More *retro* dark wave/alt resurgence, this time from South San Francisco, just a few miles down the road from TEHQ. Perhaps the keys are too heavy handed at times, but THE INVESTMENT offer their wares with honesty, and that goes a long way with me. This is pure 120 Minutes fare, a reminder that everything old can at least be reborn....even if it's impossible to make it new again.
16 October 2019
I got a few of Spencer's castoffs last week (I welcome everyone's castoffs, of course), and the first thing I popped in was this monster from BICSKA, a dark and heavy power excursion masquerading as modern metallic hardcore. Early '00s Eurocore discordance with FALL SILENT bass and an underlying vibe that's hard to put a point on...but rest assured that its dark.
15 October 2019
One man (or...one genius?) bedroom drum machine metal from São Paulo. Sole member Rudolf, The Proud offers up seven doses of full throttle black/power metal as CATACOMB VOICES with incessant leads and a song construction/delivery that almost makes it seem like this year's debut release was created as one long piece - many songs have no end, just a quick fade, and some start the way with no real beginning. High end and anxious, the solos border on comical even though there's nothing whatsoever to suggest that there is a tongue in this cheek.
There's a fine line between innocence and brilliance, and I think in this case the purity of vision helps to blur that line. Repetitive drum machine stomps and relentless hammer-on sweatpants riffing isn't exactly most people's idea of a good time, but it feels real here....it feels honest. Most of the evil conjured by Rudulf's prior entity SOVEREIGN has been supplanted by driving metal power, though the vocals still serve up a demonic edge and CATACOMB VOICES seem to be in a constant struggle for clarity, which is part of what makes it sound so real. Basically...I'm in.
14 October 2019
Even more than their rehearsal demo that I shared back in January, the studio manifestation of THE WOUND is fury unleashed. The guitars are Ginn/Egeness level damage, as if they are punishing you for even listening...and it's a sound that suits the rest of the recording as it tries desperately to hold itself together. On of the angriest things I have heard in a long long time. "Can't See" "Strange Feeling" "In The Dark" "Subsist" "Control" ....."We Know"
13 October 2019
Another one of those back-in-time releases from FLEABITE. It's sweet and endearing, just like it's honest and soul baring. But also the guitars are super damaged and cut in contrast to the soft vocals, brilliantly blurring lines that arbitrarily separate raw punk and twee (ok - that's a stretch). I liked this when Puzzle Pieces sent it to me years ago, and I like the more polished sounds they've dropped since.
12 October 2019
I super love this tape (and the round wax iteration on Deranged). Vancouver punks dropping instantly familiar synth drenched punk that lands somewhere between NEON PISS and proto-goth - but honestly, closer to straight '80s commercial new wave than retro goth, I hear DRAMARAMA and THE ALARM as much as stark punk influences. Strangely mature Biafra-esque vocals at the helm, this is music that feels like it's coming out of my very own past, so much so that it's hard to accept that this is a modern release. The folks involved (AFTER THE BOMBS, PURA MANIA, SPECTRES, many many more) know exactly what they are doing, and even though this is two years old I'm still anxiously awaiting another chapter.
11 October 2019
Was walking down Valencia with Karoline last week and saw the choicest '70s Malibu - lowered, LEDs in the fukkn rims, velvet everywhere, paint on point....and these were the tunes coming from the open windows. Just parked in front of a fire hydrant. Empty. Idling. It was as if the car itself was on a solo cruise, and it was awesome. It made me think of these volumes, and I ripped vol.10 the next day. I think THE ESCORTS' track is my favorite - even though TOMMY JAMES & THE SHONDELLES classic "Crystal Persuasion" is probably the best song included, I hadn't heard "Look Of Your Shoulder" before this is it's pure fukkn bliss. The whole damn comp is bliss, until these masters of under the radar slammers drop The Godfather into the game near the end and things quickly escalate to ecstasy. "You Were Mine" from FIREFLIES and a blown out solid from THE M7Ms & THE PEANUTS close out the game and I really just want to live that different past present tense life for just one night.
10 October 2019
File this one in the "in case you missed it" column, because I think most visitors are well aware of this NYC freak fest powerhouse. Shiva (KALEIDOSCOPE, DEFORMITY) dominates the recording with a damaged KBD-meets-Delta Blues guitar, and I think this 2015 demo is my favorite of their recordings, perhaps because the guitar is just shit fukkn hot and raw as hell (there aren't very many recordings....but you get my point). STERILE MIND played with them in Seattle a few years ago, and watching the 20something mutants lose their sweaty minds and become one with the writhing mass that was on the make shift stage was practically worth the whole trip. Now crank the guitar "solo" in "She's Onto You" and go wreck some shit today.
09 October 2019
Four awesome people in a timeless punk band from Portland. Literally the only non awesome thing here is the garbage can cassette this was replicated onto. Fortunately you can hear the jams the way they were (digitally) meant to be heard here.
08 October 2019
The electronic arm of To Live A Lie blast dealer Will Butler's sonic empire, DON GARNELLI has quietly amassed a noteworthy discography filled with dark and foreboding ambiance. 2013's War Of Currents starts as a collection of short, mostly subtle, missives building to the proto industrial "Powerful Induction" into the epic 10+ minute journey "Monolith." He repeats the formula on the flip, a little more ominous this time and with some erratic beats thrown in, culminating in "Turbine," a thirteen minute exercise that would be worth your time on its own. This listens like a soundtrack, lurking in the background until makes itself known by drawing you into the shadows to mingle...and ultimately this shit is just really good. There are more releases to take in after this one has taken its course, but I warn you that this one might take you a while.
07 October 2019
06 October 2019
Japan's FRIENDSHIP are the very embodiment of brutality - doom/sludge production adding monumental tonnage to an assault that is pure and violent grind. Check "Compton" for FRIENDSHIP's bizarre approach to blasting a hole in your skull - non stop pummeling that drags doom riffing through the darkness. Their debut full length, 2017's Hatred, has already been recognized (and scooped up) by Southern Lord and Sentient Ruin, but it seems criminal to let something like this pass by simply because someone else "discovered" it first....I mean, sometimes the 'other' people have pretty good ears.
05 October 2019
The rest of my 04 October wedding anniversaries will be followed by the anniversary of Matty Luv's death. I first posted this collection in 2009 when this site was in its infancy - everything I said then holds true now, and I often wonder what he would be doing now, what dry and profound comments he would make about the state of our very state of being. Few people will ever have the kind of impact that Matty did, and I fucking miss him. Original post HERE.
The tape still sits on the shelf, that stupid rubber ducky gathering dust and getting in the way. Seems appropriate, I guess?
Now we got our oceans, we don't got okra...
04 October 2019
Karoline sent me this tape in 1997, before we were married. If you were ever curious about what would have been a good way to work your way into my long-gone 24yr old heart, a mix tape was a good start. Of course, simply being Karoline had sealed the deal long before I ever received a tape in the mail....but I sure did like getting the tape. The link contains the Sex, Drugs & Rock 'n Roll mix in its entirety and the first side of the TATTAPE4STARS mix that followed in a separate package. Time (and The Destructive Power Of Magnets) has rendered the second half of that one unlistenable, but you'll note the serendipitous way that the experience abruptly ends during "Can I Sleep In Your Arms?" Twenty-two years down, life to go.
03 October 2019
The previous recordings are good, several have visited The Escape over the years, but their final release in 2015 was an absolute monster. From the sinister off the rails blasts of "Each Their Own" to the muted chugs "Boundless Informant," VILE INTENT rarely stay on one trajectory long enough to let you feel comfortable...resulting in a decidedly uncomfortable listening experience. And that's the point. "Demon-Haunted World" is the soundtrack to getting your ass kicked, being scared that it's going to happen again...and then getting your ass kicked again and having to walk home by yourself. In the dark. If there's hope in these sounds then I surely cannot find it.
02 October 2019
Last night, Spencer and I were talking about music and specifically how much we sometimes missed the "anything goes" 1990s in the face of the "flavor of the month" new millennium reality. A reality where people can use a mouse like a vacuum and suck up entire subgenres without ever taking the time to digest, to interpret, to manipulate the very influences that shape their sonic existence. There are so many killer bands, to be sure, more than this grown ass man can possibly keep up with, but too often they fall into "bands that sound like this" or "bands that sound like that" instead of the broader, more inclusive "this is punk, but....where is this coming from?!" that demands your attention. So Spencer, here's FAMILY SECRETS. One demo in 2014 (this one, naturally), and that's all you get. Ten minutes of loose hardcore with distinctly '80s double snare taps (and some ridiculously fast rolls thrown into the middle of riffs where they rarely belong) and an unmistakable BG.K. vibe that lurks just below the surface. The guitar and bass are EQed to occupy the same same, and the result gets a little muddy at times, but in the way that Dusty Hill's bass gives early ZZ TOP live recordings the perfect amount of not quite perfect. And FAMILY SECRETS are full throttle throughout, like they are going hard because they have to and they don't seem to care who listens because they are making it their own and they are making it for themselves.
01 October 2019
The brooding and foreboding introduction of "Nostalgia" sets the scene, pulling down the shades and blocking escape routes to give the rest of Phone Sex an unhindered platform and/or playground. Primitive dance floor fetish slammers in the vein of CHRIS & COSEY or Voice Of America-era CABARET VOLTAIRE, PSYCHIC HOTLINE add an air of innocence while keeping shit decidedly weird and disorienting ("Intimacy" is the perfect example of this sonic conflict). It's a sonic existence rooted in the past future, and the result feels wholly present.
30 September 2019
I like this tape. DUMB VISION are going hard, the recording is murky and kinda fucked up so it sounds like you're in the basement with them. Classically catchy '90s DIY melodies clash with SPITS caliber irreverence and the casual way they drop in the weird bits ("Negative" as a perfect example) makes my hair stand up a bit. "Shadows" is the track though, the tracks that's gonna stick in your earholes like old, sticky wax. "Shadows" is a really good fukkn song.
29 September 2019
This. Band. Fukkn. Screams.
Two tracks from the incredible 2018 EP on long sold out Bunker Punks plus three absolutely searing hardcore slammers recorded live in early 2018. This shit falls somewhere in between HEADCLEANERS and the first DIE KREUZEN record, with an originality in overall sound and presentation that makes my mouth water. Fast, ominous, dark, and supremely vicious.
28 September 2019
A perfectly timed time warp from Columbus, Ohio. This is all of the femme/college/alt reborn as Midwest basement kids, and I kinda love it. BELLY, BREEDERS, TSUNAMi, VERUCA SALT...you get the drift. Meandering single note guitar dancing with each other while vocals and vocal melodies just hang out casually, choosing various corners of the mix however they see fit. They just sound sweet, and I don't know another way to describe them. Who doesn't want a little sweetness every now and then?
27 September 2019
Another installment in the social media exchange, this time a fierce collection of whirling destruction that slid through my mail slot a couple of weeks ago. Raise The Dead, Volume V is a drunkenly assembled mix (and it's mixed with two turntables, a nice plus....but a motherfukkr to edit) that focuses on primal, lowest common denominator death/thrash. Which is exactly what I was hoping for. BASTARD, ABSU, WAR FARE, CHAINSAW, PERVERSION, WASTELANDER, SPITE and a SLAYER slammer for good measure...mostly cranked up real high in the red, so it sounds like you're in the back corner of a crowded party even when you're alone in your kitchen. Hypothetically. Title taken from the rawest recording on the tape, VENOM's "Raise The Dead," my creator outdid themselves in the realm of filth and aggression...and I'm grateful.
26 September 2019
Pharoah Sanders should need no introduction, and Maleem Mahmoud Ghania is a Moroccan Gnawa master. This collaboration was recorded in 1994, Sanders joining with Mahmoud's ensemble in Morocco. Simply put, this recording is incredible.
This recording was released on cassette by Bill Laswell's Axiom in 1994, re-issued digitally in 2016, booted in 2017 (pictured), and given proper vinyl treatment earlier this year by the German Zehra label.
25 September 2019
Two tracks of complete mindfuckery from Oxnard/s SORDO - noisecore and powerviolence remixed and layered and just annihilated by an entity identified only as "Patrick." Well, Patrick, you fukkd me up. Good job. Equally prolific New York mutant's SCAB ADDICT offer up a 13 minute freak spawn of manipulated primitive electronics and general lack of concern for human well being. I feel like this is the sonic equivalent of involuntary incarceration.
24 September 2019
The curiously prolific art/goth outfit CARRION SUNFLOWER left countless releases in their wake, and I keep coming across them. What seems like a dozen or more split cassettes, a few live recordings, small runs reproduced in questionable fidelity just to ensure that their wake will extend far further than their real time impact that ended a few years ago. Their side of this 2015 split features four pieces of dreary PTV-by-way-of-BAUHAUS and/or ULVER with droned/spoken vocals, leaning heavily on a manipulated acoustic guitar for ambiance. Self indulgent to be sure, but I highly recommend sinking into the murky recording and the hiss heavy duplication, CARRION SUNFLOWER make it worth the effort. On the flip, Norway's VVLAD offer one creepy ambient track, one piece of AM transistor radio quality dreary street corner insanity delivered with just a lonely guitar, and finish with a bizarre dose of awkward no-fi black metal that sounds almost as if someone pirated all of the elements from different sessions, different recordings...indeed even different bands, and placed them on top of one another to create a new being. It's a really weird listen, as with CARRION SUNFLOWER, but you need you let go, and let the bleak solitude envelop you....
23 September 2019
You've been warned - this one is really good. Jerky, quirky, aggressive New York shits that bring to mind mid '00s acts like SYNTHETIC ID as they morph late '80s outsider punk and art house drenched Alternative Tentacles fare into . Guitar/s are all over the damn place with single note leads and awkward atonal spurts, while the bass delivers effortless Dean Clean caliber runs that exhaust the neck and drive the entire mix. Only four songs here, though I admit that I have rarely been this spent from simply listening to a demo.
don't fuck with me