31 May 2021

PILLARS OF A TWISTED CITY

 

Rarely does a release travel this far and remain cohesive. The self titled debut from British Columbia's PILLARS OF A TWISTED CITY listens like a mix tape at times - from churning stench to NEPHILIM style aggressive dark wave to fierce blasting lo-fi metal. Some times it feels like a black metal band experimenting with diversions, but tracks like "Horizons Of Neptune" are far more than just experimentation...they are diversions realized, and they work. This one is brutal and nasty and raw and gorgeous, and it all gels together more with repeated listens. 


Direct support, always: HERE
Physical media, whenever possible: HERE




30 May 2021

APATHETIC YOUTH

Seventeen tracks of fierce, marble-mouthed hardcore punk from Southern California. Kinda catchy sometimes, lots of blasting other times, not too far (sonically) removed from GRIMPLE. I've got the FINAL DRAFT split on Deep Six but they would have fit in just as nicely on the 625 roster.  Pretty sure they were from Inglewood. No cover or song titles on the tape and I have no idea how it came to me...but there's a handwritten geocities web address, so you know it's authentic. 


APATHETIC YOUTH
Highlights: Track #9 and track #12.

29 May 2021

WALRUS



Not suitable for the faint at heart or the discerning listener, this excretion from WALRUS is a straight edge shit-fi boombox attack from a long gone era of not giving a shit. Grinds and blasts and manic fastcore and would-be gnarly breakdowns all fight a losing battle with fidelity on Tuskill...but maybe victory isn't really the goal here. Perhaps the fight itself is the whole fucking point. 
 
TUSKILL

28 May 2021

1970

 

Truth told, this is all shit that should be for a different blog. The random finds, the mysteries, the anomalies, the oddities and the curiosities that have been preserved by this outdated and imperfect but utterly accessible format. But fuck man, two tape blogs is enough and I'm not gonna start a youtube channel so all of this shit is just going to live...here. Ninety-three minutes of radio recorded in by Pat Wright - seems to be mostly from an FM station in Middlebury, Vermont though it's labeled 1970 - N.Y. Radio. He listened to (or mistreated) the original tape enough that he had to reload it into a new shell somewhere along the line, and it's easy to see (hear) why. Plenty of songs and artists you already know, but hearing LOVE SCULPTURE, MARMALADE and TAJ MAHAL played on the same level as MOUNTAIN and the STONES is still pretty cool. And SLY's "Love City" sounds like it should, like you're listening on a shitty AM radio with one dashboard speaker blaring faintly out of the dashboard of a busted up LTD II while driving just a little too fast through a weighty fog on windy, wooded roads. Come to think of it, that's exactly what this blog is for. 


27 May 2021

ADAM VOID



An individualist sonic marauder, A:VOID defies all arbitrary classifications. Appalachian roots searching for sustenance from urban waste, a life of social isolation providing fertile ground for aural autonomy. New Depression Era Rambler collects and repurposes the grey water runoff from generations of backwoods civilizations - treating the audible sludge with turpentine to make it fit for consumption by gutter punks, would-be-Kaczynskis...and pretty much no one else. This isn't a listening experience...it's an experience. 
 


26 May 2021

MINBIZIA



This Basque project instantly hit me like EL AVIADOR DRO. The punk influence on these primitive dance floor synth bangers, and when MINBIZIA darken things up on tracks like "Satan Nagosi" it feels like looking through a time machine at a dusty basement in 1980s Brno...alcohol fueled savants hard wiring primitive electronics and just screaming at everything. A scenario completely imagined, presented with a very real soundtrack from 2019 Bilbao. 
 
MINBIZIA


25 May 2021

INSURGENTS



I was trying to think of a reason to not offer another dose of fist clenching hardcore today. Came up with nothing, so here's the 2007 dose from Australia's INSURGENTS. The Dead Hicks tape from the following year also rips, and the singles are available for a few bucks. So do yourself a favor and then punch a hole in your wall. 



24 May 2021

JERRY'S KIDZ

The Noise Addiction blog shared this shared sometime in the last decade (with song titles - which are still up there if you're inclined to do some digging and editing), but that was like three hardcore generations ago. So how juiced was I when I pulled out a tape of an AVENGERS set from '79 and saw the JERRY'S KIDZ demo on the same tape? ADOLESCENTS radio set from '81 too...all praise tape traders...but it's this dose of unhinged New Mexico hardcore that made me pop the tape in, and I promptly lost my shit just like I did the first time I heard "Social Drinker." Completely damaged, fast as shit sun baked USHC - raised on a diet of MDC, early-FLAG in the shadows of the Sandia Mountains. No clue if there was ever a "proper" release or any artwork associated with this 1983 recording, but it pops up on trade lists throughout the decade, and rightly so. I don't even think I listened to the AVENGERS set that day...just hit rewind and listened to this shit again. 



23 May 2021

BAD YEAR

 

Seven doses of Florida fury from the lost decade of aughts. I think some of these parties were later responsible for DEAD FRIENDS, but I might be wrong. I fucking love the way the drummer rides the bell before the breakdown in "Unleashed" though, and the other tape that Drugged Conscience did is a total ripper too. Can't think of a better way to ugly-up five minutes of your day. 

22 May 2021

CLEVELAND BOUND DEATH SENTENCE



The "lesser known" CLEVELAND BOUND DEATH SENTENCE is the original CLEVELAND BOUND DEATH SENTENCE, the name taken from an acronym using the first letter of the original members' names - Casey, Brad, Dave (LOOMIS, SANDBOX), Scott (ALLIGATOR GUN, PROMISE RING, then DASHBOARD CONFESSIONAL). Before this 1988 tape, they had added a B (Brendan) a second guitarist (John - hard to squeeze a J-word into that name, I guess), and they were a suburban hardcore machine. From the three second SABBATH rip that starts "The Struggle," you can just tell you're about to get leveled...and you are. Pissed, slightly metallic US hardcore punk with the laid back second wave groove that allowed bands to construct songs (often to their own detriment - some bands are just built for speed). Every track here is a classic - from the guitars that open "Cause Of Death" to the chorus of "Crematorium" C.B.D.S. punch way above their weight from start to finish. Brad's vocals deliver a forceful and slightly awkward youthful warble that brings to mind early '80s Orange County punks while the band bashes out "Afraid" with confidence and power...afraid of nothing. There was a rehearsal tape before this recording, and a decidedly more crossover demo that came after - all are worth visiting, and all are worth far more praise than the band receives. 


And the "other" CLEVELAND BOUND DEATH SENTENCE? Check the logo and the aesthetic on their 1997 EP, and know that one of the founding members spend a lot of time in Milwaukee in the late '80s and early '90s. You're welcome to draw your own conclusions. 

21 May 2021

"ECLECTIC"

Another tape from the collection of Pat Wright, this one simply titled Eclectic. Compiled by Sharon Divitt in 1989, Eclectic moves effortlessly between blues, vaudeville, folk, 1950s country and 20th century composers. And it works. If I had purchased this compilation I would be pleased, and I can imagine that the liner notes would be fantastic.

20 May 2021

THE SYMPHONY



I wrote at length about THE SYMPHONY's arrival in Norman, Oklahoma when I posted the Indian Clayton's Brown Dog Backyard Habitat tape in The Escape's infancy, but I figure every unknown band deserves to be discussed at least once a decade....no? They were from Ardmore, Oklahoma, and they appeared one autumn (probably 1991?) as classes ramped up, and they just seemed so serious and so generally legit to my little crew of weirdos and dorks. They were also really fucking good. I'm going to make an analogy that is going to sound completely off, but please hear me out.....THE SYMPHONY were to Oklahoma college town grunge/punk what DEAD AND GONE were to Bay Area hardcore. This is to say that we (the "rest" of us) basically got what they were doing, but they were light years ahead of us. The way they wrote songs and approached songwriting, they way they owned their influences and used them as fuel - influences that put them in league with the bands who influenced the bands who influenced bands that we liked - and I still hear all of that when I listen to this tape today. This thirty year old tape. 




19 May 2021

DR. IDENTITY

 

This is one of the 2010s releases that seems to have gotten lost in the shuffle, and some genius is going to "discover" is in a few years and it's going to be regarded (rightly) as a stone classic. WIPERS caliber dark punk sensibilities fronted by the most hesitantly gorgeous voice, this self-titled tape will work its way under your skin. Listen to "Permanent." Listen to "The Fog." Listen to the do you really want to? chorus in "Pet." All of it. Sharp, fierce, the very embodiment of the thing that reviewers call "angular" or "post punk," and it's right here. For you. 


18 May 2021

THE SYSTEM



Come on, young punks! Tell me what you want that you can't find in THE SYSTEM's 1982 demo? That's a declarative statement in the form a question, because the answer is: nothing. It's anarcho punk, it's the roots of UK hardcore, it's UK82 stomps, it's like the Punk And Disorderly comps reduced to one brilliant and timeless band. Get the discography LP, but blast this version of "Born To Lose" because it is absolutely untouchable. 
 


17 May 2021

SAKÉ



Absolutely massive band if you were in the SF Bay Area in the 1990s. They rolled in from Eureka every few months, looking like they were the earth warriors that all the urban punks wanted to be, and they played rough DIY hardcore born of the same frustration as the black clad Oakland set....but SAKÉ felt real as fuck when you saw them live. The running narrative at the time was that the recordings never did them justice, and I still don't think they do....but listening to "show me some fucking RESPECT" in the first song gives me chills 25 years later, so I'm gonna say they hold up. Of course the 10" and the SUBMISSION HOLD split are great, but these six songs are so pissed. Desperate. Like a frantic gasp before the creature descends back into the forest...which is exactly what it felt like when you saw them live. 
 


16 May 2021

DN0



The world of improvisational non-music that these people inhabit keeps drawing me closer. I don't understand it (and I don't pretend to), but this racket that DN0 created in 2020 is like a vacuum that keeps sucking me into its hose. It's like a deconstruction of the No New York comp, the idiosyncratic parts isolated and abandoned....combined with other parts from other creations from all enduring a similar fate. Hear the instruments falling apart during, and as a part of, the tracks themselves. Hear vocals manifested as blurts of frustration while feedback wails absently. These fellows are either geniuses......or extremely fucking lucky. Listen to "Classified."
 


15 May 2021

EXCITABLE BOYS

 

I feel like my words would be best spent offering simple facts instead of a comprehensive "review" that most folks would probably blow past anyway because the cover has a basketball dude on it.
So:
1. Eight songs in less than seven minutes.
2. One song is called "Square By Square, Ridding Emo Kids Of Their Blankies."
3. Mailing address is from Sandusky, Michigan. 
4. Another song is called "If There's A God Up In Heaven, His Kid's Into Hardcore."
5. The population of Sandusky, Michigan is less than 3,000 persons. 
6. The song "Traumatic Rectal Abscess" is about a bicycle accident, and not a porno grind song.


14 May 2021

CODE BLUE

 

A veritable who's-who of USHC in 1984, Code Blue is an essential hour of blistering hardcore. The folks at Last Rights (remember, these are the folks who did the America's Dairyland comp too) put together a relentless collection of killers focusing heavily on the Midwest: ARTICLES OF FAITH, NAKED RAYGUN, SACRED ORDER, WHITE FLAG, DIE KREUZEN, BIG BLACK, RIGHTS OF THE ACCUSED, GNP....you get the idea. Lots of live cuts, some demo versions of songs you already know. Pure madness. 


13 May 2021

RIPPING STARS FROM THE SKY



Sometimes it just hits you. And it can be brutally simple but you're floored. Slack-jawed. You have to put everything down and really listen to RIPPING STARS FROM THE SKY for it to have that effect, and I don't just mean that you have to empty your arms....you have to unburden yourself. The tape will do the rest. It's raw, distant, desperate, willing. Mostly instrumental lo-fi doom driven by keyboards. Picture BOHREN & DER CLUB OF GORE, Italy's MISANTHROPUS and CASIO TONES FOR THE PAINFULLY ALONE....transcribed onto the same page and then crumpled up into a ball. 

RIPPING STARS FROM THE SKY


 

12 May 2021

DESOLATION



Wrong place, Wrong time. By 1991, the SS Buttrock had already left port, sailing the seas in search of state fairs and potential fans who hadn't heard about the shifting cultural tides. But things move a little slower in Emond, Oklahoma, and bands like DESOLATION sometimes get abandoned by time....so sonic archaeologists get to rescue artifacts like Hand Of The Wicked from thrift store grab bags or suburban closet shoeboxes. And the reason we keep digging is....this DESOLATION is almost good. Not "good" as in "this rips, I want to listen to this all the time!" good. Rather "good" as in "oh man, poor dudes - I can envision a world where they made it" good, and "almost" as in "not quite." Leaning heavily on the anthemic ballad end of the commercial heavy metal spectrum, like a band who was actively consuming classic rock radio and absorbing all of the influences - the positive and the negative - this release (their only one?) still has moments. "Don't Scream" owes a debt to the ALICE IN CHAINS dark ballad formula, "Make 'em Pay" has a Sunset Strip Strut that would make FASTER PUSSYCAT proud, "Angel's Rage" is a flat out hard rock burner...and there are more than enough cringe worthy cuts to balance things out. Biblical themes and songs about societal conflict are present throughout, which might give the closing track "On Your Knees" a different context than other hair metal songs with similar titles.....nah, the chorus is "night time is the right time for my love" and the verse goes "oooohhh baby /  honey / baby honey please / please me squeeze me, love me on your knees / I need you right now / I want you nooooowwwwww" so I guess we can skip the righteous shit. 


11 May 2021

GREYLAND

 

Aside from appearances on a few (extremely sick) flyers from the late 1990s and an Albany, NY return address, I don't have much background to share. Truly a product of the decade, GREYLAND's brand of DIY stoner/crust falls in line with RINGWORM (or RINGWURM), BUZZOV•EN, even some of the metallic stench that bands like DAMAD cranked out earlier in the decade. But seeing their name on flyers with SPAZZ, MONSTER X, PAINDRIVER, DEVOID OF FAITH and the like, you know these mutants were dropping bombs in hardcore spaces and that just makes it feel so much heavier. Guitars are just a touch off in a gloriously nauseating way, the entire recording is redlined, they just sound awful. "Awful" as in...ugly...and then they grind. Repeated listens over the past few days have only drawn me in closer - pure and ruthless US hardcore stench, and I love it. 

Listen to "Hate Inheritance." Seriously. 

10 May 2021

HELLGRAMMITE

 

Some wild ass prog-crust from Seattle, circa 2008. Safe to say that these nice fellows had a couple of DYSTOPIA records, and safe to say that the roughness of the demo enhances the listening experience. 


09 May 2021

HOOD RATS



HOOD RATS should appeal to fans of....punk. And also punk. And hardcore. And rock 'n roll. Digital Wasteland hits instantly and keeps battering for twenty minutes until "Prisoner Of War" lurches to a stop. Light speed trash by way of POISON IDEA, INEPSY, ANGRY SAMOANS, ANNIHILATION TIME....you get the deal and HOOD RATS deliver the goods. It's like KBD and snarling US hardcore and Motörpunk converging at an abandoned desert skate spot gakked on trucker speed and malt liquor, shredding a pool long abandoned by a would be suburbia until the sun goes down and the day descends into darkness and chaos. That's what this shit sounds like. 



08 May 2021

UNREAL THOUGHT



I think that unless I choose to spend a week or two focused on Canada's Atlantic Provinces, I will just be playing catch-up for years to come because the quality and frequency of the output from DIY punks there has remained frighteningly consistent for the last decade. The second tape from UNREAL THOUGHT came out back in 2014, when every punk was stacking flangers on flangers and there were more smoke machines than riffs...when a new wave of DIY rippers all seemingly discovered SISTERS and TONES ON TAIL when they were at summer camp together and made a pact to flood the market. But embedded in that mass of hastily thrown together throwbacks were (are) some brilliant releases and some bands who were using available tools to create their own sounds....no one sounds like UNREAL THOUGHT. Layers of spoken vocals, damaged and piercing guitars, a dark shroud drawn over a punk band who still sounds like a fucking punk band. I don't feel like I'm listening to a band trying to sound like 1984 - I feel like I'm listening to a band creating a sound that captures their existence. There's more where this came from. 



07 May 2021

AS THE TWILIGHT FADES



The first volume in an excellent series from the folks at Pinhole Collapse, As The Twilight Fades is an hour of outsider blues and international guitar rock that gives way to a second side filled with psyched out oldies tinged with the light fuzz of history. From CHARLIE MEGIRA's "The Girl Afraid Of Ashtrays" to CHARLIE FEATHERS' "One More Time" and F. KENYA's transcendent "Ewule Adoma Kuma," this collection just nails a vibe while dancing between and within sonic cultures and arbitrary genres. Fans of the Contact Records Astral Maps and Enchanted Surf compilations will want to pay close attention to this series....because there are two more volumes waiting in the wings. 



06 May 2021

THE DARTS



(Very) short lived band from Oakland/San Francisco that featured members of JACK ACID, THE CRIMINALS, BLACK FORK and a host of others. Loose and ramshackle 1994 Bay Area punk that existed for less than a year and sounds exactly like what you would expect from a short lived mid-'90s project. I would have listened to this constantly if I had heard it at the time.