30 September 2021

DATA UNKNOWN

 

You know this one is right before it even really gets going. "Vibin' On A Hearse" opens up with some truly deranged synths creeping over a distorted tom beat with no cymbals, and then vocals kinda meander drunkenly through the outer edges of the mix until the whole outfit gives way to a mental episode with "Feathers n Eyes." True freak punk from Indiana, each track is an outburst and some are directed inward in the most damaged (and damaging) way. More than an experiment, DATA UNKNOWN sound like a plea for attention...or possibly help. 

29 September 2021

CHARLIE'S FAMILY CRISIS

 

What grabs me about CHARLIE'S FAMILY CRISIS is the way it hits like so many late '80s under the radar USHC acts (NEANDERTHAL SPONGE, BIG DEAL, NAKED HIPPY and the like). It nods to the early part of the decade but the sound is infected by crossover and metal and the early stages of melodic punk in the 1990s. Vocals remind me of CONCEPT OF NONSENSE, some of the more disjointed parts remind me of BURIED or DEMISE, though mostly I think that Family Life sounds familiar, as if it comes from a place that I would have been...if I had been there. Perhaps that's why my reference lines all originate from somewhere close to home, but I've never been to Wales, so maybe punk is universal after all. 

28 September 2021

POKING A DEAD FISH WITH A NOT DEAD FISH

 

Once again, Food Fortunata and/or Friends are testing the limits of musical reasonability...this time with the unearthed project POKING A DEAD FISH WITH A NOT DEAD FISH. Nineteen songs about bowel movements, math, pickles, manual labor and whatever other stream-of-consciousness came out when the guys pressed <record>. Ponder wise quips like "construction was not created by a ghost, it was the dream of all large mammals" while you're trying to figure out if the music is a (failed) attempt to succeed or whether you're just the target of a cruel audio prank. No one does it better, fine visitors...no one. 

27 September 2021

SHITLOAD

 

Long time visitors will remember Mondays. Week after week of blown to shit distorted, noisy non-music. Week after week of sonic abominations. I've gotten (a lot) less strict on my scheduling, but I don't think there's a band more perfect for the Monday slot that New Orleans based Covid project SHITLOAD. Complete noisecore. Nothing else. Bass and drum (machine) destruction that makes GODSTOMPER sound like pop punk. With 40+ releases in less than two years, it's impossible to keep up...but please believe that I'm going to try, because this is either what the world sounds like or this is what the world needs. Probably both. 



26 September 2021

ANTIMOB

 

Greece's ANTIMOB are one of the most under-appreciated current hardcore bands I can think of. Every single release has flawless sonic and aesthetic presentation, and they've spent the last decade improving on their own sound instead of trying to recreate (or reinvent) themselves. Passionate, epic, powerful hardcore punk...not sure what else a fellow like me could ask for. 


25 September 2021

READY Z

 

The opening sample "first they take your land and then they take your mind" sets the stage for a gripping presentation of conscious rap from Southern California. The sounds are dated, in a good way (think PE, DISPOSABLE HEROES and it seems there's a KRS-One appearance on "Stomp") tracks like "Capitalism And Slavery Go Hand In Hand!" and "Imperialism Is A Beast" hit me like time warps), and the reliance on (nay, utilization of) samples by READY Z (aka READY 4 REVOLUTION) is sometimes gloriously overwhelming. What I'm most struck by when listening to Guerrilla Kit 2 is that I keep listening - I want to hear the sample that I missed, I want to take all of the references in and I want to hear every rhyme because it feels important now. And it feels important because it (still) is important - even (especially) if the group faded into a distant past and everyone missed it the first time around - every word is poignant and every blow lands harder than ever on these present day ears.  

23 September 2021

SONDRA RAY // RAFAEL & LAARAJI



On the one hand, this hour long presentation is a calming and meditative exercise in relaxation and perspective. I'm not gonna lie...I found myself digging on the Divine Mother, because who isn't into knowledge flowing from the embodiment of the highest self to all the world like nectar? Shit sounds cool. I'm down. Collectively, some knowledge flow would probably be a good thing - so let's bow to that mother, you dig? On the other hand, Sondra Ray teaches for profit spiritual intimacy and "rebirthing" quests where you can "make contact with the Divine Mother" and she kinda sounds like your aunt from Gary, Indiana who annoys everyone at family gatherings. But I guess someone has got to sing the praises of the Divine Mother, because we sure as fuck aren't. 


22 September 2021

MEXICAN POWER AUTHORITY

 

If you aren't already familiar with MEXICAN POWER AUTHORITY then this post is going to make your head spin. I would have a hard time identifying a DIY punk band who were more all over the map than this Canadian outfit - there's classic '90s DIY hardcore, wild experimental Fripp freakouts, and there are darker MISSION OF BURMA-esque tracks like "Myomiverse" that should belong in the catalog of a band far more revered than MPA. You'll find comedic grindcore, you'll find irreverence along the lines of SCHLONG and mathy post-hardcore that makes you want to pull out the PLAID RETINA 12". Free jazz. Noisecore. PARTISANS and LED ZEPPELIN covers. COLTRANE's Om condensed to 70 seconds. There are 117 tracks on this tape....don't say I didn't warn you, but if you aren't amazed by the end then I don't know if I can help you. 





21 September 2021

REINA AVEJA

 

The REINA AVEJA trip from Florida to California blew a lot of minds in 1998. They just casually laid waste to every band they played with...heaviness that came from another world delivered by women who came from the other side of this one. The approach to sludge-laden slogs was punk, which brought justifiable BUZZOV•EN comparisons, but the approach to punk was fierce and femme in the face of those comparisons. They recorded an album with Billy Anderson while they were out here, an album that has (unfortunately) never seen the light of day, and the band spread out shortly afterwards. The bassist spent has been in several bands since, and is currently in a freak punk outfit called GRP.TXT. I spent a couple of years in LAUDANUM with the drummer and her partner before I moved to Wisconsin...making noise with them was really fukkn fun. Anyway...someone should release that record Billy recorded. 






20 September 2021

MAX NORDILE

 



More musings (and/or ramblings) from West Coast sonic savant Max Nordile. 2020's Little Kicks is a quarter hour of wind improvisations, stringed jangles and incomprehensible murmurs punctuated by clangs and bangs and the mutterings of a creator not meant for our world. I have this frequent revelation that Nordile is quietly breaking down all of the barriers (real or imagined) between The People and What Is Music....consecutive movements in a demonstration that all sound is, or can be, Music For The People. The fact that that it's so "weird" or "random" is exactly what makes it so accessible. 


19 September 2021

BE-JIN

 

Good luck with this one. Equal parts J-Pop, video game soundtrack and '80s teen movie montage music, the 1988 cassette from BE-JIN still has me wondering if they were punk adjacent. There's a song called "Skinheads." Some of the solos are just not quite mainstream...just enough to make you wonder if they're played by an imposter. Maybe I'm wrong. I'm wrong a lot. It looks cool as hell though. Good luck. 





18 September 2021

WEIRDOS

1977 rehearsal recording from first wave Los Angeles punks WEIRDOS. The recording itself is a little rough, and this comes from a relic copy that is a few generations removed from the original, BUT....the WEIRDOS fukkn rule, and this session is a killer. Their ferocity shines through the (or is enhanced by) the presentation, and the 1-2 punch of "Why Do You Exist" into "Do The Dance" is pretty much untouchable. Way more TOMBS/STOOGES/PAGANS vibes than the studio versions of these tracks...which is (of course) a positive. 


REHEARSAL 1977 

17 September 2021

A MUSICAL NEWSPAPER

 

Before you think that A Musical Newspaper is some schlock/joke comp meant to trick you into wasting your time, just hear me out. We may be a long way from the world where ELSE POPPING AND HER PIXIELAND BAND receives legitimate accolades, even from outsider music devotees, but that might be part of what makes their inclusion here (and WESTERN ELECTRIC PIANO STYLE "X," and THE PIPE ORCHESTRATION FROM THE PRAGUE NATIONAL MUSEUM OF MECHANICAL MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS, and ANTON WEBERN...you get the idea) work so well. There's no moment on this tape where you think, "oh, I get it....this is the weird song" because everything here is fucking weird. Spaghetti Western schmaltz mingling with MARTIN DENNY, experimental solo vocalists, and non-music torture from NOGGIN while shit-fi acoustic croons by AMBERGRIS make periodic interruptions just to keep things honest. A true outsider comp for true outsiders; a comp clearly put together by the folks at with reverence rather than irony. 



16 September 2021

MANGLE

 

This shit is so heavy. Really. Folks gonna call this power violence, for sure, and no one is gonna argue, but it's the way that MANGLE infect you with earworms while crushing you...that's what makes them special. The first song has early-TORCHE caliber hooks hidden inside a song that is just so unbelievably devastating, a song that spends three-and-a-half of its six minutes struggling through piercing feedback and errant drum bombast, just tempting the listener to think they know what might be about to happen, or when. MANGLE are ugly, and it's their seeming determination to be ugly that makes them stand out (to me). This hits like BUZZOV•EN for a new generation - outside and somehow above the world of sound they are likely associated with - a blasting, churning, blistering assault. 





15 September 2021

GILBERTO GIL



I saw a samba competition at a music school that was associated with Gilberto Gil a few years ago, groups preparing for Carnaval performing in front of Gil and a panel of instructors (or maybe judges?). It was complete sensory overload, with people supporting different performers filling the room and singing/dancing along with the performers, calling/answering/joining the sounds from the stage from all directions in a venue that was just so unbelievably packed. And hot. And sweaty. It was one of the most gorgeous displays of complete chaos, with the surrounding blocks completely stuffed with humanity and everything just felt like you could fill up forever in that very moment. Gil was up on a balcony, the reverence displayed for him was impossible to ignore, even through the madness and my inability to understand pretty much anything that anyone said, you could see performers address him and all energy would shift in his direction while he just humbly smiled. It was really fucking cool, and I would totally do it again. 1984's Realce is...well, it's not that experience. You're not going to get Frevo Rasgado when you listen (you should check Frevo Rasgado when you're done here - I'm relatively new to this record but I'm digging it pretty hard), but the homogenization of styles into a kind of universal '80s schmatlz is nonetheless familiar and honestly kinda comfortable. 



14 September 2021

CLEAN SLATE

 



On the off chance that you aren't currently moshing, I'd like to direct your attention to Manila's CLEAN SLATE. A frenzy of honest hardcore power, with a voice that reminds me of circa-2001 TOTAL FURY - it's a little loose, it's fully in the red, it's a little out of tune (note: just a little) here and there...but when you're going this hard, trading energy for precision is not just acceptable - it's encouraged. There's an EP on Still Ill that dropped a couple of years ago (note: it's a killer), but I recommend (as always) starting with the demo and then moving along chronologically. 


13 September 2021

JONI EKMAN

 


If you have a soul, then Joni Ekman hits you hard and hits you fast. If your party bone isn't broken, then Joni Ekman gonna make you swing. Didn't know you had a party bone? Then Joni Ekman will help you find it. This proto-Best Of collection was my first introduction and I was instantly sold - flawless Finnish glam punk/power pop. He's clearly studied the classics (HOT RODS, T REX, SLAUGHTER, FANTASY, CUDDLY TOYS), and it's dripping with '80s pop hooks - the keys in "Sä Pidät Jäätelöstä" are just....well, second only to the guitar leads that open "Tiedän Että Valehtelet." Remember the first time you heard Permission to Land? Well...what if that record were kinda punk and also kinda J-Pop? Sold, not ashamed. 


12 September 2021

DAMN YOUTH

 



I jumped on this as son as I saw it pop up - when something is this good and there are only a couple of dozen physical copies, you gotta move fast. DAMN YOUTH hail from Northeastern Brasil just outside of Fortaleza, and have been honing their AntiFascist Skate Thrash Assault since the mid '10s...CWB Undead harvests the fruit of their efforts at a live show in 2019 (I think?).  The casual conversation between songs is without pretense - DAMN YOUTH let their performance speak for itself, and 'relentless' is the only word that seems appropriate. Ten doses of brutal head splitting nazi smashing thrash metal is what you're expecting, and that's exactly what they deliver. I spent my 45th birthday with these dudes...they slayed that night just like they did the night this set was recorded. 



11 September 2021

PANTANO



I keep thinking this one is going to explode, but a year after I received this tape from Rafa, still no one is talking about PANTANO...maybe now they will start? Killer, raw, hard driving dark synth punk from the depths of Ciudad de México, five doses of pure primitive electronic bliss. The kind of tape that makes me ask no one in particular: What else is there? In this moment, the answer is simple: Nada. So we dance.

10 September 2021

DETH KROKODIL

 

An Indonesian grind/crust bulldozer from 2010 unearthing the entire future up to (and including) present time - there's so much tonnage here, it fucking hurts to listen to. When a release opens with an instrumental titled "The Almighty Poor Call For War," I think it's safe to assume that you're fucking in for it, and DETH KROKODIL do not disappoint. Absolutely one of the angriest things I have listened to in a long long time...which is precisely how I needed my day to start. 




09 September 2021

09 SEPTEMBER 1986

Three quarters of an hour taken from the tail end of the 2am - 530am broadcast on Berkeley's KALX, hosted by Insect Boy (aka Insect Man aka Pat Wright). Some ticket giveaways, an upcoming event calendar, some dry humor....and some amazing music. WEATHER PROPHETS, WILD TCHOUPITOULAS, DEAD SILENCE, CULT OF BIGNESS (more on this mysterious outfit someday, for those who remain OBLIVIOUS), TOILING MIDGETS, JOHN LEE HOOKER...you get the idea. Pat didn't fuck around. Thirty five years ago today.

08 September 2021

POSITIVE NOISE

 

Ripping early '00s Michigan fastcore ripped straight from the desperate clutches of the early '00s. Guitar breaks, breakdowns, lots of 'GO's,  lots of super short mosh parts - POSITIVE NOISE seem to have spent the middle of the decade fermenting, so they're just a little faster, looser, and maybe stinkier than your standard Thrash2K fare...which is a positive, of course. To some, the circle pits and dog piles of 2002 seemed like a distant memory in 2008, but some folks were just getting started. 







07 September 2021

CARNAGE



You don't need the qualifiers here, you don't need the context. You don't need to know that Killing Machine was a one-off from a formidable outfit who tore up the Oklahoma City metro area for a few years from the late '80s to the early '90s. You don't need the anthropological background to make you say "oh, it's pretty good considering...." You just need to hear "No Solution" and "Artery" and the title track  "Killing Machine," because after you blast that shit, all you'll be asking is how the fuck have I never heard this before and how can I hear more?!?! The bad news is that you probably can't hear more, unless you're beer buddies with the fellas and they've got some unreleased demos floating around in their closets (note: if you fall into this category, then drop me a line...we need to talk). The good news is that every minute of this CARNAGE tape is just as ripping as the three songs I mentioned - total thrash assault in the spirit of EXODUS. Except the cover...that song fucking sucks. But still, I consider eight out of nine a solid win. 
 



06 September 2021

PAX TITANIA

 


I'm going to (once again) say that I don't really know shit about noise. But I know what I like, and I can (sometimes) offer a half assed explanation of why I like it. It's the rhythm here - PAX TITANIA kinda throb their way through these two live recordings from 2007/08, venturing into what might (in another world) be a minimal techno set but staying firmly planted in raw, weird, improvisational ambience; so much more trance-like than what likely get's passed of as "trance" as a subgenre. The second piece, recorded at the venerable Tampa Noise Fest, is fucking masterful - primitive electronics punctuated by harsh noise that devolves into a series of erratic fits and starts, that then gets absorbed by hard synth driven pulsations...like Peter Shilling finally tracked down ground control, after it was too late. Dig it. 

05 September 2021

J.O.C.K.

 



Olympia was a wild place in the early '10s. Olympia is still a wild place, and it was a wild place long before the New Century....but it was definitely a wild place then too. J.O.C.K. was a wild band, and they sound like they should be from Olympia - jerky and weird, kinda epic but also kinda thrown together. Lots of voices coming at you from different parts of the mix, it sounds like a band still searching. Picture them on a bill with RAGANA, but also it lands somewhere between GR'UPS and SPITBOY on the "pick your early '90s reference" chart. If you weren't aware of this chart....well, it exists. No Assumptions dropped in 2012, and J.O.C.K. seem to have dropped out shortly after that, which is too bad. 

04 September 2021

BLUE NUN

 

Let pretend everything is cool. Lets pretend the world isn't crumbling before our very eyes. Let's pretend it's along weekend and we are in a convertible with the top down and it's a sunny afternoon. For just six short songs, let's pretend that it's 1983 and the only thing we're really scared of is the abstract fear of a nuclear war instead of the very real threat of a civil one. BLUE NUN? They are the band playing on that late summer day when everything is just fine and life is good. They are (or were?) a power pop band from SF and they sound like their cover art looks. They're like the one song on the Footloose soundtrack that still holds up almost 40 years later...which is a trick analogy because that whole soundtrack slaps.



03 September 2021

ANCIENT FUTURE

 

On the one hand, maybe this is a little bit of what everyone needs. On the other hand....what if inner peace actually breeds docility? With that in mind, I only make occasional visits to Visions Of A Peaceful Planet and similarly hopeful and/or grounding bullshit. Because there is no hope, but there's nothing wrong with a little reset...as long as you aren't deluding yourself. Never stop fighting. 




02 September 2021

DICHOTOMY

 

This monster is on loan from a friend in The Mission, and now that it's time to give it back, I find that I pretty desperately need (ok, "want") a copy of my own. Eleven minutes of frantic, anguished light speed hardcore that lands somewhere between raw black metal and '90s screamo, even though it's really just a completely unfiltered sonic interpretation of a brutal reality. The rhythms/riffs are mostly driven by the bass, the drums are like a off balance 45rpm blast beat lock groove played at 33, vocals something between ASSHOLE PARADE and PAXTON QUIGGLY while the guitars....fukk man, they're just a wave of torment washing over the whole mix. The sonic presentation, even if it's just a lucky accident, needs to be studied - even copied. It's wild. Intense. Free, whether in spite of or because of its utter desperation.