I could listen to this tape over and over (and over), and I have proven this to myself by listening over and over (and over) all week. Whip smart Midwest punk, sonically and lyrically snarky - ready to pull down your pants to distract you while their friends run off with your groceries. MOM is (was) timeless attitude and genreless punk, and "Masturbation Station" is just the toughest damn track.
17 May 2022
Peruvian folk circa 1981, rescued from a Nevada junk shop circa 2021. Does the pan flute start to grate a little around "Pirulay Puka Pulie Racha?" Perhaps. But do the strings in "Lago Titicaca" (and especially near the end of Poco A Poco") more than make up for it? Definitely.
16 May 2022
Every time I start to wonder if "maybe they just don't make 'em like that anymore," I get slapped in the face with a band like FRIGHT. Twelve minute of powerful PV-tinged hardcore from San Jose with a vocal ferocity rooted in honesty. These San Jose kids are at their best when they slow it down a touch with hints of Eurocrust on tracks like "Displaced," and it only makes it feel that much more devastating when they let loose. You know what they say about the brightest flames though, and this self titled cassette from 2017 seems to be all that we've got from FRIGHT...so I suppose I'll listen again.
15 May 2022
Like free jazz of the digital realm, the finest harsh noise projects can make it seem like you are listening to carefully crafted and intentionally nuanced compositions. For proof of theory, please place headphones over and/or on ears and play SNOW COVERED DEER CORPSE at maximum allowable volume.
14 May 2022
ORDER are future punk. The first time I saw them it was clear that they were simply on another level, and they just flitted around, exploring over everyone's head for much of the late 2000s. A wild mix of jerky, post punk, NOMEANSNO riffs on hallucinogens, spaced out freak jams and STALIN-esque Japanese fury, all while running with the fierce charging hardcore set. They just exist on their own plane, and it always felt like they were just exploring their surroundings with each release (there are a lot of them). "Küsö" is the choice cut on this 2008 release, which compiles the Toyota and Saru EPs. It's over in a flash.
13 May 2022
It's every bit the mess the cover suggests. 90 minutes of madness and experimentation from HERMANOS GUZANOS, CAROLINER, SUCKDOG, INSECT FEAR, SOCKEYE and several more acts ranging from noteworthy and unknown. Did I mention BOOGER SAFETY PILL BARN? Because they're on this thing too. You will wonder what you're listening to, you will wonder how you can find more, and perhaps at times you will wonder when it will be over. Patience...the late 1980s were a time of sonic freedom and exploration.
12 May 2022
I'm not particularly quiet about how much I like MULTI FACET. They were a precision machine live (only saw them once - was blown away), and each of their releases has its own power and it's own pull. This demo is probably the rawest (aside from the Gilman set shared on Escape Is Terminal nearly a decade ago), and is a perfect example if fierce 1990s East Bay hardcore. Dark intensity, driven by Jeneane's vocals and completed by complex songs that owe and equal debt to the bands that they shared stages (and floors) with and the bands who preceded all of them. Of the eight songs here, only "Wasteland" appears to appear on other releases, and the tracks are in general more adventurous...I kinda don't understand why they still fly under the radar.
11 May 2022
A hellish assault from New York in two terrifying movements. FORCLOSE stand at the TOTALITÄR altar wielding a metalcrust axe while DORGATO anxiously deliver two doses of manic high energy shit punk. Both bands are classic patched up gutter punk shit in the best way...when I say that Tomorrow? will grow mold on yer buttflap, please know that I'm making a compliment.
10 May 2022
Beyond the contents of this 1983 piece of short run idealism, I seize on the experimentation that flourished within the loosely defined boundaries of the early punk communities. I suppose a modern equivalent would be punk/hardcore musicians finding influence from the worlds of primitive noise and electronic musics which, moving virtually along the imaginary timelines of sounds, might be similar to artists from the early 1980s reaching backwards and drawing from the beats. But pieces (artifacts?) like EDIBLE's You Eat What You Are come off as more soul baring, more generally daring creations. Thirty minutes of spoken word anarcho political realism broken up by a couple of ultra minimalist drum machine backed non-music punk numbers ("The National Health Service" is a standout, but "Not My Life" is a would-be shit-fi classic). If nothing else, placing your ear to the speaker of the time machine and listening to the sounds of teenage frustration and determination from 40 years ago is....pretty fukkn cool.
09 May 2022
Spent a lot of time over the last few weeks revisiting the Midwest. That's OK, of course, because Midwest hardcore is (objectively speaking) the best hardcore. I only saw SFN a handful of times (and only in their infancy, as previously discussed), but those kids fukkn started strong. Perhaps the sound was a product of the clash between their environment and their influences, but they got even better. All of the records are worth your time (especially Itching), but this tape came first.
08 May 2022
THE BUG were one of the most crucial USHC outfits. Their complete lack of pretension clashed with their confident ownership of the live setting - there was nothing else that mattered in the world when they played because they were putting out everything that they had - it was casual chaos. It was fukkn real. And when their dust settled, two tapes and one EP are all that remained. The brightest ones do burn the hottest.
07 May 2022
Berdan doesn't just conjure dark industrial sounds on The Life Of The World To Come, he fukkn embodies those sounds. This third of UNIFORM has been lurking for a while, but I feel like last year's release on Deathbed Tapes was a bit of a coming out party...coming out to honest intensity and pure darkness. These are classic synth driven industrial sounds reminiscent of early Wax Trax! and PIAS fodder, but nothing here sounds dated in any way. The...World To Come was created in and for the now and that's exactly how it lands. These songs fucking yearn - even in the calmer moments like "vigil" you can feel the wanting and that is exactly what I want more of. So...I'm still here. Waiting for the world to come while living in the world that is already here. Taking all of it.
06 May 2022
In celebration of the upcoming (and necessary) repress of HATRED SURGE's Human Overdose LP, we take a moment to remember one of the earlier Alex Hughes contributions. Before HATRED SURGE, before MAMMOTH GRINDER, before SACRED SHOCK, even before KNUCKLE SCRAPER (but before xPOWERBUTTx) came MACHINE GUN ROMANTICS. Five doses of blistering and irreverent Texas fastcore with seven live blasts recorded in Denton. Play fast...or don't.
05 May 2022
On the flip side of the SOCIAL INTERROGATION recording that started the week, I found this recordings from Madison's INSPECTOR 12. They were before my time (Speak Your Mind is from '88) but everyone I would meet from Wisconsin talked about the band and listening to them with hindsight it's easy to understand why. Draw a line between the positive idealistic hardcore of 7 SECONDS and the melodic nihilism of GRIMPLE...you'll find I-12. There were a slew of EPs through the start of the '90s and most can still be had pretty cheap - but you're here for the tapes and this is a solid half hour of determined Midwest DIY punk.
04 May 2022
This sophomore effort from Sacramento's HOLEHOG is a fukkn beast. They've taken the fierce raspy hardcore that dominated Radiation Blues and tempered it with a '90s DIY hardcore influence that moves the band into their own lane. They never let up on the intensity (take rippers like "Riding For A Fall" and "Rats" for example), with vocals that range from full on AUS ROTTEN dominance to desperate idealism. Song construction is where the band has really progressed - the clenched fists and studded jackets are still front and center, but HOLEHOG don't really seem too concerned with how the shit is supposed to sound so they end up sounding like....themselves. And that is powerful shit. Choice cut: "Jackals."
03 May 2022
I posted this ripper eleven years ago today, and I'm celebrating by posting it again. AVOID offer up four doses of the most primal thrash metal to ever emerge from the depths of Rock Spring, Wyoming on 1988's Induct To Sacrarium. The guitars are way too loud in the mix (which is perfect) and there's a notable Bay Area thrash influence but the song construction is head and shoulders above your typical knuckle head banging fodder. I already wrote at length here, so happy birthday to this post and crank the shit out of "Infection" when you're doing your adult shit today...if only to remind you that you'd rather be doing hesher shit instead.
02 May 2022
A well loved and never released piece of Wisconsin hardcore history courtesy of Tim Burton (DEMISE, NONE LEFT STANDING). Madison's SOCIAL INTERROGATION existed for a blip in the late '80s, kids who ran with bands like INSPECTOR 12 and KAVITY KREEPS and recorded a ripping (if rudimentary) collection of tunes around 1988. "Poor Little Monkey" is the standout - the drums try to pull away (especially on the live version) while the band pounds the shit out of the simplest three note riff with determined teenage ferocity. Six studio tracks and six (two from the demo and four covers) recorded live...and the joy of (still) discovering this shit is indescribable.
Live photo from The New Loft from Tim.
Shirt photo from Grant.
Shirt photo from Grant.
01 May 2022
Raging raw Japanese hardcore on 1991's Good For Nothing gives way to crunchy melodic metallic punk on Tell Me Momma If You Love Me, released the following year. Both iterations are slamming (and I am digging on the poppier iteration of SUBRACHO DOBRACHO more than I did when I initially posted these gems back in 2010) early decade and under the radar punk.
30 April 2022
The Pat Wright archive is packed with oddities and unknowns, but the radio broadcasts are some of the most interesting. While there are a few chunks from random stations around the country, the bulk of the collection is recordings from KALX, where Pat was a DJ for the better part of two decades. The shows are all over place, just like the tastes of the DJs (including Pat - and thankfully most of the recordings are from his sets), but this is one of the coolest I've come across. I first heard JOY DIVISION when Substance was released - I was already a NEW ORDER fan, so this glimpse into their darker, more intense beginnings enthralled me and I scooped up everything I could find (which was not very much in Ponca City, Oklahoma). But two years earlier, the folks at KALX had enough material to broadcast a fucking two hour special of JOY DIVISION oddities and live recordings. Seventy minutes of that broadcast is here - three versions of "She's Lost Control," live recordings, Peel Sessions, early demos....all of it. True fans only? Perhaps. But hearing all of this shit piled up top of even more of this shit is a good reminder of how much JOY DIVISION were simply in their own league. The performances and recordings are so varied that listening to "Transmission" four times in a row doesn't even seem weird, and the casual confidence from the DJ just makes it sound like someone's giving you a guided tour. I know there are more bits in Pat's collection that will get the juices flowing, but this is one of the low-key best stones I've unturned so far.
Seems like a reasonable time to mention the Copy Wright mixtape series. Tracks and field recordings and bits curated from Pat's archive and copied onto cassettes from his collection. Vol.3 is just complete and Vol.4 will be ready early next week. I'm making these in extremely limited quantities (mostly for Pat's friends, to be honest). General Speech may have a few of the first two left, and future volumes may be available from Iron Lung and/or Sorry State. Or there will be some copies of each in the (new) Escape Cassettes webstore. It's a pretty humbling project. It's also pretty awesome.
29 April 2022
The cover looks a mess just like the tape sounds. A car crash in triplet on the top, goblin popping out of the chimney, exploding dude bottom left, diabolical sun on the right and a stick figure walking up the stairs into the clouds. Plus Diamond Head in the lockup. If you translate all of that into sound, you get WARM BODIES, PETROLEUM, MISS LADY, SYNTHETIX, BLUE DETERGENT, BIG TEX...you get Mutants For Nuclear Waste vs. GWTW. Synth punk freak outs and outsider sounds sharing space on magnetic tape...ride NATURAL MAN & THE LIZARDS "Electrical Man" right into the weekend.
28 April 2022
Hard to believe a behemoth like ELDERS only lasted two recordings (the Blind Rage LP that followed this tape is mandatory), but maybe they just couldn't take their own intensity. This tape from 2009 has the fire of early '00s fastcore but it's deliberately damaged - like late '80s SST running body checking early '80s SSD. The vocals simply exhaust me, and then hearing that clean guitar drop into a breakdown ("Bring You Down," as an example) makes my teeth hurt. ELDERS were from Phoenix...I think I saw them but once on an off day en route to a show in Marfa, Texas. We went to see the Marfa Lights after that show; it was a full moon and the weird grey shadows from the moonlit creosote freaked me the fuck out and I ran back to the van while everyone else had a nice trip. That story has nothing whatsoever to do with ELDERS, however. Listen to "Used And Abused" at full volume.
27 April 2022
Look, Death Kit is a motherfukkr, OK? Stoic and painfully deliberate horror movie on acid vibes. Blown out bass and a lonesome alien horn dancing under a starless night sky, leading you to a clearing where your entire existence turns to static. All SICK LLAMA is on my list, but early SICK LLAMA is the demented shit. It's hard, and it's even harder at volume.
26 April 2022
Perhaps this won't be to everyone's liking, and it might even draw out a few eye rolls. But when a thing hits me right - even once - I figure it's worth sharing just in case. And besides, Seeger is pretty unfuckwithable in general, and Arlo kinda kills this version of "City Of New Orleans." That should be enough.
25 April 2022
I'm just gonna do it again - another post for folks who somehow missed history while it was happening. LOSE LOSE came and went in 2016, and left us with one monstrous recording - Kill Or Be Killed. Think about it: drums (FY FAN), guitar/vocals (DEATHREAT, TRAGEDY), bass (COLDBRINGER, WILD MOHICANS, CALL THE POLICE), and they blow it up by stripping everything to the bone. North American hardcore for the modern disillusionment moment.
24 April 2022
I inadvertently ripped the FULE tape on Sarah's birthday recently; the importance of the date clicked while I was editing and I just smiled. Because it was just another evening, listening to records and hanging out and generally puttering. It was a good evening, the kind that you might spend with friends. There's no need to contextualize FUEL in general or Sarah Kirsch in particular as volumes have (justly) been written about both. But I will say that their sole full length, released in 1990, is a quintessential piece of American emotional hardcore punk that helped bridge the short divide between the power and aggression of '80s hardcore and the purpose and intent of the '90s DIY scene/s. It's not just an important record though - it's a great record.
23 April 2022
My memory is that André gave me this tape in Umeå and told me that TRISTESS were only going to release cassettes. No vinyl, no CD, just tapes. My memory might be incorrect (wouldn't be the first time), but I remember how surprised I was when I saw the Vad Ska Vi Bli 12" and thought ".....wait a minute, he said.....!" No matter though, this shit needs to be on wax so ultimately I'm very pleased (the second 12" is a mandatory ripper too). For the uninitiated, this is a who's-who of early '00s Swedish hardcore - E.T.A., VICIOUS, DÖDSDÖMD, DS-13, REGULATIONS (and probably a dozen more bands of note) all have members involved in this racket. Fast, stripped down hardcore punk - nine songs in eight and a half minutes - and the vocals are pretty much perfect. I need to get the other tape up here too even though both were released together....on vinyl.
22 April 2022
You wanna know what's up? The first song on this comps "Dustcloud (Party Mix)" by a band called DESTRUCTOS. Not sold? There's a cover of "Thru The Flowers" (the second best song on Lovely, for those paying attention) and if you didn't already love the Kansas duo MR. & THE MRS. then check their track "Fuck Cops." Also there's a KINKS cover by a band called THE CINKS. Damaged garage/indie monsters, supremely damaged synth drenched dancefloor slammers and a band called FREAK GENES. If you need something from an isolation inspired compilation, then I'm not sure if there's hope for you. I mean, sure, a little kång would be nice, but it's not that kind of comp....
And because label samplers are designed to make you get horny for the label - I would be remiss if I didn't mention the new DESTRUCTOS tape and the VIRVON VARVON that came out a while back. Plus the ruthless JOY tape...Girlsville is kinda killing it. So get horny.