Closing the year out with power and fury and hope...and the 2017 demo from MASS ARREST. Casual observers of and participants in North American DIY punk have surely noticed the sporadic blips from this Oakland outfit, especially with their Power LP on Iron Lung this year, but I'm here just to make sure y'all all have your bases covered. Killer, inspirational hard punk that reminds me how I felt when I heard that first batch of FUCKED UP 45s fifteen years ago...the tracks are so catchy, and the vocals grab you so hard that you just kinda shake your head. The back-to-back of "Pass Me The Dossier" and "Young Pac" is the best example of this vibe, arguably the two best tracks on the tape linked together right in the middle to make sure that you are completely hooked before the damn thing is even over. But this band isn't about the tracks, even though there are tracks - read the lyrics to "New Town Drag" assailing not just gentrification but uncomfortably addressing the hypocrisies of the first wavers, and think about "White Validation" (I play the race card because it's the one you've dealt) as the recording comes to a close. MASS ARREST don't get in your face to scare you, they get under your skin to make you uncomfortable...and that's the point.
30 December 2019
Ramshackle noise punk in its purest form...? Maybe. This is an honest and uncontrived annihilation presented with heart and force - a rare and welcome combination. It's going to take punks and historians a long long time to sort through the output left by the DIY punk scene in the '10s. Aural anthropologists will be pleased and intrigued when they peel this one out from under the layers of lovingly screened packaging and collages. Somehow, this relentless, bombastic, chaotic, noisy fukkn mess sounds like history in this moment. A sonic document.
29 December 2019
Five crucial must-have tracks and a superb interview with frontman Jimmy Pursey as broadcast on the BBC in 1978. In case you don't give a shit about SHAM 69...today might be a good time to start. The tracks hold up, and listening to the irreverent perspective 40 Fucking Years later is...well, it's really fukkn cool.
28 December 2019
Utterly destructive DIY grindcore from Oklahoma City, I seriously have a hard time digesting how brutal WITHOUT EMPATHY are, and when you through in guitar layers like these dudes do on "Black Lung" I'm just left with my jaw agape. There's too much to unpack in a simple review - German metalcore guitars and NO LE$$ guitars, ruthless start/stop grind and more chaos that a simple two piece should be allowed to create. Shit is really, really good, y'all. If you like to be beaten to a pulp by mp3s, then I cannot recommend W//OE enough.
27 December 2019
If you got half a fukkn brain, then you're paying attention to the punk and hardcore coming out of SE Asia. I'm not going to try to make a list of bands and scenes and labels because all I would see later is all of the bands and scenes and labels that I missed, so I'm just going to say that that's where you should put your eyes and your ears, and that's where you should focus your consumption. Singapore's STILETTO are a prime example - primal, raw, ferocious hardcore punk...but with hooks and swagger. Seven minutes of pure destruction...there are days when I just want to listen to this demo over and over. Make the right choice.
This tape was brought into the world by Pissed Off! Records in Malaysia. I strongly recommend keeping your finger on their pulse....they never fucking fail.
26 December 2019
No excuses here, just sharing as a document. And I figure it's vaguely interesting....as a document. I had never heard or heard of this band until I ripped this 1995 demo, and it left me mostly with questions. Musically there are merits; there's some rough and nasty hardcore punk...and I like rough and nasty hardcore punk. There's a SoCal surf/bro tinge masked as tongue-in-cheek dude humor ("Eating Tacos (With My Vatos)" as an example) that I can live without, but I was also around in the mid-'90s so I am well aware that this was ubiquitous if not unavoidable, and especially on the West Coast. Most of the lyrics are stupid (I am a bloody stinky punk limey. I don't care about the system especially about your money - I got spikey hair and I'll stick it in your head. I don't even care about your mommy. I play in a punk rock band. - from "Bloody Punk Rocker"), but that goes along with the overall but notably less intelligent SOCKEYE vibe and is therefore to be expected. Tracks like "S.M.D. (Suck My Dick)" can seriously go fukk themselves, they aren't even funny given the "context" of hindsight....but hey: DIY punk in the '90s (insert a shrugging dude emoji here). But isn't the most amazing part of this is that the band who dropped this Fetus Feast demo 24 years ago appear to have been active as recently as last year?
25 December 2019
Every year I think I'm gonna rip WILLIE NELSON's holiday tape to post on christmas. Well, one of them (he has a few). But then I don't give half a shit about christmas except that it means that I (probably) don't have to work and I can just spend the day chilling and talking to Karoline and her mom who are two of the best people in the history of people....so I guess to that extent I do care, but not because of the enforced holiday thing. My point really (or, more accurately: barely) is that I forgot (again) to rip that particular tape, so never mind the calendar: here's CHOWLINE. This shit comes from Portland, and holy shit is it fire. This is the third of five demos - six songs in nine minutes; a gut churning assault on all senses. The kind of demo that makes you kinda catch your breath when it mercifully ends. Looks like there are four more demos that I need in my life. That we need in our lives.
24 December 2019
Subtly tortured other sounds from DARK URRRU, a session that meanders between deep woods guitar and deep sea suffocation. Volume certainly yields on this one, especially when it unleashes the layers on "Starlings In The Treetops." WATERFINDER are more focused on the flip, a casual union of eastern mystics and Appalachian visionaries....until "Fireworms" crashes the party with awkward industrial tonnage before the most bizarre version of DONOVAN'S "Hurdy-Gurdy Man" closes the cassette. Yeah...even more bizarre than that version you're thinking of. A cassette that takes the listener on an actual journey is a rare treat, savor it.
23 December 2019
I'm not even sure how many different KRÜEL cassettes are hidden in these digital pages, but I know it's been far too long since I popped one of their shells in the player and killed and afternoon. Urgent, furious, mandatory raw DBeat. I don't mean "mandatory" like I think you must listed to it, or even like I think it's the greatest thing ever...but I mean that you can hear these ponx doing this because they have to. They don't know what else to do, and it shows. Eleven tracks here from 2012...I fucking miss these sounds.
22 December 2019
Why not stick with Underrated North American Bands from the '00s to finish out the weekend? I'm pretty sure that if people ever underrated BRODY'S MILITIA, it's because they were scared...which is probably exactly how BRODY'S MILITIA likes it. They play(ed?) dirty, nasty, punk rock 'n roll that can go toe-to-toe with any of the Scandi crust rollers (Won't Change A Thing"), just like they can drop fastcore bulldozers in the lap of any crew of posi kids ("Nietzeche In A Bottle"). The dudes know how to swing, and that's (one of) the thing(s) that sets them apart...they don't just listen to boogie rock in the van, they'll straight drop the licks into their hardcore bangers and make it sound like they were meant to be there....because they were. This demo is centered around SARCOFAGO and CELTIC FROST covers, which seems appropriate, and it listens really fukkn well now that it is a teenager.
21 December 2019
When I was ripping this beast, I was trying to remember if I ever saw BRAIN KILLER. I don't think I did, because I surely think that I would have remembered, but goddamn their records hold up. This is what it sounds like to feel like your getting repeatedly punched in the face by frustration itself...as if an emotional state manifested into a physical force. Feedback drenched hardcore punk with riffs upon riffs upon motherfukkn riffs and a singer who sounds like he's choking on his own hatred. BRAIN KILLER feels real. They dropped records on Deranged, Vinyl Rites and Framework after this 2008 demo, and every one of them is worth your time....but blast this in the meantime.
20 December 2019
Second dose of insanity from St. Louis this week, today courtesy of a 2012 home recording from GILES. Eight short minutes of sound - one serious space-fi psych jam, an ominous minimal synth track called "I'll Just Let It Burn," and some after school special shoegaze in the form of "Walk Softly." It all screams teenager (which is obviously a plus) and makes me wonder what else this kid is capable of.
19 December 2019
Fucking devastating motörcharged DBeat hardcore from Richmond. I would have loved this shit if I had heard it 15 years ago...and do love this shit today. Pure power, all power. Check the breakdown in "Creature Of The Night" and consider yourself warned....
18 December 2019
I had an idea a long time ago for a radio program. Or an audio zine, may a podcast (though I can't be sure that podcasts existed when I first had the idea). The program would be called Is That A Good Band Name? and would exist entirely of me reading off band names from my collection, but placed into the question: "Is THERAPY a good band name?" "Is THE WHO a good band name?" "Is ORCHESTRAL MANEUVERS IN THE DARK a good band name?" and so on. I would allow for a moment of reflection after each query, but there would be no answers, no other commentary, the entire event would be rhetorical. And that would be it. The reason I'm telling you this? Because I'm wondering: "Is BLACK PANTIES a good band name?" Just curious.
17 December 2019
The bad news is that there's no salvageable B-side on my copy of this 1969 recording, so the two takes of "Look For The Black Star" that make up that side are not included in the file below. The good news is that the A-side is an absolute freakout, showing Redman leading a monstrous ensemble. The 2+ minute drum solo that starts around the 2:35 mark is worth the price of admission alone, but the gratuitous use of strings and Redman's sonic gymnastics seal the deal. Most known for his collaborative work with Ornette Coleman, I highly recommend Look For The Black Star and his slightly less unhinged work with the OLD AND NEW DREAMS quartet...and also the recording presented today without (further) commentary.
16 December 2019
Uuuuuugggghhhhhhh this one just kills me. The second offering from SONIC WARHEAD is like CHAOS UK covering S.H.I.T. with the most gloriously fukkd mix imaginable - hollow bass cranked up real high, guitars languishing somewhere behind the vocals, fucking cardboard flapping drums. It's perfect. The riffs are...well, they are perfect also, just like the venom that these tracks spit in your face. From the middle of Sumatra's western coast, SONIC WARHEAD lost their guitarist to fate this past summer, but they are pushing forward...I can only fucking imagine what the live shows are like. Respect.
15 December 2019
...and why not more from Halifax? All femme political punk, alternating erratically between hi-energy reckless sounds with multiple vocals and slower (more sincere? whatever that means) parts with those earnest raspy melodic vocals that Ivy made good in 1994 and then entire scenes from the Midwest made bad over the 20 years that followed (if you know what I mean...then you know what I mean...). When you're doing exactly what you want and you're going hard, there's no way you can fake it, and EEKUM SEEKUM sound wholly real.
14 December 2019
More brilliance from Halifax? Why not? Cody Cross strikes again with a 2014 cassingle from NEGATIVE RAGE. "I'm Controlled, You're Controlled" is a noise drenched space-fi garage hardcore banger, pure weirdness and paranoia captured on tape. "Pile" on the flip is a respectable and flattering representation of a TINA, AGE 13 from an entirely different place and/in time. Truly bizarre to hear Sean, Chris and Steve, my neighbors from 20+ years ago, brought back to life by some kids in Nova Scotia....and not surprisingly, they do it right.
13 December 2019
You're not going to find a John Lydon apologist sitting behind this keyboard. Always an opportunist, especially today with his much storied and oft-wavering commentary on the political climate in the UK and the US, presumably motivated more by a desire more to keep his face in the press (and dolts at his shows) than any actual or informed interest in our collective future, I think Rotten v.19 is wholly uninteresting. However, I think he's conniving rather than stupid, he was obviously there pretty much from the beginning....and if this piece is any indication, his knowledge of and interest in music is boundless - and his perspective is fascinating. Recorded for Capitol Radio in 1977, this 24 minute piece is journalist Tommy Vance just rapping with Lydon about punk and The PISTOLS and social politics....and records. The records came from Lydon's collection and they primarily stay in the background - reggae, rock 'n roll, whatever the fukk he wants...FRED LOCKS, JOHN CALE, NICO, PETER TOSH, NEIL YOUNG, CAN, PETER HAMMILL, BOBBY BYRD and loads more. The music is all over the place, we never hear a track all the way through, and the back and forth between Vance and Lydon is engaging to say the least. This one deserves full attention, and if you are anything like me you're going to finish listening with a few more top wants in your mental pile.
"It's only sound, music? Innit?"
12 December 2019
I seriously have not been able to get enough of this tape since I ripped it a couple of weeks back. The companion to the FSDC2 compilation posted a few years ago, I don't remember the CREEPING PINK track on that tape grabbing me as much as everything contained on this 2012 recording does. Equal parts CHROME, Desert Oracle, PHAROAH OVERLORD and alien intervention, the 70+ plus minute journey that is Thee Creeping Pink Sound (Creeping Pink's NeverNeverLand) is a lesson in vision and execution...or perhaps an example of the two disciplines feeding off of and building onto each other. Moments harken early '90s psychedelic/indie, but mostly because CREEPING PINK are rooted in the same dirt that those then-visionaries were. These recordings are nothing short of magical, and fortunately for (all of) us there are several more doses of magic that have come in the years after their release. If you do not have a warm desert environment near you, then I suggest listening inside, at night, at least (but no more than) one lamp (preferably in the corner), and alone.
11 December 2019
Y'all know CRUCIAL SECTION, right? I mean, you fukkn should, and I won't bother introducing them except to say that they have been at the center of of Tokyo's DIY fastcore/hardcore scene for twenty years now. They seemed like kids when we first met them...then again, we were just kids ourselves. When WHN? were in Japan in 2000, Guitarist Wada (aka Shithead) heard that I wasn't familiar with SO MUCH HATE so he went home and taped How We Feel and Blind Alley for me. The following year when ARTIMUS PYLE played with them in Tokyo, he had this tape waiting for me - then unreleased bursts of ferocious and urgent fastcore that sound every bit as intense and relevant today as they did 18 years ago..
Wada in 2000, photo by Karoline: