A whole lot of this world kinda skipped me. It hit when I was still in Oklahoma and merged with a lot of then "college rock," in a not entirely unpleasing way. There wasn't much of a dividing line between the post-Revolution Summer sounds and the burgeoning grunge scene though, and it was all muddied by the underground dreamboats going mainstream and I still was trying to devour all of the punk things that I could while I was also a new waver at heart and I thought CLOCK DVA was the shit (still do). I was busy and was poor, so the things that stuck with me were pretty all over the place and I missed some stuff. I've come to understand that adulthood was designed specifically for catching up on the stuff we missed...so I popped in this JAWBOX tape. Tools & Chrome-era recording and tracks - it's pretty damn good, and it makes you wonder why this or that so-and-so "made it" and those other so-and-sos just faded away. JAWBOX tried to make it, and they did manage one more major label slab than their west coast JAW contemporaries, but they more or less went from indie darlings to fizzlers in about two years. Must be weird. Anyway...I kinda like this tape. It wasn't the shit I listened to, but it holds up, and "holding up" is a legacy worth striving for.
29 June 2020
Second tape from this Charlottetown rippers, WARSH makes me wanna rip up every time I hear them. That creepy crawl bass into to the title track, Sophia's desperate howl fighting through the reverb as if that fader controls oppression itself, the guitar non-solo that corrupts the slow mosh into to "Backseat Boxing." Fucking all of it. Only four cuts here, maybe WARSH reviewed the 92 seconds of "Brat" and just thought "nah, we're good, let's roll out" and left the studio in disarray. Pretty much how your brain is gonna be after you let this one rip at the appropriate volume.
28 June 2020
Deep breath. Wait for it.......GOOOOOOOOOOO!!!! This is the break neck Y2K shit that made so many kids tick, this was our fuel for years. Hardcore. Fastcore cheat beats. Songs about skating (even though some of us didn't skate). All go, no slow - except for the circle pit breakdowns. '80s USHC fury without the chops. Movie samples. Just fukkn being kids, well into our twenties. A look in the mirror at those years definitely shows some imperfections, some naivety, some tone deafness, missed opportunities to take what really was a cohesive scene and activate on something more than cartoon skeletons on skateboards. But the intention was positive, and hindsight tend towards hyper critical. So blast "Skate Assisted Deathbeat" and drop into a swimming pool somewhere.
27 June 2020
I'm just going to go ahead and say what I thought the first time I heard this tape. I thought: "This sounds like TORCHE and ECONOCHRIST." It's heavy like now (more accurately, it's heavy like the '00s), and it swings like the DIY '90s, and that's a swing that I totally miss. And COORDINATED SUICIDES are fukkn intense, an honest intensity that I also miss, even (or especially) when they fall into more modern sounding dark punk on tracks like "Lychee" and "Hiding" which run back to back near the end of this 2015 tape. The guitars are powerful and piercing no matter where they are aimed, and the whole band hits hard throughout...simply put: they just do a really good job.
26 June 2020
I participated in another one of these social media based exchanges earlier this month. A needed (and drunken, apparently) diversion from the dismal scroll of reality. It became pretty clear when I ripped it that some of these cuts ran a little hot, but on the one hand that's the joy of making (and receiving a mix) and on the very same hand it makes that CHAMBER track sound a little creepier than it really is. As is typical for me, I veer pretty fucking far off of the "metal" course for this Mega Metal Mixtape Exchange - maybe it makes DEATHWISH slam even harder when it comes out of some lo-fi Зло compilation cut, or may the recipient will just be annoyed. Maybe you will be too.
25 June 2020
Thirty minutes of minor "chord" improvisational abomination, like a NY No Wave reject lost in the darkness of the Mississippi Delta, lost and confused and trying to play his way to safety. The line between brilliance and instability is a thin one....and it's best to not think of it as a straight one.
Choice cut here is "'Eleonore'," and feel free to get lost in SWEAT TONGUE if you need more.
24 June 2020
It's a shame when a band just casually drops a monster load and then gets on with their collective lives like it was nothing. This one is just four tracks, recorded in 2011, and I haven't heard or seen a peep from them since. Sound is not dissimilar, but not to be confused with, HOARDER (singular) from Olympia. Sound is extremely fucking mean.
23 June 2020
This Texas outfit snuck up on me - there was a collection tape before I knew they existed. There's a relationship to NOSFERATU, and that comes as not surprise when you feel the energy ALTAR DUATA injects into their goth punk. It's a reckless representation of a genre that too often appears calculated and manufactured. I feel like if SMUT took all of the acid and tried to sound like UK DECAY then this is what you would get...and I'm completely ok with getting that shit. For a similar but different endorsement, when I first heard this tape I had the same reaction I had the first time I heard FUNERAL PARADE. High powered darkness with plenty of diversions, this cassette from Pissed Off! collects tracks from a few existing releases for ease of consumption, so....do your job.
22 June 2020
There were others after this one, but I can assure you that they were no prettier...so you might as well start here. Start with "destroyed" and then dig yourself a deeper hole. If there's no hope of ever crawling out, then not trying becomes the most logical course of action. Every second in the nine minutes of sound on this tape are a struggle, but the riffs that drops in at the 0:32 mark makes me want to reach into the air and grab the band just to pull them out of the rut they are so desperately trying to crawl out of. Because, you see......they don't seem to know it's hopeless. So they are still fighting.
21 June 2020
It's weird to think about being "jaded" 25 years ago. The point is not if we were jaded per se, but more a nod to the constant thirst for something new, and recognizing the complacency that comfort can bring. We were in our mid-20s. We had toured a few times and were starting to feel like we belonged in our (new) City and now we were growing with the scene that we had been accepted into. The kids (and I mean "kids" as in actual young people) in the Bay Area primarily went to Gilman or other shows off of our radar. We played bars and drug dens disguised as artist warehouses, and there simply weren't that many teenagers in our midst, so when HUMAN BEANS started poking around...well, they stuck out, and I feel like I knew them all from shows before I knew they were in a band. I'll be honest and say that I kinda dismissed them before I saw or heard the band, maybe because I was pompous or maybe because they were a collective disaster - probably a bit of both. But when we eventually saw them play? Shit! You can make the argument that punk is a young person's game, and it's an argument that you'll typically win, but rarely has the mantra been so clearly demonstrated. HUMAN BEANS just exploded. Hormones and adolescence and broken homes and disenfranchisement spewed everywhere in a sloppy, out of tune fucking mess. They loved HICKEY and they tried to recreate the hooks. They failed. They loved OP IVY and the ska parts were so unbelievably fucked up. Simply put: They were a train wreck. But they were honest, they gave so much of a fuck about not giving a fuck, and that was a reminder we all needed shoved in our faces. Recorded, HUMAN BEANS are a different story - fast, tight, high energy punk with snot practically gumming up your needle (or, in this case, your tape heads). This handful of home made hand made, recycled cassettes and a split with THE BAR FEEDERS are the extent of their sonic legacy - more than an hour of recorded sound including blips and whirs, some songs that might not even be by HUMAN BEANS, some beer jingles, lots of general nonsense. The kids were real.
John is a dad, lives in the Northwest, and still has a VHS tape that LITTLE PRINCESS made for our wedding that I totally want back.
Jason is around, played in GO LIKE THIS! with some of the PLUTOCRACY dudes in the late '00s.
No clue where (or how) Alexis is, but that dude's quiet sense of humor was so fucking bizarre.
Pete died a lot of years ago, he painted a tape on wood that sits on a wood shelf with other tapes.
20 June 2020
Watching these bands in a record store basement a couple of years ago was....well, it was great. High energy, cold punk with femme vocals from CREMALLERAS, terrifyingly passionate dark hardcore from HETEROFOBIA. The bands are intense, the show was intense, "No Fodemos Ser" is an indisputable classic, and the tape is a little fukkd and warbly so both bands kinda sound like PENI through a time machine. That's pretty much it, but that should be more than enough.
19 June 2020
Welcome to the world of the under-the-radar other world hardcore. A few bands on this collection have creeped into Northern Hemispherical consciousness (INSEK, GROINCHURN, SLEEPING AT THE POPES), but a lot of the tonnage here has remained hidden from all but the most prying eyes. Clocking in just under an hour, Compilation - South Africa features sixteen bands from different ends of the spectrum, but all with a raw urgency that makes even more melodic acts like APPLESHINE and THE DEADBEATS sound dirty. This was put together in the mid '00s, and highlights for my ears are the aforementioned TOUCHED BY NAUSEA, A.W.O.L., DISTRUCTION WOLVES, Oi!ROTHOL and TDKM. But beyond the "highlights," because ultimately this isn't a competition, this is a great document of a scene outside of most punks' reality.
18 June 2020
Derby's AVOID appeared to have faded away after this demo dropped, but I've said countless times that if you're going to make something this fucking good then there's nothing wrong with throwing in the towel. Insanely catchy early '80s UK punk, a bit of an early LA cruising vibe that is probably accidental (and we're mostly talking the guitars here). Six tracks, and if these had been split up into three separate 45s then all of the mongers would be sniffing them out relentlessly....but instead it's a tape, so you get to crank it here.
I first shared this in Terminal Escape's infancy, and I mentioned a second demo...that I can't seem to put my eyes and ears on. The search continues.
17 June 2020
Posted without comment or context, simply because there are times when the reward for the search is in the search itself. I will say only that In Place occupies approximately 27 minutes, and that those minutes will be best if occupied by nothing else.
16 June 2020
A pal loaned me this one before the time of Covid (which means I've been hanging onto it for a few months now, hehehe). It's like a high energy surf/garage/dark wave hybrid and i know that doesn't make any sense, but I hear Reatard just as much as AGENT ORANGE and I feel like if there were such a thing as goth-hardcore then "Peter Principle" would define the genre. Kill List came out late last year, but there releases dating back to the mid-'10s here, and listening to them hone their chops over the years is fukkn great. I highly recommend occasional detours to Switzerland (literally, not metaphorically).
15 June 2020
MIDNITE BRAIN were a flash in the pan. I only saw them a couple of times, and it seemed like the split before they ever really caught stride. Revisiting this years later....that is a fukkn shame, because shit bangs hard. A (solo) Helios Creed by way of DISCHARGE bent to the guitar, Laura's vocals are insistent and powerful, and...well, riffs. Riffs are important. Four cuts, all killer.
14 June 2020
13 June 2020
A repost from 2013 that seems topical today, because this is the problem with trying to reform something that is inherently wicked. I was reminded of Christopher Dorner's manifesto last night, a man who waged a war in 2013, war against a racist institution that he tried to change from within. He tried to do what he thought was the right thing. And he was fired. And he appealed. And he lost. He did everything he was supposed to do...and he lost. So he declared war on cops. And cops fired on three civilians in the resulting paranoia fueled manhunt - no warnings, no evidence, just shooting at people (including a 70+ year old woman delivering newspapers) - before fire bombing the house in the mountains where Dorner was sheltered. He tried to fix something that was broken before he was even born. Dorner's (redacted) manifesto is here, and this nine minute harsh noise blast was released just weeks after his death.
I'm not saying the dude is a hero or a martyr, though you could make either argument. I'm just saying that they will do fucking anything to protect themselves. Sacrificing their own is nothing...imagine what they would do to you.
12 June 2020
I don't want to give the impression that I'm going soft over here, but sometimes some sweet ass pop sounds feel pretty nice. DC's BAD MOVES drop summertime anthems to drill into your head so that you can enjoy them....next summer when you aren't either marching in the streets or holed up in your room, obsessively writing and calling city council members, state and federal congressional representatives and demanding that they dismantle the racist system this country was built on. Because that's what you're doing now.....right?
11 June 2020
Over The Flame was a really nice listen this morning. I realize that I don't use the word "nice" too often in these pages, but it was....nice. Philadelphia's John Markow takes a meandering course through primitive Kraut drenched Neue Deutsche Welle, early Windham Hill, and Sir Richard Bishop, with a little touch of Ed fROMOHIO popping into some of the guitars and hints of Alan Vega peeking through the vocals. It's quiet, contemplative, it's shadows of the sounds I referenced above...it's just nice.
10 June 2020
You can feel this one, it's almost like you can reach towards the sound and touch the utter hopelessness. There's a scratchy anger in the voice, but it's a resigned sound...not hopeful. Not even determined. Just begging to be heard before it fades away. To be clear, there are riffs too - and riffs are important - but the last 30 seconds of "Family Life" is everything about youth desperation capped off with one simple, disgusted, "fuck you."