Disgusting. I challenge you to make aggressive music sounds this genuinely damaged. The mix is all fukkd up, the components all sound like they were recorded in a basement toilet on a micro-cassette recorded and nothing sounds like it is even supposed to go together. I can't tell if the vocalist is mad at the world or just pissed because the bass guitar is smothered weird sauce and all you can really hear is the unfortunate off time click instead of the low end rumble that might give the recording some power. There are breakdowns....and those are a different story. A story about how JAPANESE FURNACE just doesn't make sense. I mean, it's hardcore to be sure, but I don't think you can set out to make something this demented, and I certainly cannot imagine a band hearing this mix after a recording and thinking "Yeah, sure....that's what we were going for. Let's release it!" It should go without saying that this band is fukkn great. Two demos, from 2013 and 2014, repackaged for further listening confusion and/or pleasure....the second one sounds slightly more cohesive, is no less intense, and the guitar solo in "Dried Out" is just...wow.
19 March 2019
18 March 2019
I first heard of LÉGITIME DÉFONCE from their late '90s split with San Jose's KRUPTED PEASANT FARMERZ, but I never looked any further (and honestly kinda forgot about them). Then this homemade collection appeared on my shelf (that's more or less how it happens around here) and it was like a time machine taking me back to the tours when we played a handful of tapes until they were transparent, sweating and drinking and discovering everything, us against the world. This was the punk that we listened to on these tours - not this band per se, but this was the sound that escorted us across North America and we would have loved this tape if it had been on our radar. High energy, snappy, melodic French hardcore....mid '90s hardcore that holds up extremely well, even if in retrospect there's a little too much NOFX in the mix. This tape features their self titled 1995 debut and the slightly rougher sounding ¡Ya Basta! from the following year...and I'm glad it lives on my shelf now.
This '90s tape maker was a nice one, slapping eight tracks from the Higgledy Piggledy comp at the end of the tape....there's never a reason for leftover tape, kids. Excellent French shits from OVER TEN INCHES, TILT UP, BURNING HEADS, OUT OF ORDER, MASS MURDERERS and more. Included in the DL of course, because I am also a nice one.
17 March 2019
A hallucinatory sonic sculpture spanning forty-five minutes from Spanish multi-disciplinary artist CARLOS VILLENA. The accumulation of sound is almost painfully slow, and the end result feels like he is opening a black hole in and through my very soul. Not for casual listening, not for a quick dip....this requires full immersion.
16 March 2019
The first thing I thought of was that NAKED RAYGUN track "Hip Swingin'," but only because NEW BERLIN actually made me want to swing my hips. It doesn't sound like NAKED RAYGUN at all mind you...it just made me want to dance. We're talking SPITS, EDDY CURRENT level delivery with a similar casual cool oozing through every crease in the recording. Laid back, cool as fukk.
Also - putting a mini-mix tape on the flip side of your demo is an extremely sick move. METIN H. ALATIL, CHROME, CAN, LOS SAICOS and PETALOUDA serve to change the vibe completely. IT's awesome, and....who the fukk is METIN H. ALATIL (1970s Turkish Moog driven funk is the answer, but how could I have actually known that?!), because that track is siiiiiick.
15 March 2019
An extremely cold release utilizing the combined grey matter of two cold entities. This half hour proto-industrial excursion leaves me feeling somewhat disoriented and more or less hopeless...it's centering. Grounding...and conveys a dark hopelessness that feels very very real.
14 March 2019
Quite literally the only negative thing I can say about this tape is that there are only two songs. PELTERAS play aggressive, driving goth punk with some of the best bass lines in the game, everything was so on point that I actually stood up from my chair and exclaimed "yes!" about 30 seconds into "Meranggas." Brooding and powerful vocals seem to direct their power inward, and the guitars here are ripped straight from the grooves of the greats....PELTERAS are just damn near perfect. All I want from this Indonesian band is more.
13 March 2019
Y'all remember this band? I do. Always seemingly just under the radar, but furiously intense live - so much so that every time I saw them I thought "why is this band seemingly under the radar?" Liz's vocals bring up thoughts of BLACK FORM and LOS CANADIANS, which is to say catchy and tuneful but full of dirt and anger. Check the guitar lead on "Missing Pills" and tell me how a band can drop that lead into that song and know it's gonna be OK? I mean, it's more than OK, it's fukkn great....I just don't understand how someone can have that kind of vision. Demo tracks are predictably raw, then you hear the band get faster and tighter as they move to wax ("Higher Standards" - I mean....come on). So yeah...if you don't remember LIBYANS, then today is the day to start learning.
This 2009 tape has pretty much everything....well, everything up to 2009 anyway.
12 March 2019
A beautifully trying sonic excursion recorded in 1979, this duo creates lays down a quarter hour of abstractions and non-music, and then they step effortlessly into the stunning "The Imaginary Suite" and serenity has rarely sounded so beautiful. As is often the case with jazz, and especially avant-jazz, I'm not going to try to punch above my weight with context here, but this release led me to dig deeper into the respective works of Lewis and Ewart, both beyond fascinating musicians with legacies (past and current) that make my brain spin. Praise due to Loathed Sound Department, without whom I may have never come across this stunning and challenging work.
11 March 2019
This one kinda took me by surprise - I just thought I was putting in a tape by a regular band I had never heard of. I thought maybe it would be pretty good, or maybe it would be pretty forgettable (that's not an pre-assessment of this tape in particular, just a law of averages thing....every tape can't be great, you know?), but I didn't necessarily think it was going to kick me in the ass. Paris anarcho-punks BARREN? did exactly that, however, and I can't stop listening to their 2016 demo. File alongside ARCTIC FLOWERS and very few other bands who are able to make new sounds feel familiar (or make old sounds feel fresh and urgent), it's dark and fiery punk for a hopeless generation. That generation is us, in case you were wondering, and "Violence For Peace" is our anthem.
Longtime visitors will remember a time when Mondays were reserved for distortion drenched mutants bashing the shit out of regurgitated DISCHARGE drums (but somehow still better) and rehashed four chord jerk-off riffs (see: also, better) with howling layers of distortion and reverb. Maybe those Mondays are done and maybe they will return next week, but this Monday is reserved for New York City's RUBBER and their '90s grrl punk delivered with '10s perspective and attitude. Distortion can wait, y'all.
10 March 2019
Ramshackle midwest punk fronted by Eve Libertine as interpreted by THE KRUNCHIES. This shit is either dumbness personified or LEBENDEN TOTEN meets THE GRUMPIES. If you know me at all, then you know that, at least based on this description, I love THE WRONG.
09 March 2019
08 March 2019
The East Side Story series continues raining bombs, starting their seventh volume with GENE CHANDLER's instantly recognizable "Duke Of Earl" and running straight into a blissful and almost over produced ballad from BILLY STEWART. A heavier emphasis on the slow crooners this time around; THE STUDENTS - "I'm So Young," CHRIS & KATHY - "All You Had To Do Was Tell Me," THE ORIGINALS ' "Baby, I'm For Real," THE SUPERBS - "Baby Baby All The Time" and pretty much everything else on this tape. The prize goes to the soulful swing LINDA THOMAS drops on "Hypnotized" but there's not a dud in the mix, twelve more tracks that take you back to a place most of us can only imagine.
07 March 2019
I've shared them here before, and Moyashi is more of the same: raw and brutal Japanese fastcore. This one came out in 2010 and commemorates twenty years of ULTIMO RAUSEA by spending four furious minutes smashing through four furious tracks....it's pretty much all you need, though I recommend listening closely (or loudly....or both) for the subtle leads in "For-Way" before the tape comes to a close. No bullshit, just srash.
06 March 2019
If you like your punk dark and damaged, then I give you TWINK. They open with "Yuppy Larvae," a track that sounds like 1984 UK anarcho goth crashing full speed into JESUS LIZARD....and then they get weird. Lots of flanged single string guitars, they speed up on tracks like "Stigmata Fleshlight" but they surely never settle into anything approaching a groove. Ramshackle noise punk hell bent on BAUHAUS, dreary ass sounds that draw from everything and mimic no one....not even TWINK. "Reality TV" is this fellow's favorite track, but this while thing just gets better with repeated listening.
05 March 2019
SUNNY SPENCER's decision making leaves a bit to be desired on his 1977 cassette, starting off with the almost 6 minute burner "Mama Don't Allow It" and following with "Just A Little Closer Walk With Thee," a track that slows things down before they ever gained momentum. The context of the opener is important, as it was a standard during Spencer's time with SONS OF THE PIONEERS and featured him making the rounds and playing essentially every instrument in the band during the track....however that doesn't really translate to the recorded medium. But Spencer's Mama Don't Allow (presented as a self titled release in cassette form) nonetheless hits all the bases the way you would expect from a recording made ten years earlier. His version of "San Antonio Rose" is endearing and innocent, his "Night Life" is perhaps artificially bluesy, but the dude is clearly reaching for the stars (or stardom itself) and that in itself is to be applauded. The clarinet makes frequent appearances, harkening (intentionally, I'm sure) thoughts of BOB WILLS and company as well as the Pioneers, and the piano swings in opposition to both the Nashville Sound of the '60s and the various interpretations of Outlaw Country Musical Liberation that dominated the airwaves by the time Spencer recorded this one in Vancouver, Washington (same place Willie cut his first record, in case you're keeping track). Perhaps as much a footnote or a casual obscurity as an important document, this punk still a spot in his heart for independent C&W, even (or especially) if it was only independent out of necessity.
04 March 2019
Maximum volume yields superior results on BURNING's sole release. Heavy synth/mechanical industrial presented with depth and brutality. BURNING owe as much to IDIOT FLESH as to NITZER EBB, with a monotony that make you want to stab yourself in the eye more than hit the dance floor. It's awkward and painful to listen to...at least that's how it feels if you're doing it right.
03 March 2019
As soon as that doo-pa-doo-poo-da drops and the opening track "Explode" just, well....explodes all over the damn place, you know that TECHNO are compromising nothing. The buzzsaw guitar break into the bass bomb and then the ripping lead before the vocals come back in to take "Live A Lie" home. The way they slow it down just one painful notch for "I Don't Want To Starve" so they can kick you in the teeth when "On Fire" turns loose....this thing is fukkn perfect. Hollow, blown to shit, ferocious, rough punkpunk hardcore corecore. Literally everything I want in a punk tape.
02 March 2019
33 songs in 35 minutes, spanning a slew of split EPs and comp tracks over twenty plus years. I always thought the Denunzio-esque snarl gave NAILED DOWN a little extra oomph, and their zero bullshit approach to filthy grind makes you wonder what the fukk is in the water on Australia's west coast. This one should be well known to most, but the uninitiated are advised to strap the fukk in....listen to "Freeze Dried" on repeat and try to cope.
01 March 2019
I could tell from the first fukkn note that this one was a winner. Urgent, bouncy Chilean femme punk from 2013, DESPERFECTO owe as much to UK82 as to early Spanish punk...and everything is just off enough to keep their genuine swing on edge. Favorite track today is "Ruedas Gordas," though the 42 second theme song is pretty damn essential too.
28 February 2019
Continuing on my path of illogical comparisons....Last weekend I watched THE BODY perform a collaborative set with LENGUA IGNOTA in Oakland. It was around 30 minutes long and featured essential one riff and a series of mostly improvisational movements. One would take the mic and the lead, then another would follow until they themselves were in control of the direction, transferring power and vision seamlessly from one member of the ensemble to another in the context of soul crushingly heavy doom colliding with soul crushingly heavy outside sounds. It didn't simply work, it was simply beautiful. And I don't want to elevate that night to a shelf upon which it doesn't belong, but the following day when I ripped this 1966 JOHN COLTRANE recording the similarities were stark. Coltrane and Sanders feed off of each other throughout this hour long performance, sometimes both taking a backseat while Alice Coltrane contorts her piano, the recurring melody popping in and out sometimes seemingly at random and other times clearly very calculate. Rashied Ali seems intent to drive the group to the very edge of the cliff and hold them there with a steadfast looseness, keeping you on edge even while Alice's piano (note: this is particularly evident around the 32 minute mark) offers the most innocent beauty imaginable. It really is a thing of beauty, just like the show last weekend...so maybe the comparison holds more logic that I gave it credit for.
27 February 2019
Sometimes I wonder if the things that make recordings great are intentional or accidental. OK, I often wonder if the things that make recordings great are intentional or accidental. Alex brought this one back from Hong Kong for me last year, and I'm constantly returning to the recording itself - the tracks are good, manic and sometimes melodic hardcore punk, but everything sounds so unnecessarily bombastic and cavernous, like a fast hardcore band was trying to capture the A Sun That Never Sets mix. And it totally shouldn't work....so of course it works. Anxious and chaotic World City Hardcore, think TORCHE on a 625 Thrash bender.
26 February 2019
Face splitting Washington, DC hardcore. The breakdowns: on point. The fast parts: on point. The Mosh: relentless. The vocals: fierce. The riffs: relentless (see also: The Mosh). The solos: on point (like GANG GREEN caliber on point), So perfect it's not even special, you just shrug and go: "Yeah, this is US hardcore punk. What else do you want?" And then you listen again, but louder.