I'm going to be short here - this shit is just really really good. Washington state proto-industrial in the vein of the mid '80s Wax Tax! family tree. Two dark distorted dancefloor slogs, a one track jaunt into brighter synths with a brilliant VENOM cover, and then HARSH R drop a 7+ minute Infinite Beat meets ItaliDisco remix of the vicious opener "Dog People." I realize that most of us just listen to different versions and iterations of the same sounds over and over again, it's an unfortunate but necessary constraint of most of the subgenres covered in these chronicles. But if you wander through the tombs of sameness with open eyes, you may uncover something that brings those ghosts back to life.
29 April 2020
I might me stretching my assumptions here, but I don't even know how LESS IS MORE could exist in a 2020 reality. The band featured Myron Isaacs on drums, who was the drummer for ALL YOU CAN EAT when I played bass for that band on one very weird Japanese tour in 1996. We only practiced a few times before we left, and the moment I remember the most clearly from those rehearsals was Myron getting excessively frustrated with me trying to synch up with him on one particular song - "Don't you have any soul at all? This part is supposed to be funky!" - and I was thinking to myself "uhhhh, no, actually, I don't have that kind of soul at all." I probably didn't even know what being "in the pocket" with a drummer meant at the time. But I listen to this 1992 cassette and I get it, I get his frustration. Beach House Memories is a product of time and surrounding - JANE'S ADDICTION, PRIMUS, alt/funk/punk was the sound of the day, slap bass wasn't completely forbidden (yet), and this one holds up far far better than it has any right to because the songs are good and the chops are supreme. Accidental perhaps, but there are guitar/vocal harmonies a la HELMET or MOTHER LOVE BONE and the fellas sing about sweet things like lost love and revered pets and they honestly just sound like some dudes having a really good time jamming together. There's an innocence and an honesty that peeks out from behind the chops, and I'm not really concerned about how many cool points I lose when I say that "Face Off" (which opens the second side) totally slaps. Because...well, it fucking slaps.
1. Myron was only Myron in ALL YOU CAN EAT, he prefers "Seth."
2. I really did not do a good job on that tour, objectively speaking.
3. The tour was great though...for me. For Seth? Not so much.
4. I am still not funky at all, and though I have a soul, I do not have soul.
28 April 2020
I have every expectation (and hope) that the later Time of Covid will see the release of many bands like STAKE. Information indicates that this is a two person project, though the drums could just as easily be recorded by (and as) machines to take the temperature down even further...and allow STAKE to exist wholly in one person's mind. And home. A desperation in the sound pleads for the interaction that many are now lacking, a coldness that walls off the warmth of human touch. At its roots, STAKE sound like a vaguely danceable dark punk band - but there's something special about a band when they hit you just right. I ripped this one at the very beginning of the journey into The New Reality, not knowing where the journey would lead or what the reality would be. Six weeks later....we still don't. And while I don't think the humans responsible for STAKE are prescient, somehow I feel like I will hear them on the other side. It's also entirely possible that I will listen to BGK and BORN AGAINST instead, but that's a different story line entirely.
27 April 2020
Got this filthy shell from Brett a while back, and I guess it's the polar opposite of the sounds on yesterday's LUOMO mix. WROTH are the sonic equivalent of getting shoved around by three shitty dudes while you're trying to walk down the hall to go to the bathroom. You're not sure if you're going to piss your pants or get your ass kicked - or both - as they slap you around like a cat who just cornered a mouse in the basement, occasionally sinking a claw in your fragile skin here and there as you try to make an escape. These three fellows from Prince Edward Island spent two years creating just under ten minutes of disgusting sound - a bass/drum/vocal trio that never once settles for anything approaching cleanliness or cohesion, they just vomit churn riffs, squirm all over the drums and then yell at the mess. If there is an actual or appropriate soundtrack for the current state of things, it's not calculated precision...it's primal regression. An invitation to return to the caves.
26 April 2020
I'm pretty sure that Mikko from HERO DISHONEST brought this along for their 2004 US tour (the origins of which have probably been covered in these pages previously and are rooted in good natured shit talking that grew into a long lasting friendship). Some tracks from LUOMO's 2003 The Present Lover full length with a killer hi-NRG road mix. I had never heard of LUOMO before this cassette (honestly, aside from this cassette I still haven't) but the combination of a well crafted tape and good memories from a good has led me to keep this re-purposed SKC-LX around for 15+ years now. Not that most readers here will be hitting any kinds of roads any time soon...but the memories are still there, the desire is still there, and the jams are still here. This reminds me, I need to respond to Jussi's email...
25 April 2020
This is one of the most destructive things I heard in 2019. All of the rage and ramshackle fury of unhinged noise punk, but delivered with the power, the intensity and the sheer brutality of primitive power violence. The whole thing is eight minutes long, and one of those minutes is taken up by anxiety inducing sonic manipulations that provide uncomfortable respites between tracks. You've got bursts of raw DBeat, a devastating mosh stomp, completely off the rails blasts, everything on the brink of complete collapse and presented at absolute maximum capacity. These sounds are very very ugly.
For what it's worth, it also looks incredible, and physical copies are still available despite a criminally scant pressing run...
24 April 2020
85 minutes of true freak sounds, apparently courtesy of one Mr. Eggplant (if you know, then you know...and if you don't know then it would take too long, just...just take it). Everything from derivative KYUSS desert jammers (I'm talking SUPER APES here, and their track is a killer), to adolescent hi-energy dork punk ripped right from the heart of NWI. But the comp is built around Bay Area centric pre-relics, those indescribable artists who could really come from any era...as long as they spent time in Berkeley. Again - if you know what I mean then that statement likely makes sense. BEN DITCH, LAY/LIE, RYAN KING, KITTY APES, TIME FRAUD...it's all over the place, which is exactly how it's supposed to be.
23 April 2020
I cannot imagine a world where my path intersected with this band in any scenario outside of after-the-fact bargain bin purchases or unfortunate mixed bills at the Nightbreak. Normally I would add "on tour" to that list, but bands like RETARDO MONTALBAN didn't really leave town in 1999. It's weird to acknowledge that something has, historically speaking, literally no merit but still admit that it feeds a certain personal hunger. I mean, I was in a band called ANCIENT CHINESE PENIS. And we went on tour. Twice. So, at least in some capacity, I think I get it.
22 April 2020
Greh makes this sound like dark, concise piece painstakingly battered and manipulated and dragged into an alternative dimension where it fill four times the sonic space. The foundation is omnipresent yet somehow in the background (or rather, it is the background), a tortured slow phase traveling in and out of reality while whatever remains of synthesized sounds that make up the rest of the wave pattern struggle in a reverse time lapse, trying to find a place to land. Everything locks into place around 4 minutes into the second track and HIVE MIND has an opportunity to build to a shattering crescendo...an opportunity that is dismissed in favor of the aptly title offering: Perpetual Frost.
21 April 2020
I don't think these tracks were ever distributed under the IG-88 moniker, but some may have appeared as EX-IGNOTA tracks at some point. You remember EX-IGNOTA right? That California emo band with the one 7" that had an 8" square cover so that it wouldn't fit with any of the rest of your EPs and the cover inevitably got totally fukkd up? Yeah, that one...is the same as this one. These tracks are a time and place (although the "place" in this context is "the scene" rather then a geographically specific location). If you toured in the '90s then you played with this band, or another like them, and maybe you made fun of the sound and what you dismissed as manufactured inner turmoil or maybe you writhed with them....and maybe it just depended on the night and how you were feeling or how you were feeling them. I confess that we were more likely to be dismissive when we crossed paths with the emo bands, I can't describe the perceived barrier that was in place, but it just seemed that they weren't like "us." Sometimes it was clearly jealousy - because they had access to a thing, to a "scene," and they seemingly had a built-in community of people who liked their "sound." You know who didn't have a built in community? Four dudes who did not look or dress in any acceptable uniform and were in desperate need of a shower and got way up in people's faces playing songs like "Bury Me In Beer" and flew the Don't Give A Fuck flag at full mast at all times no matter how much it hurt. In other words: "Us." So maybe that was the difference. But I digress somewhat and I'm getting away from the five tracks on this almost unmarked cassette...and the tracks hold up quite nicely on their own merit with no context whatsoever. All of the mid-'90s clichés are there and the "where were you?" backing vocals in the second cut kinda drive me nuts, but when they really put their collective foot in it on last song (which is unfortunately cut off during the good part) I reflect back on the demo I just heard and...well, the writhing is intense and so is the inner turmoil. The EX-IGNOTA records are easy dollar bin fodder thanks to standard '90s DIY pressing runs, and after I banged this one a few times through I went back and revisited that EP with the tattered edges on the cover...on the one hand, it took me back to those living rooms (which are, in my memory, bizarrely combined into one actual show in Houston with BRAID in 1996 - nearly every memory of a show with an emo band manifests itself in my mind as that one awkward night). One the other hand, I liked being back there....even if, or perhaps because, I didn't fit.
20 April 2020
This Phoenix band is just disgusting. Perhaps this is one of the many modern faces of the various and splintered subgenres that take refuge under the broad and appropriated umbrella of "power violence." Personally, I'm completely OK with that, and I'm pretty sure that BURNOUT are ok with it too. Five short minutes that will leave your day is complete shambles.
19 April 2020
More one and done Bay Area tastemakers? No sweat. Killer 'core with more motherfukkn riffs than a normal band would know what to do with - they were but a blip on my radar but damn these tracks hold up. Slight emotive tinge a la '90s California ("Decay" completely nails this vibe), but basically this is just an infectious riff factory. So many riffs. Like, the opener "You'd Never Know" has more riffs (and better riffs) than most bands deserve, and then they drop that guitar break before the stoney mosh in "Sink Deeper" and damn that should not work at all....but it sure as fukk does. And don't even get me started on "Demolition" because you might be here all damn day, and no one wants to listen to me for that long. Fourteen minutes from eight years past.
18 April 2020
17 April 2020
My third installment in the MegaMetalMixtapeExchange. My recipient's genre preference was "No Core," which was pretty tough for me to fall in line with but I am extremely pleased with the results. Making these tapes used to be an absolute ritual and listening to NECROT roll into BLACK OAK ARKANSAS takes a little piece of me back. This one is pretty filthy...I like it.
16 April 2020
You know the kind of demos that make you feel a little dirty? A little off, like a past-date can of jalapeños? This is one of those. Like some teenager ran into you at a basement show and splashed orange Fanta all over your coolest (white) rare band shirt and you're like "FUCK!" and the kid looks at you like you're an annoying old person and then you realize that the fucking kid is right but you're still annoyed because you wore this shirt to this show so that everyone could know that you get it and you're cool even though you're old and that your knowledge goes deep and that you know about a lot of bands that other people have never even heard of because you're old and the young people should recognize your importance in the scene even though you don't really go to shows any more but you USED TO and that should count for something but now you're just an old fucker with sticky orange shit all over his like-new RATSIA shirt getting clobbered by a bunch of kids in a basement having a transcendent moment they will remember for the rest of their fucking lives. That's what SPUTTER sounds like.
15 April 2020
Mysterious Guy Hardcore kinda plateaued seven or eight years ago, but there are still little nuggets from the era that I uncover every now and then. Maybe this isn't one of those nuggets - the music is too powerful to dismiss with that moniker, and the vocals owe more to '80s UK animal rights anarcho/crust - but dammit I can't even read anything on the wrap around xeroxed J-card or the lyrics insert, just the mangled text scrawled on the shell. Therefore: Mysterious. Wall/s of tortured guitars, a stark coldness to the overall approach, when they slow to a stomp (as on "III" and especially the beginning of "VI") the will to break everything is almost overwhelming, and there's a lot of PENI buried in this mysterious cassette. Plus blast beats. There's also one riff that's a dead straight PANTERA rip but I think I only notice that because I listened to Vulgar Display Of Power too much on one tour in the mid-'90s. Don't judge. Someone's gonna tell me who/what this is and I'm going to think "oh yeah, shit, of course that's who this is"...but until then, I'll just say that this shit bangs hard, and the layout/presentation is reminiscent of John Patrick McKenzie, whose art and perspective wows me to this day.
There's a quarter hour of ominous (or....mysterious?) tape feedback and christian shit at the end of the band recording. It seriously will fuck you up if you listen at volume, and I'd say there's better than 50/50 odds that this is the result of a repurposed cassette and not "art." However, the result makes you feel queasy inside and I think that, in general terms, it's better to feel than to not feel.
Now and at the hour of our death....Amen.
14 April 2020
As a teenager, I flanked punk from two directions...TWISTED SISTER led me directly to DEAD KENNEDYS via the PMRC hearings, while commercial new wave overlapped broadly with punk and industrial sounds because in '80s Small Town, America there just weren't that many alternatives if you were...you know, alternative. We ate it all up, and if we didn't like it then we still listened and tried to understand it, trying to glean whatever we could from whatever new sounds we could find. People listened to HUMAN LEAGUE and SUICIDAL, and we used Reign In Blood to get to Bonded By Blood even if we listened to ECHO & THE BUNNYMEN after school. This 2015 Russian release makes me think of that. YшY are cold, dark, mechanical new wave and/or synth pop, more in line with SPARKS than DEPECHE MODE with a robotic presence that reminds me of primitive European disco as much as anything I would have called new wave. But you listen, you try to understand, you glean what you can....and somewhere around the drum break in "Бангкок" you get hooked. Sometimes the guitar work reminds me of the first INTERPOL record (a record that I heartily and unashamedly endorse), but mostly this is completely it's own thing. And so we keep digging....
13 April 2020
You probably already know this - and if you don't then you should - and there's nothing on here that hasn't been widely circulated, albeit primarily underground, for the last 35 years. But still, as the world collapses, there is nothing that can compare to WRETCHED. Songs held together like a house of cards, paper thin walls unsuccessfully containing their ferocity. This tape has the essentials - the 1984 LP plus the In Nome Del Loro Potere Tutto E' Stato Fatto... and La Tua Morte Non Aspetta EPs. Power that is so unbelievably primal and so unbelievably pure.
12 April 2020
I haven't seen them yet (and until microscopic killers unleash their hold on humanity, I surely won't), but Oakland's M80 dropped this rager last year and I've found myself popping it in frequently. Plenty on Thunders style NY (or...Cleveland?) punk in these riffs, and the bratty femme vocals could easily lull you into thinking you were invited to the party....but there are bats and knives here, punk, and "Petty (I Don't Like You)" is a good natured reminder that you might get your fukkn ass kicked if you step out of line. If a blast, and you are invited to shake your ass, but in five short bursts M80 make their presence known and felt. For all of the shit you'll find in these pages...this one is fucking punk.
11 April 2020
Strap in. California obsessed. Skate Obsessed. Thrash obsessed. DIY obsessed. This is thrashcore. "Crossover Is Thrashcore." "Flip Up Your Cap." "Slam The Streets." "Mosh With Fun! Not Violent!" "Enter The Thrashing Youth." "What's With da DIY?" "Thrashcore Attack." "Wish I Could Skate A Ramp." "Chicken Mosh On Venice Beach." "Mosh With da Living Dead." "Skating A Pool In Venice." You get the idea....and if I can't sell you with song titles: 96 tracks. 76 minutes. Like I said earlier: Strap in. I first heard of CRIPPLED FOX from their ripping split with Brazil's LEI DO CÃO and I've tried to keep an eye out ever since...clearly a lot of shit has slipped by me, but our friends at Drinkin' Beer In Bandana Records did international thrashers a service by putting all of this in one place. Serious, funny, and deadly fucking serious full speed thrash assault, this Hungarian outfit is just fukkn unreal. Pay special attention to "Bow To da System," which is essentially a perfect thrashcore song...and mostly: Strap in.
10 April 2020
Ugh - I fukkn miss rolling south and getting a face full of these bands. Everything on edge, everything alive, everything desperate...everything real. It was a time and a place, it still exists in some evolved form; there are splinters and sometimes they fester and people grow old(er) and things just...change. It's not bad, but differences are inevitable, and then the thing that grabbed you by the throat and woke you up is different. It's grabbing someone else. There is still a now and it is amazing, and there will be more, there will be an "again" and an "another," but this was a time - it was raw and it was special. TOZCOS, MAL PASO, MANIA, BLAZING EYE, BOMBSPLINTER, BEDBUGS, DOGSBODY, DAMAGES, GRIMA, RAYOS X...this wasn't the first wave. It definitely won't be the last. Just a time and a place.
09 April 2020
Quiet, deliberate, churchy, subtle keyboards serenade four poems written and recited by Morgan Eldridge. I'm not gonna lie: I like this way more than I should. Solitude and full concentration is required here. It's only 15 minutes, and I'm pretty sure you can find the time. We can grind later.
08 April 2020
There's no nonsense here, it's just a cold German hardcore bulldozer with healthy doses of USHC. The ramshackle opening to "Protest" brings to mind early '00s Latin American political punks @PATIA NO, while most of this 2011 banger is just an in your face hardcore blast...I even pick up welcome Orange County hooks in tracks like "At The Zoo." Blast "Tough Guy" all damn day, slam yourself into a tiny circle and isolate.
07 April 2020
One man 4-track noise punk freak show from New York. Not sure if the roots and influences are perceived, if they are real, or if all of these sounds are organic. After a murky burst of raw black metal ineptitude, DR. EVILLETOWN crank out a quarter hour of drug addled oddities, mutated '90s proto-indie and primitive psychedelic punk. It's a total trip...much like everything outside your door right now.
06 April 2020
I mean....I don't really need to go through this, do I? Total raw pogo mania from Pittsburgh, EEL have been wrecking shit for some time now and this 2014 "full length" might be their most realized recorded effort. Volume, people.....fucking volume.
This one comes from Ukraine...