21 February 2019

HOLIER THAN THOU


Seriously one of the un(der)heralded greats of the early '00s USHC explosion. A little more metallic than most of the shit around at the time, but it was speed picking that bridged the gap between METALLICA and Nardcore, and the attack was pure California surf/skate rage and somehow the vocal delivery always reminded me of AUS ROTTEN. Like these were the mutants who lived at the beach and on the streets....not the jocks who put on the mutant mask, you know? Listen to the call that starts the second track - "iiiiii'mmmm trapped inside a vicious cycle!!" - and you fukkn believe it. No titles on this demo, but I'm pretty sure all of the tracks were on 2001's The Hating Of The Guts LP (which holds up extremely well after almost 20 years)....and I know that all of the tracks are burners. 



20 February 2019

WONDERCAT


From the opening salvo "dick cutter dick cutter razor blade pussy....I don't care what your dick is like, I don't care if it's black or white, my pussy's like a genital blender, dick and balls smoothie forever..." you know WONDERCAT are something special. Delivered with MOLDY PEACHES' endearing innocence, this New York duo adds SOCKEYE's irreverence to the mix...and a penchant for singing songs about dicks and pussies. A cute, rambling, shit-fi indie pop duo that channels every whispered teenage dirty inside joke and turns them into embarrassingly addictive alternate universe hits that make you hum the melody from a song about being born with seven clitorises. You've been warned. 




19 February 2019

SORE THROAT


Every time I revisit SORE THROAT I find myself spending most of a day with them. After I ripped Never Mind The Napalm... over the weekend, I cranked Unhindered By Talent and Death To Capitalist Hardcore in rapid succession and marveled at their shameless approach to grinding anarcho-stench. I've heard them dismissed as noise (we can discuss the illogical reasoning that leads a person to "dismiss" something because it is "noise" some other time), but I would classify SORE THROAT as fukkn visionaries. Their approach to music, and the destruction thereof, is admirable in its simplicity and in its brutality and the tongue in cheek assault on our grim reality is manifested in those one riff, sub-30 second bursts of in(s)anity. 1989's Never Mind The Napalm.... is perhaps SORE THROAT at their most together, though both the US and UK cassette versions only include the decidedly more musical B-side of the LP's 43 tracks (compared to the 100+ track Disgrace To The Corpse Of Sid LP released the same year), just an assault of guttural grind and ramshackle UK stenchcore. It's ugly and it's fierce, and it's very very desperate sounding...a sign of past and present times, perhaps. 

DISCLAIMER:


18 February 2019

INDIGNARI


It's almost as if INDIGNARI are struggling to reign themselves in. It doesn't always work, and when they lose control it's pretty damn beautiful....I mean that in a very ugly way.  Breakdown at the end of "Hollow Man" is simply deadly, while "Rise And Fall" is deadly in its entirety. 

17 February 2019

S.B.V.


Ferocious, under the radar San Diego hardcore circa 2003. This is like when i heard NEIGHBORS for the first time in '95 - like, "who the fukk is this and how is it so tuff?" Turn of the century fastcore with one foot stuck in DC and one ear glued to the stereo that cranks '80s SoCal hardcore on repeat, I feel like if this had dropped in 1999 we all would have been crawling over each other to get on the S.B.V. bandwagon, just fast fast straightforward hardcore with little flourishes like the tiny timing break in "Colored Vinyl Fetish" and when they drop into a midtempo groove ("Posi-Core Anthem For The Negative Youth" - and that scream at the end....for real) this outfit is deadly. This one should be mentioned in the same breath as the big dawgs of the era. 





16 February 2019

MISE EN ABYME


A marriage of sparse solo guitar and subdued acoustic industrial improvisation, the sole release from Italian experimental duo MISE EN ABYME listens like a deconstructed SIR RICHARD BISHOP treated by BLIXA BARGELD. It's a challenging journey at times but one well worth embarking upon, as these two invite the listener to evolve and discover with them, in real time. The journey should be, after all, just as important as the destination. 


15 February 2019

CROSS BREAKER


Angry, mean, desperate....weird. Modern hardcore put through a filter that I can only describe as "Oklahoman" sentenced to do time on tiny magnetic tape with '90s US basement 'core and West Coast Powerviolence greats. I wish I could say that everyone gets along here, but the clash of frustrations from all side results in an incredibly tense release, and you feel kinda dirty after you listen to it. Whether that's the point or not, it's the effect. And it's honest. 

Maybe presenting cassettes in their physical form is rather assholish behavior (on my part) when it means that you get a mutated, hiss-filled tweak to what the band likely intended, but I still believe that that's a part of the joy, and the excitement, of sub-par media. Life is a crapshoot, punk, and sometimes you get what you fukkn get even when you try real hard...and besides, you're on the damn internet. So if you want to hear a version more suited for driving to the mall in your mom's '14 Acura instead of getting shithoused on a country backroad north of Guthrie in that shitty '87 Ford pickup you keep limping around town, then CROSSBREAKER still has you covered. 

14 February 2019

JOCKSTRAP


The second demo from these Toronto mutants (the first, posted last year, was titled II) is full of even more noisy stomping ferocity that teeters along mad-as-in-angry and mad-as-in-insane. The aural chaos is intentional, calculated, and it still feels like JOCKSTRAP is about to careen off the cliff at any moment - even though you know that's how they want you to feel. The weird future feedback in "End It" is my personal highlight, but at seven whopping minutes you surely have the time to listen intently to find your own. 




13 February 2019

WULKANAZ


I must be doing something right. A few weeks ago, a fellow who I work with very occasionally but don't really know at all (he appears to be a rocker, but we are essentially on a "nod of acknowledgement" basis) walked up to me and asked it I liked black metal. Sure, I said, though it's far from my field of expertise. Cool, he replied, and said he was going to make me a tape. A few days later, I had this in my hand. It only takes a few googles to see that Sweden's WULKANAZ are well established in the kvlt world, and a few tracks into 2018's self titled Wulkanaz to realize why. A solo project from Kumulonimbus from TOMHET (I didn't know that), WULKANAZ has been cranking out dark and weird black metal for a decade and it's the emphasis on weird that makes them as compelling as they are. You can get away with things when there's no one else in your band that would be really hard to pull off as a collective, and WULKANAZ's use of ambient noise and primitive recordings that careen wildly through various metal and industrial subgenres is compelling to say the least - take the double shot of "Det Svultna Gap" into "Stiärnväv" as an initial example. So yeah....this more or less random dude just walked up to me and gave me a tape because he thought I would like it. That's cool. And I do like it. 


It's worth noting that the official cover art to Wulkanaz is decidedly more evil that the images shown here. Dude cut and pasted this shit like a true tape monger, and for that I offer even more appreciation. I have a hope that we never become friends, but continue to exchange tapes. Though I'm really going to have to up my cut and paste game:


12 February 2019

SPM


This is the sound of a truck hitting you in the face. Intentionally. Eleven blasts of rage and frustration in eight terrifying minutes, this 2015 demo is a beating that simply doesn't stop...until they close with a FLOORPUNCH cover that makes it clear that they could be the Kings of Hardcore if they weren't so addicted to grinding. This tape is power realized, and it's exactly what I need today. 

This was released in a criminally limited edition of 30 by Knochen Tapes from Germany. If you like to grind, then you should already know who they are. 




11 February 2019

HUMAN MANIA


"Fields Of Destruction" is, straight up, one of the best noiz/DBeat tracks I have ever heard. Four damn chords delivered with just the right combination of starts and stops and hiccups and relentless fukkn noise, plus the requisite desperate howls presented as vokills. 13 minutes of unhinged DBeat noise, this demo is is at once "by the books" and groundbreaking - perhaps just because they execute with such deadly precision. Check the first 15 seconds of "Feigning Life," and then try to have a normal day. 



09 February 2019

ACCELA


Raw and weird, these midwest mutants floored me when I saw them last year. With a Pay To Cum-caliber drum/bass attack (and recording), a perfectly buzzed 1982 guitar and a high pitched alien whine fronting the whole thing, ACCELA deliver a deliberate mic drop over the course of six minutes. Aside from the vocals, this demo sounds like it's from another era - with the vocals, it sounds like it's from another planet.

08 February 2019

EAST SIDE STORY vol.6


RALFI PAGÁN's version of "Make It With You" is really all vol.6 needs to make it essential - dousing BREAD's '70s schlock with an innocently psychedelic Latin groove was a genius move, and it works even better than it should. The rest of this volume is certainly up to the challenge, of course, from THE WHISPERS doo-wop waltz to JOHNNY FLAMINGO dropping steelpans and inadvertently fuzzed out keys into the summer cruise. THE DELICATES "I Want To Get Married" is another standout, THE DUBS swing hard with "Could This Be Magic" and the ultra smooth "Pledging My Love" from JOHNNY ACE just oozes. This comps are so much more than "oldies" collections (THE MOMENTS' version of "Love On A Two Way Street" is only eight years older that Never Mind The Bollocks, after all), these are the soulful secret underbelly of the music industry hitmakers that held a death grip on artists and listeners alike...you can hear a little more grit, you can hear a little more desperation, a little more honesty. LITTLE ANTHONY's "I'm On The Outside Looking In" is a perfect example - it simply must have been too real for radio at the time, so it was relegated to bedroom 45s and late night cruises....and you can practically feel his sigh even (or especially) today. "gotta find a way gotta find a way gotta find a way back to your heart babe...."


07 February 2019

KORT PROSESS


Few bands have written hardcore as interesting and engaging as Norway's KORT PROSESS. Ever. 34 tracks here, covering all three of their EPs spanning 1993-97. Remember, this is just a few years removed from BGK and overlapped chronologically with ECONOCHRIST and HIS HERO IS GONE. Think about that. Essential fire. 





06 February 2019

SLUMS OF THE FUTURE


Been sitting on this one for a while, but it's hard to imagine how I let SLUMS OF THE FUTURE stay on the backburner for this long. Better late than never, I guess? An effortless combination of breakneck Japanese hardcore riffs delivered with a filthy, stripped down fastcore/thrash attack, this 2014 banger is simply exhausting. The vocals standout as stark shouts that harken UK anarcho/stench, which is noteworthy in the context of their all out blitz, the drums are tinny and off putting, riffs are manic beyond comprehension, and they finish the eleven minute demo with a No Man's Slave caliber dirge that takes up nearly a quarter of the entire recording. It's a ruthless slab all around, and every piece of the equation sounds like it's under tension - though the thing that really sets SLUMS OF THE FUTURE in a league of their own is the fukkn speed. The aforementioned "Build And Kill" is slow punishment, but it follows seven tracks of brutally fast hardcore that still almost tries (but fails) to hide the intricacies in the song structure and the genuinely unique way that this San Diego band places (placed?) their stamp on destruction. I like when I listen to a thing and then I feel like I have to catch my breath afterwards.


05 February 2019

NTOZAKE SHANGE


There's no real point in me trying to provide historical reference or cultural context for NTOZAKE SHANGE. I'm not going to try to pretend that I can appropriately place or discuss a Black feminist poet and playwright, but I can tell you that hearing cuts from Shange's play For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When The Rainbow Is Enuf as a white teenager in Oklahoma was....intense, and especially from young Black women from small towns, finding and hearing their own voices and their own experiences through Shange's words. This was in 1987/88, at competitive drama competitions in the state - competitions that were, for a while, my only real outlet outside of life in Ponca City, and the only place I could interact with people who were bigger than, or other than, my small world.  I remember two women performing pieces from For Colored Girls...., I know one was from Pawhuska, it was like a mic drop in the room every time as quiet young women walked quietly back to their seats, having been unleashed if only for a moment. At the time I could only think how much MORE isolating their experiences could have been, must have been, and the power of those words in the context that they were presented, more so even than the context in which they were penned, was intimidating and humbling and simply awesome. So that's all I know...except that listening to this almost one hour NTOZAKE SHANGE is like a day at school and a night at the theater at the same time. Sharp, lyrical poems of frustration and bewilderment, and a perspective that hits everyone who hears her - whether you have considered suicide or not. 


04 February 2019

CONCRETE ASYLUM


Keeping track of the bands popping up from Nova Scotia in the late '00s was like the most frustrating game of Whack-A-Mole, a game that seemed impossible to win. If you looked closely, it seemed like one or two dudes were at the nucleus of everything (I think Cody Cross is in five of the six bands featured on the NS side of this regional comp), but it was the shockingly consistent level of quality that was truly stunning - there weren't just a lot of bands, there were a lot of great bands. CONCRETE ASYLUM's particular approach to chaos holds up up especially well (I mean, it's only six years old at this point, but you get my drift) - brutally fast and manically constructed hardcore with stop/starts and nonsensical guitar leads and effects that take the wall of white noise to endless and dizzying realms. Quirky lightning speed pogomincecore (I made that up) tracks underneath the insanity, but I need to be clear that the insanity itself is the focus here. Like NERVESKADE maybe,  but just.....more. More speed, more drugs, more noise, more chaos. Just one EP and two demos from these kids (the first demo is here, in both presented and intended forms), but that's kinda how Nova Scotia seemed to roll. 

Can we talk about that cover art? No? OK, maybe a different time, because......wow.





03 February 2019

SANDINA


That collection I bought from Allan in Vila Velha a few years back keeps paying dividends, this time in the form of fiery femme hardcore punk. The title track has an innocent Simple Machines Records feel, while "Respeito" just bursts out of the gate and "Imperfeição" is a ramshackle burner. The recording feels live (it's not) partly because the vocals are so isolated from the rest of the band, giving her a soaring quality especially on the more melodic bits (the snare gets the same treatment, just like an improperly tweaked board recording). Pretty sure this 1998 demo is their only recording (the tracks on the French Up The Grrl: Brazil Punk Grrl Compilation come from this session), so these five songs are all you get....be grateful.



02 February 2019

BLAZING EYE


I'm going to work under the assumption that most visitors are already familiar with BLAZING EYE. And I'm going to hope that visitors not familiar with BLAZING EYE will start familiarizing themselves immediately. A friend once (drunkenly) described them to me as S.H.I.T. filtered through G.I.S.M. - that friend was super wasted, but still. 

Four song cassette recorded and released for an East Coast jaunt centered around the 2014 edition of New York's Alright. 

01 February 2019

INJAK BALIK!


Punk sprouted up all over the globe in the late '70s, though a few pockets of humanity that were limited by geography and/or political repression took a little longer to really thrive. By most accounts, punk started to take root in Indonesia in the mid-90s, and the scene was almost synonymous with the student activists who rose up against the Soeharto regime. Not surprisingly to fans of Third World punk and hardcore Tian An Men 89 Records was there, and released Injak Balik! as a compilation EP in 1997, featuring some of the earliest DIY bands from Bandung, West Java. Noisy pogo punk (RUNTAH, DEADLY GROUND), gruff street hardcore (PUPPEN), raw metallic crust (JERUJI, SAVOR OF FILTH), some nasty sounding mincecore (CLOSEMINDED), and a few blasts of intense and hopelessly catchy punk (TURTLES JR., PIECE OF CAKE), plus ALL STUPID's absolute ripper "Sia," a sub-60 second primitive hardcore masterpiece. Releases like this don't just deserve to be reissued in physical form, they need to be in punks' hands and in their ears. This punk was urgent punk, it was important, and the context is integral to its creation and its very existence....so keep digging, because the more you learn about punk, the more you'll find that you need to learn.