31 March 2021

DEATH COMM

 

I will never understand this sonic realm. And I will never fully forgive myself for not knowing and seeking more knowledge when there was a mere body of water separating me from it's energy center. Instead, I am a decade and half a nation removed and even 100Mbps doesn't work. Because I wasn't there. The residue left by the world of Fag Tapes is an absolute monolith...DEATH COMM's first cassette takes us back to FT005 and the story continued until that number had increased by a factor of one hundred. You can buy your way in, and you can visit...but you can't live it unless you lived it. As usual and like most of the rest of us, I'm just playing catch up. So....good luck, and think about the journey into the past that lies ahead of you. 

All nostalgia and self deprecation aside, and though I've only scratched the surface, this is genuinely one of my favorite Fag Tapes releases. Whatever that's worth...

30 March 2021

JUST A PRODUCT

 

From a trio of Bulgarian kids bashing out NIRVANA covers in 1995, JUST A PRODUCT quickly evolved into their own and started cranking out wildly catchy US influenced hardcore punk, and Free As A Tree is a collection of songs that would have turned heads in the States at the time. Hooks for days, but with a cold edge that somehow sinks into even the poppiest songs here - "You Can't Tell Me What To Do" is probably the best example - but both elements are pervasive throughout. Twelve songs recorded in '96, with a slightly rawer eight song session from the following year on the flip. 

The band are still active today (I think even with the same members?), should your interest be piqued. 
They look just like the dudes in the above picture....just 20 years older. 



29 March 2021

KRISDHODER

 

I thought the internet was gonna melt last year when this demo dropped. It only took a few seconds to understand why - you take songs this good and add a little elusive mystery....people in the age of Everything Now! are gonna get a little hot and bothered. Hard hitting LA punk with a Norwegian singer...or hard hitting Norwegian punk with LA hardcore sensibilities. Realistically: both. There are too many parts to points at and scream "Yo1 This part!! Holy shit - rewind, I wanna hear that again!" but I think that "Aktiv Dødshjelp" might be the track that sums it all up (those fukkn drums....uuuugggh). This might be the single best batch of hardcore punk songs released in 2020....if you missed the flash-in-the-pan excitement in the moment, consider this your reminder. And consider Krig I Hodet mandatory. 


28 March 2021

ARMISTICE

 

Why the continued fascination with "old" punk? Is it pure nostalgia for an era of music (and community, and activism) that so many of us simply weren't around (or alive) for? Are the sounds on their own simply enough to pull in listeners from the future? Are we intrigued by the rarity and the mystique? Or is it that we want to see ourselves in these bursts of pure and desperate energy....and we want to think of ourselves as visionaries like we think they were? Or maybe we just fucking love punk. And when someone tells me about a punk band from Wales who recorded only one batch of songs in 1981, I get fukkn excited. They don't need to be the best songs I've ever heard....because they are new songs and I'm hearing them for the first time. And maybe "Do We Need This" is barely listenable on this tape and maybe "Fight For Freedom" isn't even on here at all but holding a piece of 40 year old punk is still cool as shit. 



All of the cuts here have appeared on compilations, though mostly not until the Bullsheep Detector series on AntiSociety came out in the '10s. No enough can be said about a band who can (successfully) make a so-called song out of a primitive assemblage of rackets like "Conservate & Liberate," but ARMISTICE is reall all about "Anarchy" on repeat all day every day....trust me. 




27 March 2021

SOUNDS OF LIBERATION

 

Are you ready to fall in love? Are you ready to know the feeling of power and control as it seeps into your pores. That's what this 1972 recording is.....power. And the players here are in complete control throughout (hear "We'll Tell You Later," but know that you cannot unhear things like this). Once again, I feel compelled to write at length about a recording that has already been discussed and dissected by those far more knowledgable than me, so.....so I express gratitude to the people who made the sounds and I encourage you to do the same. This is an incredible (and incredibly legendary) recording, transferred onto tape by the folks from Loathed Sound after a welcome reissue that was priced almost immediately out of reach. Sounds Of Liberation deserves to be devoured, 

26 March 2021

SOUNDS OF DEFIANCE

 

I should just be able to list the bands and if you weren't already aware of this 1987 comp then you should be salivating. So....DARK AGE (Switzerland, ex-THE DECAY), BAD ATTITUDE (Germany), INSTIGATORS (UK), 16 BLSÂRE UTAN HJÄRNA (Sweden), KRULL (France), UNIFIED FIELD (USA), NO CONTROL (Australia), SCOUNDRELS (Holland), G-3 (Peru), PRESIDENT FETCH (Denmark), R.I.P. (Spain). Not too shabby for a comp put together by some kids from South Dakota, I suppose. More mix tapes, more comp tapes, more international collections. 


25 March 2021

FORGOTTEN ALTERNATIVE

 

You see the image above and you know everything I know. From the collection of Pat Wright, and I can't offer any context or background beyond that except to say that there are enough random discoveries in Pat's collection to keep me busy (and interested) for years to come. Seven punk tracks here, I'm guessing from the (later) '80s. Most of the tunes are solid, one is a stinker, and two a straight killers. "Difference" could be an All Rise-era NAKED RAYGUN outtake while "Problems (To Solve)" is a would-be-but-never-was anthem. There are more questions here than answers...which is why it's worth it to keep digging. 


24 March 2021

POST CROWN


Fast, wild and quirky Japanese freakcore from Okayama. The sound reflects their geography - off the map and not bowing to typical constraints with catchy melodic bits mingling effortlessly with metallic emotional 'core and blistering fastcore. It's weird, which is why I (we) like it. 



23 March 2021

UNIVERS ZERO

My landlord passed this one off to me...wanna take a trip? Freak show 1970s Belgian prog...dark theatrical adventures spread out over on gloriously bizarre TDK D90. If you're a renter, perhaps ask your landlord for some musical suggestions. 

UNIVERS ZERO

22 March 2021

PRISION POSTUMO

 

The things you've (hopefully) about the new PRISION POSTUMO LP are true. It's great, and so is this collection of pogo stomps from 2017. The awkward monotone drawl of the vocals seems to be loping behind the beat, forcing sing along verses where they may or not belong while the band just bowls over these tracks with the subtlety of a 250lb wasted meathead bang moshing his way through a pit of adolescents suburban kids with his elbows up high. And in this moment...I feel like I'm that meathead. Except I'm in my house. Alone. Moshing in a chair. 



21 March 2021

UNCLE SMOOTH AND THE LOST MAYANS

 

A few years after hardcore's heyday, in that dark void before the USDIY network had really coalesced and scenes were codified, experimentation was truly allowed, even celebrated...and shit was wild. PRIMUS played 924 Gilman countless times, OFFSPRING and ECONOCHRIST toured together. VICTIMS FAMILY was a punk band. The lines between crossover, thrash, commercial alt rock and punk were extremely blurry, countless bands lived exclusively in those grey areas, and those grey areas were often in the suburbs. Enter UNCLE SMOOTH AND THE LOST MAYANS from Waukesha, Wisconsin. I wasn't there, so I reached out to a few people who lived through it to give me some context....

Dug: "Musical giants of Waukesha, WI!"
Karoline: "Maybe we were all just stupid kids and maybe they were really great and I just didn't appreciate it at the time."
Sweater: "I'd like to revisit them, they were 'too musical' for me then. I never understood the whole Primus thing - now I can kind of understand, but I still don't think it's right."

At times it's not too far removed from the college town punk I was surrounded by at the time. There are some proto-grunge bits a la SLUGFUZLE, while the wild funk/punk of CINDERBISCUITS crashes full speed into late '80s thrash and....and also PRIMUS. These dudes listened to a lot of PRIMUS. I can't imagine making music like this as a teenager, and thinking of UNCLE SMOOTH AND THE LOST MAYANS playing the same Madison basement as ASPIRIN FEAST and BIKINI KILL (not the same show, but still)...well, it was a different time. 


20 March 2021

USERFRIENDLY

 

Maybe it's because this kinda reminds me of '90s BAD RELIGION but it's a touch rougher...maybe that's what grabs me. Maybe it's the beginning of the title track that reminds me of GOMEZ. Maybe it's the cover drawing that looks like the model's body is somehow on backwards...I'm not sure how that works, but I can't stop looking at it. Regardless, I give this San Diego outfit a pass. Personally I wouldn't fuck with the stuff that came out later, but you are welcome to like whatever you want to like. 


19 March 2021

"REAL GOOD"

 


There's a magic in listening to old radio broadcasts, especially when the contents are this good. I shared Steve Spinali's '77 Punk Special a few weeks back (B texted me to say he liked it, and he's a doctor...), and this KALX show from December 1982 is just as great. Packed with would-be future classics (SOCIAL DISTORTION, CRAMPS, VICE SQUAD,  DAMNED) and a smattering of the (then) under-the-radar gold that made college radio so vital to the young beating heart of punk (SISTERS OF MERCY, SOFT BOYS, THE STRAPS, MISSION OF BURMA). And where else can you find out about the reception to honor draft non-registrants at the Gumption Theater in San Francisco? Truth in advertising...."Real Good."

18 March 2021

LA MILAGROSA

 

This one came and went pretty quickly in my early pandemic listening, but there's always a place in my heart for energetic stompers. NYC punks with Puerto Rican roots, seven songs in a little over ten minutes...earnest and intense. There are (at least) two versions with different mastering passes, if you feel the need to compare/contrast instead of pogo dancing. 








17 March 2021

DISMAL LIGHT



Much in line with their other releases, 2013's Critical is perhaps more upbeat...maybe just more "up." Like, in the clouds...or further. There's a sonic optimism here that seemingly vaporized before Fertile Spores was released in 2015, but both tapes are transformative journeys nonetheless. A synth driven new century approach to the primitive new age creations of the 1970s...I hadn't pulled this out in a while, and I was very pleased (once again) when I did. 





 

16 March 2021

ABSOLUTE ZERO

 

Had never heard of this before a pal unloaded a shoebox full of stuff on me because he "never listened to tapes" or something weird like that (note: anyone else thinking of taking drastic actions like this should drop me a line). No need to talk about how many gems are lurking in the annal of the misrepresented and misunderstood decade (the 1990s, of course), but the next time you broach the subject, might I suggest including Oregon's ABSOLUTE ZERO in the conversation. Straight forward and earnest punk that lands somewhere between Portland contemporaries and the East Bay with a generous boots on the street vibe. There are a couple of vinyl slabs (readily) available and worth your time, but as typical as it sounds....I like the demo better. 

ABSOLUTE ZERO

15 March 2021

ADJUSTMENT

 

I got this in a batch of tapes from Alan in Vila Velha back in 2014, and while I know Renzo poured over everything with me that night...I had also just been to a killer samba and I was pretty lit so I can't really give you much background here. Shit hits hard though, I feel like the first track is like their "Set It Off" and I'm completely OK with that...Brazilian hardcore is tough as hell. 

14 March 2021

YOKOSCUM

 

A stunning collection of sounds from Tokyo's YOKOSCUM manifested by Instant Tunes. Adjacent to the SOLOIST ANTI POP TOTALIZATION scene, Last Month's Music is a mesmerizing journey that layers erratic shouts and power electronics over a foundation of rhythmic repetition. Even the cacophonous and disjointed tracks (specifically "Untitle 3") listen like dark rituals...a fully encompassing debut release, and I truly hope there is more to come. 

13 March 2021

GRANNY'S LIPS

 

Complete Aussie freak show. Equal parts searing 1984 USHC damage, irreverent knuckle dragging shitpunk and PLAID RETINA....actually, there's an alternate reality where GRANNY'S LIPS and SCHLONG are sharing a stage right now. Since you can't teleport, you might as well download some files, blast "Deet Doot" and keep blasting until you finish "Why Won't You Fuck Me?" But you should know that brain cells are non exchangeable and non transferrable so...there's that to consider.


12 March 2021

OPPOSE OR DECOMPOSE

 

Brilliant 1982 collection of twenty tracks from eleven Welsh acts. SHRAPNEL are likely familiar to most regular visitors - especially those of you who have been kicking around for a few years or have, (wisely) combed the annals. The two NO LABEL cuts here appear on their demo. SOLDIER DOLLS dropped a couple of notable singles in '82/'83 and YR ANHREFN will look familiar to those of you who (like me) saw a name you couldn't pronounce in a bargain bin and decided to have a gamble (mine was The Dave Goodman Sessions LP snagged from We Buy Music in Washington St. in Albuquerque), but most of the bands here flew well under the radar if the even made the radar at all. DEAD ON ARRIVAL appear to have made just four songs before morphing into FOREIGN LEGION (two of which are here), PSEUDO SADISTS were pre-REALITY ATTACK and made one of the Country Fit For Heroes comps, ARMISTICE were a notable Welsh outfit at the time and landed a few comp tracks as well. The DISCARNATE track is a mean dark stomp but no other information to offer, same with ROBBUTT @T3. And apparently CORRUPT SOCIETY existed as a band for a few weeks. Raw as fuck, duped onto a shitty dime store blank 39 years ago...why are you still reading, you should be blasting off. 

OPPOSE OR DECOMPOSE

11 March 2021

PLEASURE LEFTISTS

 

I'm not embarrassed to admit when I'm late to the party...hell, sometimes I never manage to show up at all. But I'm here now, and I'm all in. This shit is good...like really good. While all the cool kids are trying to sound like something they aren't, there are the outliers who are just putting their heads down and going hard. THE CURE cover takes guts but "100 Years" is next level, and they make it their own. I promise to pay more attention. 


10 March 2021

starring BOY IN LOVE; featuring the unimitable AMAZING MR. FUN!!

 

Listen...and be amazed. BOY IN LOVE start out with things they like ("I Like The Alphabet" right into "I Like Dildos") and then proceed to hoover your braincells with cuts like "Well Written Suicide Note" and "Balls In Hand." There are some kinds of genius that simply cannot be faked - and listen closely to "DRI" if you don't believe me. THE AMAZING MR. FUN is more like a gauntlet...are you up for the challenge? One set recorded at the SuperBowl, and one in Medicine Hat, Manitoba. "Fuckin' dumb ass christians....and how 'bout this burning bush talking to people? How many goddamn bushes burn in California each year? And how many of them talk to people who aren't on acid?"

I'LL MAKE MY OWN PUSSY

*Yes, I know that Medicine Hat is in Alberta.*

09 March 2021

EXXXON

 

Jensen turned me onto this crew a few weeks back - a small crew of mutants who dipped out of society and are hiding out in the middle of nowhere Wyoming and appear to have licked their survivalist to-do list because they seem to have more than enough time to crank out ear bleeding ass shaking raw punk at a pace typically reserved for bored teenagers. I'm sure the other bands will make their way onto these pages eventually (though I would hope that one blast of these EXXXON tunes will have discerning visitors sourcing these sounds independently). This crew sounds like early '10 NW Indiana hardcore (think CCTV, LIQUIDS and the like) reborn...well, reborn in rural Wyoming...and this old ass man over here is just eating it up. Two songs on Gas Tape, three on More Gas, both released earlier this year and clocking in just over six minutes (together). I try to make friendly suggestions rather than blatant commercial endorsements, but there are nine more tapes where these came from and Deluxe Bias has me completely hooked. 



08 March 2021

SKULL COLLECTOR



Three pieces of unrelenting punishment left as waste material from a 2007 tour. This thing is fucking disgusting...massive, hollow, terrifying (terrified). 


* - there's at least one other tape, it's sick...and the link is probably dead. 
* - since today is about skull collection, I re-upped this the the other day: COLLECTING SKULLS

 

07 March 2021

ORIGEN



The brutality is the simplicity. The first song utilizes five chords. Total. And ORIGEN don't branch out much from there...it's like getting punched in the eye. Repeatedly. And you know the blows are still coming but you just tense up and take it. "Nos Escondemos" is a level five dose of punishment. This is all you get. 
 


06 March 2021

DOPECHARGE

 


Another one that came and went in the Bay Area's fertile aughts. A by-product of PELIGRO SOCIAL and DESOLATION, DOPECHARGE released exactly this one demo before imploding (there's a posthumous EP as well). A DBeat tinged charge with the subtlety of a rhino horde, with Mackey's vocals coming off like mid '80s UK brutality and pumping the life blood through a crew on the very brink of very literal collapse. Raw punk in the non-calculated sense, but in the total intensity sense. 



05 March 2021

CAT CEREBRATIONS



This collection of raw (mostly) instrumental psychedelic dirges settles in like a new piece of furniture...you walk by it a few times and then it's just there. Like it always has been. Recorded and presented by Chris Cat Food (OXYGEN DESTROYER, SIBERIAN ASS TORTURE, GEORGE CRUSTANZA), the ten artists here sound suspiciously similar while they dance between PHARAOH OVERLORD style numbing repetition (NO, COMADRE!) and pure repetitive bombast (CRUST KAPPA RAMPAGE). The recordings are uniform, so that when the tape does break loose as on the brilliantly monotonous "Rush To Death" by DIABLO CON CARNE it fits in perfectly and still listens like rehearsal doom. A filthy rocking session with damaged guitars from RACCON COMPLEX CONTAGION,  a fifteen minute exercise in patience from MOUNTAINOUS CRUNCHMENT, a short West Bay worthy bass/drum assault from CLANDESTINE BRONTOSAURUS...you almost get the impression that someone's having a little fun at your expense. But honestly, by the time I get to "Wizard Dream" by TLC WATERFALLS, I don't really care if this is a joke or not.

(CEREBRAL ACTION OF CATS)

04 March 2021

POSITIVE GREED

 

I suppose people not alive or around in the '90s know Seattle's POSITIVE GREED (if they know them at all) because the drummer was a founding member of FOO FIGHTERS and SUNNY DAY REAL ESTATE. But I knew them because ALL YOU CAN EAT had run into them at some point on tour and Danny B. turned me onto them. Their sound (especially with hindsight) is definitively '90s - the quick ska breaks, the honest determination that can only come from adolescence, dancing between raging hardcore and earnest DIY basement punk. "Mindrattler" is like ACCÜSED crashing headlong into '80s Euro hardcore, "Two Wrongs" and "Bob Song" sound like they got lost on a Very Small compilation LP....basically this 1992 tape is great,  and I don't know why I bothered even mentioning the Foo Fighters thing because it's totally irrelevant. 


03 March 2021

THE GEORGE CLINTON STORY

 

Just as the cover suggests, welcome to The George Clinton Story brought to you by DJ Billy Jam with help from Daddy Dog and Dr. Watt. Academic and/or nerd level analysis and wildly deep cuts, this program as broadcast in the '80s runs just just shy of 70 minutes. 

You see that what the dominant culture is trying to take - Clinton is already there. We were trying to get into outer space, he was the extraterrestrial brother.