31 August 2021

THEE GUILLOTINES



You like your shit to be shit hot? You like your shit nasty as fuck? You like your garage punk to sound like hardcore? You like your hardcore to sound like it's coming through an AM radio, pumping out of a 6" speaker on the dash of a '74 Crown Vic? THEE GUILLOTINES are your shit. THEE GUILLOTINES are your nasty. You sick fuck, THEE GUILLOTINES are your fukkn band. This is the sound of NASHVILLE PUSSY humping the ghost of NECROS on the streets of Los Angeles in 2016. My word. 

30 August 2021

CHARLEY DJANGO

 

I can' decide where I'm at on this one. The opening track "Needle," hits my 1990 self just right. Vibes that would have worked on ALICE IN CHAINS' Dirt, a record that I obsessed on for a solid year; just a murky alt/grunge blues dirge. I recognize that it's not a thing that I need, or even want, but if this is your thing then this track fucking nails it. After that song wraps...there are three more songs. "Caterpillar" continues on the same path, but with less of an edge and a more modern rock radio energy. Then comes "'89" and I'm starting to feel like I've been duped, just shitty blues/funk through a '90s alternative filter and "Outside The Market" which comes off like a lost GIN BLOSSOMS track. I know what you're thinking,,,,,,"Why?" Well, that "Needle" song is objectively good even if it's not your thing. And the rest of it? Well?




29 August 2021

NATURAL ABUSE

 



How did I miss this a decade ago when it dropped? NATURAL ABUSE left the earth in 2010 with a monster they simply called 6 Trax Punk, and it makes my face hurt today. "Tedium." "Deformed." "Scum." "Negative." "Lost." "Noize." Everything faster than everything else, everything louder than everything else, regardless of fidelity. Desperate marble mouthed howls frantically chase after blinding blasts so the band can drop into a hardcore stomp in unison. Highlights: 
• The empty bass intro that starts "Lost"
• The brief moment feedback leading into "Tedium" that perks me up and makes me think I'm about to listen to "The Biggest Lie"
•The part where "Negative" tries to be a regular hardcore song and fails miserably but of course succeeds because it fails so enthusiastically
Six trax here, as the cover suggests, that take up less than seven minutes. Brace yourself, punks, and never stop looking for the things you missed...




28 August 2021

WAKE UP SCREAMING



From the two riff simplicity of the opening track "Escape The Mind," there's no doubt which direction this tape is going - full throttle, ramshackle and wildly catchy when they want to be. The bass is super farty, the mix is all over the place, the vocals can't keep up with the music half of the time and the backing vocals are almost always slightly off, the rack tom fills leading into the chorus of "Polluted Atmosphere" are almost comical, the guitars have that inimitable clean/destroyed tone that gets mostly buried by the rhythms section but the solo in "Insane Brain" earns full legend status. In other words -  this unknown UK thrash screamer from 1985 sounds real. And it's intense as fucking hell. Ten studio tracks, with five live tunes (yeah - they're rough...but you could have figured that) and four more recorded at rehearsal (in case you thought the live recording wasn't quite rough enough) and a "Paranoid" cover that makes no sense whatsoever. You're welcome. 



27 August 2021

ARTSPACE QUARTERLY

 

An extremely interesting collection of performances recorded live in Albuquerque, New Mexico in 1986. From Scott Kinson's "Dialogue For Oboe And Piano" and a subtle (yet experimental) modern composition from Lori Schoenfeld to the expanded upright bass solo from Alan Lewine to primitive/experimental electronic pieces from Manny Rettinger and Tom McVeety, this tape captures true innovators honing their craft out of the field of vision. True innovators you've likely never heard of...which is precisely the point. 


26 August 2021

Особые Условия



The first demo we heard from Особые Условия (SPECIAL CONDITIONS) was from 2016, but I suppose in typical fashion...I might like the early stuff even better. Stark, cold, dark Russian punk. Mid-80s Boston (MISSION OF BURMA, MOVING TARGETS) melodies, WEDDING PRESENT presence, and unmistakably frigid Eastern European approach. Plenty of bands have tried to sound like JOY DIVISION - Особые Условия just sound like they are drawing their poison from the same well as the originators. Listen to the guitars on "Марафон," and continued respect to the Siyanie label. 


25 August 2021

KOLUMBINE

 

I think my favorite thing about this 2010 tape is how is kinda sounds like the end result of '00s hardcore. Total fastcore, elements of heavier clenched-fist US crust (especially on "Last Hope Depository" and "Traditional Degradation"), some blast beats (ok, a lot of blast beats)...it's all the shit I spent my decade devouring crammed into five short minutes. So, I guess that's pretty much all you need to know. 



24 August 2021

MEMORIES (OF A DIVINE MANIFESTATION)



I can't speak with anything approaching authority on the migration of many musicians from worlds of jazz and early new age experimentation to the often Westernized reinterpretations of Eastern devotional music, and it would be impossible for a casual listener to discern the "good" and "honest" artists from what is likely a bottomless chasm of worthless profiteers and bandwagon devotees. So I'm left to just pick blindly, and draw my own line between the sonically pleasing and the sonically pretentious. I know that a road to perfection likely ends with A. Coltrane's Ecstatic Music, but to just arrive at the destination would be like grabbing a copy of Vengeance and saying you're good on North American hardcore...and if you visit this place then it's probably because you want to dig a little deeper than that. So I grab these tapes when I see them, just in case, and I'd say at least half of them are interesting...and maybe half of those are worth keeping. This one from the Eternal Music label in Portland is on the bubble - the title indicates that it's a collection but it sometimes listens like a poorly curated mix - some of the ten tracks are excerpts that fade away just as they are getting me to that place, and the electric guitar in others is admittedly distracting. That said, the fourth track alone with the voice and harmonium simultaneously calling and answering one another. Or the 12+ minute fifth track that sounds like you're actually at Spahn Ranch in 1969, or the slow dirge of the tenth and final selection. It's worth it. And it's why we keep digging. Because there's more. 


 

23 August 2021

UK PUNK

Imagine you were trading tapes of underground recordings with an excitable young punk in Southern England sometime around 1982. You sent them shitty live recordings of the hardcore bands playing basements and hall shows in your suburban shithole, and they sent you third generation demos of then unknown English bands you had never heard of. Maybe one of those tapes might have sounded like this...

ANTISOCIAL - 
A little over half of the New Punks demo. Hard to believe this band still flies mostly under the radar. If nothing else, snag yourself a copy of the admittedly generic looking Made In England EP in your local shop. It's probably there, and it's probably less than $10. 

NAKED - 
This nine song demo from 1981 is probably the highlight of this tape. This came before the EP on Bluurg and features a chilling version of the chillingly appropriate "Mid 1930s / Pre-War Germany" which is one of my favorite punk tunes of the era. 

SUBURBAN STUDS -
Three song Peel Session from 1977. Think EDDIE & THE HOT RODS and other power pop/mod crossover acts of the time. 

RUBELLA BALLET - 
Another Peel Session, one that suffers slightly from generational duplication. No introduction (should be) needed for RUBELLA BALLET, and this session includes: "My Love Life," "Newz," "Exit," "Death Train" and "Trial 13." I'm struck by how much this sounds like a punk incarnation of GIRLS AT OUR BEST, but also struck by the fact that I've never had that thought before. 

Your friend in England hooked you up good with this tape. Hopefully you'll be returning the favor with a tape filled with bands from your area. Who knows, maybe you live in Michigan...and maybe NECROS are playing down the street next Thursday. You should probably take your tape recorded...just in case. 



22 August 2021

DOMINANT MINORITY

 

This one is an absolute motherfucker....from Duncan, Oklahoma. DOMINANT MINORITY never saw a proper release during their run, but Ross put this tape together to help make sure they weren't forgotten (and I thank him for that). I was stunned the first time I heard it, not just because it's good (and it's really fucking good), but because it sounded instantly like a hardcore band from Oklahoma. They sound like kids - like, it sounds like an early recording from a band who were just going to get better (and there are seven more songs here) and you finish the demo excited to listen again, but also anxious to hear whatever they are going to record next. DOMINANT MINORITY harness N.O.T.A. and the best aspects of BROTHER INFERIOR, then shove it defiantly in the face of late '90s DIY punk. "Free & Brave" is thirty five of the purest hardcore seconds you will hear all day, I listen in awe. 

21 August 2021

THE LIPSCHITZ



Remember a couple of weeks ago when I said that Not Normal Tapes was one of the best labels in North America? I present THE LIPSCHITZ as further evidence. These ten songs barely manage to fill a quarter hour, but these ten songs are bursting at the seams with attitude, Reatard hooks and snotty, jerky art punk vibes. It's....I mean, it's basically a perfect (and timeless) collection of songs. From the faux Nuggets doldrums that makes up most of "Brown Eyes" to the hard driving NWI stomp "Metro PCS," every moment of Lava is deliberate, and every moment feels necessary. It's...I mean, it's basically perfect. Good job. You should probably buy a copy. 


 

20 August 2021

FESTIVAL FOLKLORICO INSTRUMENTAL

 

Sometimes escapes are more necessary than others. Sometimes escapes are more helpful than others. Sometimes escape is simply the safest path towards survival. Volumen 1 may provide you that escape, as it did me. The things that consume you in this world cannot touch you for the next 35 minutes. It's not ironic, it's beautiful. It's therapeutic. Favorite journeys: WAYKOPAC, LOS MORUNOS and ALVARO LAGOS. 


19 August 2021

TERMINAL NATION

 



Really, this demo is all about that riff in the intro. The rest of the tape is good, like really good, but that is just the most deadly mosh and that need to be recognized. Arkansas' TERMINAL NATION have made enough of a splash over the last half decade that I don't imagine they need much of an introduction, so I'll leave their 2014 demo here and ask you to be careful out there. 


18 August 2021

BOY IN LOVE

 



Back to the roots of BOY IN LOVE for 1989's Pracise Make Perfec. You'll hear the dirty blues churn of "Ain't Got No 'Lectricity Blues," the thoughtful hippie croon of "He's A Man," and adolescent genius like "Beat The Flush" and "Sandbox (I Wanna Play In Your)." The Peehole Sessions is still me favorite BOY IN LOVE release, probably because I heard it first but possibly because "I Got A Bible (It's A Boy)" might be on my All-Time Top 10 List(*), but this sophomore effort sets a really high bar for low brow anti-music. 

(*) - I don't actually have an All-Time Top 10 List. 
Even if I did, it would probably change daily. 



17 August 2021

PILGRIM SCREW

 

More from Washington, this time an electro-charged post industrial freak punk adventure scape from PILGRIM SCREW. The while thing listens like a shit-fi Mind-era MINISTRY outtake on 45rpm, with seemingly no attempt to provide context, rationalization, or prepare the listener for might be coming next. "Absolute Fucking Human" is the soundtrack to a mutant alien rave happening in the apartment next door at 3am, while "Mental Rations" is a modern twist on the Rev/Vega model (by way of SIGUE SIGUE SPUTNIK) and not one moment on this tape is predictable. Punk always needs a kick in the ass, and punks typically do as well...fortunately, the folks at Impotent Fetus seem to have two feet, one suited for each purpose. 



16 August 2021

OLYMPIA CREATIVE MUSIC CONCERN

 

I am forever enthralled listening to musicians and artists who can apply the tenet of free jazz and non-music to sound while remaining, even vaguely, within the confines of DIY punk. I'm not talking about punk music, per se, and this OLYMPIA CREATIVE MUSIC CONCERN certainly does not come from the patches and studs crowd (nor does it pretend to), but I mean to say that it's so easily, or at least instantly, identifiable. And again with the clarification: not that the sounds can be identified, but that you feel like you identify with the sounds. That the sounds come from yours...and that the sounds are OK for you. Even if you don't understand them. OCMC have turned basement punk into Haidakhan Babji chants and mantras, manipulating purpose and intent and defying description or categorization in the process. It's one hour of improvisation, a concept resurrected from the dumpster. And it is (should be) the logical extension of what used to happen at TEHQ every Monday


15 August 2021

SKULL ATTACK

 

Gloriously pure UK82 mania from Wales. I sincerely hope that there's a world where we all get to hear Demo I and Demo II, but when you realize that all six tracks on 1982's searing Demo III made it onto the stunningly comprehensive Bullsheep Detector comps, it feels like this might be all that we're going to get. So blast "Killed Someone" at full volume and strap in, because SKULL ATTACK only get better from there. Hot take: this "Born To Lose" stomps Thunders' "Born To Lose."


14 August 2021

PERMETHRIN

 



Freaking love this one - maybe (or especially) because PERMETHRIN seem like they can't quite figure out exactly what they want to do....or who they want to be. I hear Independent Project-style jangly after punk, I hear passionate '90s DIY hardcore, I hear snappy UK punk, and that clean guitar is so damn persistent with the leads. They describe themselves as "mysterious guy softcore," and I'll take that. 


13 August 2021

UNSOLVED MYSTERY



You might think that the television theme song intro track is just a little teaser, but JAMES MICHAEL WILLIAMS is setting the table for a very strange dining experience. From LETTUCE VULTURES to PEPPERMINT TEABAG, from "Bloodshed" to the rousing gospel chorus in "Is God Real?"  ("god might be real but it really doesn't matter"), to FOSSIL FUEL's "Mystery Of OJ," Unsolved Mystery is outsider music, non-music, freak music...but it's also dark and ominous cuts like the burning electronics like the deadly serious "Our Mother Cries For Us In Hushed Static" by MEMORIALS. Putting PIMP OF PERVERSION and MIKOLAS KUNZ on the same release is....pretty genius. 






 

12 August 2021

BLASTER



The influence of East Bay punk in general, and GRIMPLE in particular, on the 1990s DIY punk scene in the suburbs of Oklahoma City cannot possible be overstated. That is my report. 



11 August 2021

DALE NOE

 

It's fortunate that my interest in under the radar country is a curiosity more than an obsession. I'll leave the obsession to the folks at Dollar Country (and I thank them for putting in the work), and just snag the odd nugget when it appears...like this collection of songs from (and by) Dale Noe. A quick listen to this 1992 collection will make it clear why Noe was more noted as a songwriter than as a singer, but if you're repertoire includes "It's Such A Pretty World Today" (recorded by Loretta Lynn, Johnny Paycheck, Nancy Sinatra, Wynn Stewart and countless others) then you get a pretty wide berth in my book. The title is pretty self explanatory, and I love the notion of an accomplished songwriter self releasing a cassette in his late 60s. Secret should-have-been hit: "Angel In A Devil's Arms."


10 August 2021

FORETHOUGHT

 

1986 San Francisco was a different place in virtually every way. Hard to imagine that the hippie heyday was less than two decades in the past and the outsiders had already blown though art punk and chaos punk and hardcore and started splintering into college alt and indie rock and pure freaksperimentation. CAMPER VAN BEETHOVEN played with BUTTHOLE SURFERS at The Mab, SST was releasing RUN WESTY RUN and SCREAMING TREES, and future Bay Area mainstay Tommy Strange (SONGS FOR EMMA, STRAWMAN, etc...), was done with ODFX and playing weird, angular, abrasive post-hardcore in FORETHOUGHT with folks who would later form SABOT, who embarked on a whole different freak path after FORETHOUGHT split. There's one EP (it's cheap, find yourself one), and this ten song piece of history...and history is important. 

09 August 2021

UNCLE SMOOTH AND THE LOST MAYANS

 



In case you thought the first tape from Waukesha, Wisconsin's UNCLE SMOOTH AND THE LOST MAYANS was something, let me introduce you to their follow up. The weirdest part (to me)....? Listen to "Sledding," and realize that this shit sounds years ahead of its time. 

08 August 2021

THE HEDONS

 


I could have seen this band in Norman, Oklahoma in 1991, playing a corner bar packed with college norms. I didn't see THE HEDONS, I've never even heard of them, but I swear that I could have. They remind be of a alt-bro version of SOME KIND OF CREAM...who were a band from Nebraska who I saw playing a corner bar in Norman, Oklahoma that was sparsely attended by college norms. SOME KIND OF CREAM were kinda good though, and I still have the record I bought in 1991. Apparently, I still have this tape by THE HEDONS, too. 

07 August 2021

PLEASANT VALLEY CHILDREN



I love this tape. I had a copy years ago (shit happens), then Tim slipped be a replacement sometime last year. It's good to have friends who look out for you. PLEASANT VALLEY CHILDREN play(ed) gruff, dark, punk -there's a bit of the unfortunate side of the late '80s on tracks like "Flounder," but "Coming Clean" is flawless, and cuts like "What's So Funny" are just completely off the rails. This tape ages really well, far more than historians (and/or collectors) seem to give it credit for. Also - Sned is a legend, straight up. 





06 August 2021

NOTHIN' TO FIND



I gushed over the first Pinhole Collapse mix a while back, and I might suggest that this one is better.  THE BATS (New Zealand) brilliant "Made Up In Blue" serves as the gateway to an hour of (mostly) ominous blues and country should-be classics with diversions as diverse as ALBERTO RUIZ and the DIXIE CUPS' "I'm Gonna Get You Yet." From the genius decision to play WANDA JACKSON at 33rpm (she sounds deadly) to known legends like RAY PRICE and EDDY ARNOLD to unknown (to me) dark stunners from BLONDE BOMBER, JIMMY WADE and THE CALICO WALL, Nothin' To Find is mesmerizing from start to finish...please don't pass this one by.


05 August 2021

DEAD AND GONE



I remember the first time I read about DEAD AND GONE in MRR. I'd never seen them, since they were an Oakland band and we were determined (and/or paranoid) San Francisco mutants, but someone in that rag described them as "the future of hardcore" or something like that. I'm not saying that reviewer was wrong, but it might have been more accurate to lave out a few of the words and just describe them as "future hardcore." This tape is almost thirty fucking years old, which kinda blows my mind. Because it still sounds like it's from the future. 
 

04 August 2021

LARNELLE HARRIS



Sometimes I buy tapes from thrift stores. 
Sometimes I'm buying them for me.
Sometimes I'm buying them for you.
Rarely do I pay more than 99¢.
I might have gotten ripped off this time.
It was 29¢.
At least there's a karaoke version. 
And sheet music.
You're welcome.
I'm sorry.



03 August 2021

W.O.O.



File under "not for everyone" if you want to file W.O.O. anywhere, but they don't make bands like this anymore, and they were impossible to classify even when they did. Turn of the decade freak music, but I'm talking about the '80s --> '90s here, when funk permeated seemingly everything and the hardest punks were turning into college art rock grown ups (or maybe they were simply "growing up"). New York City's W.O.O. seem to fit nowhere on either of those spectra. A weird cover of Sinatra's "Boots" makes me wonder what it would sound like it YEAH YEAH YEAHS made the same move 25 years later. "Reno" is a(n almost) psychobilly burner. And those tracks are sandwiched between two doses of IDIOT FLESH style prog/funk, "No Hurry" is pretty weird while "Big Picture" could have found a home on the Homestead roster. I mean, this was happening in NYC while TRAGIC MULATTO were playing shows in SF, so I guess it's not that weird. You just have to listen with 1989 ears instead of 2021 ears...which is probably how you should listen to most things, just to be safe. 

02 August 2021

HATE PREACHERS

 



Remember when I posted their first tape last year? This one is better. I kinda want to dissect every part of it, but it would be impossible to pull it off without sounding like a dick. I will say that "Treacherous" reminds me of a SUBHUMANS song that has never existed (but should have), and the drums in "Wrong Side" are possibly without parallel. And since I've already started...."Pain Is Entertainment" should have been a POISON IDEA song in 1987, same with "Don't Come Closer." "Deadly Present" sounds way hotter here than on the demo, total Lanchy level riffing..."Barbwire Noose" too, something about the way that opening riff descends that makes you want to jump out of a window. "Kidnapped" is untouchable California hardcore with a deadly infectious chorus, and "Trouble" makes you wonder how hardcore would be is '80s Orange County "punks" had been misanthropic freaks instead of surfers with good hooks. See? I did it anyway - fukk this band rules(ed).