30 April 2019


Jaw dropped the first time I heard this one - raw and intense '90s dual vocal anarcho-crust with insane guitars straight out of UK82. Unnecessary flange on the bass, jaw droppingly fast drums that kinda sound like cardboard, overbearing vocals (quintessential low/high '90s growl/snarls), blast beats that don't even make sense and ugh those guitars. Like MANKIND? recorded by BLACK FUNERAL, it's primitive, unhinged and so gloriously raw....it's also really fukkn good. Check the bass break that leads to the end of "La Conquista" and you're tasting fire////listen to "Victims, The Children" on max volume and you're straight burning. 

The whole thing is packaged in a DIY wraparound scavenged cardboard sleeve with the artwork glued to the front and back. Current professional bands could take a few notes. 

29 April 2019


Canadian dominance of The Escape continues with a disgusting dose of blackened DBeat from Montréal. SCOLDING harness the harsh intensity of early '00s Euro hardcore (ZEROID, AKEPHAL, ACME) and offer their interpretation with no subtleties and no hesitation...and much speed - when they slow down (as on "Venting Hate") they only get uglier. If you miss the anthemic power of a low end DBeat churn that dominates North American basements and German squats as we all wondered with a collective fear what the next millennium could possibly bring (hint: we had no idea), then I offer this 2016 demonstration as something to cling to while we navigate the new reality. 

Locked up inside my own mind
I can’t erase decades of mistakes
Can’t retrace what’s gone wrong in time

28 April 2019


Looped repetition. Endless drones. Monotony transformed into beauty. A subtle reminder as you continue on your journey. This was created ten years in the past, but it feels like it comes from another time altogether. 

27 April 2019


I like when a band plays wild and catchy punk tunes and also makes 'em sound kinda fukkd up in a way that you can't really describe. You just know the guitars are damaged - not calculated and noisy, just.....tortured - and you know the singer is unhinged, and you know it makes you want to get wild. File CHLOROFORM alongside Midwest '80s greats, I seriously cannot listen to this enough. 

26 April 2019


Full Disclosure: this is some straight millennial commercial ass sounding electro/indie/pop. Like, they sound like they wear ironically retro stonewashed pants (like the poodle-haired barista at Spoke Bicycle Cafe last weekend) and they sound like they are likely infinitely cooler than me. You want to know where this hits me? Here goes: Peter Gabriel. Anita Lane. BOOK OF LOVE. Valley Girl Soundtrack. FLAMING LIPS. Bruce Gilbert. CHROMATICS. You confused yet? Or are you intrigued? Minimal and mysterious, STRONGER SEX keep me listening at the very least...and that's something in itself, no?

25 April 2019


Not my typical fare, but I recently went on an ADVERTS bender inspired by this 1978 demo. File alongside EDDIE & THE HOT RODS, SLAUGHTER, etc...but there's a brood to THE ADVERTS that I can't put my finger on. Dark first wave UK punk, four songs on this recording, and all are stars.

24 April 2019


Like a funeral procession trudging through....well, lava. There's a distant and quiet thunder from deliberately minimal drums while guitars struggle to find their home, their place, fighting through the haze that shrouds the entire primitive recording. A 4-track creation from the mid-'90s, LAVATONE was unearthed by Full Spectrum a few years ago and offered once again to the masses....it listens like a meticulously crafted work born out of solitude. And thinking of Amarillo in 1994, perhaps that's exactly what it was. 

23 April 2019


I'm not going to bother introducing THE BODY, except to say that if you haven't already been introduced then I suggest that you do so immediately. I've seen them in various incarnations over the last 15+ years, starting with a warehouse in Milwaukee's Third Ward when my friend Brad suggested that I go see some of his pals from Rhode Island. From terrifying to beautiful, their sound fills the entire spectrum, and they have made a space where they seemingly have the freedom to let the sound itself drive the creative process as they continue to deconstruct preconceptions of music. 

22 April 2019


It's really special when you can hear the intensity, even through shitty little computer speakers. When you can hear the anger boiling, and feel it drive the entire recording. When it transcends riffs and moshes and parts and even songs altogether. That's what THREAT does. That's what THREAT presents. That's what THREAT is. Listen to "Bash Back" and it will take you over completely - if hardcore is about power, then THREAT is hardcore. 

21 April 2019


Think about 1997. Things were different. There was a band from Southern California called THROWDOWN and they delivered some truly devastating downtuned mosh metal that, at the time, I thought owed as much to German metalcore as to EARTH CRISIS. That band went on to become really popular and may or may not still seem relevant to someone...somewhere, even though they are like PANTERA-lite. But what about THROW DOWN? I mean - same time, same state, and you'd be hard pressed to draw a stylistic line between the two....except these Bay Area freaks likely didn't give a fat fukk about EARTH CRISIS because they were blasting locals like FORBIDDEN and EXODUS and also....well, PANTERA (see...the divide isn't so wide after all). You can't make this shit up, and you surely can't fake the vocals in tracks like "Let 'em Bleed" because it's either in your blood or it isn't. Six tracks here, spanning a solid half hour filled with riffs and intensity...the only question you have to ask yourself is: "Can I take this?"

20 April 2019


I don't know where this came from (I do actually, it came from France) but this ROBOTNÍČKA band is fukkn fire. Spastic synth freak punk insanity, released for their Japanese tour in 2016. Equal parts SPITS and CARS and SOVIETTES and SCREAMERS and NENA, and highly recommended. 

19 April 2019


Regional comps still rule. Ten Maine punk/hardcore acts from the age before myspace networking, the age of going on tour without cellphones. Fierce, aggressive hardcore from DOWN TO KILL, WICKED DEAD and CREEPY CRAWLERS, ripping off the rails fastcore from COMBAT and DONKEYPUNCH, brutal street stompers from GENITAL PANIK and PINKO AND THE ACTION BOYS, with CONFUSATRON, THE PUBCRAWLERS and some good ole '90s melodic skate punk from DHYS to round out the tape. Chances are extremely good that you weren't there then, but these fukkn kids were, and they documented it. I thank them for that.

18 April 2019


If you were around SF in the mid-'00s then you might know THE FOUR EYES. But you definitely know their millennial earworm "Hat Nerd." I've still never consciously listened to the song, but I feel like I could probably sing along with most of it simply because I'm friends with Floyd, who seemed as apt to gleefully sing "his head's where his hat's at!" as he was to simply say hello. But after spending some time with this 1994 demo, I may have to back off of my boycott, because good is good, even if (or especially when) it crawls under your skin. These Sacramento weirdos were (are?) super heavy on the nerd angle - examples include, but are not limited to: "Nerd Power pt.2," "Nerds In Space," "Nerdy Girl" and "Video Games" - but their arguably accidental fusion of garage/Nuggets/pop punk/HICKEY transcends simple geekdom and enters realms typically reserved for formidable '90s Bay Area greats.  There's something about not caring and just doing that is impossible to fake, and THE FOUR EYES surely lean more on the "don't care/just do" side of the fence. So I'm gonna blast "Riptide Robots" on the way to Riverside today, and all three chords are gonna make me smile.

17 April 2019


Y'all cool if I keep rolling on this Canada shit, right? Cool, let's roll. THE UNCOMMITTED is the brainchild of one of the SONS OF ISHMAEL dudes, and apparently he is a fukkn savant. Irreverent and uncompromising hardcore...fronted by a lap steel guitar. It works frighteningly well without ever sounding like a novelty, it just sounds weird. Weird is good, especially when weird also slays. Listen to "See? Aye...." - particularly the fukkn A it's the CIA chorus and you can kinda get the sense that these dudes are geniuses. Because they are. Nine songs in seven minutes, and Canadia marches on. 

16 April 2019


If you know the artist, then I'll just say that this early '80s Peel Session is every bit as good as you think it would be. If you aren't familiar, then I'll just say that Jamaican reggae is a daunting mountain, and we all need a little help getting started. 

15 April 2019


Fuck it. Shameless Canadian appreciation continues in the form of frantic apocalypse DBeat from Ontario. Shaped in the DOOM mold with MASSKONTROLL delivery - throaty, guttural vocals and swarms of buzzsaw guitars - UNFAIR skip all of the bullshit and get straight to the point. Banging is mandatory. 

14 April 2019


Halifax. Seriously...and still. In another world, I get to experience their early/mid-'10s scene in person, but in the real one I will simply keep blasting the tapes. And there are a lot of them. In SCIENCE PROJECT, we get four tracks of true mutant punk, warbled and fukkd and demented like '77 DEVO through an hallucinogenic filter and/or THE SPITS ridiculing CCTV through song. It's weird, and it's good, and very good and weird. There's an EP on Neck Chop (that I need) and another demo from 2016 (that I need), so let's blast and dream of Halifax. Maybe it's a great place....but if you never visit, then it can be perfect. 

13 April 2019


My professed affinity for the '90s continues in the form of Belo Horizonte's HEFFER. Melodic, high energy hardcore from 1995, this demo flies leaving a trail of DAG NASTY and BAD RELIGION in their wake...though the solos lean a wee bit too much in the El Hefe direction. After these three tracks and a second demo in 1997, the band was active for years under the name REFFER....but it's really those two demos that you need. 

12 April 2019


It's hardly worth mentioning the heat that this volume contains, since the entire series is straight fire, but visitors should be aware that "Cowboys and Girls" from THE INTRUDERS, the track that opens this tape, is an essential swinger. LITTLE JULIAN HERRERA, THE DELFONICS, BRENTON WOOD, THE MELLO KINGS, THE SHONDELLS, EDDIE HOLMAN's slightly under the radar radio slammer "Hey There Lonely Girl," it's another twelve essentials from the East Side Story family. Like LITTLE CAESAR says in the second track: yes dear, they're playing our songs, and they will always be our songs.

11 April 2019


Improvisation meets calculation, surreal meets real, electronic meets manipulation while analog meets consumption and non-music meets composition....while history is rediscovered through lenses of the future. It's a good ride, kids. 

10 April 2019


Blasts from the past in the form of modern sounds - it's hard to make it sound new and important when it sounds like something you are already familiar with. But HOWLER add something to their brand of early '90s indie; a darkness, a tension. Pretend there's a promo sticker on the $17.99 vinyl slab at Sam Goody, and pretend it reads: For fans of LIZ PHAIR, PJ HARVEY, TEENAGE FANCLUB, BREEDERS, EUGENIUS and summers off from college. Would you buy that record? Maybe I wouldn't make the blind purchase based on some manipulative advertising, but I would surely be intrigued - and now that HOWLER is on my radar I don't imagine they will be slipping out of view any time soon.  

09 April 2019


Further evidence that 2014 was a good year for Canadian hardcore: MORTALITY RATE. I think they are going for a burly 'core, but this thing hits my NAUSEA nerve something fierce. Burly, downtuned shit that sounds as desperate as it does angry. I have a friend in Milwaukee who is a high school teacher...I picture Mr. Gatewood moshing hard in his classroom while the kids are at lunch today. 

08 April 2019


Yesterday I posted a HOLY MONEY demo from 2014. HOLY MONEY were from Texas. A few years ago I posted a different HOLY MONEY demo that was also from 2014 and was also really good (I mean, that's why I posted it). A few years ago I posted a LIFE CHAIN demo from 2014. LIFE CHAIN were from Halifax. A few years ago I posted a different LIFE CHAIN demo that was also from 2014 and was also really good (see earlier parenthetical comment). I'm not sure if there's a theme brewing here, but if you're into bands who released two or more ripping cassette in 2014, then I recommend LIFE CHAIN. One time they were playing a festival in Oakland and I was late but I really wanted to see them play so I rolled up anyway. It wasn't a cheap festival, but I dropped $30 and walked into the back room just as LIFE CHAIN were about to play. I lost my shit. They were great. Then shortly after the next band started there was a stupid fight and I thought "this is stupid, and LIFE CHAIN were fukkn great," so I just went home and didn't feel even remotely ripped off. $30 well spent. My point is that bands who released two (or more) crucial demos in 2014 should be noticed and appreciated. LIFE CHAIN is one of those bands.

07 April 2019


I shared some magic from this Texas outfit a few years ago, and I dare say that this 2014 offering is even better. OK, so the ecodeathsludge demo was from 2014 too, but I'm talking about this one today. Tense and dense stoner sludge treated with disorientingly fierce electronics, HOLY MONEY land somewhere between WEEDEATER, GRIEF and BASTARD NOISE....yeah, high praise I know, but crank their cover of SIEGE's "Cold War" and tell me they don't deserve it? They do. Utter devastation that sounds terminally restrained, rarely have I delved into something this honest and bleak. And for what it's worth, the main riff in the title track reminds Karoline and me of "Havana Hard Time" from HICKEY's Gaia EP, which is just generally pretty awesome. 

06 April 2019


I work with a dude who's got a few years on me and had a geographical advantage when he was young, so he's got stories of rolling with SSD, seeing BAD BRAINS in '81, buying Cows And Beer for $2 at Newbury Comics, seeing Terry Bash get stabbed at the Rock Against Maximum Rocknroll show with AGNOSTIC FRONT and THE FUCKUPS in '85...you get the general idea. But then that fool found jazz, and hardcore died (I disagree with this premise, obviously), and he started collecting records. Free jazz is his jam, the weirder the better, and he's turned me on to piles of cool shit (guidance into new worlds of sound is always appreciated) as the two of us nerd out on out respective areas of interest. He's into SUN RA, and recently came into a collection featuring 75+ different SUN RA releases, all with the handmade covers that make early ARKESTRA and related records so unique and desirable...so I always ask him: "where do I start?" Because when an artist has a discography spanning well over 100 individual releases and you know the shit is experimental and all over the place....well, it's hard to know where to start. And I love Pete, but that fool can never give me a straight answer except to say "get the shit with John Gilmore." So I asked my pal Paul, who goes way deep into African Futurism and generally off the punk map shit, I asked him "How much do you fuck with SUN RA?" And he replied "Conceptually: 10; Functionally: 2." and I was right back where I started. Enter the fine folks at Loathed Sound Department (once again) with several SUN RA tapes in their likely unauthorized arsenal, and I figured "why not?" It was the right choice, as this combination of 1974's The Antique Blacks and 1978's Disco 3000 serves as the PERFECT starting point for people who are just starting to learn, generations later, that Space is definitely The Place. My only word of advice to you is that once you open the door, you might never turn back. 

05 April 2019


Absolute ripper. 14 essential offerings from Belgium, running the gamut of powerful DIY hardcore. HETZE, REPROACH (I mean, of course), PERMANENT DEBT, AGATHOCLES (I mean, also and even more so "of course"), VVOVNDS...all killer, not a hint of filler. VONNIS stand out for grinding harder and sounding more fukkd than anyone else, SUNPOWER stand out for maybe being catchier than anyone else, RAW PEACE stand out for starting the damn thing off so fukkn fierce, but there is not a single clunker on this tape. Regional comps rule anyway, but rarely are they this crucial.