and awkward and the start/stops in "Give Into Sleep" make me want to scream. This was a part of a superb cassingle series Not Normal did a few years back, so you only get two tracks...and if these two tracks were lifted off of a sinfully short big hole 45 from '83 then everyone would shit their pants. Instead everyone looked at their phones. Their loss.
18 May 2018
While DBeat based melodic crust has fallen out of favor with Flavor of the Month Punks, hoards of filthy animals and black clad scholars continue to eat the shit up like candy. And there are reasons why they do this....reasons like HYENA. A record (also released on cassette) that you can fully sink into. A legitimately emotive and powerful collection of songs from a Spanish band that seems dedicated to the purpose of sonic power. It's an impressive offering....and one that makes me yawn at the mindless 1-2-1-2 stomps seemingly regurgitated out of thin air at every turn. I guess sometimes you need it to mean something...and it means even more if it feels like it means everything to someone. That's what HYENA feels like.
I am tired of broken hearts // I am tired of being the worst for me // my worst enemy
17 May 2018
On a layover in Mexico City a few months back, I asked Rafael to hook me up with his favorite new DF bands. We met for a brief afternoon meal at Gold Taco (because I'm a tourist, and that's where vegan gringos go) and he gave me this tape. Rafael is punk, and has excellent taste...so that should be all I need to say. So that is all I will say.
16 May 2018
Is it ok if I claim that Ascetic House house (get it?) the most compelling collection of Creators in North America? I don't know if I fully make that statement....but I will repeatedly make that statement and I won't argue with myself. How BOYS OV PARADISE and FLORIDA MAN and JOCK CLUB are on the same "label" is not something to be analyzed, but rather something to be celebrated. And speaking of celebration...get amongst it, we will celebrate together later.
15 May 2018
Time and place hold equal importance in discussion of context. I never saw JANITORS AGAINST APARTHEID, but I could have seen them at that show in Temecula in '94. We also could have crossed paths in Cornwall in '96 or Indianapolis in 1993 (man, that "teen center" was super weird and the guy was a dick and we stole weird shit from him to try to sell because he wouldn't pay us and my wife still makes fun of me for that to this day - even though she didn't know me in those days....it's a good story, I'll tell you some time). But JANITORS AGAINST APARTHEID were from San Jose and I never saw them live even though I knew the name. They were a killer ska/punk ensemble who rip off CITIZEN FISH (or the other way around) in "Oh...OK!" and whose use of horn and weird time signatures floats easily in a sea of contemporary copycats. How many Escape visitors will listen.....? My guess is less than 30, but the ones who do will not be disappointed. This is arguably as dated as anything I have shared here....but I'll be damned if it isn't also excellent.
14 May 2018
Sonically, this one doesn't fall too far from yesterday's post; the distortion is all on point, the mix of fast and not quite as fast keeps you guessing, and both bands manage to make hardcore sound fukkn real and important. So I guess Budapest Area hardcore still rules too. Highly recommended, if only for the disgusting intro on the BEROSSZULÁS side. Seriously - even if you you think you don't like punk you should download this turd just to listen to the first 63 seconds of their side (at which point it "only" turns into the sickest neanderthal stomp you'll hear all month)...because not only is it the ugliest thing ever, but I can (almost) assure you that you'll stick around for the rest of the tape. Att nine minutes of it. What are you scared of...? Exactly. You're welcome.
13 May 2018
Don't let that introspective and artistic cover fool you....this is just pure brutality. Knuckle dragging hardcore/fastcore hybrid that only lets off the gas for one strangely beautiful midpaced track ("The Total Perspective Vortex") - and what DIORETIX do while the foot is on the gas for the rest of the demo is simply devastating. You hear me talk about the difference between contrived angst and pure hardcore all the time, and clearly I lean on the purity at all times - simply put: DIORETIX aren't faking it. It sounds so gloriously fukkd up and to totally real, and Bay Area hardcore (somehow?) still rules. Seriously...it does. Listen to "Abolition" and try to tell me I'm wrong.
12 May 2018
This shit is severely damage and sounds like the very recording might disintegrate at any moment. In other words: This shit is great. Check the guitar break near the start of "Death Goes On' and if you're like me you might find yourself rewinding repeatedly to try to figure out if you actually just heard what you think you just heard. Trust me though....you heard it. And it sounded super fukkd. And you fukkn loved it. It's not like the rest of this thing sounds any nicer (it doesn't), it's just that that moment really captures their vibe; the vibe is weird and the vibe is dark and the vibe is tortured. It's pure and primitive hardcore and it just feels wrong and it totally feels right.
11 May 2018
In the summer of 1994, my band MULTIPLE CHOICE embarked on a ridiculous nine week North American tour during which we lost all of our money and most of our dignity....and during which we made friends that I still cherish today. One of the last shows of that tour was in San Jose with ALL YOU CAN EAT (who were at that point, at least to newcomers like us, already stalwarts of the Bay Area Scene - they had toured overseas and members worked for Maximum Rocknroll for fukks sake!) and Boise, Idaho band HAGGIS (who had something cool written on the side of their van, even though I can't remember what it was). It was classic early DIY touring - the dude who "set up the show" showed up late and all the bands just hung out on the sidewalk with some local punks in front of the venue in downtown San Jose until he got there...and we told him the venue was locked. Turns out he hadn't exactly asked anyone if he could do the show there, he was just kinda hoping they would be open or some shit, so we convinced him (or guilt tripped him) to find a house where we could have the show. Wait....did I say house? I meant apartment - like in an apartment complex. So even though it seemed we were gonna play mostly for each other (you want to romanticize touring, young punks? because playing for the other bands at the show because no one knows who you are and no one bothered to stop watching tv to come see you play....? that's what touring is really about) but we double parked and were all working like a team to load shit in to this apartment and set up in the living room. And then a cop drove by as we were pulling the bass cabinet out of the van and he stopped and he looked at us as if to say "what the actual fukk do you think you are doing?" and we all kinda assessed the situation and thought "yeah, this shit ain't never gonna fly" and so we loaded the gear back in the van/s. So yeah...that's how I met HAGGIS, and that's how I became friends with ALL YOU CAN EAT.
But if you want to listen to this 1996 demo, and you should, then you are in for a fukkn treat. I mean, if you like melodic 1990s punk. But the good kind....not the mindless generic bullshit. Guitars that bridge a gap between Flip Your Wig and early '90s Bay Area (note: original HAGGIS guitarist was ex-SEPTIC DEATH...according to The Internet), and the kind of gravel drenched vocals that make the era so easy to apologize for. I asked Karoline for comparisons and she mentioned CRIMPSHRINE and SCHLONG and JAWBREAKER and Hayes-era Lookout! and I don't disagree with her at all even though I have completely different reference points (like: DEAD MILKMEN playing high energy pop punk through 1985 HÜSKER DÜ's gear without changing the settings). The main thing though, is that SL9 holds up extremely well in the face of an overly judgmental and/or compartmentalized internet. These songs are absolute burners - and if you can sing along and there's a story to go with them....? Well then that's even better.
10 May 2018
Distance Unknown is one of the rare releases that came into my home on repeat and has stayed in regular rotation ever since. Typically even the really good ones kick you in the ass right out of gate and then fade away...because there's another really good one right around the corner. It's not like when we were kids, when you sought out The New Thing and it stayed the new thing for days or weeks or months and you drilled it into your head because it was new and exciting (and you probably only had like 25 records to listen to anyway). But now...? Everything is quite literally at your fingertips, so music needs to be special to have that kind of staying power. The resurgence of synths and pseudo electronic experimentalists has resulted in countless artists who have learned to toy with sound without remembering how to focus their scope, much less construct a song. Some, however, are looking intently at paths forged by the pioneers...and they are paying attention. Enter BROTMAN & SHORT, a dark/minimal wave duo who created one of those aforementioned rare releases six years ago - and I still listen on the regular.
09 May 2018
If the masses had heard this in 2003......? I don't even want to think about how huge this band would have been. ALICE drop ten minutes of unbelievably epic metallic sludge on this three song banger (vinyl version also available if you feel like hunting) that brings to mind UNSANE, DAMAD, (early) BARONESS. The painfully restrained tempo creates a constant tension, guitars battle with mesmerizing fretboard gymnastics that would kill a lesser band...and then they open it up with "Memberangus di Kaki Langit" and the power is so totally real. My first exposure to ALICE was this 2014 cassette, even though they have been active for nearly a decade now. Yet another reminder that the more you seek and the more you learn....the more there is that you don't know anything about.
08 May 2018
I spent this afternoon reviewing and revisiting the legacy of a Midwestern DIY hardcore band that recently released a record in honor of two full decades of existence. It's a great record, and the legacy is noteworthy (to say the least), and it made me think of Chicago's CANADIAN RIFLE, who recently kissed that same milestone with a casual confidence. They predate the gruff approach to melodic hardcore from the FUCKED UP angle be several years, they were too late and too fast for JAWBREAKER comparisons, and somehow their catchy punk songs don't seem even remotely connected to the sounds of their contemporaries (then or now). "If I Get Too Loud, Turn Me Down" is undeniably infectious, and it kinda sets the stage for the rest of this early '00s four song cassette....a stage upon which yet another under-appreciated punk band will play hard and sweat their hearts out receive nothing even close to the recognition and/or accolades that their efforts warrant. And still they will keep playing, and that's why punk rules.
07 May 2018
Hell yeah - who's gonna make DBeat sound unique after damn near 40 years of people trying to perfect a style born out of ineptitude? The motherfukkn FRENCH PUNKS, that's who. Skip the wall of noise, forget about the hyper distorted guitars...throw in a treble heavy rumbling bass and guitars that would feel more at home on a CATHOLIC BOYS single and then make sure the drums are as fierce anything this side of a leather jacket with an ANTI-CIMEX logo and add the fierce, throaty vocals the genre demands no matter the level of nuance in the presentation. Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to suggest that DIKTAT are doing something totally new or anything - they play hardcore punk, after all - but this thing is not just good; it's interesting. And in 2018, that's worth some serious consideration.
06 May 2018
Listen to the intro to the opening track "Underpants," and if you're like Karoline and me you'll find yourself anticipating the vocals - knowing that the voice is either going to send this one to the stars or shove it into the garbage. Those opening bars could be from an early '90s-era NEUROSIS worship band like PAY NEUTER, but they could also be from a second rate but as-yet-undiscovered Midwestern SXE hardcore band...and they could also be the token heavy riffs from an otherwise forgettable frat rock band. But it's this kind of mystery that keeps these tapes interesting, right? For context, this demo is from 1992 or so, and LIQUID COURAGE had a split flexi with TYRANNICIDE (whose underrated thrash LP has been essential $1 bin fodder for years, and will likely remain so for the foreseeable future) which means they were likely from the same outer San Francisco suburbs that gave us VIO-LENCE and FORBIDDEN and SADUS. I mean....you must be a little curious....right?
05 May 2018
It's easy to look at your surroundings and wonder where all the good things are, to wonder why your world has been forsaken while everyone else gets to have all of the fun. And sometimes, in the middle of feeling sorry for yourself, there is a tap on the shoulder reminding you to open your eyes and pay attention to the things closest to you. So fukk those dismissive conversations about how there are no hardcore bands in San Francisco and let these old dudes serve you a sub six minute platter of blast. Members of CONQUEST FOR DEATH (see "things closest to you" comment) and VENKMAN among many others, THESE BASTARDS drop visceral hardcore full of charisma, and a solo in "Burn The Fucker Down" that is a perfect example of why nerds are better at punk than "punks." Not coincidentally, I will be seeing THESE BASTARDS for the first time this afternoon in Oakland...and I am not bummed.
04 May 2018
It's been almost five years since I shared the first demo from this Hungarian freak show....and they are way gnarlier now. This ten song deposit is the aural equivalent of being punched in the face repeatedly by a plastic bag full of poop - a bag that just will not break. Filthy downtuned guitars that should be bashing out third rate stoner riffs are instead delivering off the rails mutant hardcore, and it makes everything sound even weirder. The vocals struggle to keep up, and I picture a singer who spends more time losing his mind on stage than actually singing. It's "Inkább Otthon" where things really click - that awkward repetitive riff playing host to samples of live hardcore banter for nearly two minutes....and you realize that NORMS are actual geniuses. True freak hardcore in the finest sense of the term - like INFEST and ACRYLICS together, but as teenagers. "Menedék" is the choice banger, and has the slammingest intro that the cool kids and the hyped bands try so hard to write. Maybe that's the point...the cool kids try so hard. Maybe you just gotta BE. Maybe you just gotta be NORMS.
03 May 2018
This one comes courtesy of a concerned FOTE, hoping to ensure yet another artifact is not lost. Previously unknown to me, Germany's INTRICATE shine through a rough live recording on this 1992 cassette release that is full of power. This pre-dates the German Metalcore explosion by a few years, but the trajectory seems relatively clear, and INTRICATE serve as a potential bridge leading to the JANE, SYSTRAL, MÖRSER and the like. Maximum intensity Pain/Word-era NEUROSIS tries to find a niche amongst primal speed metal riffs and relentless European crust - most of the material here is live and it is amazing...but when the studio track drops in it's like a fukkn steamroller. Cheers to Will for the loaner...I'll have it back in your hands soon.
02 May 2018
I shared another tape from this Canadian trainwreck last year, and I dare suggest that Famine Walls is even more terrifying. A bludgeoning collection of distortion and hate, one that never succumbs to anything even approaching subtlety. This is us, my "friends"....this is hate.
01 May 2018
Hard drinking Portland (Maine) Oi! from the turn of the century. It's hard to tell how tongue in cheek these freaks were, but the Oi!s are everywhere, the chorus to the first track is "you think you're tough // we think you're drunk" and there's a track called "Sister Flame Thrower" that sounds like it was lifted from a CLUTCH demo. If the internet is destined to become the $1 Bin of the New Age, it's artifacts like this one that will keep people digging in the Real World for the physical goods, because LUNCH MONEY THUGS may never reach a reverential status in the Digital Realm, but somewhere in rural New England 18 years ago, there were 75 punks escaping their reality for a night...and LUNCH MONEY THUGS were the soundtrack for their escape. That is important.
30 April 2018
Essential Japanese DBeat crust, FINAL BLOODBATH dropped a handful of tracks in the early '00s spread out over two demos and two EPs. That's it...but when it's this good maybe they looked at their body of work and simply thought "well, fukk it - we did the damn thing so that's it." Uchida caliber distortion on tracks like "We Have Freedom" and a snarl that is Japanese hardcore personified, both serve to lift what are essentially fifteen year old by-the-numbers Dis-tracks to a justifiably legendary status. It's fukkn perfectly raw and indescribably powerful, and Black Konflik were nice enough to make all of the tracks available for convenient consumption.