Summer is a few months away for Northern Hemisphere residents, and this tape is a couple of summers old, but that shouldn't stop you from enjoying one of the sickest mixes that's ever fallen into my lap. Whether this was crafted by bike shop staff to be played in the café, or crafted by café staff to be blasted in the bike shop, there are no losers here (hint: the bike shop and the café are actually and/or essentially the same). TINA TURNER into HAWKWIND. Drop ANN PEEBLES in before an insane and timeless ESG jam. Close the thing out rolling SABBATH into a smooth reggae jam and wrap with SUICIDE's "Dream Baby Dream"....come on, this is perfect. Best tape, best people.
30 January 2020
Variations on a theme - and if the theme is killer than why change direction? More under the radar North American 'core - this time from 2013 and this time from Denver. It's nasty, blown out, blown up...and LOW TAX are just fukkn fierce. There are two demos (that I know of), and I promise that the other one will appear here before I lay this blog to rest...in the meantime, check the riffs on the first (intro) tracks - simplicity is god you motherfukkrs, and these riffs are sonic heaven.
29 January 2020
The second (of only two?) demo from these Florida mutants is nothing short of seven minutes of unadulterated brutality. Murky cro magnon hardcore, seeking retribution and validation through power. The result is terrifying and disorienting, and leaves you breathless and confused if consumed properly.
28 January 2020
A sonic challenge as much as a musical offering, The Truth Is Marching In spends 40 minutes calmly assaulting all sense from all fronts. Gorgeous abstractions buried in harsh noise, electronic manipulations and distorted ambiance create and brain melting cacophony that drowns out not just all other sounds, but brings into question all other existence. The closer (and louder) you listen, the harder it is to hear or to tear yourself away, as if McCann is creating a black hole on this 2009 release. It takes a lot to commit, and committing will take a lot out of you...if you do it right.
27 January 2020
Someone wanna tell me what the fukk is going on here?! How can these Hungarian mutants sound so tortured, demented, and supremely damaged, and still manage to crank out someone the swingingest, most danceable freak core I can imagine falling into my lap. It's as if someone injected a boogie bug into the slime punk paradigm, and I'm fukkn dying. Those guitars....
26 January 2020
It might be hard to describe the appeal of '90s pop punk to people who weren't there, so I often find that the easiest thing to do is just not apologize. The first FACE TO FACE record is great. Most of us listened to NOFX at least through White Trash..., and before I had ever heard of SUBURBAN MUTILATION I cranked BORIS THE SPRINKLER a few times. Hardcore and pop punk weren't mutually exclusive (see PROPAGANDHI...hell, see GRIMPLE), and those guitar melodies seemed to be ubiquitous in basements and rented halls no matter what other genre/s were represented. GOMEZ and WHITE TRASH SUPERMAN hold a historical space as important AUS ROTTEN, which is a strange, and difficult, argument to make to some folks...thankfully there's no arguing in punk. BETTY'S LOVE CHILD were from San Jose, and even though their run overlapped with my relocation to SF I don't think that I ever saw them. Aside from this demo, the RINGWURM split on Probe is all that made it into my arsenal...but this demo is a glorious time warp. High energy, honest, and wildly catchy pop punk...made by punks, made before we knew that pop punk was a dirty word. Or two words that would turn dirty when used together.
25 January 2020
I had a conversation about old tapes a few days ago, and someone asked me if I had any particular tapes that were really good that no one really knows about. Not necessarily "cool" tapes, or collectible tapes, or desirable tapes, or rare tapes...just quality tunes that exist in a vacuum. And I thought immediately of THE LUMPS OF MERDE. I first shared this in the infancy of Terminal Escape and, while I'm just as into now as I was then (more so?), I question some of my descriptors from that June 2009 post. Listening today, these four cuts are indeed somewhat amateurish in delivery, though the compositions themselves and the way the guitars play with the rest of the band suggests a band with a vision greater than their skill set allows. The vocals are drab, a distinct anarcho-come lately spoken/shouted determination, while hints of early ALARM (particularly on "Temperary (sic) Escape") sneak through some of the hooks and its clear that these kids would have evolved into a genuine force had they continued past this 1986 recording. Worth noting the drums...the classic UK anarcho straight forward plod, but some mental engineer tweaked the toms with overcompressed '80s pop triggers so that it sounds normal on the straight beats and then it's as if WHAM! pops in awkwardly just for the fills and rolls. It's awkward to be sure, but it's also part of what makes this tape so unique and so great.
Physical cassette is pretty tortured, and was never exactly quality to start with, but when you reach down under the radar sometimes you get what you get....
24 January 2020
Oh come on, punks. Other punks just gonna hang up their twangy distorted angular fukkd up sounding pawn shop guitars when they hear this. Other punks gonna just go back to their Mark E. Smith Book ov Sounds how-to manual and start taking notes from scratch when they hear this. Bands with two guitars are gonna listen together and look at their two guitarists and fire them on the spot cuz they can't create mania like this shit. Rhythm sections gonna be all like damn we gonna learn about that "pocket" thang and figure out how to really get in it. Memphis quartet HASH REDACTOR just walk in, casually (and effectively) destroy the fukkn place, and take their shit and saunter off. Solid, damaged groove with the coldest no nonsense vocals this side of Big New Prinz. Also, the LP that Goner released last year is an absolute stunner. That's all.
23 January 2020
I think this might be my favorite CRUCIAL ATTACK offering. Reno's millennial edge warriors never sounded dirtier, never sounded more intense....never sounded punker than on this 2004 offering - eleven minutes of lightning fast, filthy, furious straight edge hardcore. The guitar that starts "Head Straight" (lyrics below) is straight shit punk amped up real real high, and the lurching blown out drums that drop at 0:43 are simply destroyed and, as a direct result, destructive. I could listen to this shit over and over and over again - CRUCIAL ATTACK doesn't make me feel strong or satisfied in any way, CRUCIAL ATTACK makes me pissed.
22 January 2020
Feisty Spanish shit, circa 1998. It's straightforward, it's urgent, and look out for a terrifying storm of raging hardcore when they choose to let loose. About half of the tracks are midtempo plods, occasional single note UK82 leads and some undeniably catchy bits, but when the first pure ripper drops in you're bowled over with a maelstrom of rumbling fury - and this is what I like ("Vota" is the purest example, and it's not surprisingly the choice cut on the tape). Intense chaos or chaotic intensity, you choose...either way you win. I can't find any info other than a Madrid address, but if there's more then I would certainly like to hear it.
21 January 2020
This one just oozes early '90s alt/art - a collection of jerky indie dirges that land somewhere between Rough Trade, Homestead and Simple Machines, fronted by soulful/filled vocals a la BELTONES and/or (the good) HOLE. At this point in my missive, after the first sentence, you're either drooling or so far gone that you can't even hear me say goodbye, but I can assure those who stuck around that Ohio's RED THREADS are compelling at least, and weird as shit in the best way possible. The tempos are kinda awkward, the guitar rips come out of nowhere if they come at all, and there's an under/overlying funky vibe that keeps even the suspect listener hooked. Keep listening, because this one just gets better.
20 January 2020
This one is tough. I've slammed THISCLOSE in print before today, and I have probably publicly stated that I don't like the band on more than a dozen occasions. I'm not really sure why, but perhaps it's the premise of the band that dislike more than the band itself....even though I can't really find a way to justify that statement. There's no reason to slag a band off for trying to emulate a formula (especially when they are successful), that's essentially the premise for modern DIY hardcore/punk - if you want originality then you're gonna need to look to the noise world I'm afraid, because the UNA BESTIAs only roll through once a decade or so (and most punks can't actually handle reggaetón beats in their hardcore). So why the fukk should I hate on THISCLOSE? Because I feel like it's a pisstake, even though it's awesome. It's like they set out to regurgitate the shitty era of a good band and convince a new generation that it's good. And they succeeded, because THISCLOSE is good, but I still can't back their sonic existence because I feel like that means I am admitting that their joke worked. Somewhere I have a piece of physical correspondence from one of the members, received after I slagged a record in MRR, asking me to look further into the mission of THISCLOSE, and wondering why I heaped praise on xSAXONx (who share member/s with THISCLOSE) and had dissed their record. The answer was simple...in my mind at least...why should a band be celebrated for brilliantly recreating the forgettable and justifiably dismissed era of a legendary band just because no other bands had been dumb enough to emulate it before them? OK, that's not a simple answer, it's kinda confusing actually, but fukk man, Grave New World is a turd. It just is. And Massacre Divine ain't much better, so why why why why why? But...what if THISCLOSE is just showing us what could have been if DISCHARGE hadn't fukkd up as bad as they did? What what if they are just showing us how incredibly bad ass a metallic DBeat record can be with weird falsetto vokills throughout? And what if I only dismissed the band because I didn't fully grasp their vision?? These are the things I wrestle with mentally...and it's hard. So listen to "Sexcel" at full volume at those chunky high end guitars and...I don't know, maybe I'm just wrong across the board. But surely I'm conflicted.
Asheville, North Carolina, 2006:
I was on tour with SUNDAY MORNING EINSTEINS and we played that killer record store there that did the shows in the '00s. I found a copy of Grave New World for $5 and I bought it...my first DISCHARGE record (yes, that one - and yes, 2006). EINSTEINS guitarist Peter was the most devout DISCHARGE apologist I had ever met (or perhaps a close second to Markku), and I challenged him to convince me that the record was good. We bought a 12-pack and when we got to Jeremy's house after the show we retreated to a vacant room to do our research. After a few beers and the first side of the record, Peter gave up and asked to leave the room...or at least to stop listening to the record. Because it's bad. Like, objectively it is just not good music. Cool logo, several ripping releases in the early '80s and that drum beat surely kills....but that record sucks. And maybe that's my point with all of this...is it an art project? Because why else would you want to make a shitty thing into a killer thing? If you're good enough to do that, then clearly you can make your own killer thing from scratch, right? And after all of this....I'm still listening to the 2012 THISCLOSE demo thinking "wow...this is pretty bad ass," so what the fukk do I know?
19 January 2020
18 January 2020
I can assure you that Outcry is as killer as the cover suggests. Jamaican dub poet MUTABARUKA sounds fully acclimated to the eighties world of synths and production here, quite a departure from the gloriously primitive debut Check It!, but it was 1984....so almost all production miscues are forgiven. But listen underneath - the flute on "Canaan Lan'," the poetry of "Black Queen," and the entirety of "Blacks In Amerika" and "Free Up De Lan'" demonstrate the power without question.
17 January 2020
What an absolute motherfukkr this SABRE tape is. Seriously. Ruthless hardcore punk with early '80s Midwest melodies (think ZERO BOYS style) oozing out of the guitar while rhythm section beats the songs into your being, giving a platform for gruff, insistent vocals. Oakland's SABRE falls somewhere between UK82 on steroids and ARTICLES OF FAITH, but they stand alone with a sound that is truly impossible to compartmentalize....and there's only this demo. Members of a ton of bands, but they only played one show. They open the demo with "I Will Live Forever," and they only play one show. What the fukk is that?
OK....apparently they played TWO shows. But they were on the same weekend.
16 January 2020
Fucking GORGEOUS shit-fi synth punk swing outs from Leipzig, Germany. Turn on to BILLY SYNTH, SPITS, URANIUM CLUB, DEVO, CCTV-esque jammers, dance your collective ass off, and understand that punk should also be fun. I mean, we can't all smash the state all the time, but punks who do should certainly be having a blast while they are.
15 January 2020
Simultaneously relaxing and terrifying, NOBODY'S CHILDREN hide subtle melodies behind a wash of lo-fi noise and chaos, and then gradually transform the melodies into chaos itself. The white noise that initially served as the blanket that comforted and covered the sounds becomes the only escape that your psyche has from the unnerving cacophony that is borne by the only pleasantry that Released From The Hospital has to offer. I've returned to this twenty minute cassette several times since it (recently) came into my world, and I'm still floored at the casual confidence required to create this union of sound. With a discography exclusively on Hermitage and Fag Tapes, you should know more or less what world NOBODY'S CHILDREN are coming from (the two members operate the two labels), and this 2009 release certainly does not disappoint.
14 January 2020
KLIPSPRINGER are probably a "time and place" band for most listeners, but I was there...and I was there then, so these tracks are way more than a simple blip on my radar. Norman, Oklahoma was a typical early '90s college town, and the bands that played there ultimately reflected that reallity. The crusters were in Oklahoma City and the skinheads and basement hardcores were (mostly) in Tulsa...we had THE NIXONS, THE FLAMING LIPS, FOR LOVE NOT LISA, DEATHROW BODEEN (please tell me there's a recording that someone can send me), CHAINSAW KITTENS, GLUE, TALL TALES, SOUL SHAKER...and KLIPSPRINGER, who didn't seem cool enough to live in anyone's world but their own. Listen to these jammers with 2020 hearing (see what I did there?) and there's so much more than friend rock - fuzzed out power pop by way of college/alt with a serious psychedelic bent and/or STOOGES fetish. The closest comparison I can really make is San Francisco's FANTASY - sadly another time and place band for most folks - it's kinda glam, kinda pop, kinda "alternative" but when we were all trying to figure out what the fukk that actually meant. "Sleeping" and "Spit" are the two choice tracks, so I suppose it's suitable that they open and close this 1993 recording....dive in and take yourself to another reality.
13 January 2020
Y'all already know about this, right? Face melting relentless crasher noise from Chicago featuring one Singapore transplant who's been involved in SNÄGGLETOOTH, MILD SHAG, VAARALINEN, CHARGED CBH and others, this is the cassette version of the EP released by Lengua Armada and it's everything you want it to be. Wild ass high end hiss, guitars compressed to obliteration and hiding behind a wash of cymbals while the DBeat rages. Of course the vocals howl in layers of reverbed anguish...because that's what they fucking are supposed to do. MOCK EXECUTION is the best example of this brand of noise punk mania that I have come across in a long long time....play fukkn LOUD.
12 January 2020
There's something about the innocent and determined approach to clenched fist political punk that keeps me coming back to this 2011 demo from Malaysia. The guitars have that cheap distortion pedal almost shitty thrash metal fuzz that permeates the riffs themselves and makes breakdowns to tracks like "Police State (Knock 'em Dead!)" sound all mushy, and then there's the straight forward early-WASTE speed picking in "Unanswered Prayers" that stands in opposition to the fiery street punk vibe that dominates most of Deaf, Dumb and Blind. All of this says to me that GEEN NAAM are just fucking going for it, and the results aren't necessarily predetermined...and that is an honest fukkn band. They play fast, they play strong, and they play punk as shit. Maybe this is a decade old, but it's timeless - and by that, I mean that this could just have easily come from '90s North American basements or late '80s South America....it's actual and international punk. I like punk.