30 November 2019


A lot of people in the US spend the last weekend in November with family and away from work. Some by choice and some by force, some celebrating an arbitrary "holiday" and some just taking advantage of a commercially coopted holiday and enjoying solitude and relative quiet. Without getting into the complicated and shitty baggage associated with this "holiday," I will just acknowledge that there are a lot of ragers in this country who, by Saturday, realized that they don't actually like their families all that much and are looking to get out of the house, get fukkd up, and listen to some ripping tunes...and it's for these people that I offer today's cassette. It's a mystery, it's an adventure...and it fukkn shreds. It came in a shell for EMPTY's 1994 All Alone demo (which I thought I had, and I still want...hint hint), but the handwriting on the tape said DERANGED, ARMOOROS, MORAL DECAY, CAMEL CLUTCH + more! but after some sonic research I'm pretty sure I can only pick out the ARMOROS tracks and I surely don't hear any MORAL DECAY. Six bands appear to have made their way onto the tape -
A) Ripping old school death thrash. This might be DERANGED, but I couldn't place any of the tracks.
B) Pretty sure this is ARMOROS (thanks internet, I had never heard of them) - killer '80s Midwest DIY meets classic thrash metal - I'm into it.
C) Technical power metal - kinda like SLOUGH FEG from another dimension. Less operatic maybe (and yeah, I know that SLOUGH FEG are already from a different dimension), but way way out there.
D) Just one track here, neanderthal death sludge reminiscent of ASBESTOS DEATH but with savage vocals.
E) Maybe the most professional sounding thing on the tape - colossal thrash/death metal that sounds like '90s SEPULTURA at times...but mostly just sounds fierce as fukk.
F) Whoever put this together saved the best for last....four doses of absolutely brutal grindcore. Relentless and primitive savagery. Definitely not MORAL DECAY.
So there you so...something to blast in your cousin's man cave while you avoid talking about politics with Uncle Lynn and get uncomfortably fucked up on cheap wine by yourself and dread going back to work on Monday. Also - someone please tell me who these fukkn bands are? I tried. I promise.

29 November 2019


RESIST shouldn't really need any introduction - straight forward, in your face, political punk rock. By the time they ended their initial run with 1994's Ignorance Is Bliss LP, the sound had definitely matured and admittedly the songs were more interesting, but there's something about the honesty of this debut release from 1989. Think about time and place.....Feel The Darkness came out the following year, SSD had only split a few years prior, and traditional US hardcore was considered by most to be dead and buried as bands either turned to midpaced pre-grunge or metal (or worse: funk) and new punks started venturing down the more melodic trails blazed by later BAD RELIGION records. And then there was RESIST....fast, pissed, hardcore. 

28 November 2019


Just when you though the blown out shit was passé (it's not), Seattle's LEXICON kicks you square in the mouth. Riffs forever (check "Denial" if you think I'm lying...I'm not), fiercest snarl this side of hardcore and everything cranked waaaay into the red. The needles stay peaked to the right at all times and LEXICON just keep raging as if they don't know what else to do. And maybe they don't.   

27 November 2019


More magic uncovered by the folks at Loathed Sound, this time in the form of a 1978 collaboration recorded in Berlin. No attempt from me to regurgitate and paraphrase the results from blind internet searches, I'll just say that this was an incredibly good listen on a somewhat melancholic rainy morning...and most of us don't have any business asking for much more than that. 

tears in their eyes are not for crying...

26 November 2019


Brilliant Pornography-era THE CURE worship, right down to the shameless rip of the guitar from "100 Years" that opens the demo...and they do it so honestly that you don't even mind. They lean more punk on a couple of tunes ("Schwarzkommando," "Hunting The Hunter"), and the content makes it clear that WATCHER'S WOODS are coming from a clenched fist political angle even as they drench their drum machine and flangers in inward morosity and darkness. The closing anthem "Kill Cops, Not Trees" has a distinct but subdued Power, Corruption and Lies vibe and is the most optimistic sounding number...which seems somehow appropriate I suppose. Their 2015 release Decay demonstrates them carving more of their own path - notably more accessible in general, but also more developed (which is to be expected)...I endorse both sessions heartily. 

25 November 2019


Utterly terrifying blackened crust/grind. Relentless. Brutal. Intense. Essential. 

24 November 2019


It's little things. Like someone you don't know sending you a tape just because they think you might like it. That's the very concise scenario that leads up to today's post...I posted a demo from an old band, and one of the people from the band sent me this tape along with several unreleased recordings from their band. One side titled Terry Riley 1974, and Hideous In Strength 1984 on the other. Riley is well known, and one needs only to search affiliated and associated acts (SLEEP CHAMBER, Inner-X) to know that HIDEOUS IN STRENGTH deserves attention. All hail packages in the mail...it may not be the same as the old days...but we're still here. 

23 November 2019


The key to keeping goth punk interesting is to keep it punk, and that's where DETOXI doubles down. They drive hard, the hooks are ripped from the masculine clutches of 1980's SoCal, and ultimately you can't tell if they are a punk band with dark wave roots or the other way around. I've seen them twice, and I want to see them more. 

22 November 2019


The title pretty much says it all. I mean...it's an acronym (and it's actually the subtitle), so I guess the acronym actually says it all: New Wave Of DC HarDCore. Some you know (PURE DISGUST, PROTESTER, RED DEATH), some you should (STAND OFF, D.O.C., GENOCIDE PACT, THE DEFENSE), and several were new to my west coast ears (SEMPER EADEM, JAVLA, STRAIGHT LACE). A clean dozen bursts of hardcore, Oi!, street punk...and lots of mosh, The Red Line Comp is a killer snapshot of DC in the early '10s. 

21 November 2019


I really thought I had already posted this....but I had to scour my own blog twice before I realized that I hadn't. German banger from 2015, kinda listens like a more punk WHITE LUNG...or maybe just a more DIY WHITE LUNG. Guitars stripped out of '80s indie/goth and vocals with an edge that belies a protest fury in the face of hopelessly addictive melodies. "Disconnected" is the real shit, stuck in my head for ages every time I listen to it - guitars layered upon guitars upon more swirling guitars filling every sonic gap. I think this demo is all we get (or got), but as always - if it's this good then I'll happily take it. 

20 November 2019


The credits claim that this was recorded in 1999, but I don't think that bands like MOODFYRE were allowed to exist after around '96 or so (even in California). I think Punk passed some kind of legislation banning vaguely funky melodic skate punk with vocal harmonies after a few Warped Tours when they (Punks) realized that the people who listened to (and, more importantly: created) this music were actually just the then-present-day versions of the people who had spent the '80s kicking our asses and bullying us into quiet depression and a collective solitude. But no....definitely 1999, and still I like it. I'm picturing us rolling through Nebraska in '95 on one of the FUCKFACE tours blasting this on the tinny Econoline 6" speakers and talking about going everywhere. MOODFYRE sound adolescent, they sound hopeful, but mostly they just sound real. And if that's how you deliver your vocal melodies and your vaguely Fat guitar licks? Well, even this old fukk will buy in. 

19 November 2019


In a different context, ONDO could (should) be filed alongside PAULINE OLIVEROS or MICHAEL STEARNS, though in this context ONDO present as bleak and ominous electronic ambiance. Cavernous, deliberate drones deconstructed to their most simple elements with care. Consider this a 40 minute meditation. 

18 November 2019


Plundering shit-fi accidental raw punk. When it's bad, it's only good if you're trying to be good and failing...it's you're trying to be bad then everyone will see right through you. I checked their myspace to see if they got any better, but I'm left listening to "Atomic Wasteland" on repeat if this Hurley, NY act is just the basement crust version of AFTERBIRTH that I never knew I needed in my life...until I had it. 

17 November 2019


What is this? I mean.....incredible, obviously - but how does one describe Finland's KIVIRANTA? Stark, cold, sharp punk that lands somewhere between 1982 CHAOS Z and 2002 FRANZ FERDINAND, but also kinda like a primitive JOY DIVISION. The duo is backed by a drum machine, and everything is fronted in midrange nasal Finnish, which just makes it all sound more...well, just more. Only five tracks here....but folks, I am completely sold. 

16 November 2019


This four cut split is an audio time warp that feels (sounds) like it reaches back way more than six short years. Chaotic West Coast screamo (MOHINDER, HEROIN) collides gorgeously with Euro metallic genius (ACME, AKEPHAL), and both bands do it with sincerity. A rare split where the acts involved sound enough alike that it gives you pause, but the distinctions become clear the more you meld with the sounds. 

...and when you go to your grave, there won't be anybody to pull the grass up over your head...

15 November 2019


The third volume in Mike Johnston's series on Michigan based rock 'n roll, this one uncovering the bands, projects and music that rose from the ashes of THE STOOGES. Pleasantly, the focus is not on Iggy (who is featured to be sure, but not until later the hour), but on the lesser known recordings rose up after THE STOOGES split. Ron Asheton's NEW ORDER (the opening track "Victim Of Circumstance" is worth the price of admission alone) and DESTROY ALL MONSTERS open up, with cutes from SONICS RENDEZVOUS BAND, IGGY POP (I mean, you're not going to leave the dude out of the equation, obviously) and closing out with some FRED SMITH + PATTI SMITH (though STOOGES adjacent, of course) live recordings that are killer, even if the quality is a little rough. Interviews with Asheton and Morgan provide context throughout, and once again Johnston's encyclopedic knowledge and fierce fandom make for a great listen as he dissects the cuts and the artists' lineage. You'd think that as he moved chronologically away from the architects that things would get a little more diluted and less interesting, but I think it just gets more interesting as the web gets wider....

14 November 2019


I have a lot of tapes. Not like "more than anyone else" and who really cares because it's not a fukkn contest, I'm just saying that I have a lot of tapes and sometimes it's hard to keep track of the history associated with each one. Some of them instantly trigger memories or connections, some of them remind me of shows or people or reviews or places in time...and some of them just make me wonder where the fukk they came from. Maybe we played together, maybe I saw the band, maybe it was a thrift store gamble, maybe it was review fodder that I didn't even give half a shit about the first time I heard it because the stars weren't aligned just so....but now it kicks my ass. This is why they (tapes) are great, and why I hold onto (most of) them way longer than I should. This is also why I have no fukkn clue how EQUILIBRIUM came into my life and/or my collection. Either primitive or primal dirges from 2002, they drop demonic metal vocals on a brutality borne of determination and commitment, resulting in something that is not hardcore, not sludge (ok, maybe sludge), not punk, not metal...but definitely tortured and fukkd in every possible way. Those are the sounds we like around here, and so the collection grows. 

13 November 2019


I love every fucking second of this tape. At first it kinda reminded me of HOUSEMARTINS, but it's so damned much better and more real. This is what I think "twee-pop" should be, no matter what the fuck twee-pop actually is (full disclosure, Mike told me once that twee was personified by THE PRIMITIVES who are fukkn great...but still I think THE BEEKEEPERS are better). Short, sharp, airy pop songs that have as much in common with STRAWBERRY ALARM CLOCK (especially on "Pray For Death") as with anything we punks associate with punk. Vocals are the key, but then you listen deeper and realize how they intertwine with the keys and then you start to think that these might be some of the greatest songs of all time. You know why you think that....? Listen to "Stan Kisses The Orthodox Pope" and know that it's a fucking interlude track and not even a real song and you'll answer your own damn question. THE BEEKEEPERS are simply brilliant, and that's all. If you like music....well, then here you go. If the chorus to "Thunderstorms And Comic Books" doesn't give you pause, then you need to check your pulse. 

12 November 2019


The "artist" in focus and/or question (today) is a somewhat less prolific collaboration between two considerably more prolific Italian noise/experimental monikers. The first cut sounds like it could be the introduction to an unknown prog band's set, and from there the duo flirts with primitive electronics (John Pfeiffer, Nic Raicevic) and space age soundtrack fodder. Everything is sparse, light...and freeing. The entire recording listens like a casual, but nonetheless-just-barely-missed, connection, and I'm left feeling unbothered and pleasant. What if all sound could have such an effect....?

NOTE: Each copy comes with a photograph of the desert, and that is extremely fukkn cool. 

11 November 2019


Yes. Just....yes. I'm not quite sure if this is a functional band or a project, but I saw them once a few months ago and there are two physical manifestations of their studio evil that suggest EÄRTHDÖGS might exist in the actual realm, and this makes me happy. Devastatingly evil blackened industrial crust from ACEPHALIX, DEPRESSOR, NIGEL PEPPERCOCK members, this is some legitimately over-world insanity. And then....then you slap the 13+ minute "Inverted Sermon" piece on the flip and I'm just completely fukkd. Get on board punks...you'll thank me when the smoke clears. 

10 November 2019


Essential US noisecore, defiant in the face of traditional musical constructs. Presented as one track, this 2006 recording acts as an irreverent interpretation and shameless celebration of the 20th anniversary of THE SMITHS' seminal Meat Is Murder LP - twenty six bursts of sonic diarrhea that spray The Moz and all of his pretense and xenophobic drivel with the brown mist of reality. 

09 November 2019


I've said it before, but it still holds true: The shit doesn't have to be fancy, it just has to be right. WARSH is right. Disgusting riffs, guitar tweaked to the edge of a breaking point, a pace that demonstrates more about determination than ability, and five minutes of youth, hardcore and destruction. It's five minutes long, and listeners who stick it out will be treated to "Greedy Hands," one of the most simply ferocious tracks I have heard this year....the four minutes that come before that track are pretty fukkn boss too. 

Also, WARSH are from PEI, and I probably want to visit the Maritime Provinces as much as I want to visit any place in the world at the moment....so there are some extra cool points awarded based on geographic location alone. 

08 November 2019

SMART TOO LATE: A Young Lou Reed

Some time ago I placed an order for some under the radar spiritual jazz and reggae tapes with the folks at Loathed Sound, and they were offering a "Mystery Tape" sale. Naturally I took the bait (it's a tape, and I'm generally easy anyway), but submitted one comment with the order: "I don't like Lou Reed." Now, that was probably a little more extreme than my actual opinion, it's just that I don't really have an opinion about Mr. Reed and couldn't see myself enjoying Loathed Sound's 21 track collection of his pre-VELVETS recordings. My order arrived with a SUN RA tape as the mystery item (thanks) and a short note in the package: "Listen To Lou." So the next time I dove into their (continually) impressive catalog of not-really-authorized reissues and long forgotten recording sessions, I took their advice and threw $5 into the mix for a copy of Smart Too Late: The Music Of A Young Lou Reed....and here it is. Do I love it....? Nah. But several of the tracks pique my interest - you get THE JADES, THE ALL NIGHT WORKERS, DOWNLINERS SECT, THE PRIMITIVES and way more California surf that I was expecting (THE BEACH-NUTS were a particularly good surprise). Three versions of "Why Don't You Smile Now" are included, the hopeful "Leave Her For Me," the drunken warble of "God Bless The Child" - there's more than enough to hold interest, and that's why we explore. So thanks...I did "Listen To Lou" and it was a pretty good time. 

07 November 2019


File under "shouldn't really need an introduction," founding/former WOLF EYES member AARON DILLOWAY has a discography longer than my arm that runs the gamut from Nepalese field recordings to abstract ambience to manipulated beats and ear splintering harsh noise. 2013's Opened Door lands somewhere in the middle of that spectrum - haunting and calculated sounds, set to a distant lumbering beat on the first side and descending into bleak, resigned howls on the flip. If you want it pure, then I suppose it's best to go to the source.

06 November 2019


Back on the no-bullshit train with one of the fiercest demos I came across all last year. CORRODE pushes everything to the absolute limit - from the construction of the songs themselves to the piercing guitars presented at ear shattering level. Check the mid-tempo "Consequence" and know that modern hardcore rarely gets more urgent or engrossing. These kids know exactly what they are doing, and it shows.