31 May 2022

ANGELO HARMSWORTH // EDWARD PITTS

 

Corpus Arts was a great space. A queer centered info center, book/zine shop and performance space just a couple of blocks removed from the bars and commercial venues that dominate downtown Albuquerque - you were outside of the 'other' world when you were there, and it felt as if you were physically in another realm. That feeling translated to the performers, and you could feel that too...tangible freedom is a hard thing to manifest, and it's often most powerful and expressive when it's fleeting. There are more cassettes in this series of live recordings from performances at Corpus Arts and I should have just snagged them all when Jessica pointed them out, but I don't always do what I should do so I present Third Mind #3. Three pieces spread over one (almost) hour from two accomplished manipulators of sound. Haunting and distant ambient noise, culminating in a series of subtly chaotic monotonous drones that march to a steady stream of far away beats that never grow any closer or any clearer. I've come back and listened to this one many times, using sound to transport to a place. You can go there too, even if you've never been. 

30 May 2022

STUPID LIFE

 

Mania in the classic tradition of Noise Punk Mondays, a tradition I've clearly strays far too far away from. Los Angeles mutants STUPID LIFE stunk up the middle part of the '10s with raucous WANKYS-style pogo noise, the soundtrack to a clown carnival with glue bags. Eight songs here, clocking in well under ten minutes and it sounds like its coming from a tin shed down the block...you'll be dumber when you finish, and that's the point. 

29 May 2022

LHC

 

I'm (always) happy to give tapes a new home, a few spins, maybe even a pathway to new ears, even if I'm just the last stop before the rubbish bin because sometimes the stuff people think is crap is genuinely...crap. But I recently started digging into a box of bangers from a friend who realized that their tapes were just too much (I get it - and I feel like I'll reach that tipping point with CDs at some point), and I felt like a little kid discovering punk for the first time all over again. Loads more tapes from that package will show up here, but first: Tijuana's LHC. It's hard to explain how or why Decídete works as well as it does - FUGAZI and Midwest basement hardcore and RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE-influenced heavy alt in a fukkn fiery ball of power and I'm here for it. The groove that I mentioned yesterday cannot be denied here, and is exactly what makes LHC hit so right. The band just all in - rolling rumbling bass lines and vocals spit with constant intensity...chances are good that I would have dismissed this in 1998 (that's a guess), but maybe I just wasn't ready yet. Now I am. 

28 May 2022

NERVOUS MOTHERS

 

The word 'groove' conjures all the wrong feelings and it's hard to justify saying that a crushing hardcore band 'swings' but fukk if that ain't exactly what's happening on the introductory song on NERVOUS MOTHERS first tape from 2014. The slow parts are like a crunk mosh, a drunken churn....a swinging groove of the most demonic nature. And then they blast. Oh do they ever fukkn blast. Not one ounce of the tonnage is lost when they speed up (if anything they hit harder the faster they play). Just a nasty fukkn display of power with high/low vocals and equal nods to '90s USPV and '00s Euro bands like SUFFERING QUOTA (for reference, the tape closes with STACK and LEFT FOR DEAD covers). If you're short on time, just skip right to "Plague," that one is particularly deadly. 

"I wish I could say we could clean up this mess together..."


27 May 2022

METAL DEMOS

If you asked me (and if you're reading then you kinda did), this is absolutely the way these recordings were meant to be circulated. First wave US thrash assault from some of the greats collected on cassette, copied by die hards, and passed by hand to thirsty kids in school hallways or sent across the world to pen pals from the classified pages of underground metal rags. It's not supposed to sound full, the shit is raw and primal and that's why it worked. Schuldiner's guitar on Reign Of Terror is just wild (extra points for the hard pan on the rack toms), and Thunderstruk makes it hard to understand why WHIPLASH weren't more of a household name. Bay Area royalty is represented (early pre-thrash DEATH ANGEL is really hard to fukk with - more in line with NWOBHM but with serious teeth), and EXCITER's "World War III" is an absolute killer. The kid who put this beast together knew what was up, and I thank them for it. 


Probably a decent time to revisit a couple of earlier posts with the same spirit. An unmarked tape of (more) metal demos (check the comments - some excellent sleuths have done good work but there are still mysteries to solve) HERE, and a magical collection of early Bay Area killers HERE. If your ears ain't bleeding, then you ain't listening properly. 

26 May 2022

IDIOT CLONE

 



What a glorious beast IDIOT CLONE is. Hand drawn cover, destroyed bass tone (the beginning of "Roolz And Regulations" should be enough to settle any doubts, and that's the first 15 seconds of the damn tape) and six brilliant doses of early '80s anti-system idealism, this is messy and earnest UK punk of the highest order. While they struggle to keep it together musically, they rail against the mundane and the cops and the normal and the state with an urgency rarely seen after the age of 19 or so...and all of this is what we're here for. File alongside DISORDER, DEATH SENTENCE (UK), and the like. I shared this tape back in 2009 (HERE) and a few chumps have plopped that rip on the youtube with no background info...but punk is for the punks so I ain't complaining. 


25 May 2022

FREAKS OF NATURE

 

This little morsel slipped into my inbox a while back and left me breathless. Sun baked, sweaty garage punk from strip mall wastelands surrounded by the Sonoran desert, this Phoenix outfit captures '60s fuzz and fukkn owns the energy. This is the punk of dehydration and bathtub crank, of going hard and going all night, this is the sound that made the first wave punks turn away from hardcore in the '90s - listen to FREAKS OF NATURE and you'll understand why. 


24 May 2022

WISTERIA

 

The poor replication on this cassette is borderline criminal because the two songs it contains, which apparently compile all of WISTERIA's recorded output, are stunners. Brilliantly crafted dark dance punk with haunting keyboards lurking behind melodies carried by single note ethereal guitar leads - it's exactly what you need, just takes a minute to settle into the fidelity. The keyboard solo on the first song is where Italy's WISTERIA really settle in and the chorus that follows has even more presence and power than the band did earlier in the song, setting the stage for a b-side track that will knock you out of your boots. Marzia's vocals are clearly the focus even (especially) when they float above the mix - a sharp, urgent innocence that you just can't fake. I know this was just a side recording project, but damn....

23 May 2022

SLUGGA

 

Someone's gonna know what this shit is, right? Every time I pop this one in, the answer is just barely out of reach - I know I know who this is, but I just don't know who this is. Sharp, tight punk with a killer snarl and a Midwest swagger...someone help the rest of us.


UPDATE, 29 May: It's SLUGGA from Atlanta. I probably got this slammer in OKC back in 2016 and forgot what I got. But Ross has got me covered. And you. Thanks, Ross. 



22 May 2022

MAMMALS

 

I don't even remember where or how I got this shit, but what a fukkn beast. A cacophonous collision of Y2K breakneck fastcore and the apocalyptic tonnage that dominated the latter part of the decade, MAMMALS embody the rawest aspects and seem determined to not soften any of their rough edges. Ten minutes of pure clenched fist rage....seems fitting.


21 May 2022

STRESSORS

 

This band was so fukkn good. The shit was ugly and the shit was mean. And when I say ugly, check the guitar into the mid tempo mosh in "Death Rattle" and then hear STRESSORS get serious during the transition between "Fairweather" and "Shame." If punks are smart, then some taste maker will "discover" this band in a few years and folks are gonna flip their shit like they should have the first time. They've got everything on their own internet (the highlighted text above) or you can just blast this Summer Tape 2013 (the highlighted text below).

20 May 2022

WICKERMAN

 

In the moment we all just called this "industrial dance" music or something similar, because we didn't really know better and because subgenrefication of music hadn't really taken over (yet). It wasn't quite what we knew of as acid house, surely wasn't techno, kinda had a darker edge (and guitars) and you could absolutely dance down to it, so....we were teenagers, not critics. We wanted to sneak out of the house and drive 90 miles to hit the after hours club and sweat until 4am and drive back home fighting sleep and adolescent exhaustion, hoping to make it into bed before the adults woke up. And that's what we did - and WICKERMAN would have been the sound track to one of those drives, had I known WICKERMAN existed. 
WICKERMAN
CONTENTSTwo tracks that land somewhere between Kooler Than Jesus and Land Of Rape And Honey, one drugged out dub number, and a whole bunch of questions. 

19 May 2022

SIRENA VICTIMA

 

The kind of glorious brood you get from WAX IDOLS or even DASHER, but housed in a raw and primitive trio bashing out cloudy garage tunes constructed from '80s punk riffs. I saw SIRENA VICTIMA just once (at The Hemlock - I fukkn hated that bar) and their purity of approach was even louder than the music itself. Sometimes it's a little loose, sometimes the mix is a little weird, but let "See U TMRW" sink in and know that this shit is magic. 

18 May 2022

MOM

 


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

INKAQUENAS

 



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

FRIGHT

 

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

SNOW COVERED DEER CORPSE

 

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

 


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

MONASTERY OF PORCUPINES

 

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

MULTI FACET

 

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

FORCLOSE // DROGATO

 



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

EDIBLE



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

SFN

 

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

 

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

MICHAEL BERDAN

 

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

MACHINE GUN ROMANTICS

 

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

INSPECTOR 12

 

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

HOLEHOG

 

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

AVOID

 


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

SOCIAL INTERROGATION

 

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.