31 December 2021



You've probably noticed that I don't really fuck with year end wrap ups or 'best of' nonsense. It's all subjective anyway, and unless you're a professional music critic then your "best" releases of the year are probably going to be the ones you listened to the most, not necessarily the ones that are objectively the best. What have I listened to a lot this month? This DAMITOL tape that Grant gave me a few weeks back. It's the four tracks from the second EP, which would have been they record they were slinging when they played my living room on DeBarr Avenue in Norman, Oklahoma. I don't know if anybody came to the show except my roommate, but I don't know if I told anyone that they were coming. But they played. And it was sweaty. And even though the style here is (really) dated and the vocals are so brutally out of tune, they were playing an advanced technical hardcore that I had never seen before...and they toured with a bag of TVP and we all made dinner in my kitchen and holy shit those are the things that stick with you. So yeah, the new RUDIMENTRY PENI record is monumental, the SLANT 12" is an absolute motherfucker, LINGUA IGNOTA's Sinner Get Ready gives me chills and the ANTIBODIES EP frustratingly titled LP 2021 is flawless....but I'm always going to keep coming back to the sounds that shaped me. While this doesn't mean that my "Best Of The Year" will be the same every year (that would be very boring), it might mean that the experiences in your past help give you the tools, and the context, to truly appreciate your present. 

Good chance that the best sounds of 2022 are going to come from folks like Sewercide, Iron Lung, Warsaw Pact, HIDEHair Clinic, and Unlawful Assembly...safe to say I'll be listening to a lot of BORN AGAINST too. 

30 December 2021



I'm going to keep talking about the music that's been coming from Canada's Atlantic Provinces, because it just keeps coming. Punks from the region were responsible for some of my favorite sounds of 2021, and still I dig into the past few years and keep finding more. UNREAL THOUGHT weren't a new discovery, and I wasn't surprised that these two songs were great (because all of the other ones were too). What if your entire discography was just four perfect cassettes and then you were like "nah, we're just gonna go make another perfect band now" and then....you did? That's what it would be like to be in UNREAL THOUGHT

29 December 2021



When a notable segment of the DIY hardcore world was shifting their gaze towards sonic tonnage and epic hardcore and/or barebones fastcore (or....both), these kids from Arkansas were sifting through the archives of the previous decade and holding onto the gold. Manic hardcore, MOHINDER guitars and midwest basement DIY roots. Folks from BG and BURNED UP BLED DRY made up this trio, and this release from 2000 was their beginning and their end. I loved it the instant I heard it...which was two decades after it was recorded.

NOTE: Please pay attention to the drums in "I Hope You Get Stuck In An Elevator With A Rhino," particularly around the 0:36 second mark. Just....damn. 

28 December 2021



Each time I finish listening to this tape, I always seem to have more questions than I did when I started. There are elements of '80s synth pop filtered through Japanese pop culture, and there are times when I feel like you're peeking into the audio version of an undiscovered b-movie. It's weird and it's maybe good but also definitely bad but maybe so bad that you totally love it. All I know for sure that I would like to know more....but I don't. 

I file this one close to the BE-JIN tape that I posted a few months ago...which you should check out.

27 December 2021



I work with a fellow who's a few years older than me and grew up in the rough orbit of the Boston punk/hardcore scene. Saw BAD BRAINS in '81. Saw SSD, DEEP WOUND, NEGATIVE FX, all the shit. Bought all the records when they were new for like $2 and is still a record collector so still has them all. Moved to San Francisco in time to see the wild heyday of SF hardcore - THE FUCK UPS w/AGNOSTIC FRONT, The Mab, B.A.S.H. violence, heroin pretty much lopping the whole damn thing off at the legs. And then around '84, he started listening to and collecting jazz. Kept the punk records but ditched the punk in favor of SUN RA and CHARLES TAYLOR. You talk to him about punk and he seems almost surprised that the genre continued after he lost interest. My point? Well, when the stadium crust kids shifted gears and started playing DISORDER influenced noise punk in 2009, do you think that stadium crust just....stopped? Of course not. Likewise with the second generation noise punk kids who started scooping up BAUHAUS and CHRISTIAN DEATH records and giving bleak brooding punk a worthy resurrection in the early '10s.....while the third generation noise punk kids held fast in the shadows with their shoelace headbands. Just because you aren't listening (anymore), doesn't mean it's not happening. And somewhere, someone is just as juiced as you used to be - and their excitement is no less relevant, no less intense, and no less important than yours was. Which all has virtually nothing to do with Portland's BURIALS except that I feel like I would have succumbed to the waves of these sounds had they washed over me in 2004 or so - I get the same feeling I had when I saw BARONESS in a Milwaukee basement in front of eight slackjawed attendees. I don't really listen to much music "like this" anymore, and technical guitar work tends to leave me flat....but The Tide is a storm, and BURIALS are completely in it. While you're expanding horizons, check the split with EXHAUSTED PRAYER on End Theory (more atmospheric death metal, less technical). And know that it's all happening, whether or not you're paying attention. 

26 December 2021



Every bit as damaged as it looks. Spaced out noise damage recorded inside a drug tube and replicated on a dirt recorder. Fourteen minutes in total...tie yourself down and start the clock. 

I don't even know what a dirt recorder is. I made that up. 

25 December 2021

26 FEBRUARY 1985

Eighty nine minutes as broadcast on KALX. I can't tell you how great is is to sift through these tapes, and I do hope that at least a few of you dig on them half as much as I do. This one goes from CELTIC FRONT to LEAD BELLY, with VKTMS, OUTRAGEOUS, BITCH, various BOYS (FAT and BEACH, specifically), CAPTAIN BEEFHEART, ARTICLES OF FAITH and waaaaaay more. Pay attention to the influenza PSA and be reminded that we always have been, and definitely still are, totally fucked. Thanks for hanging onto all this shit, Pat...it really is the best present. 

24 December 2021



Impossibly raw ramshackle sludge from Indonesia, GODPLANT sound absolutely filthy on Preambule. From the FUDGE TUNNEL and UNSANE school of sonic abominations, these four songs are an extremely harsh toke...you can handle it though. 

23 December 2021


I remember getting blown away by Colombia's DEAD HERO five years ago like it was yesterday - a truly excellent and memorable gig experience all around (the experience is detailed here) - so I wasn't bummed when Pissed Off put all of the band's recordings on one tape so I could blast the fuck out of them even more. Forceful, anthemic melodic Oi! - I could rave about everything this band does and how well they combine elements to make a complete package, but you should just listen to the shit yourself. 

22 December 2021


As far as I can tell, there was one song on a Thrasher comp in the '80s and another that appeared on a Cometbus comp a decade later...and maybe that was all that BLACK ATHLETES shared with the world.  It's a perfect example of dark and forceful punk, from a time when the division between punk and new wave were just solidifying. The two previously issues tracks are stone classics, full stop, and it's hard to imagine that a band capable of this would go on to....not write any more songs. The third song is the 6+ minute "Malcolm X Dub," which is mentioned somewhere in the limited internet chatter about this band and acts as an excellent come down from the two previous numbers. Relaxation for the body, stimulation for the mind. Holy shit this tape is good. 


21 December 2021



These sounds would have assimilated into 1990s North American college/indie/alt - subdued guitars with a barely contained capacity for eruption, sonic progressions based on repetition, lead vocals with a sweet (and also forceful) lilt and a tendency to come completely unhinged. You can plant Poland's TISSURA ANI in the same general region as bands like PIXIES (pre-Doolittle) and STEREOLAB, with mid-'80s THE CURE guitar interspersed throughout. But remember the time and place here - I Don't Know was released during the time of ARMIA and EWA BRAUN, and somehow I feel like this tape is a combination of all of those things without owing a debt to any of them. Songs like "Love" manage to look 20 years into the future when so much (too much) of hardcore would be looking back at TISSURA ANI's contemporaries and trying to recreate...instead of looking inside and pulling out what's already there. And that, my friend/s, that random and indigestible non-descriptor, that is why I fucking love this tape. For a band to be simultaneously of their time, outside of their time, and ahead of their time...that's what you want.

20 December 2021


Strap in, fukks. EMINENT DOMAIN are about to knock you out of your boots with six minutes of raw, primal blast/dirge/stomp/kill power violence. This shit is just nasty. Nasty nasty nasty. Ugly. It's so ugly they use pseudonyms so they can keep their day jobs. Probably as crypto investors, because that's internet hardcore in 2021. Nah...I bet these monster dig ditches for a living, and start cracking 40s about an hour before they clock out. You ever tried digging ditches sober? Shit sucks. 

19 December 2021



Consider this an instructional cassette:
How To Be The Perfect Hardcore Band  In 190 Seconds 
(or less)

QWOM might be the toughest release on the venerable Deluxe Bias roster. It came out during their first barrage of short, fast releases last year and I still think it's my favorite to date. Four songs, damaged and furious hardcore with no bullshit or pretense in sight.


18 December 2021



Imagine you're a radio personality and regional country/polka star in 1960s Iowa. You crank out a few records and folks...well, they know who you are. Fast forward to the 1990s and you're old(er) and your legacy has been all but cast aside. No one under the age of 75 gives a shit about polka, and the classic swing you know as "country" has been replaced by Alan Jackson and Billy Ray Cyrus. So, what do you do? How do you stake your claim on your own history...how do you leave your mark? Obviously, you self release your debut LP on cassette so some other irrelevant fellow past his prime can pick it up in a thrift store in Utah for 49¢ a few decades later. 

Was it worth it? Absolutely. The guitar (most notably on "Wheels") has a Billy Mure caliber pep, the occasional horns add an indescribably Midwest drunken lumber, and Greco's second tier croon is smooth and endearing. Half dollar well spent - legacy secured. 

17 December 2021


The third (and hopefully not final) volume in a fantastic mixtape series from Pinhole Collapse, Sax + Violence fukkn slams through sixty minutes of sax-infused punk. And when you start with THE OFFS into NEON HEARTS into SWELL MAPS...? Well, that's a damn good start. FLIPPER, ÖSTRO 430, LILIPUT, CRAVATS, KOBRA, lots you'd expect and others that may completely blindside you...they fukkn ran the table. Just like the two earlier volumes, this tape is a tutorial on how to curate and construct a perfect mix tape. So let us enjoy the shit out of the first three and hope for a new theme in 2022. 

16 December 2021



I only saw DRUJ once. It was in the middle of the afternoon, it was light outside, and it was cold as fuck inside. And it was incredible. It wasn't hatred or anger, it was determination fueled by ostracization, and you could feel it. Half of the band has left Oklahoma in the few years since that show, and who knows if I'll ever see them again, but that twenty minutes of my life lives on a very very short list. DRUJ are honest hardcore. DRUJ are real punk. And DRUJ are forever. 

The four tracks from last year's self titled cassette, along with the nine from 2018's Absolute Chaos cassette are included in the link below, but you are also (as always) encouraged to visit the band directly. Pay attention to the guitar around the 45 second mark of "Martyr," because it will change you. 

15 December 2021



I first (consciously) heard Mahmoud Ahmed on a tape of one of Pat's radio broadcasts from the late 1980s. The voice and the groove grabbed me instantly, but Pat quickly moved on to slagging off metal bands and dropping obscure UK hardcore 45s into the aether....so I didn't think about Ahmed much more. Then it happened on a tape of a different broadcast a few weeks later and that time the name stuck and I made a point of finding out who this artist was (extremely influential and productive Ethiopian singer who's been active since the 1970s). But still...it kinda got filed on my mental shelf. Then I popped in this tape, excited to hear an interview with Italian hardcore band RAW POWER. Instead, I got 40+ minutes of passionate and hypnotic EthioJazz and I was speechless. This music defies genre and context, and deserves far more than my pedestrian attempts to "describe" it...so I''ll just tell you that I just sat and listened once this recording truly revealed itself to me. And also that I might have quietly wept at the sheer beauty that I was hearing. That's enough...right?

Most of these tracks seem to appear on 1975's 'Ere Mala Mala,' but Ahmed has dozens of releases and compilations to his name, so who knows the actual source for this tape. 

14 December 2021



I woke up this morning wondering who doesn't want a wild dose of raw outsider metallic punk? Fortunately for Houston outfit ULLATEC, I could not think of any reason why any person would not want to have their face melted at 06:45PST, so here's their 2015 (mostly) self titled cassette. It's nasty, it's rough, it's hardcore tinged power metal and/or power metal tinged dirtpunk, it's just....weird...and their trainwreck of sound/s hits like nothing else on your shelf. I'm also going to go out on a limb and suggest that ULLATEC don't give half of one fuck what I think....which only makes this tape sound nastier. 

13 December 2021



What the fuck is even happening here? Absolute outsider sounds - NEGATIVLAND, RESIDENTS, Confusion Is Sex, IDIOT FLESH....other music entirely. Sound freaks and sonic geeks, 2 FOOT TALL JERK create improvisational rackets that maybe sound like nothing else on earth and maybe sound like 1000 HOMO DJS providing the soundtrack for Miami Vice. I don't understand a world where this exists, and I don't understand this world. The intersection of noise and conceptualized "music" should leave you questioning...and 2 FOOT TALL JERK does exactly that. Other sounds - Welcome To 1994. 

12 December 2021


Pat wrote on the cover of this tape: kinda like The Dils - good - so I was understandably excited to dive in. THE WINGNUTS don't sound like THE DILS. Instead, the trio delivers infectious, dark, almost-indie punk (before 'indie punk' as its own thing was a....thing). The guitars have a nice Joe Jack Talcum twang, and the vocals are just awkward enough, there's an occasional underlying surf vibe...but the songs are the thing, because the songs are great. And weird. They don't just not sound like THE DILS, they don't really sound like anything except THE WINGNUTS - a 1990s band from the Bay Area. 

11 December 2021



What a complete fucking explosion! It sounds like TIED DOWN is trying to escape from the actual magnetic tape that contains their sounds, eleven minutes of raw fast bliss with Juls' vocals distorted as much by earnest vehemence as by the physical limited of DIY recording capabilities. This 2010 tape was the first (I'm looking for the second [and anything else that I've missed], if anyone's holding) from TIED DOWN, featuring past and future members of SURROGATE ACTIVITY, GENETICA, MARGARET THRASHER and others. Perhaps the frantic nature of the whole tape owes as much to their physical existence on an actual quasi-remote island as it does their desire to deliver frantic bursts of blistering hardcore, or maybe they were just really fucking good at the latter, but listen to the twenty one seconds of "Native American Apparel" and there you'll have basically everything you need. ...and my desire to tour Canada's Atlantic Provinces as a DIY punk tourist intensifies (because someone has got to be holding those Venison Creek tapes).

10 December 2021


I realize I've kinda been beating The Lost Decade to death this week, but goddamn can you image this dose of fire in the mail when you were 17 years old? I'm sure some of you can, but this shit would have melted my face - because it was all of the cool-at-the-time shit that I loved (at the time), but it was, like, the cooler iterations of all that cool shit. You've got LUNACHICKS, BABES IN TOYLAND, L7 (Peel Sessions from all three - the LUNACHICKS shit is just unstoppable), MAD SOCIETY, RAMONAS (they only had this one fukkn song, right?), a Darby Crash interview from 1980, REVILLOS, and HÜSKER DÜ audio from their appearance on The Today Show in the Warehouse era and 1979 demos that later appeared on the Savage Young Dü box). Oh yeah, and SOUNDGARDEN playing the two best songs on UltraMega OK live in Germany. This would have been gold to 1991 me, and I have to say that 2021 me is well chuffed. I swear I'll post some cool tapes (again), but it's just that these tapes are so....well, they're just so fucking cool. 

09 December 2021



Why not stay in the '90s for another day? Maybe it seemed like it was shit then, and maybe in retrospect it was so much more of a warning of shit-to-come than we could have possibly imagined...but the music was all over the place and damn we had some good bands. Hopefully I will keep discovering new (or “new to me”) bands from that decade well into the 2030s, because I heard HEAVENLY for the first time in 2021 and it was pretty damn perfect. I wish there were a reality that felt as simple and careless and...pretty as this 1992 recording. But that's gone. So maybe that past is what we have. Shared here in the form that it came to me: no cover, no context, a faded and damaged label, just an imperfect vessel limping to my shores with its blissfully innocent cargo. 

08 December 2021



In a 1990s Southern California saturated with FYP andNOFOX and VGS and Epitaph, it's no surprise that there was also a KANKER SORES. They've aged well though, with rippers like "Mirror Image" serving as the antidote for the the poisonous bro-ska that infects some of the tracks. I don't know that a band like this could (or would) exist today, and they would likely be ignored if they did - relegated to Tuesday night opening slots in Temecula strip mall bars. But...I don't know, this just kinda works, and I'm happy that I came across it. 

07 December 2021



This offering from CRACK is a bleak pseudo-psychedelic foray into murky doom. Cavernous experimentation meets deliberate bombast throughout five tracks spanning a full half hour, with spacious vocals that act more as an instrument of noise than a messenger. To be clear, the cuts are raw...and that only adds to the impact. The return of SIBERIAN ASS TORTURE on the flip is in some ways more of the same, but kicked up a notch in all departments. Those vocals are replaced by a guitar that just wails filthy leads and the tempo overall shifts up to a steady slog. Think about the most primitive PHARAOH OVERLORD sounds with a few stoner riffs...recorded in the barn next door. Neither band is doing anything 'cool,' or anything that folks in the various punk sub-scenes give half a shit about - which is, of course, exactly what makes this tape so fucking great. 

06 December 2021



ODD CLOUDS (purportedly) given the sonic treatment by SICK LLAMA? Fag Tapes Wünderkind ACTIVATE, Motherfukker. Two murky and disorienting aural manipulations from 2005 courtesy of Michigan's truest freaks of the new millennium from the time with the millennium was actually....still...kinda new. ODD CLOUDS come off like Barrett-era FLOYD experimentation being smothered by a wet dog, as if the recording itself is trying to squirm out from under a mass of smelly, matted fur. After dropping that visual, is there really any point in writing another sentence? These folks were/are unheralded geniuses. 

05 December 2021


You know the feeling when you kinda want to dismiss a band/song arbitrarily but there's something that keeps dragging you in? That's me the first time I heard this INSURGENTS tape. It has all of the trappings of a band made up of the only four alterna-teens in their town in 1992 - a little grunge, a little metal, a little USDIY basement hardcore - and that combination often takes a band to exciting places. "Lane Change" has pretty blatant Too Fast For Love guitar undertones, "So Sure" hits like primitive speed metal in one part and ALICE IN CHAINS in the verse, and "Down River" hits like MOTHER LOVE BONE. So...why does it work? I'm not sure, and I'm not even sure that it does. I've come back to these three songs repeatedly though - maybe because I like them, or maybe because I like like hearing a band trying to figure out which way they want to go. 

04 December 2021


I remember the first time I heard NO COMMENT - I was rather underwhelmed and didn't quite understand what the big deal was. They weren't 'heavy,' the guitar was really loose and the recording was pretty thin. I wanted some heft, I guess. Well, I remember the next time I saw NO COMMENT - I was floored. The intensity was raw, pure. The guitars were loose because the songs themselves were leaping out of the grooves and the guitar sounded like it was trying to fucking escape. It was inner brutality, the heaviness that I was looking for was trapped inside this band....and I couldn't understand what it was that I had missed the first time. These seven songs offer ever ounce of power they did when they were recorded 34 years ago. The fourteen seconds of "Guinea Piglet Alone" are possible as close to perfect as you're every going to find in US hardcore.