31 May 2019


Further evidence that the more you learn, the more there is to learn. Meet Cafe zine released this tape in late 1983, a collection of mostly Vancouver/Victoria bands with HATES (Houston) and FATAL EXISTENCE (Pennsylvania) representing the USA. Most (all?) of the Canadians were new to me, and digitally connecting the dots led me to not just RED TIDE, DEAD END, MERE MORTALS, BILL OF RIGHTS and IMMORAL MAJORITY, but a whole cadre of associated bands that registered barely a blip on the radar at the time, but quietly left some crucial early '80s punk in their wake. Other represented acts are POLKAHOLICS ("Zap The Universe" is a perfect dose of synth/freak punk), SILENT MINORITY and TOMATARAMA, and there is genuinely not a bad song to be found in the mix so I'm not gonna start picking favorites. You just have to keep digging, because I don't ever think you'll get to the bottom. Ten bands, 24 tracks, 45 minutes. 

30 May 2019


A killer two song dose of stoned psychedelic biker jams from Malaysia's SPEEDWITCHES. The fuzzed out guitar has me hooked before the riffs even sink in, a dirty maxed out single track attack that brings to mind Japanese classics like BLUES CREATION. They take their time developing structures (two tracks here span over 20 minutes), meandering along the way for solos and hallucinations to remind you that the journey is absolutely the most important part of the journey. More listens only bring more comparisons that span decades and continents, which leads me to believe that SPEEDWITCHES are perhaps without time and/or space....just floating on the rock with no destination other than rock 'n roll. 

You can certainly call this stoner rock if you are so inclined, and it's obvious that SPEEDWITCHES are well versed in the SABBATH, SLEEP, KYUSS school. But the psychedelic end of the heavy spectrum represented in these tracks is what really sets them apart. They aren't aping any of the shamelessly retro bell bottom doom bands, they sound like they are actually from another time and another place. See above comment: more listens.

29 May 2019


It's several minutes into "Dreaming" before JONATHAN CANADY is even consciously audible on 2013's Am I Dreaming/Yellow?, which gives you a glimpse into the patience that is put into this release. Moogs and analog synths dragged unwillingly through one hour of trance inducing monotony, a soundtrack to a performance of futility and fear repeated countless times daily. Jonathan Canady comes, as if from another planet, to show us a mirror into ourselves.....and also: what he is doing to and with those synths demands commendation. 

28 May 2019


Three songs here, and Public Execution hits every bit as hard as the mutant mosh intro to "Hope You Suffer" makes you think it will. Six minutes of primal, knuckle dragging North American hardcore punk...it's a classic formula, and it still fukkn works. 

27 May 2019


For a few years, I tried to ensure that every Monday here was greeted with noisy, raw, distorted filth. Probably DBeat too, but definitely raw and distorted. BOY IN LOVE use their disdain for traditional "music" to attack from a completely different flank, joining forces with the black clad crust hoards to wage an all out assault on everything from BEACH BOYS to PEARL JAM, leaving Herberts and Valley Girls wandering in deaf confusion, their collective socially implanted understanding of music in ruins. BOY IN LOVE ridicule rock 'n roll with an irreverence that simply can't by overstated - imagine a band of adults playing FOGHAT covers in a rural sports bar on the fourth of july while pissing on FOGHAT records and wiping their asses with the flag. Selected offerings include"Well Written Suicide Note," Jamie Lee Curtis' Piss," "Sensitivity Is Ignorance," "Grandpa's Vagina," although there's really nowhere to start and nowhere to end...almost like an actual war. 

26 May 2019


Sometimes - not very often, but sometimes - a band self describes perfectly. Sometimes a band describe themselves in a manner that makes you know how you're going to feel when you listen, and then they make you feel like that....but more. This is one of those times. 

It's worth also mentioning that this six song tape is terrifyingly good. The songs, the recording, the lyrics, the guitars (seriously, the leads are so sick...somehow balancing Reatard and Mould and COCTEAU TWINS at the same time), the entire presentation. Fit is one of the most perfect recordings that I heard in 2018. 

25 May 2019


A pal described this band to me as "psychedelic powerviolence," and I'm having a hard time expanding beyond that. Classic late '60s hard rock crashes headlong into brutal and primitive mid '90s West Bay classics on XHENDRIX's 2016 (and, thus far, only) release...it kinda fukks with your head. The tones are sublime, owing a debt to a simply superb recording that captures the band's particular brand of weed meets rage. Rib shaking lows that suit the grooves as much as the knuckle dragging molasses mosh intros (sometimes, as in "No Abras Los Ojos," these two exist at the same time), and the power only increases with the speed. There's a lot to unpack in this demo, and when you get finished you'll probably just look at the shit strewn about your room and wonder what happened. Get weird. 

24 May 2019


All hail the trading scene of the 1980s, and gratitude for the gifts its legacy that it continues to to bestow upon the people wise enough to keep opening them. The Who Cares comp was completely unknown before I dug this TDK MA-C 90 out of a forgotten box of live recordings with track listings scrawled on scraps of paper inside each case. But now I know (and so do you), and this is a collection that you simply cannot here. Most of the bands were mere blips on the US hardcore timeline, SHATTERED FAITH probably made the most permanent mark and they fly way under most people's radar. The other acts were mostly new to me: CHEIFS (I thought the Blues EP was the entirety of their output, but these songs easily rival that bonzer), AKA, CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE and a pre-walking garbage ghost Duane Peters fronting POLITICAL CRAP and the absolute winner on this tape: SUSPECTS - all the hooks of the absolute best Midwest punk delivered with an unmistakeable California snarl, SUSPECTS drop four tracks on this comp that are, as far as I can tell, the entirety of their recorded output. Check "Make Me" in particular, a perfect (and timeless) dose of frustrated, early US hardcore punk. The songs on this tape are grouped by band, a completely different sequence from the vinyl release, which makes me wonder if this was compiled by folks involved with the comp itself, but these are questions that I will never answer...it's just a serious collection of bangers. No art included - but theres another ripper compilation on the flip side that will appear here eventually. A retroactive thank you to the punk/s who put this together and put it in the mail, and an even more sincere thanks to the punk who received it, partied on it, and then didn't throw it away when they grew up and moved on.

23 May 2019


A subdued but casually transfixing collection of sounds and trances make up Counting Stars. Italian multimedia wizard Antonio Gallucci dropped the WHITE DWARF SPIRAL moniker shortly after this release (his second) - perhaps after listening with intent (and at volume) and realizing that there was really nowhere else to go once this journey through space and sound had been completed. Four compositions, electronic sunrise ragas pulsing out of a modular reality, elements patched together with intent. Just under 40 minutes in total, this release is at once all consuming and a base at which to start an aural journey - some true Other Worlds shit, and I look forward to the night when I can listen in silence, under the stars...and count. 

22 May 2019


As much as my missives might fly in the face of the following statement: You don't always need an in depth analysis, sometimes something just hits you and it just sounds good, and that's enough. Winnipeg's SLURS just sound good. Lots of open chords reminiscent of mid-'80s Mould, killer walking bass lines that seem to carry you with them, and a general urgency throughout. It's addictive more than catchy, and when the tempo bumps up from "Dead Friend" to "Burnt" you're straight jamming....and you don't stop. One last thing: SLURS swing. And swinging is very important. 

21 May 2019


Rarely am I rendered as speechless as I was when I first listened to Amor Duro. The songs are simply crafted, reminiscent of the more interesting early '90s college/alt greats, particularly on "Sem Armas" (I'm talking Rid Of Me-era PJ HARVEY, maybe TEENAGE FANCLUB). But here's the thing that really grabbed me: Amor Duro listens like a complete and completely formed release, but "Sem Armas" is kinda the only song. There's the title track that opens the tape, but it comes off more like an introduction...an ominous sounding three note repetition with wailing vocals that border on BIRTHDAY PARTY caliber magnetism, and then after "Sem Armas" comes "Fantasmas Sem Armas," an mystical re-imagination of the previous number that turns what was, as its roots, essentially a laid back indie/grunge number into a fully engrossing ambient journey. Portugal's VAIAPRAIA take the elements that feel and sound familiar and twist them into something completely different...but still completely familiar. The internet offers a deep hole that only makes VAIAPRAIA E AS RAINHAS DO BAILE more intriguing....so happy digging. 

20 May 2019


Not going to go on a(nother) tangent about Canada in general, and the unyielding supremacy of hardcore and punk bands from Halifax, Nova Scotia. But nonetheless, here's GRUMP. And GRUMP is the fiercest motherfukkn band you've never heard of until today. GRUMP will wipe the floor of your filthy punk basement venue with your pathetic face. Modern hardcore is simply not supposed to be this good...and I can assure you that GRUMP is deadly. 

"Love Punk Hate Punks" demo is from 2013, "Back To Being Normal" demo is from 2014, the self titled demo is from 2013, and there's a 7" from 2015 that you definitely need. 

19 May 2019


1988 may have been well past the heyday of ripping Italian hardcore (though I would suggest that perhaps the Italians might have kept it interesting longer than any of the Europeans....save the Scandinavians, but this line of conversation could get really annoying really fast), but try telling that to RABID DUCK. They are a little more together and a touch more melodic, but this 11 song banger holds it's own amidst a sea of more heralded bands. Nice and weird, with perfect guitar and bass tones (come on - it's superficial, but you know that shit is important) and a cavalier attitude towards tuning, RABID DUCK were combining metallic thrash riffs (Q: and solos?; A: and solos!) and melodic punk before LAGWAGON taught us that those two tastes did not taste great together...and it works (so maybe it was just LAGWAGON, and not the combination of subgenres?). Eleven tracks here, get wild. 

18 May 2019


London's THE SHRIKE swoop in from another planetary dimension on their 2018 demo, angular other punk that begs for early anarcho/UK art comparisons. Such comparisons would be lazy, of course, and I will make them (of course) as I think about the just out of synch doubled vocals on "Can't Go" nestled somewhere in the oft overlooked recesses of the Rough Trade back catalog. But like all of those other would-be lazy reviewer, I run the risk of dismissing THE SHRIKE in the process and that would be criminal, as these tracks are absolute killers. The very embodiment of irreverent and snotty punk with an laser focus on A Hook, even (or especially) when the band is fukking your head with bizarro drum patterns and calling you to attention with sharp, barked vocals. You can download here, or here - the latter giving you the option to help the band donate to women who've suffered abuse at the hands of men. As much as I like the attention, I strongly recommend that latter option. 

17 May 2019


Two Loathed Sound rereleases in one week may seem excessive...until you spend some time with them. This is an absolutely essential recording of a 1975 live show in Köln, with a radio broadcast of "Descending Moonshine Dervishes" on the flip. Transcendent sounds from two absolute visionaries - one of whom passed away nearly 25 years ago, and one of whom I am very much looking forward to seeing share the stage tonight with two other absolute visionaries. Full disclosure: this reproduction is exceptionally hot, and Riley's synthesizers start out pretty distorted...but it's very very worth it. 78 minutes in total. 

16 May 2019


Blown out, ignorant, knuckle dragging butt rock presented as blown out ignorant knuckle dragging hardcore. And it's every bit as good as that description implies. Everything is in the red, singer's juggling a mouthful of marbles while he's beating your ass and hauling you off to jail - basically it's like SHEER TERROR giving ANNIHILATION TIME a reach around. 

15 May 2019


Chicago's HITTER ride that white line, all cylinders on full fire throughout. SMUT, LOST GOAT, KARP...this is filthy proto and/or post-grunge delivered with the fury of the early Metal Blade catalog, but with COMPLICATIONS caliber riffs. And it's really really good. Whether it's the chorus to "Let's Fool Around," that brief bass break in "Leatherbound," the four-on-the-floor of "Betty" that opens the tape, something is going to grab you here if you have an ounce of rock 'n roll in your soul. And once HITTER has you in their grasp, they ain't letting go. 

14 May 2019


You can find the most beautiful things if you just know where to look. Did you know that South Carolina Public Radio has produced a syndicated program called Piano Jazz since 1978? I didn't either, until I came across this episode from 1981 featuring ALICE COLTRANE. Obviously, someone else came across it well before I did, because here it is packaged on cassette for (selected) public consumption. Her piano is magical, just as her voice is warm, considerate and contemplative during the interview segments with host Marian McPartland.  With a breadth of work and influence that is almost incomprehensible, much of it still under the radar and (criminally) in the shadows of her late husband, I still find myself routinely floored when I discover a new segment of her output. This program fills one complete hour with conversation and sound, but "One For The Father" about halfway through....that one is just a killer. 

13 May 2019


Three tracks each from three of California's most extreme noise parties. STUPID LIFE torture a WANKYS style pogo. FUNDAMENTAL are rawer here than ever, ramshackle drums shoving the whole thing forward while the buzzsaw guitar defies the listener to even find the riffs. Fresno's MUTANT ITCH are the most serious sounding band of the bunch, demented 1-2-1-2 noise punk with overbearing layers of treated vocal insanity. Look at the cover...you know exactly what you're gonna get - and that's exactly what you're gonna get. 

12 May 2019


This band is a bit of a mystery (understatement), with just a few isolated tracks floating around the internet [OK - you can use the google machine and go to their bandcamp place and find a lot of those isolated tracks, but my point is that there are few (to none) actual releases to devour] and just this one physical collection of untitled tracks. Distant, harsh, witchy sounds...vaguely reminiscent of the mood that RAGANA sets. Improvisational monotony with ritual chants, offered in questionable fidelity. As much as I want HEX ON THE BEACH to sound full and cavernous, I suspect that the current presentation only adds to their mystique. 

11 May 2019


Knuckledragging slack jawed garage Oi!, the way that only punks taking the piss can deliver. Raw and feisty punk, with CARBONAS caliber hooks and OIL! level irreverence. Only four tracks here, but the opening of "What A Brilliant Future" pretty much gets the point across in a few seconds. The rest is gravy....until you get to the MotörCruiser "Nothin' For The USA" and you realize that you never knew how delicious gravy could be. 

10 May 2019


The whole idea of posting mix tapes and compilations on Fridays centered around sharing constructed personal mixes or curated compilations. While today's post is really neither, it is a collection of tracks that were recorded onto one cassette, so it still lives under the same roof, even if the motivation is slightly different. BBC's John Peel and his Sessions don't really need any kind of an introduction, but it bears mentioning that during a pre-internet age (and honestly before a tape trading network) lifelines like this were invaluable. As evidence, here's four batches of tracks presumably recorded off of the radio with little snips of Peel's voice popping in and out here and there, sometimes awkwardly cut off (hopefully by a teenage hand hurriedly fumbling for the pause button in the dark).
ALTERNATIVE TV - Four songs, recorded December 1977
This session was released on a compilation LP in the 1990s, albeit in a different order. "Action Time Vision" is one of the top UK77 tracks, period. Side note - I keep meaning to check out that ALTERNATIVE TV w/GENESIS P-ORRIDGE recording, because that just seems weird.
PENETRATION - Three songs, July 1978
BBC's site indicates that "Movement" was also recorded in this session, but it wasn't included on this tape. I feel like PENETRATION are like a life line between X-RAY SPEX and BLONDIE and I celebrate their entire catalog...so hearing this was a treat, especially this version of "Future Daze."
THE CORTINAS - Three songs, July 1977
Again, there's one track missing here (and full disclosure: the tape gets kinda warbly during "Further Education"), but Bristol's Finest (John Peel's term, not mine) are on fire in this session - check the drum roll in the chorus of "Defiant Pose" and fukkn weep.
THE RUTS - Five songs, January 1979
"Savage Circle" starts this session, and you could be about to launch into a ruthless hardcore assault until...well, until you aren't. The funk is slightly disconcerting, but not as hard to comprehend as how shit hot THE RUTS are on this recording. I feel like SUBHUMANS must have ripped "Dope For Guns" at some point, "Babylon's Burning" is another essential top track (even though it gets whacked before the two minute mark), and this session has the full John Peel intro.

The tape with these sessions also included a 1977 live set from 999, posted on Escape Is Terminal. All gratitude always to the people who made these recordings, who compiled this tape and thousands more, and who mailed them to strangers and fiends around the world for decades. 

09 May 2019


I really wanna see Chicago's UDÜSIC sweating like motherfukkrs in a smelly basement. While the kids get dressed up, '77 cosplay shielding actual intent and purpose, the old heads remove the pretense when they take off their leather jackets and nothing is left but raw energy. 2014's self titled demo was a killer, the EP that followed was even more fierce, which makes dropping this four cover song banger an even sweeter move. The recording is red lined as fukk (note the difference between contrived distortion - which I still love! - and an exceptionally hot recording), and they move seamlessly from NO THANKS' "Fuck Everything" to a steaming "Precious And Grace" cover...and a hardcore band who can make '70s ZZ TOP tunes feel natural is a hardcore band I want to swing with. POISON IDEA and BLACK RANDY's "Sperm Bank Baby" get the treatment also, just to make it crystal clear that these folks know what's up. Then again, maybe these folks ARE what's up. See first sentence: I really wanna see UDÜSIC live. 

Should go without saying, but this J-Card "gatefold" earns extremely high marks in my book. 

08 May 2019


There are times when experimental and/or noise/music enters that extremely murky canyon that separates brilliance from moronic and/or self indulged pretension. OK, maybe there are a LOT of those times, and maybe there's more output that sinks in that canyon than lands squarely on either side of it, BUT my point is that often I am not sure if I enjoy something because it's actually and objectively good (or even just interesting), or because I've been duped. I'm not the sharpest knife, and I'm pretty easy to get over on (especially when you're talking about something so completely outside of my typical wheelhouse), so maybe you throw a bunch of reverb on some ticking clocks and crumple paper next to a contact microphone and call it music and maybe I believe you. Or at least this is what I was thinking a few minutes into "Lacking A Cast Shadow," the opening track of 2008's Graduating From Clocks To Watches. There's no rhyme rhythm or real reason, it's just a collection of sounds, and there's no art to that, right? There's no skill to that....right? But, I thought, what if I like it anyway? What if the innocent monotony of "The Broken Windows Of A Fertile World" actually seems kinda gorgeous, even if there's really nothing to it, and what if that is actually the point? What if that first song really was just ticking clocks and tearing paper and what if that was the message? I mean, surely this release falls into that aforementioned canyon somewhere, and maybe it never even makes its way out of the abyss, but listening to the chaotic crescendo that closes 13+ minutes of "The Self Is An Onion-Self" to end this release I once again decide that I don't care. And that I will listen again and not make judgements. That I will just absorb, and the result becomes the meaning itself. 

07 May 2019


in the midst of the massive wave/s of crucial hardcore and punk coming out of the Los Angeles area in the early/mid '00s, a casual observer could be forgiven for missing a band or two here and there. The TUBERCULOSIS demo moved nearly 1K units (on cassette, dawg....deserved, but still), BLAZING EYE are darlings of Fest Culture, and GENERACÍON SUICIDA need no introduction, so it's cool if you missed ELECTROCUTIONER. Until today. If you are reading this, then you no longer have an excuse. Sorry (not really - not at all). If you are reading this, then ELECTROCUTIONER's 2016 Wretch In Order demo is a mere click away, and this two piece (initially a one piece, now a full band...if they exist at all?) does more to kick in the ass than anyone I can think of - six minutes of full force, anti-pig, in your face hardcore punk. Seriously.....they are SO GOOD. Everything is right, and I kinda don't know what to say beyond that. I listen to ELECTROCUTIONER and everything is right. And that should be enough....right? Fukk pigs.