31 January 2018


I remember talking to my rep at SST in 1988, just a high school kid pretending to know something about the business end of the music business. They had just shipped a package that included RUN WESTY RUN's Hardly, Not Even and the first post-HÜSKER DÜ offering from drummer Grant Hart, but all I wanted to know was when the rumored Bob Mould solo record was going to drop. Virgin would release Workbook a year later, and I listened to the 2541 12" hundreds of times in that year...the innocent lilt and profoundly sad tone of Grant's voice was so much more evident than on even the mellowest HÜSKER tracks, and his solo material just felt wholly real. I certainly devoured Mould's solo works as well, but there was something about 2541 and Intolerance that resonated powerfully with me. So when Grant's solo work evolved into NOVA MOB, I followed willingly, and I still spin 1991's The Last Days Of Pompeii on the regular. Listening now with 2018 ears, I'm struck by the similarity to JAWBREAKER (especially in "Wernher Von Braun") that I never noticed before - probably because I never listened to JAWBREAKER. "Admiral Of The Sea" is worth the price of admission (in the case, free) on its - both versions of the song are striking and though I could never defend the dated drums and waka-waka guitars in the rock version, both are hopelessly endearing. Perhaps my affinity is clouded by history and perceived personal connection, but I think this record is pretty near perfect, and I was happy to spend $1 last year for this well loved cassette copy.

30 January 2018


There was a stretch in the mid '00s when I listened to THE BAYONETTES almost every day (this thought encouraged me to listen to THE BAYONETTES today, in fact). I also listened to DANGER LOVES a fair bit during that same period. I didn't know who SHIVVERS were when Paco scored the "Please Stand By" 45 at Flipville, but I fell in love with them shortly thereafter. And two of my desert island 45s are by BUREAUCRATS and WHITE HEAT. Helsinki's PLASTIC TONES are a little more laid back than most of the aforementioned acts, but in a really fukkn cool "summer night cruising really slow" way that almost makes them even cooler. It's just brilliant power pop, and it's really damn good. There's a recent LP that will be on my turntable soon....which is good, since i'm about to wear this tape out. 

29 January 2018


It's really just classic rock, right? But for us instead of our parents? If you think about it, we vilified and/or rolled our eyes at the bands slogging away at the townie bar playing LED ZEP or FOGHAT inspired blues based rock to 15 casually interested patrons on a Tuesday, because obviously that was a sound and a scene that was without merit and/or totally lame. Well, that was 25 years ago (for me), and I can definitely recall spending relatively recent weeknights at townie bars with 15 other casually interested patrons, enjoying the shit out of bands playing music that owed liberally to other bands that ceased to exist a lifetime ago. And those nights were great, and those nights are still great, and I hope that those nights will continue to be great long after I am willing and/or able to participate....because punk rules. Punk rules just like that post high school burnout working the fryer at Garfield's back in Ponca City thought CREAM ruled back in '88 when I got a job there and I thought he was a lame burnout because he wasn't hip to THE CURE like I was. 

DETOX could be from Los Angeles, Seattle or Tallahassee (they are from St. Louis). DETOX could be from 2017 or from 1986 (likely not 1982, just because it doesn't sound quite that legit and they thank D4 so they are probably from the '90s). DETOX could be DIY champions or rock club frat punks. The members of DETOX could have been teenagers who grew up and went on to form other bands that you might actually care about, or they could be just one of the thousands of North American bands that decided (wisely) to play punk rock music and record it for us to listen to before quietly disappearing because weeknight life at the townie bar can get pretty old after a while. Either way, I am glad that they did, because punk rules....and the track "Ripoff" is legit in every way and reminds me of NAKED HIPPY. Fortunately, the other three songs rip just as much. 

28 January 2018


Yeah, this has been happening for well over a decade now. While they haven't slowed down, Idaho's fastest export were clearly on a mission dating from the first demo in 2005. What kind of mission? Sixteen tracks in seven and one half minutes. That kind of mission. A constant blur of fastcore riffs and relentless blast beats, the kind of magic your average 45 year old ripper doesn't come across too often these days...look, I know the shit still rips and I know there are new rippers ripping the shit all the time, I'm just saying they new rippers don't enter my Rip-O-Vision all that often these days. I like to rip. And I like disjointed start/stop riffs with drums so fast it makes you head hurt. That's what this thing is. From a fast music fan perspective, HUMMINGBIRD OF DEATH are motherfukkn fast. Closing the demo with covers (INFEST, DRI, GBN, NO COMMENT) was a nice touch as well. Highest recommendation. 

27 January 2018


Yo. Mutant hardcore nerd. You have a new favorite band. Their name is LUBRICANT and they are from Singapore. It's early in the year still, but chances are pretty good that this 2017 will be one of my top listen in 2018. Because sometimes I like to hear things that are the soundtrack to me breaking things....and sometimes I like to hear things that are the soundtrack to me breaking EVERY thing. 

26 January 2018


No shit, the DESOLATION platter on Prank is one of the most overlooked records of the '00s...the other shit is no joke either, including this 2003 demo. I think they improved dramatically later with Justin on vocals, but these guitars swirl like insects through the mix and the rhythm section approaches things more like AUS ROTTEN than the mindless (even if awesome) DBeat that filled so much space during that era. Two different recordings, one on each side with three tracks repeated. "Black Birds" and "Hiding Like Cowards" are the standouts, though "No World Order" is quintessential turn of the century melodic crust, head and shoulders above the masses. 

25 January 2018


Karoline was amazing long before she was in my life....long before she was in my life. Someone else thought so also, and he made her this tape in 1995ish. It's a pretty good, if slightly dated, collection of tracks - and while I feel like Beau kinda phoned it in in a few spots (the MADONNA tracks are pure pander, let's be real here, and who wants a double shot of ANTI HEROS?), but it's a solid mix of '90s hardcore, rap and "other."  Grouping tracks by genre is a good move, keeps things focused and allows SKYNYRD and TYPE O NEGATIVE and YOUNG BLACK TEENAGERS to share the same space in a manner that doesn't feel weird at all. So here's an excellent cassette for you to listen to (digitally), and please wish my wife a happy birthday while you do...she never reads this blog so she will never know that I sent you.

24 January 2018


More '90s guitar drenched alt rock revival, and this one plugs every hole. The vocals howl in a perfect KARP meets AmRep, with (short) gentle reminders that there's a soul under that anguish. Busy drums that create a loop as much as they lay down a rhythm, and early-Corgan/Iha by way of Cobain on the guitars...I know I'm dropping some bombs here, but every now and then you are reminded exactly why the next generation keeps paying homage to the last one. 

These folks evolved into a band called DEALER..

23 January 2018


These kids shook the fukkn house down at last year's Manic Relapse (and I'm sure the same was true everywhere else they played on that visit). Sweaty, dirty, high energy punk rock 'n roll, full of swagger and attitude...there were so loose and wild on stage that it was hard for me to imagine a recorded document even coming close. 2015's La Mentira does more than just hold a candle though...it burns everything down. No barn burners, things here are more calculated and direct - they get it done with a deliberate (dark) force that inject Blinko into Thunders-esque LAMF punk that Oi! bandwagon jumpers will still think is somehow their own. I realize that's a lot of shit in one bucket, but now maybe you understand why I was so floored last year seeing LUPUS in the flesh?

21 January 2018


There is no logical reason for this to be in my life, and likely not yours either. There is also no logical reason for me to like this....but I do, and I trust that (some of) you will also. When enjoyed at an appropriate volume, I feel like an old man in the corner at a packed club in a strange town where I have no friends, and the 20 year olds are going wild and rubbing on each other with an MDMA fueled fury. It's sweaty and weird, but it sounds good and there are probably light effects so I stick around....because fukk it I'm already there, right? Their virtual presence states that New Orleans' OBLLIVIA are a: "mystic noise diva narrating the fall of mankind in a pitch shifted key" and honestly that sounds about right. It's a serious trip to listen to, but it feels even stranger to enjoy. Perceptions and aural observations welcomed. 

20 January 2018


Sometimes I don't want to rage. Sometimes a chilled and fiery blend of garage and surf and HOT MACHINES styled bluesy swagger suits me just fine. I have a feeling that today is going to be one of those days. And for those who are concerned, these Massachusetts rockers have since changed their name to THE BARBAZONS....for obvious reasons. 

19 January 2018


You've seen these comps before...I mean, if you have paid attention to The Escape then you have seen them before. There are four volumes of Solo Se Oye Punk (that I know of), and I might argue that this one is the most crucial (though Volume 1 is pretty fukkn essential) - basically, this is the perfect international hardcore punk mix tape. The one that your friend never made you because your friend didn't have the KORO single and had never heard of RAPPRESAGLIA. It's like internet-era punk making the pre-internet-era tape you wish had helped you change your life instead of listening to DEPECHE MODE until you were 17 and then finally figuring out that Punk Rules and that yes, you do need to listen to ATAQUE FRONTAL to be happy. This one leans heavy on Italy, USA and Sweden (I guess that's fair), but Finland, Japan, Poland, Spain and Peru make notable appearances. File under: Essential. 

18 January 2018


I've talked before about the things that I missed while I lived in Milwaukee. To be clear, there were a LOT of things that I feel exceptionally fortunate to have enjoyed while we lived in Milwaukee....but still there was shit that went down on the West Coast that either slipped by me or was simply out of reach. So I wouldn't trade those years for anything, but LOSER LIFE fukkn rips and it would have been pretty chill to see them in the flesh. 

17 January 2018


Research indicates that BAYLIE'S BAND is a long running Massachusetts indie and/or noise rock outfit. "Long running" as in you can say they remind you of DINOSAUR JR. and that's cool because they might have played shows with them (the first time around) and the NIRVANA comparisons relevant in a contemporary and not a derivative sense. See....this is the shit that the kids are trying to do now, but SCREAMING TREES were just aping LUCIFER'S FRIEND and FOGHAT anyway, so why not go to the source....right? Before I digress to a level of nonsense that is utterly (as opposed to approximately) incomprehensible, let it be known that I really like this 1996 demo, and let it be known that BAYLIE'S BAND are still active and, I hope, revered. 

16 January 2018


I had never heard of Querétaro until earlier this year, which is kinda fukkd since it's not really that far (in broadly speaking geographical terms) from my house. Based on that introduction and this cassette, I have the impression that the Mexican estado en cuestión is a place that I need to visit. Art museums, audio and aural experimentation...and ruthless, off the rails '90s Mexican hardcore - I can't really think of too many more things I need. I mean, there's food and water and stuff, but "Sembrando Rencor" mostly makes me forget about that nonsense. There are only three tracks on this 1998 demo, and they are the Sound of Desperation. While I will trade that sound for proficiency and/or riffs any day, with H BOMB it's not a concession I need to make. The simplest discoveries are sometimes the best ones, friends. 

15 January 2018


I only knew of their single creamer on the North Atlantic Noise Attack comp before I came across this demo, but that one song was more than enough to get me pretty juiced for what was about to happen to my earholes. So can someone tell me why this band isn't mentioned in the same breath as '80s USHC legends? Maybe it's because they're from South Carolina, maybe it's because the demo came out in 1986, after people's obsession with lightning fast hardcore had begun to wane (slightly), or maybe it's because their logo kinda sucked and would look comparatively lame on the back of a leather jacket. But still....listening 30 years later, I hear some kids bashing out Eye For An Eye caliber 'core with a SEPTIC DEATH ferocity that you rarely come across - distortion by default with vocals barked over blurr-core riffs that are so unbelievably fast. Check the 1:40 mark of "Prelude...Final Conflict" and listen to the low end fall into a crackling rumble, and then listen to the bass break that drops with 13 seconds left in the song. That should be enough on its own, but fortunately the whole fukkn thing is banging. Now I guess I need to come across a copy of the Til Death Do Us Part full length...

14 January 2018


Sometimes you don't need things too serious. Sometimes you just need to crack open a beer and fukkn party. You know how it is...things got you down, people keep leaning on you a little too hard, none of your clothes are really working out, and you just need to throw your dumpster fire of a life off a cliff and get fukkd up. So, for just one night, HOT MAYONNAISE are here to help. Don't thank me, thank HOT MAYONNAISE...I am merely the messenger. 

13 January 2018


I asked my Venezuelan friend living in Mexico to turn me on to the best new band. And he gave me this tape from Chicago. I'm not saying he's wrong, because PLOMO straight fukkn creams, I'm just saying that I kinda figured he would give me a Mexican demo. But it's my fault - I should have been more specific. 

12 January 2018


Eight bands I had never heard or heard of before I pushed play, all hailing from Orange County., New York. DRI styled hardcore from ANGUISHED SOCIETY are the standouts, but DOVER BOYS start the tape with a seriously infectious kick. FUNCTIONAL IDIOTS should have started in 1984 (they would have been faster and weirder, which would have been better), AS ONE sound like a raw '80s 'crew outfit in a really positive way, and A.W.O.L. sound like a melodic blur (also in a positive way, and their bass player rips). Epic crossover from POOR EXCUSE and stripped bar punk from AFFIRMATIVE ACTION round out the collection, and you don't need to thank me for the tape warps...I only deliver the goods in the shape in which they were given to me. Happy digging. 

11 January 2018


I don't do this often (I mean the more than one at a time thing), but there's this outfit from Pennsylvania that I like a lot called NAH. I have a bunch of NAH tapes, and I would like to share several of them with you today....

Ethereal beats. Repetitive and hypnotic. Really really good, and dying for extra treatments. 

A year before DIE BAD//TAPE FUCK, but End feels more developed somehow. Take "Dark Shit" as an example, it's a full constructed song made up of simple sounds and lasting just 71 seconds. It's also brilliant. 

Venturing further into electronic hip hop, 2014's Woe features appearances by GIVV, Tzil and PRINCE ASSHOLE, and is possibly the most shamelessly danceable and the most out there NAH release. 

The shortest one....just two tracks, but imagine a soundtrack to the weirdest art film that has never existed. 

More rap influences, and heavy North African rhythms. This one is probably my favorite to date...but to date, NAH has never let me down. 

10 January 2018


I played Kent, Ohio a lot in the '90s. This might seem geographically illogical since most of those tours started in California, but ANCIENT CHINESE PENIS had a (rare) excellent show there in 1993, so it seemed logical to return when Matt and I hit the road in subsequent years with MULTIPLE CHOICE and FUCKFACE. By the time we rolled through Kent with HICKEY in '96, we had probably played the town more than half a dozen times. Most of those shows were at a weird drug addled storefront called Black Fleck (edit: The storefront was Mantis...Black Fleck is in Europe), and we rubbed elbows with the fellows from SOCKEYE (only played with them once however, and I am pretty sure they only did it under duress...to get us to stop asking). But on the spring 1995 tour, we played a house show with HARRIET THE SPY and realized there was an entirely different DIY punk scene in Ohio (this would have been prime More Than Music Fest era)....it seemed like a thing that was maybe more connected to our reality (I'm telling you, the vibe at those Black Fleck [note: I'm actually pretty sure Black Fleck was in Pottsdam, Germany - John thinks the venue in Kent might have been called The Mausoleum, which would be fitting - see earlier edit, it was definitely Mantis] shows was pretty weird, as if we had just appeared as extra characters on the set of a movie whose plot development that had been sidetracked some time ago by LSD and/or heroin), and I remember that house show being really good. HARRIET THE SPY played, and the whole night was hot and sweaty and positive. Of course....we returned to the weird storefront on the subsequent tour, just because. 

Both bands play quintessential '90s DIY hardcore, and though I feel like HARRIET THE SPY is more revered, the GRAIN tracks here hit pretty damn hard. There's a subtle tempo change in "Nibble" that's so well done that it makes me anxious, and they have an overall DRIVE LIKE JEHU vibe. There are a couple of their tracks here from the self titled EP, also from 1994...in case anyone is really keeping track. The tape? Who fukkn knows where I got it. I get stuff. 

09 January 2018


I toured through the Southeast in 2002 with ARTIMUS PYLE, and met am enthusiastic kid in North Carolina. His demeanor was more like that of a Southern California hardcore throwback, but his accent was notable and he was smart as a whip, especially when it came to hardcore. He told me that he was moving to Virginia to play drums for MUNICIPAL WASTE and gave me a demo of his project DIRECT CONTROL. 14 years after we met, Brandon left this earth with a mind numbing musical legacy in his wake. Also worth noting that the opening bars of "Hardcore For Heroin" is one of the the most brilliant(ly blatant) ripoffs in modern hardcore, that kid clearly wasn't fucking around. 

08 January 2018


This used to be Mondays at TEHQ. We were nearing the end of the aughts, ramshackle raw DBeat was king, and every Monday there was a different tasty shell to be found at this virtual address. Times change, people move on, scenes evolve....but it's always a good idea to keep an eye (and ear) to the past. The past teaches lessons, and the past serves as a reminder - sometimes to emulate and sometimes to avoid. In the case of Brasil's FINAL SLUM WAR, however, the past is the present. And the past fucking rips hard. Six minutes of blistering raw DISCLOSE worship (to be fair, BESTHÖVEN worship is probably more accurate) spread out over five tracks. Recorded in 2013 and released last year, this one makes me want to dust off my KRÜEL demos.