31 March 2022

GRASSEATERS

 

Y'all fuck with this shit? I swear the Oklahoma City's GRASSEATERS were one of the wildest bands of the '10s to never make it to wax. This one was supposed to, but they decided to break up instead. Dummies. Complete chaos, mid-era SST catalog on bathtub crank, shit makes my face hurt.


30 March 2022

THE CLITBOYS

 

Shouldn't need much introduction here - We Don't Play The Game is a perfect slab of '80s US political hardcore punk. Milwaukee's THE CLITBOYS skipped mindless songs about violence and chose tracks like "I Hate The KKK," "Gay's OK," "No Such Thing" and the sarcastic "Apathy Rules" to poke a finger in the fat fucking gut of their closed minded Midwest surroundings. I could blather on about the scene in Wisconsin, about how it stood out (culturally and sonically) from much of its Rust Belt contemporaries, but it's worth noting that many local punks thumbed their noses at this idealistic trio. They didn't even last two years - but left us an essential demo tape and the aforementioned EP, both of which are on this tape the kids from Ultrawaste released ten years ago. Also - the name was a dig at THE MEATMEN, which is pretty rich. 



29 March 2022

MOVE



I'm not going to present myself as an expert or a historian, and the (living) legacy of MOVE perhaps lives at the uncomfortable intersections of revolution, oppression, activism and violence. But I remember being a twelve year old kid seeing the news coverage after pigs in Philadelphia dropped bombs on a residential neighborhood in West Philly and let a couple of city blocks burn. I remember the things that were said about the eleven people the system killed, some reportedly shot by cops as they were trying to leave their houses that were on fire. I remember not understanding, and I know that this is the shit that sticks with you. This talk from 1994 is long. It's powerful. We still do this - we've always done this. 



28 March 2022

CORPSE AND 2 VEG

 

Revisiting this no-fi brilliance from the village of Amesbury I originally posted back in 2010. The brilliantly named CORPSE AND 2 VEG slog through four doses of mid-paced snotty, idealistic anarcho punk....just like snotty, idealistic are supposed to do. The recording is rough, but there songs are good sharp bursts of angular minimalist mania. "Boredom" is an utterly nonsensical forty second assault ("this is for all you lot that like hard thrash punk"), and "Meateaters" draws expertly from the playbook laid out by the bands who came before them - and when the singer loses his shit screaming "Why do you? Why do you?! Eat.....eat ANIMALS?! Why? Tell me Why? Why?! Instead of eating animals, why can't you eat food?!" the wheels comes off of the recording and everything sounds completely unhinged. The songs are an awkward, jerky, robotic blast from a distant past. More than worth slogging through 38 years of tape hiss. 


27 March 2022

SOCKEYE



Far too many people simply can't handle SOCKEYE. That statement is not a critique of those people, but it's a critique of society as a whole. SOCKEYE are (were, and also are) social commentary, a blackhole mirror into the absurd, and a world with no place for SOCKEYE, is a world filled with darkness and exclusion. Because we are fucking absurd. 

YOUR MOTHER DOWNEY, JR.
 
if we see you smile, we'll make you frown
our fun begins when your fun ends
we don't need any fucking friends

26 March 2022

THE JHAI ALAI

 

In 1999, WHN? were arranging a tour that would include shows in Australia with Scotland's SHANK and shows in several SE Asian countries. On the one hand I'm glad that it didn't happen, because I feel like that might have been the last thing we did (we just weren't really gelled as a unit yet) and I wouldn't trade the tours we did in the years that followed. But at the same time....man, that shit would have been fucking cool, especially when so many of those scenes were so young and just bursting at the seams with energy (note: they still are). I like to think that we would have played with THE JHAI ALAI in Singapore, because why wouldn't a self described Bandana Thrash band from The Bay share a stage with a chaotic blasting screamo band from Lion City? This is the real shit - the MOHINDER, EOTCP, HONEYWELL, HEROIN kind of emo manic with blast beats and strained screams and drawn out guitar driven mania - I would love to see this live....I would have really loved to see it live then. 




25 March 2022

SÖFT DOV

 

I completely missed this one in real time, and was definitely not ready for the sonic assault that started when SÖFT DOV dropped in out of the past. Cavernous, in your face DBeat hardcore, noisy and demanding with clean yelled vocals that last land somewhere between Cronos and CLITBOYS - which is to say that this full on distortion attack is puuuuunk. You know when you finish listening to a release and you can kinda feel yourself unconsciously exhale when the sound stops? Yeah, SÖFT DOV is like that. 

SÖFT DOV


24 March 2022

TEN CENT TIP



There's a world where I try to convince you, dear reader, that TEN CENT TIP is important. Or where I try to use literary tricks to suggest a context that doesn't actually exist. That world is not this world, so I'm just going to be honest: TEN CENT TIP were a grunge band from Castro Valley, California in the 1990s. More than that....TEN CENT TIP were a grunge band from Castro Valley, California in the 1990s who loved Jesus. So, are you convinced?



23 March 2022

FAILING LIGHTS

 

It's one thing to just listen. It's something else to listen in a future context. To think that this 2008 recording from FAILING LIGHTS might have been a dark reflection on the past when it was created, but has turned into a brutally depressing soundtrack of the present...makes the very sonic weight so much more oppressive. I receive no joy from Combat Stance today, but that was never the intent. Listen, and you'll hear what I mean. 

COMBAT STANCE


22 March 2022

HAPPY CLAMS

 

HAPPY CLAMS evolved from GAIL & THE FUDGEPACKERS, who are best (or only?) known for a couple of shows at Gilman their STIFF KITTENS cover on the first Shredder comp. There was a short and glorious iteration as JACK'N JILL that recorded (and never released, apparently) a few songs before branding themselves HAPPY CLAMS and setting out on a decades long mission to create whatever the fuck kind of racket they wanted to make. Imagine Doc Dart (or in this case, Paul Pot) sitting in for the San Francisco DICKS, this is the sound of rock 'n roll rebels turned punk rock rejects. The best part? They still play, and it certainly seems like they still don't give half a fuck, which is probably why it hits so right. 


21 March 2022

MARRÓN

 

I posted the 2014 demo back in 2015, and three of those tracks are on this 2015 tour cassette, along with a session from ...2014. I know that's a lot of numbers, and numbers can be confusing, but settle into the emotive brilliance of MARRÓN and all of that confusion will wash away. This band was so realized, and they were from the start - the whole approach, the sound, the aesthetic, the fucking songs, the delivery...they wasted nothing. It's Revolution Summer and BL'AST with early '00s DIY hardcore energy and intent (specifically the Southern California kind - and if you know what I mean then you definitely know what I mean). So yeah, you should listen to this tape, but you should seek everything and you should let every second of the Terrenos LP soak in while you think about what you're doing. 


20 March 2022

PLEATHER

 

Heard a rumor that y'all wanted some more of that good good from Mississippi
True? 
You're welcome. 

PLEATHER





19 March 2022

ALIENATION

 
========



Two tapes, both reposts from early Escape years. As far as I can tell, Worceter's ALIENATION were a blip in late 1980s UK punk - when wild thrash and ugly stench were taking over the grooves and the anarcho punks were...well, simply not making as many interesting records as they had been just a few years prior. Greatest Hits (1987) is a band who might be trying for commercial success - kinda dark wave and/or post punk but their shot lands somewhere between endearing and off target (check the vocals in the verses of "Live A Lie 'Til You Die" and let's cringe along together). There are great moments here, and this vision taken to its ultimate potential could have been something special ("Vicious Circle" in particular). What ALIENATION did after that however is truly special - on 1988's Yeah, That'll Do they lose the bass and really hone their approach. Vocals are less in front of the mix but more controlled (read: more intense) and the guitar work is abrasive and overbearing; it's like they just decided to cut all of the bullshit and created urgent punk with a deep and frustrating edge. And then....well, as far as I can tell, that was it. 

18 March 2022

TECHNICAL DIFFICULTIES FROM DAY ONE

 

Here it is: Region Rock. Those shitty folk punk banjo playing inept coffee shop rock motherfuckers that ain't punk that people call Region Rock? Fukk that shit. Because you know what's punk? Fukkn STUN GUNS and SPAWN SACS and LES TURDS and KREAMY 'LECTRIC SANTA and shit like that. So forget what you think about some overly broad and arbitrary subgenre descriptor, because if this is Region Rock then I was there for it the first time and I haven't left. 


17 March 2022

BAGS // BUZZCOCKS

Really this one is just a housecleaning post that might be of interest to a few extra nerds. You've got one folder with side B of the BUZZCOCKS' Razor Cuts boot, featuring demos from '77/'78, a couple of BBC recordings and the acoustic version of Shelley's "Oh Maxine."  Side A? It's good too, but it wasn't on the tape. The BAGS folder is from a tape labeled "Demos '78-'80" and has rough replications of all the hits, plus a murky freak cut identified as "Import Song" that I don't recognize. Sure the tape suffers from a few generations (and a couple of decades), but I give it to you like I've got it...and it's still the fukkn BAGS and this version of "Gluttony" is an absolute screamer. 

16 March 2022

SURRENDER

 

When I moved back to the West Coast in 2008, SURRENDER were the coolest band in the Bay Area. Maybe they weren't the best, but they were definitely the coolest. Singer played blindfolded, freak guitars rooted in early UK outsider punk while dual vocals belted pleas and missives that instantly inspired comparisons to CHUMBAWUMBA and the weird fringes of Crass Records fodder. The songs were sparse and jerky, driven by addictive and repetitive bass lines and interrupted by power punk chords before the guitar faded off and returned to off kilter blurts. They looked serious...they were serious. SURRENDER were fukkn cool, man. 


15 March 2022

APPARITION



Jason Griffin has been in so many good ass bands...shit just ain't fair. Then again, maybe part of the reason all of those good ass bands were so damn good was because Griffin was behind the kit - dude is just a monster. But far from a Jason Griffin appreciation post, I type these words to tell you that Georgia's APPARITION released two wild tapes in the late 2010s. This is the first one, and if you like maximum intensity hardcore punk with weird jerky stops and unconventional riffs then you're going to fucking love it. I wish I had seen them live, but I also wish that I could play in a band with Jason Griffin. Listen to "Nauseous" on repeat. Trust me. 



14 March 2022

FILAMENTS.

 

A few months back, folks from Oklahoma City's FILAMENTS joked about sending me a copy of this tape. I openly bow at the altar of many of their other projects (CROSS BREAKER, DRUJ, FUCKHEADS, PRIMAL BRAIN, CRUTCH and others) but they thought I would hate this band. Even with that context, I wasn't prepared for what happened when I popped in Forgetting To Sleep, Dreaming To Forget - it's amazing. To be clear, it's not going to be a thing that I listen to with any frequency, but there's no rational way to avoid acknowledging that it's great. Radio ready commercial pop punk a la fellow Oklahomans ALL AMERICAN REJECTS, with a killer GBV cover to close out the tape.  I figured it would be good based solely on the responsible parties, but I really  didn't know what I was getting into. This is summertime, windows down driving into the horizon just so you can feel the breeze,  and the best catchy pop song come on the radio and you don't even care who's watching. 

13 March 2022

DIRT EYES

 

A dirty, murky, bombastic collision between one person from New York with a bass and another person from New York with some drums. Shit is oppressive like thigh deep mud. 

ZERO POINT, YOU ARE A KIND MAGICIAN

12 March 2022

JOE BREITENBACH

 

On the off chance that you made it through yesterday, please allow me to offer you this bridge to tomorrow. Today is nothing more than a fleeting presence. It will be gone soon, and hopefully you will still be here.  

FRIGID WATERS


11 March 2022

US HARDCORE

Full Disclosure: I've been out of town for a couple of weeks and all of the posts since February 26th or so were cranked out in a couple of (somewhat) drunken evenings.  So if the world has ended between than and now and I fell into a deep and hopeless crevasse and couldn't update this very important blog, then I guess I apologize for not being more on top of the current situation but....well, as I said, I'm in a crevasse. You should probably end help, because I've got a lot of killer tapes to rip when I get home and I probably picked up more on this little trip but you'll never know unless you get me out of this fucking crevasse. In the past, however, I'm just here cringing at all of the pearl clutching from people who didn't say shit when it was people who didn't look like them (whatever the fuck that means) and wishing that the world were actually as simple as a kid taping a bunch of hardcore off of the radio in St. Louis in 1984, thinking everyone else was as pissed and alone as they were. 


Who knows what that (this) kid was actually thinking when they pressed RECORD that night and captured part of an episode of Faster & Louder, but what they got was 80+ minutes of flawless hardcore punk from the united states of america. There's a lot to not like here (in the united states of america), but goddamn we've had a few killer hardcore bands, and this tape is like the '80s version of a screen shot capturing the best of them. Also, the DJ signing off by saying you should go to Mississippi Nights and have lots of fun listening to BLACK FLAG "and SACCHARINE TRUST, who I think will probably be better than BLACK FLAG." Dude knew what was up.

10 March 2022

DISPO

 

What is even happening on this tape?! It's like BLACK FORK playing a set of ABWÄRTS covers and I might love it. Listen to the vocal barks on "Pickel Am Arsch." Check the mid tempo stomp and hear the guitar just kinda fall apart in "Blumen." These German punks are unsung heroes. 


09 March 2022

ZERO HOUR

 



ZERO HOUR were so fucking good. There was a time in the mid-1990s where I think FUCKFACE pretty much only listened to the APEFACE split, Trained To Serve and Rebel Sounds Of Shit And Failure, and I still spend time with all of that music on a regular basis. Whisper's vocals are the perfect collision of shrill urgency and harsh, determined screams - Stacy (MANKIND?) is maybe the closest era-appropriate vocal comparison, but ZERO HOUR were so undeniably East Bay (ECONOCHRIST drummer Markley's presence on these songs cannot be ignored) and their intensity always seemed to be darker, directed toward inner torment instead of general injustice. Chris unearthed this tape a few months ago, well worn and pretty destroyed in places, but many of the tracks from the split and the self titled EP are in excellent form on this January 1994 rehearsal, along with a couple I don't recognize...and if nothing else, it made me pull out all of those records. Again. 


08 March 2022

BLUEPRINT



Philly's BLUEPRINT had moved on before they moved into my orbit, which gave me the opportunity to soak up the entire catalog at once. I recommend starting with "Dissonance," from their first release The Asterisk Era - burly, furious, intent and tragically on point USHC that is immediately followed by a squirm inducing bass intro that starts "In My Head" and you want to just slither everything to pieces. Vocals are painful and gnarled and the band just sounds so full and massive all the way through...execution is absolutely key here, and the execution is flawless. Good news for you (as it was for me) as you dig into the rest of their output? BLUEPRINT just got better until they (digitally) dropped Sophisticated Ignorance a couple of months ago...and then that was it - I guess the hottest ones burn fast and bright. 





 

07 March 2022

CRACKS

 

I've never heard another band like CRACKS. I've heard US hardcore punk bands before, for sure (and so have you, I'm assuming). I've heard misanthropic outsiders trying to break down the walls that separate them from the cool kids and the taste makers. I've seen great bands that no one gave a shit about and popular bands that sucked. But I've never heard a band that sounded so incredibly and completely like themselves. A background steeped in the classics, a sound that owes to VOID and FLAG and early Touch & Go and sounds completely not at all like any of those things. CRACKS were from Illinois - Roselle, Champaign, Bloomington, Peoria, maybe Kewanee - and always featured Philip Knowles. I tried to join the band around 2006 but I couldn't keep up with Philip (and I lived two hours away) so he recruited a full lineup and kept cranking out primitive awkward hardcore punk recordings well into the 2010s. This is true freak punk...still and always. 



06 March 2022

MARSHSTEPPER

 

It's been quite a while since MARSHTEPPER paid us a visit. Haunting as always, distant as always, transfixing as always, I have seen very few bands conjure internal demons like they can (could) and do (did). This live transgression from 2013 should perhaps be shared on Escape Is Terminal (it is live, after all), but no one decides what we should or should not do....except us. 





05 March 2022

SVART KATT



Dreamy, perfect power pop packaged like a crushing ScandiCrust demo? Yes, please. Stockholm's SVART KATT unloaded this recording a few years ago (Sabotage released it on vinyl if you can find one, while this gorgeous package is from the fine folks at Pissed Off) and it's FUN PEOPLE and BUZZCOCKS and FOR AGAINST and RADIOACTIVITY and it's just blissful and...well, it's perfect. If you need an escape (and a lot of the time, a lot of us do)....there's nothing wrong with taking a break. Just come back. We miss you.