This thing is fukkn filthy. Too often, shit this fierce is marred by over (or under) production or a pretension in presentation that distracts (or detracts) from the bands' urgency. BURNOUT is nothing if not urgent, and even though there are only four songs on this tour tape their statement is crystal clear....and it is terrifying. Listen to "up against the wall" at the 0:37 mark of "Enemy" just as the hyper mini mosh part drops after the band slows to a deadly crawl - these fools just crush. The subtlety of a steamroller when they take their time, the intensity of a crack head who just won $250 playing Scratchers when they pick up the pace. Seven minutes is not enough.
30 March 2018
In the post-internet age, I don't think bands like this can really exist except in manufactured form. Devoid of a clear focus or direction or sphere of influence, ALTERNATIVE SECTIONS seem to take what they know, what they like and what they want and use the collective force to just BE. Valuable more as a sociological artifact than a listening experience, 1993's Thoughts Of A Broken Image is sometimes carnival punk, sometimes ¡TCHKUNG! styled freak sounds, sometimes Midwestern college reggae, sometimes well-past-its-prime alt/goth/shock rock....and most of the time I spend not enjoying the sounds (which is, let's be honest here, most of the time involved) is spent wondering at them. They shine when they stay quiet, when they stay dark and mysterious, when they focus on the keys and not on the layers of percussion, and when the shrill, nasaly vocals are not front and center...but the whole point is that they just sound like themselves, and that's what is cool. Musical communication is almost always contrived in one way or another, but before those lines of communication were so clearly developed and so readily available, "artists" seemed to have more freedom to go their own way....and those relics are welcome in any form.
29 March 2018
An essential turn of the century Bay Area comp from and by people who were, at the time, fukkn kids. Passionately DIY outsider sounds from the likes of CHIAVAJINA, HALF EMPTY, PANTY RAID, THE JOCKS, NECROCOCK, LOS RABBIS and heaps more, including "(theme from) Getting High With My Friends," a deep cut from YOGURT. Things were weird back then, and this was the underworld that was inhabited (not ruled) by a handful of stalwart freaks and the kids who looked up to them. It was an odd pairing, it totally worked, and Morgan pulled it all together on this tape that has punk bands and rap bands and acoustic "bands" and noisecore bands and plenty of shit that just kinda off in a way that makes you want to listen to it more to see if it will make you sick. Shit like this hits the spot more now (way more) that it did then, because when you're in the middle of something pretty amazing, sometimes it's hard to really recognize it. Now, go listen to "Have You Ever Seen A Robot Cry?" by BLAST ROCKS!!! and validate your existence.
28 March 2018
Short, fast, and very loud, 2006's Religion Of Beatings demo sounds urgent as fukk in 2018. Like, this sounds like a band that I really wish I was seeing today instead of a band I didn't see at all. Ten burners in 6 1/2 minutes, full of all out blasting fury and a vocal approach that's closer to early MDC/DRI than any kind of millennial fastcore. Just short bursts of North American hardcore punk delivered with attitude and honesty....and listen to "Dogshit Potential" a few times on repeat for a quick self-evaluation because we can all do a little better.
27 March 2018
There was a period in the early TE days when it seemed like Upstate New York was the center of the North American punk universe. Every time I turned around there was a new bomber from NEUTRON RATS, ACID REFLUX, ANAL WARHEAD, NUCLEAR FAMILY.....or an unearthed early '00s relic like ECFU. It became noticeable enough the Logan put me on blast for prioritizing Albany over Austin (think about that), but it didn't last forever. The last time I toured the East Coast I hit up folks for a show somewhere on the turnpike between NYC and Buffalo, but the word was that most of the punks had moved away....Boston, Chicago, Austin...away from a vast expanse of turning foliage and Middle America mindsets. But that was a generation ago, and I listen to this 2016 PRISON demo wondering if the region is back on the map? This is certainly an offering strong enough to anchor such a resurgence (their 2017 three song banger might pack an even deadlier punch), five tracks of noisy, plodding punk that sounds urgent even if it sounds somewhat time stamped by current trends. The simplicity of the two-riff "Creep" as the closer translates as pure fury - it doesn't have to be fancy kids....it just has to be right - with a disjointed guitar lead that has been stuck in my head for days. Let's hope Electric City is turning punk again...
26 March 2018
Unpopular opinion: I think Halloween cover shows are a stupid. I mean, I also hate fun, so there's that, but why the fukk would you want to spend any (much less excessive) effort to play someone else's songs? Once. It's not like you are the Saturday night band at the beach bar....no one ACTUALLY cares what you are doing after tonight, which means (in my humble but correct) opinion) that you have been (at best) merely pandering to your friendly acquaintances (real friends like me would tell you that cover shows are dumb) or (at worst) completely wasting your time. In 2016 the only thing that made me think about changing my mind was LOS PUNK ROCKERS, a crew of utterly inept mutants butchering a set of SEX PISTOLS tracks. In 2017 the only thing that made me think about changing my mind was LOS PUNK ROCKERS, a crew of inept mutants butchering a set of RAMONES tracks. Also...RAMONES are totally overrated. Listen to the old recordings - they weren't that fast OR that hard, and they were Republicans. There are tracks, to be sure (we should be clear on this: Animal Boy and Too Tough To Die are the only RAMONES albums actually worth owning or listening to - the first couple have a few tracks each, but so do Back In Black and ZOSO....and even ifyou are chill when that shit comes on while you are digging ditches at work, you don't actually want to put that shit on in your house.....do you?), but who actually puts on Rocket To Russia? No one. LOS PUNK ROCKERS give these RAMONES tracks the spirit and the energy and the lack of fukks that stupid punk rock songs require - nay: DEMAND - to actually feel subversive and/or relevant. If you're wondering how many shits LOS PUNK ROKCERS give, I can tell you without even answering them: ZERO. None. They just beat the shit out of the shit on Halloween once a year....and I hope that 2018 will bring be an interpretation of THE CLASH, who are also overrated.
25 March 2018
Light years from typical TE fodder, Who Will Tell The Story Of Us? is a split featuring two dudes with acoustic guitars. I still have Roger Manning's 1988 SST LP and NUTHINSGOTNOPOWER kinda feels like that flavor of antifolk in a way that appeals to me...and "Shady Grove" is like Daniel Higgs by way of Dust Bowl-era Americana (seriously - good job on that one) so I'm pretty much sold. TODI STRONGHANDS doesn't hit me as hard....but hey man, everything can't be a winner. It's a dude who is really feeling his tracks, so that's cool...and I really like some of the shit on the other side of the tape.
24 March 2018
High praise time....you ready? SKULL CULT is like NW Indiana breakouts (CONEHEADS, CCTV) and THE SPITS smoking crack and listening to SOCKEYE demos (or maybe like 1976 DEVO on 45 rom). Flip the tape and MACK ENEMY sound like FRONTLINE ASSEMBLY smoking mescaline and listening to SOCKEYE and ANDREW W.K. demos. So....you can pretty much file this under: Essential.
And yeah....I'm pretty sure that people don't smoke mescaline. I only did it once and it was a pill. OK, a lot of pills, but I digress....
23 March 2018
Nothing like an (almost) hour long beating by fifteen previously unknown tonnage dealers. I was familiar with SAME SEX DICTATOR and ELEPHANT RIFLE, but the rest of this (excellent) compilation was uncharted territory for me, starting with an absolutely devastating track by MEADOWS and continuing on a path of psychedelic sludge and doom laden hardcore and just pure heaviness from the likes of DEAD, BASTARD OF THE SKIES, TEEPH, CYBERNE and others. I like when my eyes get open, even (especially) if the first thing that comes in to focus is a first class aural beating.
22 March 2018
I almost never reach for garage punk, but I am often quite pleased when it reaches out to me. THE DRAINS from Buffalo found their way into my life a while back, and I enjoy grooving to their snotty reverb drenched sounds....sounds I hope that you will enjoy as well. They are classically casual in their approach, a lazy confidence that fits the genre like a glove, and then they hit the road after six short minutes. Perhaps my inattentiveness acts as a quality filter, accidentally ensuring that only the choicest jammers find their way to me...but if there's quality like this in the sub-world, then maybe I need to retire from hardcore and before a garage rocker. Actually...no, I definitely don't need to do that, so I'll just keep blasting THE DRAINS and chanting "OK, OK, OK" at the start of "Learning Disability" each time the tape flips.
21 March 2018
Simply put, since the current resurgence of '80s dark and cold wave sounds in the DIY punk scene began in earnest a few years ago, I do not think I have heard a band as compelling as THE COMPLETERS. Derivative? Sure, of course they are. Perfect? Yes, they are. There are only two songs on this cassette (that will thankfully be released on wax in the near future), which just means that every single moment of "Silence" will become a part of your very being as you listen over and over and over and mouth the song's beautiful and poignant lines to yourself in the darkness: ticking is the time going by...silence was the way we meant goodbye. One listen leaves me breathless.
20 March 2018
The Northern California hippie/university/burnout enclave of Eureka/Arcata has periodic blips on the DIY radar every few years. I played a teen center there on my first tour in 1992 (I remember the show being really good....but it was my first tour so everything felt like magic), and there were some good stops there during my first stint in California. But it was SAKÉ who really put the region on the map for most 1990s DIY punks, with art/anarcho punk showered with violin that was most widely distributed on their split LP with Vancouver's SUBMISSION HOLD. I don't think any of their recordings (the split, a 10", an EP and a demo....perhaps there's more?) hold a candle to their live shows, which is perhaps why SAKÉ is relegated to cult status amongst West Coasters...but I would argue that THE GODS might have been even better. Known at the time to most of us as "Roshawn's other band, THE GODS are quintessential '90s East Bay hardcore with influences that can only be described as "out there." Fiercely aggressive hardcore with multiple vocals and an approach to construction that clearly adheres to no rules but their own. The recording is raw and the presentation is real, eschewing pretense for intensity, I only saw them once and I think this demo might be the entirety of their output. "Salt Lick" and "2nd Street" are the pure bangers, though I would take any of the contained material whenever offered. Take early '90s-era NEUROSIS, ECONOCHRIST, PAXTON QUIGGLY and the like as reference points, and cure the whole thing in a mist and weed infested coastal paradise riddled with heroin and methamphetamines. True outsider music, made out of necessity.
19 March 2018
Uuuuufffff....the fukkn RIFFS. Sinister snarled hardcore with riffs forever upon more riffs - I dare say they are at their most powerful when they slow down for the closer "Fatal Light," but that might be simply because the rest of the thing is so damned fast (ok, there's one other mid paced burner, but it's primarily full throttle). It might also be because that song is really damned good. Their ability to assemble erratic structures and make cohesive and catchy tracks puts them in line with current heavyweights like SKEMÄTA, and those fukkn vokills almost hurt to listen to. An absolute ripper, submitted with the highest recommendations.
18 March 2018
Taking cues from some of my favorite '90s acts, DINGUS stole my fukkn heart on this 2013 demo. Positively charming DIY punk, melodic in the same way HICKEY and WHITE TRASH SUPERMAN or those dirty sing along bands from Tennessee that almost entirely slipped under my radar were catchy - which is to say that they never sacrifice the edge or the speed. Seems odd to describe a punk demo as "sweet," but that's the overwhelming vibe I get from these tracks...plus the slow down at the end of "Little Things" is super simple and totally perfect.
17 March 2018
I spent last weekend in Oklahoma City enjoying one of the more (most?) inspiring and consistently awesome gatherings in North America. You may call it a "fest," but Everything Is Not OK is truly a coming together of freaks and mutants and like minded bizarros more than a collection of cool bands...but the bands are sick too. I came home with a decent haul of new shits, but felt immediately inclined to revisit some favorites from my trip to EINOK two years ago. Lots of bangers from that year's epic haul have shown up in these pages, but the high speed tru-freek hardcore of Chicago's 86 GEMINI has remained in my ears and on the shelf until today. It's the raw and indulgently affected sounds of the mid '00s but these kids are fast as shit, cranking through four tracks in well over six minutes. The guitar solo on "They Built A Beach" (all nine seconds of it) is worth the price of admission on its own, and the rest of the jams contained are of the highest caliber. You'll bounce, you'll bob, and before it's over you'll probably smash things....I mean, if you listen at an appropriate volume.
16 March 2018
A glorious and chaotic one hour compilation of Yugoslavian punk and hardcore from mid 1980's Yugoslavia, the title alone should be all that you need to know that you need this in your life. BLITZKRIEG, PATARENI, Z.R.M., FRUSTRACIJA, KRIVO SRASTANJE, G.B.M., K.S.O., and some shamelessly endearing pop from LE CINEMA & MIRA to close the whole thing out. With the exception of PATARENI (whose brand of pure speed is still stunning 30+ years later), most of this flies well under the radar...we would all be well advised to rectify that.
14 March 2018
It's possible that this relic is from an unmemorable ANCIENT CHINESE PENIS weekend mini-tour to Dallas and Lubbock, but it's also possible that I just acquired it somewhere. I tend to acquire things. Anthropologically speaking, LOW TOLERANCE were a small college town band that seemed to be juggling an array of early '90s influences - primarily late '80s North American punk and an upswell of grunge. They managed to do so and retain a shred of integrity (more than I can say for myself), and at least half of the tracks on this 1993 cassette are objectively decent....and some are pretty good. We should all be so lucky.
A stunningly stark presentation of electronic drone from RAKTA's Carla Boregas...absolutely peaceful and positively beautiful. I thought that I had lost my copy of this cassette during one of the dark moments that The Universe pulls over us, but was extremely pleased to recently rediscover it. Instead of typing my typical drivel, I spent two passes lying on the floor and just....listening. And 42 minutes later, I didn't really have anything to say. Whether Carla said it all for me or took the words out of me is irrelevant - the point is that I was in a better place when I finished that I was when I started. The journey isn't always pleasant, but we can hope that the journey is worth the effort.
13 March 2018
I guess it's a shame that every melodic punk band from France will be compared to LA FRACTION, but then I suppose there's nothing wrong with keeping your standards high, so why not compare them all to the best? DÉFAITE hit the same verve - I know the two bands sound nothing alike (aside from, and I I can't figure out exactly why, the bass guitar - go figure) but this is (still) my blog so I'm gonna stick with that assessment. It's just exceptional melodic punk that makes me feel good for liking punk and makes me feel like it's OK to be alive. And that should be more than enough....right?
12 March 2018
This band started right around the time we left Milwaukee in the late(r) '00s. They thrived on being awful, they bragged about being awful, they laughed when they talked about how awful they were...and so I never went to see them. I mean, I like things that are shitty, but only (or, mostly) when they are trying to be good and failing miserably. A bunch of people who know better AND are capable of better (the guitar player is in SOLUTIONS for fukk's sake) playing intentionally shit music to be funny? That shit does not interest me in the slightest. So I moved away and I never listened to CRAPPY DRACULA for the reasons stated above. And then Dug gave me a tape on a visit and I thanked him. And then I listened to the tape. Are you kidding me? You could legit file this on the Rough Trade catalog circa 198? and people would swoon. These dicks are either geniuses of the highest order or they are really fukkn shitty at being shitty. Either way....The Lockhorns is well worth your time, even (or especially) if your tolerance for idiocy is higher than the average punker.
11 March 2018
As I write this, I know that these sounds are light years away from where I will be when you read this. I hope that when you read this, I am in a good place....even though I am well aware that giving this release the proper (and deserved) attention will undoubtedly take you to a bad place. It can be important to spend some time in bad places...so please make the most of your journey.
10 March 2018
These LA dudes had an approach to punk that always kinds made me think of a Mexican RUDIMETNS. It was punk, sure, but it was also sometimes fast and fukkd up and kinda unhinged....and the drummer was a freak. It seemed like every time I played in Southern California for a few years, POLISKITZO were on the show. The were never on the flyer, but they always showed up and they always played...and it was always fun as shit (maybe it only happened twice, but that was a lot of beers ago). This 2013 tape is perhaps their last (?), and it's wild and loose and free, just way punk is supposed to be.
09 March 2018
Another in the series of Pandemonium compilations, the Italian installment certainly does not disappoint. Visitors who pay attention have already enjoyed the Iberian and Brazilian editions, but I dare say that this one is even better. I'll spare you the descriptions, just know that this is a crucial collection of seminal Italian hardcore and punk that features my single favorite IMPACT track along with NEROGASMO, CANI, PEDAGO PARTY, BED BOYS, NABAT, LAST CALL, DECLINO, SATAN 81, STIGMATHE, all along with acts that most punks will be more familiar with. Fukkn essential sounds, my friends.
08 March 2018
GREMLYNZ: subdued ambient psychedelia with mesmerizing undertones revealing themselves only as volume increases. AJILVSGA: apocalyptic drone punctuated by bursts of harsh industrial noise and somber vocals. RELEASE: a twenty three some odd minute cassette from 2009. Honestly, do you need more information than this?
07 March 2018
Ummmmmm, someone wanna tell me what the fukk happened here? Like, why am I just getting this 2005 recording into my earholes? How have these five minutes and thirty three seconds of raw DBeat destruction eluded me for more than a decade? Seriously, I wanna know, because this is legitimately some of the fiercest hardcore I have heard in my entire life. Check 1:02-1:04 of "Operation Empire" and that's just a taste of what these kids bring to the table....the noise is perfect, the riffs are secondary to the presentation until you listen to them (pay attention to the verse in "I Am Not Defeated" if you need more than my word), and after the whole thing finishes you just kinda sit there, slack lawed and stunned. There are only four tracks here, but if that's all I (we) get then I will still offer thanks and eternal hails, because I haven't been pummeled like this in ages...and it feels amazing.