30 April 2022

19 MAY 1986

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

MUTANTS FOR NUCLEAR WASTE vs. GWTW

 

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

ELDERS

 

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

SICK LLAMA

 

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

H.A.R.P.

 

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

LOSE LOSE

 

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

FUEL

 

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

TRISTESS

 

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

PAID BY ROCK

 



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. 



21 April 2022

EIEFITS

 

Six tracks from 2014, courtesy of Tokyo's EIEFITS. Their pedigree alone should pique the interest of anyone who pays attention to punk (KGS, SLOWMOTIONS, LIP CREAM, THE HECK, COLORED RICE MEN...you get the idea), but what EIEFITS do is far more interesting than a 'members of' list. Wild and unhinged Japanese hardcore punk with a garage tinge fronted by Saho's vocals that really make me want to blast some BLACK FORK first thing in the morning. The second side ramps things up notably, closing with T.T's leads driving the title track to the finish. Treat yourself. 


20 April 2022

MONKS OF THE BALHILL

 

For those not in the know, early Windham Hill releases are not to be skipped over. The label that became synonymous with commercial shopping mall mass marketed sonic enlightenment (whether or not this characterization was just is up for debate) started as a humble, honest and fascinating collection of experimental artists from the Bay Area making truly interesting, and often very wonderful, sounds. What does that little nugget of wisdom have to do with MONKS OF THE BALHILL....? Not a fucking thing, except that listening to the opening five minutes of "Andy Trotter Jumped Into The Fire" kinda made me think about that early catalog. This release descends into darkness of course, melting those early Ackerman LPs and drinking the ensuing sludge. Like a distant train in the night, two French Vincents make sound dance off of mountains whose silhouettes are obscured by the very weight of the night air. And the primitive synths move closer, rising....enter obligatory and/or unnecessary dawn metaphors. Ten Ways To Get Out Of The Water offers but two. Perhaps the other eight are waiting until someone (else) is drowning. 


19 April 2022

ANTISOCIALINIAI PSICHOPATAI

 



It seemed like I only heard some whispers about this tape in the early months of Covid Reality, but there's nothing quiet or subtle about Lithuania's ANTISOCIALINIAI PSICHOPATAI. Their brand of punk is ripped from the legacies of Latin American and Eastern European bands of the '80s, played with a relentless intensity. Adolescent snarls and churning pogo repetition, it's just.....it's fucking punk. 




18 April 2022

CRUDE DEATH RATE

 

Nasty rock 'n roll tinged USHC shooting straight and fast out of the end of the last decade. Seven minutes of swagger and blast and speed picking that sounds like a lost NardCore relic...flying real real low under the radar. Close enough that you can feel the exhaust from the bass solo in "Kayfare."



17 April 2022

RESIST

 


Perhaps there's not much new to say about RESIST, but I feel like they're a starter band that people just kindof acknowledge instead of really listening to. They were a band whose records (and the patches) I'd see everywhere, so there was always this "I'll listen to them later because I can listen to them any time" casual acceptance. RESIST just were, and you knew they were good but lots of folks never dug much deeper than that. Well, I blast the shit out of Liberation and I have a very hard time thinking about RESIST in the passive sense ever again. Shit is like '90s political hardcore ripped from the clutches of POISON IDEA - driving and intense sub two minute bursts that command, and demand, full attention. Five burners plus a SABBATH cover (that works way better than you'd think it would) and a live version of "United States Of Apathy" from their first demo...this is eleven minutes of fire. 



16 April 2022

THE GRUMPIES

 

I'm pretty sure the first time I saw THE GRUMPIES was in 1996 when we dropped a drive shaft on tour and got towed to a house show in Columbus, Mississippi (possibly on Christmas eve?) and the show was wasted and absolutely wild. I think we played with them in New Orleans on the same tour (because there are pictures). I definitely saw them in St. Louis in 1998 when they rolled up to a SUBHUMANS show unannounced and I schemed them on the bill. I must have seen them in San Francisco at some point and they must have been touring in a car, because I remember helping them struggle force their roof rack up the stairs of our place on 24th Street. But no matter how many times I did or didn't see them play..I loved THE GRUMPIES...and I still do. Their brand of amped up high speed four track pop punk is truly and completely their own - sometimes they play so fast that it seems like they are racing (each other) and the dual vocals (one high pitched, the other higher pitched) absolutely should not work (they definitely do). The way Jayson's guitars are layered defies all recording logic, and he forces the songs forward with constant leads. Amy's vocals on "Punk Rock Boy" and "No One Knows Why" (the two awkward ballads) are so sweet and damaged, and it's all just so fast. You can't call THE GRUMPIES pop punk because there's no pop punk that sounds like this, which is unfortunate because this is what pop punk should feel like. Earnest, pissed, messy, catchy, simple....real. I fucking loved this band. 



15 April 2022

FOSSIL CUNT

 

Here's how the story goes: Sometime in 1990s, ANAL CUNT was on tour and had some spare time in Ohio. They hooked up with their pals in FOSSIL FUEL....and pressed record. The result was FOSSIL CUNT - improv grind, inept punk, nonsensical noisecore and offensive adolescent humor set to sound. Worth noting that Matt from FF (and SOCKEYE) was the person who introduced me to AxCx, and the 5346 Song EP was the first noisecore I consciously heard...it was very confusing. There was that one guy with a distro while I lived in Oklahoma who would sling MEAT SHITS tapes but something always seemed sketchy, so I never fucked with him...but I digress.


14 April 2022

PASSOVER

 



I ripped this over a year ago, with the intent of making a post that might elicit a what the fuck is he doing?-esque response. Pretty sure that's all the explanation required, I'm just sorry it took so long.

A PASSOVER SING-ALONG FOR KIDS


13 April 2022

PRONOUNCED DEAD



I know what you're thinking...you're thinking The Wizard done gone and lost his mind because PRONOUNCED DEAD already stopped by The Escape so why am I posting it again. Well, first I wanna remind you that I posted that other shit like twelve years ago, and that's like three punk generations. And second I urge you to look at the track listing closely, because this one is different from that one. And besides, Chicago bands from the '90s who never really toured don't get enough press, and PRONOUNCED DEAD deserves way more press than punk will ever give them, so why the hell shouldn't I heap a little more on? Exactly, because the shit is so damn deadly. So here's another dose of the John Finaldi P-Beat (if you aren't familiar, check HIGH ON CRIME and KUNGFU RICK) driving six doses of bulldozer Chicago crust. This band was the embodiment of relentless ruthlessness.


12 April 2022

AMERICAN ENGLISH

 



I imagine AMERICAN ENGLISH made perfect sense in 1989.  The San Francisco ensemble played a unique brand of outsider pop with a B-movie vibe drenched in horns. The recording sounds like it is a production - and I don't mean that I think there was a "producer" per se, I mean something more like "damn, what a production!" because everything is shamelessly over the top. And it doesn't sound normal, this isn't (nor was it ever) radio music in any traditional sense....think WORLD/INFERNO FRIENDSHIP SOCIETY meets WHAM!. Or remember when Zappa did "Valley Girl" and seemed to try to dumb down his sound so that the lowest common denominator could maybe get it....? Well imagine IDIOT FLESH trying the same thing but landing just short of the commercially accessible mark. Maybe No Words On The Other Side isn't for you, and the truth is that I'm not even sure if it's for me after a couple of listens, but it's weird...so I'm gonna keep digging in to see what I find. 


11 April 2022

JAD

 

These motherfuckers. Appropriate that JAD comes hot on the heels of HATE PREACHERS as there are similarities in approach and attack, but this Warsaw quartet throws a cold shadow over the stomp/pummel approach to hardcore. Three originals and a devastating ARMIA cover (which really help put all of their sonic pieces together), clocking in under five minutes in total. JAD have gotten better with every release, and this is just the second step in the progression that started with a demo in 2017....if you think that I'm implying their vinyl releases might be even better, then you'd be correct. 



10 April 2022

HATE PREACHERS



It's Sunday, time to go to church. The first verse I'd like for you to study is the drums on the opening title track.  I would like for you submerge your head in the toxic waters of the LA river and let the riffs in "Bent For Abuse" wash your sins away. And I want you to think about Judas while "Treacherous" stomps the life out of your chosen savior. Worship on this Sunday. Bow. Fail. 





09 April 2022

PULPIT RED

 


Sometime in the 1990s, PULPIT RED started kicking around the dark bars of Oklahoma and denizens emerged from the shadows, thirsty from a taste of that sweet elixir brewed from a mash made of classics. NYC '77 (Hell, Thunders, etc), a heavy helping of STOOGES, maybe a dash of M.O.T.O. all fermenting in a sea of Middle America humidity....it goes down like a punk rock 'n roll racket. Lurk clocks in well over an hour, with several tracks taking the time they need to fully develop. It's a fucking rock record made by some dudes in leather jackets, a record with ballads, bangers and attitude for days. Filler? Oh year, some of that too, but if you're going to give me "Zero Night" and "Hard City" then I'll take your "Baby's In Hiding" all day.  

LURK
Former MULTIPLE CHOICE bassist Ben "The Wild Man" Liman (who preceded me in MULTIPLE CHOICE) passed through their ranks, as did ANCIENT CHIESE PENIS drummer Dan Francis (aka Del Langham and/or Phil McCrevis). I would pay $25 to see this band at Kelly's on Main with TALL TALES, but that will never happen....

08 April 2022

09 APRIL 1989

Another blast from Pat Wright's immense cassette archives. Blues, jerky post punk, a garage ripper from THE HYPSTYRS, more blues (honestly, there's lots of blues). This segment is lighter on punk and hardcore than some of the previous KALX posts, but ain't that what made (makes) free form radio so great? 

I've started curating mix tapes using Pat's archive as source material. The first two volumes are sold out (from me), but copies are available from Iron Lung and Sorry State. These tapes include highlights from the KALX tapes that I've shared here, as well as excerpts from field recordings, Gilman committee meetings, answering machine messages from famous punks and coworkers, live recordings from The Mab, On Broadway, Gilman...an absolute grab bag. Future volumes in the works, it's a project that could continue indefinitely.  

07 April 2022

PASZTERNÁK KÁROLY & A LÉGKÖRI JELENSÉGEK

 

Absolute freak sounds from the folks at Szégyen Kazetták in Budapest. No-fi outsider punk and über primitive synth punk blasts try to hide the pop brilliance of "Mondom Neked" and the laid back psych/pop mini-jams like "Macska Karambol," but there's no denying this shit. Image 50 MILLION + CAPT. BEEFHEART + SHRINKRAPP KILLERS and you'll be in the neighborhood, but the house that these mutants built had no blueprints and the carpenters were on acid. It's definitely the house where you want to party. 





06 April 2022

BLOOD MNAICS

 

Three minutes of noisecore/PV from the sun soaked plains of the United States spread out over five raw cuts. Just guitar and drums here, a duo who added reinforcements and wreaked havoc under the flag of NO MAN'S SLAVE. This session is not pretty, but ugly is OK. 


05 April 2022

ILLITHED



My jaw dropped when I heard ILLITHED for the first time a few weeks ago. They had a relatively short run in the late '90s with just two releases in their catalog so it's easy to see how they eluded discovery for so long (plus they were from Indiana - nothing against Indiana, but lots of stuff from there flies under the radar). Pogrom is a serious blow to the senses though, and it's not often that a blast from an unknown past hits this hard right out of the gate. It's from 1998, so the surge of heavy, powerful,"fully realized" hardcore was already overtaking the scrappy and earnest mid decade DIY sounds, but ILLITHED were holding fast and injecting that new energy into their sound while still embracing their Midwest basement foundation (I'm just assuming they played in basements, because it makes sense). Guitars are crunchy and loose, songs erratically incorporate elements of heavy chug but never sound like anything other than a determined, dirty DIY band, and the vocals (all of 'em) are the embodiment of '90s emotional hardcore. This band hits like ANIMAL FARM, ECONOCHRIST, DEMISE...this is the good shit. 




04 April 2022

BRIGADA ROJA

 


BRIGADA ROJA completely eluded most folks (including me) until this collection of recordings surfaced last year. That's our loss, 'cuz this shit is fucking fierce. Seventeen doses of powerfully political street hardcore from Monterrey, Mexico spanning a few years at the turn of the (last) decade, back when we thought knew shit was bad...but too many of us hadn't quite realized how much worse it could get. This is clenched fist punk from and for the struggle, from and for the streets. Listen to "Ellos Te Asesinen" (listen all the way through) and take a minute...some punks haven't forgotten.