I really liked this from the start, and even though it's pretty far outside of my typical wheelhouse I found (and still find) myself coming back to it. Wildly infectious melodic punk with vocals up front, two female leads trading trading harmonies while they call/response through future classics like "Destroy To Contain" as if the layers of voices from FUZZBOX had been given new life as a completely different band on a completely different planet. The tunes are catchy as hell, and they swing with a drive and urgency that sits in contrast to the pure pop from some of the song construction. In a different lifetime this is Simple Machines, borderline riot grrl, early '90s college radio fodder with an occasional BABES/SMUT vibe...but in this lifetime it's three punks bashing out a few banger...but pretty bangers that will stay with you for days. I like things that are pretty.
21 June 2018
Anyone know if these Central Valley freaks still play shows? Because fukk I would love to see them live. STARK MOON is an excellent (if accidental) mix of raw modern noisy metalpunk and '80s peace punk - some of the character comes from the void that sometimes lies between intent and execution (that's the "if accidental" part), but rarely to you see blatant AMEBIX influences in present day blistering raw punk, and it turns out those influences are pretty crucial. Just three songs on this tape that I got from them just after they finished playing....which was the moment I walked in the door. Shit.
20 June 2018
Maudite Mémoire was a random 50¢ purchase a few summers ago, and this 1992 document is a perfect example of why I continue digging....and hopefully always will. Rooted in Québécois folk but with an ear to Faubert's '80s act JANITORS ANIMATED (I snagged the My God He's Terrible 12" from another discount bin on a trip to Tulsa in the late '80s...) this tape is full of beautiful haunting a cappella lilts with instrumental accompaniment on two notably excellent numbers. "La Passion De Jésus-Christ Telle Qu'inspirée Par L'Évangile Selon Majorique Duguay" is a mouthful, but rarely do I come across a single track that so completely envelops the listener, and rolling straight into the light hearted "Lamentations Sur Les Restes D'un Âne" is a perfect segue. The sincerity in the voice makes it sound as if Faubert is manifesting as Leonard Cohen singing alone in a cathedral - something that I wouldn't have known I wanted to hear until I actually heard it. And so we keep digging....
19 June 2018
This one has always struck me as hopelessly smart...like - maybe to smart for its own good. A Mark E. Smith irreverent swagger in the vocals gives these four jerky tunes more attitude than should be allowed without a license, and then there's the guitar that reminds me of SKATE KORPS (who, it turns out, were also from upstate New York - this might not be a coincidence) and a crisp, sharp presentation that defies punk in almost every way. Almost. "Complicated Medication" screams under-the-radar '80s UK post/art punk while "The Haze" comes of like a boisterous, angular, brooding (mostly undeniable) classic. This one is from 2014, and decidedly more calculated than the MALLWALKERS split or the "No Solace/Waxing" 45 that preceded it...I'm glad I don't have to choose between the two approaches.
18 June 2018
Tour was great (let's be honest - it usually is), Western Canada was breathtaking, and the last month of traveling has been superb. The United States of America is a terrifying place, and hardcore is just as fierce and ugly as it always has been....
To an outlier and/or outsider like myself, GASP never seemed to fit in. I wasn't hip to the inner workings and scene dynamics of the desperate hardcore that was coming out of Southern California in the '90s, and the connections that would create Power Violence were a world away from my reality at the time, even as I marveled at CROSSED OUT and CAPITALIST CASUALTIES and MITB, wondering what the fukk these people were doing (and what they were on). Though GASP seemed almost like they were a part of that world, to me they sounded like BUZZOV•EN and DYSTOPIA...but more psychedelic - and with blast beats. I would have had no clue while I listened to 1998's Drome Triler Of Puzzle Zoo People over and over, and I perhaps wouldn't even have cared. But I listened like a motherfukkr, and all of GASP's recordings hold up today as a pleading and ferocious document. Judging from the manifestation of their current form last fall at the Power Violence Project show in Oakland, two decades have done nothing to mellow GASP and my first live exposure was (thankfully) more than I could have expected. This is pure devastation - listen to the vocals during the slow parts of "Silver And Shiver When Troubled" and ask yourself what is happening to us: I'm ok, I'm ok, I'm fucking ok...so leave me here.
11 June 2018
I don't know if you can take this....but you have a few days to mull it over. I'm off to the wilderness with Karoline, and nothing else is going to matter for a few days. Well....tapes will still matter, and so will punk, but the wilderness is going to be pretty great, and my wife is better than everything else put together. More tunes in a week or so.
10 June 2018
Current band from Houston. Fukkn smokes. Listen loud, listen often. If you like North American Hardcore Punk Music, then you likely like LACE. There's a 45 and a 12"....but I post tapes. My Mask Is Off is a tape, and it is very good.
Tour is over tonight, final show in Calgary. The last time I was in Calgary was in 1996...FUCKFACE and HICKEY played a model shop and it got real wild. Not like a fashion model shop, that would have been weird....like a shop where people buy plastic model cars and airplanes and shit to take home and put together with rubber cement and get all high on the fumes. Anyway, it was wild, one of the best shows on that trans-Canadian tour. I hope the same tonight at Dickens, even though there will likely not be any models of any kind, car or human. Calgary residents are encouraged to bring me Canadian punk and mutant cassettes from the'70s and the '80s and the '90s and the '00s and the '10s. I will shower you with gratitude and or loonies. Your choice.
09 June 2018
MotherFUCKKR. What the fuck is this and where has it been all of my punk life? I have a hard time understanding how something this brutal has stayed off of the radar for so long, but I'm glad to have it now...because now is better than never. Holy SHIT this thing bangs hard - relentless bursts of neanderthal hardcore absolutely in line with INFEST, CROSSED OUT, and/orNAUSEA (LA). Not that DEMISE sound like any of those acts per se, but we are talking about that level of intensity. There are a handful of vinyl releases that I've seen and passed up over the years, because I am an idiot, I suppose? After jamming this thing on repeat for like two hours and mentally crushing all of my internal enemies, I resolve to include them all into my fold eventually. Hopefully "eventually" in this case means "soon." Listen to "Is The Future?" a few times and tell me you aren't on my team....
Haunting sounds that teeter between sparse orchestral compositions and bleak ambient electronics. Palindromes is absolutely gorgeous, and requires the kind of attention that most of us do not allow ourselves to give. Listen to the beats that take over around the 13 minute mark and just as it's becoming clear that Swindell is a visionary the piano abruptly takes over once again. An extremely impressive piece of work, I recommend visiting his site directly for a proper sequence and complete version of these sounds...but in the meantime:
08 June 2018
Most of these tracks have appeared in these annals previously, but the monstrous impact that RHINOCERVS has made cannot be understated, and this collection is an excellent example of their power. Devour All The Living Things was released in 2013, compiling twelve tracks from Rhinocervs releases, and when you put them all together like this, the label/band/collective present an even more imposing presence than any of their releases on their own. Several tracks from the untitled RHINOCERVS cassettes (catalog numbers 02, 03, 07, 11, 12, 13, 14 and 15) along with the numbing TUKAARIA, GLOSSOLALIA, and ODZ MANOUK, I have never come across a collective creative power as compelling as this one. Bleak and terrifying black metal from Los Angeles, presented in all its mutated forms over the course of just a few years, RHINOCERVS as an entity will be missed even though their very legacy may have necessitated their dissolution.
07 June 2018
Maybe this could have been released anywhere, maybe it could have been released anytime after 1994 or so, but there's something distinctive to me about US influenced hardcore from South America...which is exactly what RETHINK are. Heavy nods to DC and SWIZ, these kids pretty much nail it, and would have done quite well for themselves going back and forth across I-80 anytime during the '90s. The quieter, slower moments (specifically "Something Is Wrong") sound the most dated, but I look forward to midpaced melodic bands that sound like this...instead of GIVE or whatever new band that people say is the second coming of modern hardcore even though they sound like frat bar rock. RETHINK....? RETHINK just sound like thinking fucking punks.
Vancouver tonight, so I encourage all old BC punks to make the trek to the Rickshaw Theatre and bring me your old demos. You don't want them anyway, they are just taking up space. I have a bunch of spots on this guest list taking up space too....we can help each other out.
06 June 2018
Straight up one of the most powerful current live acts in the world. How two people can create such a cacophony and set such a powerful mood...it's just mystifying. Karoline and I flew them to San Francisco for our anniversary show last year, and I already look forward to the next time I can see them in the flesh. Centered around the state execution of Reyhaneh Jabbari, an Iranian woman who killed the man who was trying to rape her, these four songs transcend any preconceived notion you may have about power...it's helplessness manifested as overwhelming strength, and it feels as huge as it sounds. In the meantime, as much as I have listened to 2017's Black Flame EP, their new LP is dominating my world lately.
Violence begets Violence - a lesson learned / Violence begets Violence - I'm gonna take my turn
Why hang the rapist? / Watch him twist and turn / When you can torch the rapist?
And watch that fucker burn
05 June 2018
Can't really put a finger on why I liked this one as much, or as instantly, as I did. I mean, the opening bars or "Amazon Woman" are so gloriously fukkd that it's hard to not pay attention - the tortured guitar struggling to emit anything beyond a grunt while vocals blurt staccato with sass and soul. It's like SCRATCH ACID and THE VANISHING, but punker than either. Rhode Island makes 'em right, forget what you think is cool and get amongst TOWANDA.
I could have just let the label say it all for me:
04 June 2018
Man, those PNW kids are really good at cranking out the hooks, right? Blown out basement punk that drips of late '70s swing. Two minute pop songs delivered with attitude and alcohol, the way primal rock 'n roll is meant to be delivered....and for $3 (or, in your case, free....you fukkn mooch) you simply can't go wrong.
Dear Eugene, Oregon punks: Bring me shitty '90s NW demos tonight, and I will put you on the guest. This is an example of using my "position" to benefit myself, but at least I offer something in return.
03 June 2018
This was the first band I played in when we moved back to San Francisco ten years ago. We were active for maybe a year and a half, played a few shows, released maybe 50 copies of this demo and recorded for a 12" with a few additional tracks that never saw physical form. It was mostly pretty fun, and led to me continuing to play with Trash in OPT OUT after SUICIDE BOMB dissolved...so a pretty decent "welcome home." Also, probably the "punkest" band I've ever played in.
Arcata/Eureka tonight, still trading guest list spots for cassettes. Priority given to '80s punk and hardcore, but id someone wants to drop a SAKÉ demo on me tonight or ask Roshawn to come to the gig so I can say hello, then I would be much obliged.
02 June 2018
I just missed this ferocious femme hardcore act when I left the Midwest, but it's not hard at all to picture them destroying Chicago basements in the waning days of The Last Great Century. Five tracks of straight fukkn fire that speaks to a different time that seems both not so long ago and an entire generation in the past. SANGRE DE ABAJO are awkward, jerky, full force and maximum energy at all times, blazing a path with determination and skill working in constant conflict. It's really really fukkn good.
01 June 2018
A buddy from Sacramento handed me this gem a few months back, said that he thought I should have it. He was right. THE YAH MOS kinda slipped by me at the time - too quirky perhaps? - and being able to revisit stuff you didn't pay enough attention to at the time is one of the genuine joys of punk, right? Full of attitude, these tracks (culled from two EPs and one compilation) sound more exciting and relevant now than I imagine I would have found them 25 years ago, but picture manic Midwest hardcore (say....HOLY SHIT!) and snarky California punks (as much as it pains me to say it...fans of F.Y.P. will eat this shit for breakfast) but throw in way more hooks than either of those bands can muster and a barrage of '90s San Diego screaming guitar leads....THE YAH MOS were a product of their time, perhaps...and perhaps their time was excellent.
And speaking of Sacramento, I will be there tonight at Holy Diver. You should bring me more relics from your fine city's punk history. Let's go back to the '80s though, shall we?