30 November 2018

THE VIEW: AN ATLANTA COMPILATION 1984-1990


All hail region specific compilations, and especially ones that focus on overlooked eras and/or regions. The View piles over an hour of under the radar punk and hardcore onto this comp, and it's fukkn great...but first off, NEON CHRIST's "Savior" is one of the greatest uncelebrated tracks from a band known primarily for playing faster and looser than anyone on the planet, this song is just pure power and should be considered essential listening. The rest of the comp is excellent, with dips into the proto/pre college radio/alt that put the  post hardcore era on the map mixed in with basement DIY and punks breaking out of the then "traditional" formulas. Highlights for me include ACT OF FAITH, KICKER BOYS, THIRD SEASON and STICKMEN....but I am only two ears. 

The Atlanta specific Beyond Failure blog made an excellent post about this compilation many years ago. Worth checking for a local's perspective alone, but the comments from the label and other people involved and influenced by the tape at the time are well worth a read. Careful though - I got caught up in some pretty lengthy Atlanta nostalgia...and I'm definitely not from Atlanta. 

29 November 2018

AD NAUSEUM


Bands try to manufacture this kind of primal chaos, but the discerning listener can see right through them. AD NAUSEUM, however, were the real deal. The first of several cassette releases, 1982's self titled demo is an assault of inept anarcho punk delivered with raw and pure desperation, fighting through tape hiss and a guitar pegged to the right, tracks like "What A State" bang two riffs back and forth like a manic pinball machine. Most of the tape is made up of rudimentary slogs, a verse chorus verse chorus verse chorus stop structure repeated song after song, teenage punk at it's absolute finest. Like I said...you can't make this shit up, and when it's real you know it. 


The tape includes a ten song session (I have to assume this is a rehearsal recording, because if they paid someone for this then they are either really drunk or really foolish), followed by a 19 song set from March of 1982....as if to prove that the ramshackle performance captured on tape is, in fact, really what AD NAUSEUM delivers. I shared this one a few years back, but after a few loud listens last week and the realization that many pre-2013 links have long passed into the digital ether (yes, I know...no, I won't/can't fix/replace them all) it seemed that a revisit was a good idea. Cheers to the kids who do and who go hard, whether they know how to or not. 


28 November 2018

ALL YOU CAN EAT


ALL YOU CAN EAT were like an earworm in the early '90s, you couldn't escape them. Danny B, Myron and Devon worked with a rotating cast bass players before landing on Craigums and essentially conquering the world while acting as a life line connecting San Francisco to the rest of the DIY world. You might think that San Francisco, itself a hub of punk to people around the world, didn't need a life line - but ALL YOU CAN EAT connected an entirely new generation of punk and punks to their contemporaries in the far corners of the planet in a way that the (then older) establishment simply couldn't...plenty of parallels to current scenarios and scenes within scenes, but they did it with postcards and letters and handmade tapes, and they formed bonds (for themselves and the people around them...including myself) that would last lifetimes. Europe was easy, the network was there and bands had been using it for a decade before ALL YOU CAN EAT started playing shows....so they never went to Europe. But there were arguably the first US DIY band to tour Japan, they booked tours in Brazil, Argentina, Philippines, Thailand, Australia, Hong Kong, New Zealand....through the fucking mail. Their energy and antics on stage were epic (also: notably photogenic), and it was the legend of those performances that transcended their recorded output, while their seemingly insatiable lust for adventure and the beauty of international DIY punk transcended the shows themselves.  They presented as a goofy pop punk band, but tracks like "Lucifudge (You Thought It Was Over)" showcases their love for ripping '80s crossover, and the influences run as deep as the list of sub-subgenres that record nerds continue to pull out of their collective ass(es)....ALL YOU CAN EAT were always so much more than they presented. This recording has most of their hits ("I Saw Your Girlfriend In A Movie," "This Die Cast Metal Has Life," "Food Fight") plus a track called "Everything Sucks" that predates the DESCENDENTS track and Danny B said he did not remember writing, playing or recording. My point is that these dudes were very important....these dudes are very important. And not just to me.



27 November 2018

THE STEELERS


I appreciate the way these folks do it - a steady trickle of two song cassettes, contents as sparse as the presentation. Lo fidelity dream pop, fuzzed out like the sonic version of the photocopied cover, wrapping two lazy chords around the eight minutes contained inside. It's almost as if the more you listen, the less there is to actually here, which is an art in itself....and this is, apparently, a mission more than a theme. 





26 November 2018

XRDM


XRDM dropped this short offering last year, further reinforcing their status as Kota Kinabalu's fiercest export. Nine tracks in just eight minutes, Fashkodato! is an all out dual vocal fastcore assault, with more nods to low end '90s DIY crust than their previous releases. The piercing highs of Nzt's vocals create a monstrous contrast with the choruses of gruff low backing vox, and then "Avoidance" kicks with a gloriously adolescent bridge before Nzt takes the song to its close. It's theoretically simple shit, really...but these kids are just so fucking fierce. Drums barely hold it together for the fast parts and then somehow tighten up on the blasts...maybe because this is a machine that was built from the start for pure speed and uncompromising power. Third World Hardcore Forever. 

I want to see this band live...

25 November 2018

FALSEHOOD


After six years, a welcome return visit from Edmonton's FALSEHOOD. Black, pummeling crust that's more refined and more sinister than on their 2011 debut, which means that FALSEHOOD was even more devastating. An uncanny knack for moving with ease from HHIG styled blasting to all encompassing depressive doom and then filling the cavernous void in between the two with epic ferocity, the almost 8 minute "Deceiver" is a perfect example of what a band can do if they just allow themselves to spread their wings and soar. Pigeonhole this as "blackened crust" and cheat yourself, or listen at full volume with half a heat on and treat yourself. 

Bonus points for taking the band pic taken in front of a peaceful stream and photo-shopping them in an apocalyptic graveyard...

24 November 2018

SHAVED CHRIST


I don't remember when I met Jason Griffin, but I feel like I've know of the dude for a solid 20+ years. HICKEY crossed paths with his band TRES KIDS during one (of many) jaunts through the Southern States, and there's a pretty famous photo of someone from the band passed out next to a pile of vomit, curled up around a HICKEY CD...and over time these are the associations that stick with you. I missed DIVORCE, I missed NO, I feel like I maybe played with GOAT SHANTY in Richmond in 2002, definitely saw AMERICAN CHEESEBURGER in Texas in the mid-'00s, then NO STATIK played with HARSH WORDS in Atlanta in 2013. The point is, it's not like we are tight or anything, but man, I really like that dude...and he hits the drums really good. Like, really good. I also missed SHAVED CHRIST, who claim one of the coolest monikers in modern hardcore and are complete rippers. Like TOTAL FURY crashing headlong into NEON CHRIST, these Georgia kids just fukkn burn through forced, disjointed and ultimately destructive US hardcore punk. No fancy studio work, just one screaming (loose) guitar track amped up higher than the rest of the mix and a crew of fellas banging the shit out of some punk because that's what they fukkn do. There was one six song EP that came shortly after this 2011 demo - I suggest seeking out that slab. You need it. 

Listen to the one guitar overdub in "No Crux" and then come talk to me about punk. Fukk.






23 November 2018

EAST SIDE STORY vol.3


From the smooth funk of FRANKIE KARL's "Don't Be Afraid," there can be no doubt that this installment in the East Side Story series is going to be a winner. Just as the earlier volumes shared here (and, to be honest, the many more to follow), prepare yourself for a twelve track journey through time. The curators were smart to maintain a few solid pillars, and LLOYD PRICE, BRENDA & THE TABULATIONS and THEE MIDNITERS are welcome returns from Vol.2 (the former even dropping "Just Because" in the third slot for the second time, an either bizarre or brilliant move). But THE DELFONICS, a sultry cut from ROBERT & JOHNNY, THE SUNGLOWS, and ETTA JAMES' simple sweet "My Dearest Darling" set the stage for yet another collection of essentials. The hits keep coming, the hits never stop....Killed By Death for the kids who were cool before you were born. 

All I need
Is someone like you
My dearest darling
Please love me too
......
Oh nothing, nothing, nothing in this world
Can keep us apart
Unghh, my dearest darling
I offer you my heart
......
-- ETTA JAMES "My Dearest Darling"

22 November 2018

RIDE 4 A FALL


I don't know much about this Minas Gerais band, and this short demo might be their entire output. There's a flyer that pops up from their show in Belo Horizonte with CATHARSIS and POINT OF NO RETURN (the Brazilian one, obviously) from back in 2000, the year this was recorded, and those two bands seem to be a decent place to start for stylistic comparisons. Forgive the next level pixelation, as it was a sign of the times as much as the brand of hardcore delivered by RIDE 4 A FALL. I am just short of declaring that this demo (likely not first generation, but from the collection of my pal Renzo) was duplicated using corrupted mp3 files, but the erratic way An Evil Engine jumps between and within tracks is one of the things that makes this such a nostalgic listen. Not nostalgia for something from my own past, but for something from a different past altogether. 





21 November 2018

PORCJE ROSOŁOWE


This one requires patience and full attention. Meticulously calculated builds and swells while the background crumbles seemingly inside your ear, Polish duo PORCJE ROSOŁOWE (de)construct primitive electronic sound in a most casual(ly beautiful) manner. Ballet is not just a trip, it's a journey.  


20 November 2018

FANCY


I wanna tell you about the FANCY set I saw back in March: It was fire. Like, that pretty much sums it up. Every individual element was simultaneously stuck in its own world, buried in its own process, and still they were acting together like a fucking machine. The singer had a sport coat and a briefcase for seemingly no reason whatsoever, and was a freak of nature on stage. Their breakdowns made you want to lose control completely, except that you didn't want to miss whatever FANCY was gonna do next. I feel like there probably weren't that many people watching (it was early), but that might be because I spent their entire set having a moment - I was in my own world as much as the people on stage were, dragging myself into the present periodically, just to exchange "holy shit, this is happening" looks with Karoline in the form of "Kill Everything" smiles stretched from ear to ear. This fire was a disease, and it was infectious. If you do nothing else of consequence today, crank "What You Got?" - listen to it loud and listen to it repeatedly. Let those 46 seconds be a declaration, and a challenge. 




19 November 2018

CONTRA CONTROL


This is from the Bay Area? I include the question mark as emphasis to my own fucking self because I need to not let things slip by me. Pure and primitive Spanish language hardcore fucking punk in five fierce movements...check the beginning of "Severed Head" and that out of tune guitar ringing out before the drums ramshackle the shit out of you Monday and you'll feel my pain. I want more. 





18 November 2018

TEMPLE


You know the goth thing has grown roots now, right? I feel like there is a generation now who are basing their sound on bands who based their sound on bands from other times - removing a layer of association, but perhaps allowing for more freedom within expanded confines. Whether or not this applies to this Minneapolis act is up for debate, but the excellence of this half hour of music is painfully evident regardless of which sphere/s of influence TEMPLE draw from. Dreary, plodding, with swarms of guitars and indulgent brooding vocals that dominate with confidence when they take over from the guitars, then find a way to coexist when they share the spotlight. It just works, so I guess where they get it from is a discussion for another time. 


17 November 2018

SYSTEM REJECTS



How many thousands of time does this demo exist in different forms? ....and how many times have I beed stoked to uncover a new one and feel like I'm hearing the sounds for the first time all over again? Raw rehearsal DBeat/crust from 2005 - there's some blasting, and there's a healthy dose of straight shit punk hardcore, and it's raw as fukk. SHITSLICKERS** and DOOM covers, because...well, because of course, that's why. SYSTEM REJECTS list a contact address in Tilton, Illinois. That's somewhere between Champaign and Crawfordsville on US-136, just south of the 74. Close enough to Chicago to know what's up, but still likely just out of reach in terms of any kind of regular participation - and that's the kind of frustration that breeds raging hardcore. Eleven tracks in as many minutes, even (or especially) if you've heard it before, it's time to hear SYSTEM REJECTS again. 


** I'm reminded of a show in Jväskylä on the 2004 ARTIMUS PYLE/SUNDAY MORNING EINSTEINS tour. There was a lag in the show or a temporary equipment issue or something, and Peter was heckling me to play "Warsystem," but I didn't know three note riff that makes up the entirety of the song. He was disgusted, taught me the song on stage, then reminded me as he rejoined the meager audience "The lyrics go: WARSYSTEM WARSYSTEM WARSYSTEM NOW!" 


16 November 2018

LEISURE WORLD


Punk, to be sure. But with that weird ass inward aggression that we don't really hear so much these days. It's not a pretense thing, it's an intensity that's not constructed or created - it's not a weirdness that's manufactured, it's some fools just fukkn wailing and this is what came out. The guitars are out there like later Ginn, but the rest of the band is on a WRANGLER BRUTES trip that supersedes any retro calculations. LEISURE WORLD are huffing straight fire, period (listen to the time changes and general construction on "What Is Your Motivation" if you don't believe me). So suck that weird shit in with your flames and get high. 



15 November 2018

EAST SIDE STORY vol.2


A repeat visit from SUNNY & THE SUNLINERS to start things off, then LITTLE ROYAL, DON & JUAN and LLOYD PRICE stack up three of the most crucial unrequited love songs back to back to back. And the nine songs that follow continue in the tradition established by Volume 1....slow, timeless, laid back, and impossibly cool. DONNIE ELBERT's "Have I Sinned" is like WAYNE NEWTON's "Heart" with a burlesque flare, and the sweeping strings in "Dry Your Eyes" from BRENDA & THE TABULATIONS will make it very difficult to....well, dry your eyes. 


14 November 2018

DEZERTER


I'm going to assume that introductions and background information would largely be wasted on such a knowledgable assortment of punk fans, but I also cannot ignore DEZERTER's importance, so here you go. Released by Maximum Rocknroll in 1987 from master tapes that D.O.A. brought back from a European tour, Underground Out Of Poland combines tracks from DEZERTER's first EP on Polish state label Tonpress and their set from the Jarocin festival in 1984, previously released by the band as a cassette. Searing and essential punk rock music - the version of "Niewolnik" here is impossibly fierce, and "Szara Rzeczywistość" is simply one of the greatest punk songs of all time. Period. 

DEZERTER are, of course, still very active. They continue to plays shows and release records, and many of their older releases and recordings have been made available to the masses by Pasażer.

13 November 2018

MOVING TARGETS


MOVING TARGETS seem to have been lurking just underneath the surface since I discovered The Greater Punk. I picked up Brave Noise at Shadowplay Records in Campus Corner in Norman around 1990, and discerning diggers will recognize most of the their catalog from forays through used bins over the years. But these records not to skipped, not to be passed over...MOVING TARGETS are to be celebrated. To be listened to repeatedly on long drives. Their songs should be a part of you just like their (used) records are a part of your record shopping experiences. Brave Noise and Fall (1989 and 1991, respectively) are the two most common scores, though it should come as no surprise that the first full platter, 1986's Burning In Water is still my go-to. Historically, file this alongside contemporaries like DINOSAUR JR., (early) SOUL ASYLUM, (mid-'80s) HÜSKER DÜ and so forth (all four of their LPs were on Taang!, so the punk/hardcore connection is inescapable even beyond their sound), but the discordant melody of those walls of guitars are worth a special mention because they put the band in their own category. "Shape Of Some Things" starts with a Plastic Surgery Disasters-caliber wail before settling into it's own, and the guitar seems to teeter effortlessly between post-hardcore DC/Dischord and the less aggressive sounds that dominated the college radio airwaves at the time. I can see MOVING TARGETS on a stage with (later) WIPERS or GUADALCANAL DIARY just as easily as FUGAZI, and there's an easy line to draw between this sound and modern bands like NEON PISS. Spend some time, get to know them....if you don't already.



12 November 2018

C.I.R.C.L.E. O.F. F.R.I.E.N.D.S.


Yesterday, Terminal Escape logged its 3,500,000th visit. Today, Terminal Escape posts a ten year old thrashcore tape from Singapore. CIRCLE OF FRIENDS indeed. 



11 November 2018

GRUMP


It's that four on the floor stomp that you love, but GRUMP are fukkn faaast, and that speed makes my ears perk up from the first drop. The guitars are weird as shit, like just that track on the recording was laid down on a damaged dumpstered reel and then cranked higher than everything else in the mix, making for an anxiety riddled dose of hardcore mania. This one is a few years old, but comes from the same family of Halifax mutants that I have celebrated here before....and today I celebrate GRUMP. 


10 November 2018

PHILIP COHRAN and THE ARTISTIC HERITAGE ENSEMBLE


A tribute to Malcolm X recorded in Chicago in 1968, The Malcolm X Memorial chronicles a life in four movements through avant-jazz and blues and an improvisationally tinged free-bop that makes me want to do nothing except dive into Philip Cohran's extensive but somewhat obscure catalog. Most noted for his stint in Sun Ra's ARKESTRA, Cohran spent years in Chicago nurturing and playing with younger musicians (Chaka Khan and EARTH WIND & FIRE, to name a couple), curating the Affro-Arts Theater and helping create the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians....there's a lot more to say about an under the radar icon who died last year at 90, but instead I suggest focusing on this brilliant 35 minute long performance - if the purpose was to take the listener on a journey, then mission accomplished. From the innocence of "Malcolm Little" to the tension in "El Hajj Malik El Shabazz," Cohran's ensemble carries and transports the listener, even though this trip is a half century in our past. Highest recommendation for reflective sonic escapes. 

Like the Sonny Sharrock post from few weeks back, these sounds were put to tape by the Good People at Loathed Sound Department...



09 November 2018

PLATYPUS SCOURGE


It's so much harder to find this combination of influences and approaches in one band playing in any kind of modern era, but bands like PLATYPUS SCOURGE weren't uncommon in North American punk's second solid DIY wave. Kicking around Sacramento starting in the late 1980s, these kids have (had) elements of emo/posi-era 7 SECONDS, the lazy, jangly Jasper Thread guitars, and California punk all with a pervasive high school punk band awkwardness. I would stop short of calling PLATYPUS SCOURGE good, but the chorus of "Sunny Disposition" is undeniable, and the endearing "If I Had The Nerve" is an over the top example of unrequited teenage adoration. "No Nukes" is an actual rocker, and  the occasional pop bass, the unnecessary whoas and the clueless Guitar Center EQs combine to make an entertaining, nostalgic aural excursion. I mean, "Fundamental Blues" is a garage blues metal admonishment of their school district. 


Two demos included in the link below - the orange sleeved self titled ten song cassette from 1989 (that closes with the most adorable and expendable SHAM 69 cover) features the tracks mentioned in the above paragraph, while the Destroyed demo from 1990 shows PLATYPUS SCOURGE start to come into their own. The slap bass is more proficient and higher in the mix (it was the time, man...I don't know what to say) but the songs are more aggressive, and tracks like "Used To Be Friends" could stand alongside any number of contemporary East Bay or Midwest DIY bands. There were two EPs that followed these demos...both are (not surprisingly) readily available for typically reasonable prices in used bins across the United States. Members went on to play in AMBER INN, EXHALE and a host of other bands, including the current act WET THE ROPE, who sound like well-tuned emo/hardcore juggernaut...just all grown up. 



08 November 2018

HANGMEN ALSO DIE


There is nothing cute or appealing about this. This is pure ugliness and determined anger. They don't hate arbitrarily, they hate for reasons....and it helps concentrate, and therefore intensify, the rage. The tracks are straightforward and fast, the guitars are wading through knee deep metal zone distortion, and the vocals are like a black metal demon without a winter to wallow in. But mostly, HANGMEN ALSO DIE are just fukkn pissed and everything runs together so you can never catch your breath. Nine tracks in eleven minutes...if you dare. 


07 November 2018

PARK GRUBBS


Growing up and coming of age in Oklahoma was, for the most part, fucking horrible. In retrospect and with hindsight, I think it was even worse and more damaging than I realized at the time...which is pretty bizarre to contemplate considering how terrifying and demoralizing it was then. There were friends, to be sure, so it could have been worse (and was, in fact, much worse for many others), but those friendships were often just bonds based on fear - fear of isolation, fear of violence, fear of humiliation. There was nothing "cool" about this adolescence, there was only coping, and we coped however we could. We entertained ourselves at the expense of strangers, we stole things, we sent sex toys to jock's houses (COD, of course), we vandalized - and sometimes we got caught and sometimes we got punched. And we made phone calls. When I found PARK GRUBBS after I left Ponca City and moved to Norman, I identified instantly...with the premise, with the delivery, with the boredom, indeed with the desire to have some kind of power and some kind of control over any situation, even if it was fleeting. These tapes passed from hand to hand for years - ask anyone who grew up weird in Oklahoma in the pre-internet eras and I would guess you'll be greeted with a knowing smile. Say "I wanna tickle your love offerins..." and you'll likely get a "Hey, that's fantastic!" in response. These kids from Bartlesville were straight fire - the shit they came up with on the fly was legitimate comedic genius, and the context within which they were not just making these calls but documenting them makes it all even better in hindsight, and it wasn't until years later that I had any inkling that the people responsible were punks and outcasts. This is pre-syndicated Howard Stern, pre-Jerky Boys, before the choice bits from "I'm In Your Band" call on Neil Hamburger's Great Prank Calls became ingrained in our psyche ("you ever heard of the fukkn KRINKLES, man?!")....this was as much a product of pre-technological boredom as it was a result of the creators' genius. The absurdity of these calls borders on high art, and the ability to bring the subject along is incredible (a trait shared with contemporaries Hamburger and Longmont Potion Castle), but for me it's the regional connection that puts Park Grubbs over the top. Heading over to Miami (pronounced "my-am-UH") from Talequah to check out a $100 canoe...the accents...the slang..."the reason I's callin' - I's wonderin' if later on if you would object too strongly if I'd come over and bathe y'all - you're entire family?" "no, you can't." "Uhhhhh, is there some surgical procedure I could talk to your husband about?" ...this is boredom in Oklahoma. 


A couple of Okies put together an excellent short documentary film titled Calls To Okies about the people responsible and the people they inadvertently affected, influenced and entertained. Former Buttman (the band, not the family) Wampus is prominently featured in the doc, as well as several people who were just a little older and/or cooler than I was when I lived there...people who experienced that same joy and the same sense of belonging when they heard these recordings. "P-A-R-K, G-R-U-Double BS"

06 November 2018

XBRW


Oooooofffffff on the Indonesian devastation. This mid '00s recording from Bandung is only three tracks, but XBRW cram more power into five short minutes than most bands can muster in an entire discography. Rapid fire machine gun drums drive the assault and almost overshadow hints of '90s Japanese hardcore lurking amidst face melting fastcore. The breakdown "Rebuild To Destroy" alone is well worth the price of admission, and since the whole thing is so short, I've found myself listening over and over and looking forward to the quiet mood setting build up that takes the middle third of the song before that breakdown drops....you know it's coming, and it just makes you want to break stuff more when it arrives. Just complete sickness throughout.