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 essentially one riff (alternately: one essential 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/r sounds. It didn't simply work, it was simply beautiful. And I don't want to elevate that night to a pedestal 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.
25 February 2019
OCCULT BLOOD dubbed themselves "NEANDERTHUNDEROUSNOISECORE" pretty much from the start, and I'm not one to argue with that description. Christopher Reeve is the third in a most tasteless series that also featured Stephen Hawking and Roger Ebert, and is arguably the least cohesive (coherent?) of the lot. Mindless noisecore blasts drenched in effects and general in(s)anity, the twenty minutes contained on this 2009 release are trying to say the least. And that's the intent. I played with them in 2008 in Melbourne and then we dragged our asses to the airport for a red-eye to Jakarta, mind still stinging with pukenoise and ineptitude. It's nights like that one that stay with you for awhile, your ears fouled by all that is wrong with music. A sonic abonination. It was just over two years ago when I played with them again, this time in Oakland, and this time somehow more together and more off the rails...and I am still scarred. Are OCCULT BLOOD an abomination determined to destroy music in all of its forms, or are they high art? Not my call.
All three cassettes were re-issued in one box a few years after their initial release. You know, for those who want to feel bad about themselves all at once instead of spreading it out over several sessions. All the individual OCCULT BLOOD links are hot in the archives, I'm going to make you work for your depravity.
24 February 2019
There's a contextual aspect of virtually any independent musical creation that can sometimes be every bit as important as the content. I saw a modern power violence band last night who had all of the chops, all of the riffs, all of the power....but does that make them better than CROSSED OUT? I mean, they were devastating to be sure, but what about the band who created the sounds, created their own neanderthal style of destruction...and did so in a virtual vacuum without the help of youtube or the internet. Obviously I think that history will judge the former more "important" than the latter, who was able to carefully study their forebears and hone every detail of their craft, which does not mean that the latter didn't level the joint last night, because they absolutely did...and I was wowed. But I think you get my point. Rewind to Minneapolis ethereal goth outfit AUTUMN. In 1992, there was no retro online subculture of misfits and inward punks looking to a bygone era of goth for inspiration. Aside from the true heavyweights, most of the '80s goth/new wave bands were playing way smaller clubs, if they even toured at all. The blurry lines between the sub-scenes became more defined, and I feel like dark wave and goth became even more insular...more isolated. Strict adherence to a bygone subgenre is a bold move in any scenario, and even more so without the digital connection to other outcasts as a crutch. But AUTUMN's four song demo tape is strong and proud, teetering between COCTEAU TWINS spareness and Wayne Hussey's bold guitars, a sound they were creating in Minneapolis at a time when DESTROY was dominating the underground basement scene. Drop AUTUMN in 1984 and they would have mesmerized the masses...instead they continue to create in the face of all of the obvious obstacles, feet firmly planted in a sound, permanently attached to a world that will likely never be theirs, releasing songs that have evolved into a sound that is truly their own after more than a quarter century in the mire. They switched singers before really hitting their stride (no criticism, but Renee's voice is absolutely the focal point of this recording), and in fact their own discography shows them starting two years after the release of this tape with a darker, slightly more aggressive eight song self titled demo, but the innocence and isolated conveyed by this tape might serve as a vote against comfort. AUTUMN did what so many are trying to do, and they seem determined to stand strong amongst the waves of youth and perspective crashing around them...I applaud them, and I listen to "And Deep Inside" with complete focus.
The power violence anecdote was probably a stretch, but I think you get my general idea.
23 February 2019
Two new-to-me Japanese acts teamed up to make a likely new-to-you cassette that reminds all of us what a good idea it can be to make hardcore coexist with different sounds. GALGET's uncompromising fastcore attack is a breath of fresh air (and fellow band folks - listen to how the change the presentation of three chord riffs to make them into entirely "different" parts...far from a lazy way to make songs, I think of it as economical and kinda genius), and it just sounds like they are partying. The non-cover for MINOR THREAT's cover of that WIRE banger to close the side is perhaps and accidental harbinger of what's to come on the IKARIYA EIICHI side...a blown out screwed version of BAD BRAINS' "Leaving Babylon" and a truly bizarre non-take of "Pay To Cum." Bear in mind that this is a band who also dropped a Japanese language proto-dub psychedelic version of "(Take Me Home) Country Roads," so reinterpretations seem to be the name of the game. Good and fast meets good and weird....keep 'em coming, punks.
22 February 2019
A mix tape made out of love. A mix tape crammed with mutant freak sounds and other music and true sonic damage. Tortured art punk, drug addled garage sounds and no wave, most of which was unknown to me before I popped this one in the deck, presented to you with no track listing or artist information. The intended recipient of Life's Still Dull died before he could dive in, but what a fitting legacy, right? To have the gift meant for you instead pollute the public in your memory? That's about as much as you could ask for. And if you believe in an Other World after this one, then perhaps Parker is reading this and thinking "I Was Punk Before You Were Punk....Punk."
21 February 2019
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
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
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.
18 February 2019
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
"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.
10 February 2019
09 February 2019
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
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
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.