31 August 2018

SHUT THE FUCK UP!


A couple of things about SHUT THE FUCK UP!.....

*I'm pretty sure I only saw them once, and it was in Richmond, Virginia at a poorly attended but exceptionally fun warehouse show on the ARTIMUS PYLE tour in 2002, but that might have been BUCK BUCK. Actually, I think it was BUCK BUCK (also from Arkansas, and also criminally under appreciated), and maybe I never saw SHUT THE FUCK UP! play live....which is a shame.

*Loading out from a show at the Covered Wagon in SF, this wasted dude came up to me and told me (definitely didn't ask me) that I should drive his band on tour because they were punk as fukk and they were going to put out a record and they had a contact in New Orleans and all they needed to do was book a few shows there and a few shows back and that was it and it was going to be really good and I should drive them. I told him I wasn't interested (because honestly the dude was a complete punisher and his delusions of grandeur sounded like a fucking nightmare), but obliged him as he slurred about how great his band was. Eventually I asked what his band was called (probably so I could avoid them) and he said "SHIT THE FUCK UP" and without even taking a breath I was like "dude - change your fucking name, there's a band from Arkansas called SHUT THE FUCK UP! and I fukkn guarantee they are better than your band, so just save yourself the trouble and confusion and change your name before you put out that record. Seriously." And of course they didn't change their name, but I always avoided San Francisco's STFU based solely on that exchange - though I helped them get a show in Milwaukee when I lived there, and I would later come to know that Jeff Leppard was legit one of the best and most genuine dudes ever. 

*I think there is only this demo and one EP for you to dig into, but one listen to the quirky driving basement pv/noise/crust that is SHUT THE FUCK UP! and I think you will feel the same way I do, and you will be happy to have whatever you have. Because this shit is great. 

*Was Dave Dean in this band? Or am I confusing them with BUCK BUCK (again). Man...that Dave Dean dude is nice as shit, and has a wonderful way of making you feel like you totally matter, in a way that is difficult to describe. 




30 August 2018

PROGRAM


I saw this band last spring on the US/Mexican border. I ate tacos, and they ripped so fukkn hard that I can't even begin to describe the feeling to you. I was one of those nights where everything just feels right, and even if it isn't right it still fukkn feels right in that moment and you hold onto it like tomorrow isn't even going to come because how can you explain it if it's wrong? Because in this moment...these DBeats are the only thing that matter. Look around you: these people, this experience. THIS is the only thing that matters right now, and you can just fukkn deal with the rest later. The rest might be complicated, the rest might be painful, but that's for tomorrow. Tonight - today - NOW is for this. Just check "Cruel Mistake" at the end of the demo to make sure you are grounded...because I might be wrong, and tonight might be a lie. 


29 August 2018

FORCED CONTROL


If you're like me, then there are days when you wake up and all you want to listen to is aggressive hardcore punk music. On days like these, I am glad that I have a wall filled with aggressive hardcore punk music cassettes....I fully acknowledge that this is a testament to my privilege as a relatively stable white "first world" punk rocker, and I try to use that privilege to share existence affirming aggressive punk rock music with as many people as possible, whenever possible. Because even when the deck is stacked in your favor, you can still feel like the world is against you....so imagine how you would fucking feel if the world was against you? If you didn't have that leg up that you got simply because of how or where you were born, you dig? Yeah...fucking pissed. And it's good to know that a lot of other people are pissed too, no matter where (or when) they (or you) come from. FORCED CONTROL come from Maine and they are definitely fucking pissed, as the 4:53 on this cassette will clearly demonstrate to all who are wise enough to listen. 

28 August 2018

CENTIPEDE


Another stop in the seemingly endless journey through the forgotten and/or forgettable post punk Bay Area. I don't mean "post punk" like the catch-all term that gets attached to any band that sounds kinda lurchy or "angular" (I'm 100% guilty here, by the way) or like they would have been on Rough Trade in 1983 or like they really like THE FALL - I mean "post punk Bay Area" like that time period in the  '90s when bands seemed to have a free license to play whatever they wanted without being confined by the walls and the rules and the arbitrary constrictions imposed by "punk rock" music and/or scene norms. (Whew. That was a lot.) I mean TRAGIC MULATTO and VICTIM'S FAMILY (both arguably on the front end of all this...), but I also mean MAD DRAMA and HICKEY, FALSE SACRAMENT and FAGGZ....everything that was something else, you dig? So I'm not trying to say CENTIPEDE were some essential overlooked powerhouse, but I'm happy to take detours now and then, not just to revisit where we've been, but to appreciate what we have missed. 



27 August 2018

MISAHISTERICA


There's something so pure about this tape, and this band in general. Fast, raw, abrasive hardcore punk with none of the bullshit....but even within those confines MISAHISTERICA make music that is wholly interesting. Take the breaks in "Por La Paz de la Nacíon" and the way they make the riff seem brand new even before it has finished its cycle...it's the little things. It's like BORN AGAINST caliber construction delivered with South American raw hardcore rage. Chile's MISAHISTERICA is a one man project, and this tape compiles tracks from a few previous releases - 16 tracks in under 25 minutes. It's the little things....but it's also the beauty of a brutal assault.



26 August 2018

THE BROOD


Every time I listen to this band, I am just more amazed that they continue to fly under the radar. Maybe the "radar" in question is the American Void that separates the country's two coasts, and maybe THE BROOD receive the accolades they deserve on their east coast, but I strongly feel that they are one of Philadelphia's fiercest exports in the last decade. There's a hook buried somewhere in every song, and right out of the gate on "Sinkhole" these punks got fukkn riffs. Offer up all of these elements with the indescribable power of Ned's vocals and the result is just deadly....again. Harnessing the intensity of Pittsburgh's political punk legacy and a penchant for UK anarcho, THE BROOD do it all with the heavy hand of furious black clad '00s US basement crust clenched into a tight fucking fist. That makes sense....I swear it does, but after you hear the back-to-back of "October Dreams" into "Dying Futures" you won't give half a shit about my stupid words. 


25 August 2018

=======


Before getting stumped by this tape, I would have considered myself pretty good at reading metal script....but here I am left stumped. POMIS? PARISH? TOOMIAH? RMBS? I welcome all attempts,it will be a fun game for the whole family to enjoy. And while we enjoy the challenge of decoding, the contents provide a challenge of their own. Guitar/Keyboard/Drum bl(e)ak metal of the strangest order - sinister, fukkd, and incredible out of tune, so much so that it must be intentional, and even the keys seem off by a half step or more at times. The four tracks contained are supremely awkward but also ruthless...I'm intrigued. 


24 August 2018

WEST COAST CUM SARDINIA


This is one of the most genuinely interesting (to me) collections of artists that I have shared on The Escape. On what appears to be a compilation of live and/or field recordings made on a trip up/down North America's West Coast, West Coast Cum Sardinia takes listeners and/or followers from pan flute buskers to erratic electronic drenched powerviolence to shit-fi bedroom techno of the highest order. FAILINGS' brilliantly titled "Heavy Cathedral Goth" closes out the tape on a high note, but I will stop short of saying that it's my favorite track because all it did was inspire me to go back and re-listen to everything else. Other highlights include ELEGANT HUMANOID, PRESENT and CAPTAIN CAPTAIN, but all ten included artists make stellar and compelling offerings. 

This comes from the (gasp) family, and was purchased at the show last fall in Oakland....

23 August 2018

IRON STEEL


I mean....why fukk with a good thing? Compared to IRON NOOSE, Budapest's IRON STEEL are more raw, more primitive, more sinister, more fukkn desperate....less produced, less professional, more proficient, but definitely more. A dozen minutes that will make you want to shred everything complete thing in your existence, that will make you want to shove a bubble handle comb in your back pocket and start re-cultivating pubescent acne. A dozen minutes that will drive you so thrash banging mad that nothing else matters....because nothing else will. Check the instrumental bridge that repeats in "Too Wild To Tame" if you don't believe me.





22 August 2018

IRON NOOSE


....and sometimes you just need something that sounds filthy. Something that sounds mean. Something that feels dark. Sometimes you need IRON NOOSE. 


21 August 2018

BIRD SOUNDS


Can you make the argument that there is simply too much? That "The WWW" gives us such unfettered access to damn near everything that it just becomes overwhelming and that self preservation instincts kick in and we just shut down and go back listening to the same BLUE ÖYSTER CULT records that we grew up with (not that there's anything wrong with that)? Means of modern sound dissemination make it so easy to fart into a cheap microphone, reproduce that fart in criminally limited quantities so no one should ever hear it.....but then you make an internet for your fart and BOOM it can be everywhere. And you, the consumer, if you don't hear the right fart at the right time, then you are fukkn lagging! Even though there were only 25 copies - in the world. Never mind if you haven't fully digested that last one yet, the one that was your new favorite. Never mind if you haven't memorized every chorus, every guitar break, every intro build up that made that fart a part of your very being like when your 15 year old self got your hands on a new record - because who knew when you were going to be able to get another good one, you know? So never mind that you haven't consumed the last one, because there's something NEW, something EXCITING, and you don't want to MISS OUT, so you turn away from the thing that you love, or something you might love, in favor of something that you heard you might love, or something that you hope to maybe love before anyone else falls in love with it so it can be yours....if only for a little while.  But instead it's just a coupla freeks with a drum machine and a 4-track, getting wasted in their bedroom. They kinda sound like THE FALL sometimes, but really you know it's not brilliance, it's just a coupla freeks being freaks. So you keep looking, you keep searching....maybe tomorrow you'll find it. Don't turn around though, don't see what you've already missed - the past is the past...unless you want to shut down


20 August 2018

NALURI MATI


Hyper fast Indonesian fastcore/thrash from 2005. Sometimes you just need to hear fast things. 


19 August 2018

BURNT HAIR // COLD WASTE


Sometimes you just want to sit and listen, and even though BURNT WASTE is relatively short, that's exactly what it demands. Airy goth missives from COLD WASTE - two slow dreary ones sandwiching one burner - backed with two minimalist electro-bedroom shoegaze numbers from BURNT HAIR (I just made up that genre, obviously). It's nice when a release actively inspires inactivity. 



18 August 2018

JOHN PAUL CODY


Come for the cover alone, get drawn in by the space age Roy Orbison cover, fall in love with the Elvis and Marty Robbins medleys...and then revel in the discovery that John Paul Cody may have in fact been John Cody AND Paul Cody, identical twins who found life in the abyss of Branson, Missouri in the 1980s. One of them died, and one of them may or may not have taken both names and continued on to some kind of alternate universe glory. How brave are you?


17 August 2018

SOUNDS FROM THE CESSPOOL


Region specific compilations are sick - especially when they document a time and/or scene, like Sounds From The Cesspool does. The title should tell you what you need to know, so I'll just say that there's enough here for everyone, and the quality of the presented tracks is almost without exception very excellent. There are a couple of shitters to be sure (44 bands - come on, what do you expect?!), but I got no plans to call them out because they might be your most favoritest bangers. Your taste might be way worse than mine, and that's totally fine!! Included personal highlights are: SOMETHING'S WRONG, KAKISTOCRACY, SUNSHINE SS, EXCESSIVE DEFIANCE, REAGAN'S BONES, JUST DIE! and ANGRY TRIBE (their track is so awkward, I can't fukkn stand it). Included genres and subgenres run the entire fukkn table, as it should be...region specific comps are, as I have already stated, sick. 




16 August 2018

MALA INFLUENCIAS


It opens like a ...And Justice For All-era influenced crossover thing, but then it turns into an amalgamation of metallic hardcore, crunchy guitar '90s melodic punk and about five other things that could only have existed on the same recording in that glorious but lost decade of punk when there were no suppositions, no rules, and you just simply liked what you liked and played what you wanted to play. Clean guitar surf break in "Un Dia En La Vida" before breaking into third wave ska? Why the fukk not - and it rules. 




LIFE DRAG


LIFE DRAG have been nice enough to visit The Escape several times, and I think that each time they settle a little more into the weird reality that they are making their own. Forty minutes here, for fans of Mark E. Smith and Dilloway and Blixa and Branca and Gira and solitude and emptiness. Flawless. 



15 August 2018

SHIT COFFINS


I figured after VACCUUM had run it's course that I would never do vocals for a band again - I had always been curious, and it felt exceptionally awkward, so I was happy to have given it a go, but even happier to go back to hiding behind by bass. Then a few months ago a few pals asked if I would be interested in this project....and here we are. 100 copies of the demo, pressed for the tour that started with our first show on Sunday (why fukk around, right?), these four tracks along with five more from the same session will make it to 12" wax be the end of the year, and careful listeners will note the blown out analog nature of this cassette reproduction vs. the stuff already available on the www. This one wasn't easy - self destruction, bad decisions, a soul crushing amount of pain, hate and then ultimately, gratitude. Enjoy. 


Remaining dates on the COMMUNICATES (Tokyo)//SHIT COFFINS tour: 
8/15 - Mexicali
8/16 - Los Angeles
8/17 - San Francisco

14 August 2018

RON FAWCETT


I want you to think about something, really consider something: This is Volume Fukkn FOUR. Your weird uncle's bedroom hobby dreams realized in homemade cassette form, even his version of Conway Twitty/s creepy ass "You've Never Been This Far Before" sounds harmless when presented with Fawcett's North Woods drawl. For purists and weirdos only, of course. 


13 August 2018

PRESTO?


This thing....ooooofffff, I swear you don't find 'em like this very often. São Paulo's PRESTO? are utterly mindblowing, with 21 songs clocking in just over 17 minutes, and they still have time to throw in flares like the face melting lurching blasts in "Auto Ajuda" that make up what is one of the most intense segments of a hc/grind song ever. Ever. Yeah, I said that. Released in 2001 at the height of fastcore, Odio Pure Concentrado is quite simply head and shoulders above vurtually all of their contemporaries - from the metallic riffing in "Correna" (and ugh that breakdown - are you kidding me?!) to the devastating and ominous opening 40 seconds of "Progresso Accelerado," it's literally everything I want from this style of hardcore. It doesn't just hold up after all these years, this one still sets the fukkn bar.  


12 August 2018

GRINSPOON



Playing music between bands at shows is an important skill. No one wants to hear full volume death metal while the next hardcore band is setting up, and even at a reasonable volume it can get pretty old just playing music over the PA that sounds more or less like the bands playing on the stage. When Karoline and I see Willie Nelson (which is as often as possible, to be clear), we can expect to hear a newer Willie Nelson record played at a moderate volume over the PA - this works nicely, but probably doesn't translate to punk and hardcore shows very well. At 2015's Everything Is Not OK festival, John and I thought we would be funny and we convinced the sound engineer to play COLLECTIVE SOUL before the headliner took the stage...imagine our surprise when we realized that we had not considered the generational gap before we plotted our joke - that proto commercial grunge hit that came out when we were in our mid-20s and was a source of ridicule for the decades that ensued? Well it was pure classic rock to these kids, as if someone had put on AEROSMITH's "Toys In The Attic" for us in 1993, and those kids loved it, all singing the "yea-ayuh"s in unison at the bridge. At the now defunct Balazo aka Submission Gallery in SF, a constantly revolving bevy of men seemed to have two things in common: an inability to make any band sound good, and a steadfast determination to play raw punk and/or metal at maximum volume whenever there was not a band playing, rendering conversation or any other activity virtually impossible. Anyone who went to hardcore/PV shows in San Jose during the early '10s surely remembers the amazing R&B/Soul dance parties that would spontaneously break out nearly every damn time, it was an amazing and addictive break from the fury, and going from CAPITALIST CASUALTIES to MARY J. BLIGE almost always seemed perfectly logical. Then Friday evening at the CELL ROT show in Oakland, between bands we heard the hits from a young(er) punk's youth: 4 NON BLONDES, WEEZER, 311...hell, that COLLECTIVE SOUL track would have fit in nicely. It was all at a reasonable, conversation friendly volume (keeping us ne'er do wells in the venue and off the street), and every now and then you'd see people quietly bobbing their heads, maybe getting into the groove a little too much, or maybe just having a nice reminisce....it worked, and I hope it works again tonight.


There's a reason for all this, I promise. Other than the desire to just bloviate, that show last night made me think of this GRINSPOON demo, it somehow landed in my brain between the modern hardcore with a penchant for a mean breakdown and the between band easy listening radio alternative heavyweights I kept hearing between bands. Like when Eric mentioned that there's an OFFSPRING/311 split EP coming out soon (this is real, y'all...seriously) I just thought about posting this tape. Australia's GRINSPOON land(ed) more on the heavy end of the '90s alterna-spectrum, more in line with SEASON TO RISK, HELMET, BRUTAL JUICE and the like, but you kinda get the feeling that (at least some of?) these dudes used to be legit heshers - the same way that MACHINE HEAD is almost completely uninteresting, but they still have "something" that you can't quite put your finger on. I mean...you're hearing me here, right? Listen to the fukkd sounding guitar on the breaks in "Post-Enebriated Society" (sic), and the drums that lead into the chorus of "Pig Pen" totally remind me of NUNCHAKU, while "Champion" is straight RATM complete with the Morello waka-waka guitars. Maybe this whole thing stirs something in you. Probably not, but I felt it necessary to share nonetheless...and hopefully someone, somewhere will pump this bad boy through the speakers between bands. At a reasonable volume of course. 



11 August 2018

BAD BLOOD


Once again, the things that slip by you sometimes blow your mind more than the things that you paid attention to at the time. This BAD BLOOD tape is a hard banging high energy stomper from start to finish, but I swear the band was little more than a blip on my mental radar at the time. It's the right kind of distortion, the kind that comes from just being full wylde style all the time, and damn I wish I had seen this outfit in the fukkn flesh, because their self titled 2014 cassette just drips with sweat and raw ass energy. Yeah, ass energy. Raw. Dripping all over the tape. And I played it anyway....like several times. I guess the association with Not Normal should mean that I'm not surprised, and i'm not surprised exactly, I'm just blown the fukk away. 


Worth noting that "Mono-Scented Freak" starts of with the same (admittedly generic) two chord progression as ARTIMUS PYLE's "Already Dead" (2003) and that one IRON LUNG song that I contributed backup vocals to - the irony of me pointing this out will not be lost on close followers and/or nerds. 

10 August 2018

09 JULY 88


I don't need to (further) discuss the beauty or the importance of mix tapes, but there's something especially magical about an unmarked cassette filled with new and sometimes mysterious tracks. Like many folks, one of my first introductions to "underground" punk and hardcore was the P.E.A.C.E. double LP, but my copy was dubbed onto cassette with all of the artists listed.....in alphabetical order. So this Oklahoma teenager had exactly zero chance of figuring out who was DECLINO and who was SHIT S.A. and whether that was CONTRAZIONE or R.A.F. PUNK doing "Sbarre." But that was half the excitement (who IS this....? WHAT is this?!), and today's 09 JULY 88 mix tape taps into some of that joy - 63 minutes of punk and proto-punk and outsider music. I was able to pick out classics from MENACE, ARTISTIC DECLINE, AVENGERS and DESTROY ALL MONSTERS, contemporary late '80s US punk from STIKKY, BEAT HAPPENING and MR. T EXPERIENCE (all of whom sound insanely fresh in this context - BEAT HAPPENING providing one of the highlights of the tape, in fact) and nuggets from THE FUGS, THE MOCK TURTLES and a coupla burners from THEM. But there are loads more tracks that escape my far-from-encyclopedic brain, and I think that this mix is expertly crafted for long drives and/or party settings. So....a tip of the hat to the creature who created this, and a casual nod to the invisible hands of the universe that guided it from The Creator's hands to mine, and now to yours. 






09 August 2018

FIRST WORLD PROBLEMS


If you asked me about the best Bay Area punk band that you'd never heard of. If you asked me who was the one band that you had missed out on, the one who had slid in under your radar and then disappeared into the forgotten realm while you were understandably busy discovering MOZART and DEIMOS CULT and MASS ARREST and revisiting APEFACE and HICKEY and TRAGIC MULATTO. It makes sense...there's a lot of shit to dig into from around these parts. Our version of a lull would make lots of places jealous. So when a band plats a few songs and drops a five song banger before calling it quits, it's perfectly reasonable that people would kinda forget. But, my friends, the internet was invented to make sure that you always get a second chance. A second chance to fukk up. A second chance for other people to see shit that you did years ago that you wish no one had ever seen. And a second chance for you to listen to the FIRST WORLD PROBLEMS demo. It bangs relentlessly, and packs a relentless mid-'90s East Bay fury like a motherfukkr...plus the tracks themselves are pure gold. I've said it in assorted ways over the years, but if you decode to only leave a handful of jams as your legacy, then they might as well be good ones. Or, in the case of FIRST WORLD PROBLEMS......great ones.