30 September 2022



Give it another ten years and someone with too much money is going to "discover" DEMISE and package up a discography LP and pat themselves on the back for bringing sweaty Wisconsin basements to the new century punks. While I will applaud those efforts (and I will purchase that future LP), the joke might be on that self congratulatory entrepreneur because those sweaty Wisconsin basements were cranking out magic long before DEMISE and they've never stopped. But since we're focusing on this 1992 demo (or, Promo Tape) lets soak up some of the songs that will be on that collection. The vocals are more mature than on the previous year's Apathy Will Get You Nowhere - which works frighteningly well on the dirge "Not By Choice" (though not so much on the verses of "Fear Itself") and Grant's guitars are kicking open the door that would lead to ANIMAL FARM (shit, "Not By Choice" could have been an AF track) and then OJOROJO and TALK IS POISON after The Great Relocation later in the decade. DEMISE is a flagship band in the argument for not forgetting the '90s - they were fukkn fierce, they were intense, the songs were powerful and thirty years has done nothing to make them feel (or sound) any less relevant today. So to whomever puts that discography together, you've got my $20. I'll even preorder.

all we have is fear itself
the cops, the landlords and everyone else

29 September 2022



Just like the tape says: JAPANESE SHAKUHACHI. Recorded from vinyl by someone in the past, so that your life could be more peaceful in the present. For just under 43 minutes, you can be in a different place - even in a different mind if you choose. So to that person in the past, and to the person who has passed who held this cassette before I did....I offer thanks. 

28 September 2022



I'll never know how this monster slipped through the cracks, but OPTION's sole release from 2018 demands to be pulled back to the surface and devoured. Disjointed punk with choppy UK rhythms and a fiery buzzsaw guitar that sounds like it may break even before Dan's barks. The Dan I reference is the chap from NO SIR I WON'T and SURRENDER (and others), and OPTION follow a similar path - a path that brings them even closer to an ultimate destination. The Hour Of Action feels realized; no hesitation whatsoever from a band who are seizing their influences and taking flight...and only left us with six songs. 

27 September 2022



Many of the mid '80s releases from the venerable Bluurg roster have gone un (or less) noticed by modern fiends, even while the archivists still scrounge for the breadcrumbs of history. STATEMENT, NIC TOCZEK, NO POLICY, even bands like SEARS and FACTION seem to fly mostly under the radar, and now you can add EYES ON YOU and PAX VOBISCUM to that list. EYES ON YOU have a 12" that occupies bargain bins across the globe, and fans of melodic UK post-anarcho (think POLITICAL ASYLUM, JOYCE McKINNEY) would be well advised to snag a copy even though these tracks are a rawer and more appealing incarnation of the same sound. PAX VOBISCUM however, this shit grabbed me and wouldn't let go; if anarcho-Oi! was a genre then this might be its flag bearer (note: I know that anarchist street punk is a thing - but there's a distinction that I can't quite put my finger on so I'm going to keep the sentence as written). I knew them only from the Words Worth Shouting comp (also kicking around at reasonable prices for more mid decade nuggets), and this tape offers nine more excellent and indescribable UK punk stomps that seal the deal for me. Cheers to Gabe for the copy this summer - and for the rest of the tapes that will make their way onto these pages (eventually).  Now who's going to reissue the full Bluurg Tapes catalog.....

26 September 2022



Why not spend another day in the unheralded 1990s? This time to Arkansas, for a blown out disastrous burst of demented punk from EMPIRE OF SHIT, recorded before they relocated to Austin, Texas. The sound of college-town-in-a-conservative-state misanthropes; tortured and generally fukkd but with advanced construction, and fronted by an absolute freak named Joe Fun. Bands like FITZ OF DEPRESSION, LAUGHING HYENAS come to mind - equal parts filthy rock 'n roll, hard driving punk and raw sonic damage. This one'll put you on edge, which is precisely how most of us would prefer to be living...most of the time, anyway. 

25 September 2022



Sometimes a tape is a curiosity, then context and history just as (or more than) intriguing than the sounds it contains. My mind was percolating on I FORGOT long before I pressed play...the tape came from Pat's collection and it would be natural to suspect that he had simply forgotten the origin of the tape. Or the band could have been named I FORGOT. But pop this one in and there are only more questions - the sound is a clash of Bay Area pop punk, Revolution Summer and '90s Midwest basement emo, the second track (which might be titled "Stupid Melodic Song") is a perfect example of the melodic punk that was so pervasive in the mid 1990s (splitting hairs here - but I'm talking about a different brand of melodic punk than yesterday's BRAINSICK demo)...and I don't know anything else except that this band could have played the Mission Punk Fest in 1997 and kids would have eaten them up like candy. Maybe Pat simply forgot, but also maybe I FORGOT didn't make a cover for their two song demo dubbed on repurposed commercial cassette. Two songs. Probably '90s. Likely Bay Area...do your thing, internet. 

24 September 2022



This band was everywhere in the 1990s. Not "this band" as in BRAINSICK, but "this band" as in "bands that sounded like this." You can blame Fat Wreck Chords if you like - and you'd easily be able to make a strong case - but this brand of ripping snotty catchy punk with crunchy melodic/metallic guitars was actually everywhere, and BRAINSICK is a damn decent example of the right way to do it. Make no mistake; I'm not suggesting that anyone do this ever again (I saw a band in Reno back in July who perfectly demonstrated why no one should). But I am suggesting that popping in BRAINSICK's 1997 demo was a sub-six minute nostalgic blast, because driving west on I-40 with MULTIPLE CHOICE in that shitty brown Ford in 1994....? We would have blasted the shit out of this. 

23 September 2022



I've become kinda fascinated with the TamTam series, part of my recent pickup from the Music Not Noize collection reduction. A solid 90 minutes of Russian reggae, psych and folk with a couple of freak punk tracks and a rockabilly burner thrown in for good measure. This one is a series of curve balls from start to finish...from the SANTANA-esque MARKSCHIEIDER KUNST jam to the KRYZYS style punk of ПАУКИ and ARTIFICIAL BRAIN's filthy ramshackle squirm to drawn out reggae cuts from EGIPT GOLD LIONS and RAINBOW ARMY BAND. Strap in. 

22 September 2022



I'm anxiously awaiting my copy of the new IGNORANTES LP and blasting the old(er) shit to keep myself amped up. South American dupa-dupa jacked up to fukkn Mars, taking the simplistic punk formula and just maxing out every possible aspect of the intent and delivery. This 2015 tape is a series of ramshackle two minute bursts with anxious and urgent vocals. No subtlety, no nuance. Just in your fukkn face punk. Can't wait to drop that needle. 


21 September 2022



Dorky, quirky, funky and casual, HOOPLA! land somewhere in between DEAD MILKMEN and MINUTEMEN while staying weirder than either, which is all to say that they land just fukkn right. Salted Slug Beer Crimes clocks in well over 40 minutes (it was the '90s, kids) and I don't know shit else about the band. 

20 September 2022


I have to remind myself that CAMPER VAN BEETHOVEN are more than the bowling skinheads song and a killer STATUS QUO cover - revisit their first three (or so) records and you'll find a terminably folk/alt/psych band who invented their own rules as they went along. Interesting and irreverent 1987 interview by RJ here, as broadcast on Berkeley's KALX, including three tracks from their Telephone Free Landslide Victory debut LP (which I recommend).

19 September 2022



Complete and utter anarcho/noise madness from Stoke-On-Trent, circa 1981. All praise to whomever saw fit to make the entire (?) ASYLUM output available for consumption, because the demo that Demo Tapes reissued last year had me fiending. This is the star that modern noise punks dream of reaching. These recordings are a complete and brilliant blur - more than five years before Scum, ASYLUM were creating industrial anarcho grind. Noise not music indeed. 

18 September 2022



Rumbling, gurgling, ominous noisescapes from BLUE SABBATH BLACK CHEER, an outfit with uncanny and innate ability to create alternate sonic realities in the space of one cassette. In this example, Sickly Weaklings carries you through a torturous (internal) chamber. Meant to be experienced as one journey, the progression from presentation (For The Sickly Weakling") to realization ("Disgusting Body") to resignation ("Prelude To Empty") and finally termination ("Empty") is absolutely suffocating. Just as intended. 

17 September 2022



Wild and chaotic '90 emo/hardcore, just how I liked it then and, honestly, just how I like it now. Perhaps I couldn't have taken the jazzy meanderings in the 8+ minute "Placid" back in 1995 (though I would have been all over it a few years later), but the power and heaviness that dominates the second half of the song is in line with KILARA, pg.99, or even a future KYLESA. There were clusters of "this band" in every region of the US it seemed (MORE FIRE FOR BURNING PEOPLE were from Virginia), so a full tour would often mean playing with a bunch of them....even if your band played with the sonic nuance of a pants shitting and your band's emotions were intentionally and voraciously masked by drugs. 

16 September 2022



Yet another example of why sorting through Pat Wright's cassette collection is such an indescribable joy. A mix of songs Pat recorded in New York; crackling 78s from HAROLD ARLEN, ENRICO CARUSO, VAUGH MONROE and others, backed with some lesser known blues greats (SLEEPY JOHN ESTES, CHARLEY LINCOLN, LONNIE JOHNSTON). The title is self explanatory, I quite literally felt like a ghost in the room while a young man sorted through well worn records trying to decide which cut would come next or which songs he wanted to listen to on an upcoming road trip. The tape itself is a journey in time. 

Related: there will be a restock of Wright Copy cassettes later this month, along with Volumes 5, 6 & 7. 
I'll mention it here when everything is ready, and probably mention it on social medias as well. 

15 September 2022



I saw ARÜSPEX in Oakland a couple of weeks ago and it was everything I needed. Powerful, emotive, epic neocrust formed in the mold of early 2000s dark Euro hardcore. Imagine FALL OF GAIA weened on FILTH, with lead vocals that feel like they're being ripped from your own chest...and the bass player was wearing a SCHIFOSI shirt. The place where hardcore and crust and emo converge is a special place indeed, and it's really tough to pull it off without falling flat. ARÜSPEX pull it off, and I really want to see them again. 

14 September 2022



CONNECT FOUR were completely new to me, but I feel like I'm going to be obsessed with this demo for a while. 1991 Southern California rapid thrash with early DRI just oozing out of every riff. Drums sound all jacked and punchy and motherfukkr hits hard while the vocals are pure Brecht mania. "Vivisection." "Society Disease." "Habitual Hate." A nod to their own roots with "Cycotic." Volume is important, and if there are more recordings then someone please please help me. 

13 September 2022



Prepare yourself. The next seven minutes (and some seconds) of your existence are going to be consumed by filth, frustration, distortion, disgust and rage. This is the ugliest shit...I wish it sounded less fucked up because I know it would make it "better" in some way, but I don't want these six songs to be anything other that what they are. It's a blur. A nasty, messy blur.

12 September 2022



There was a hot minute in San Francisco when NOXIOUS PRIX were, without a doubt, the punkest punks. Full stop. The punkest. It was right around the turn of the century and I knew the guitarist Talon from STRAY BULLETS, but it was a casual acquaintance from playing together in Minneapolis. Seeing his new band of street rats in San Francisco was something completely different - they were wasted, they fought in the street, they were a hot mess...and they were great. They fukkn smelled punk, and you could even smell the difference inside Mission Records (if you know what I mean, then I don't have to explain it...and if you don't, then there's no way I could explain it). What makes this tape special though? NOXIOUS PRIX 'released' a tape that sounds like it was duplicated from boombox to boombox - no cables, just plopping one boombox in front of the other and blasting the shit. The songs are killers - all of them (but especially "War For Poor" and "Inner City") - but it sounds like a distant AM radio broadcast and all you want is to hear them sound better and louder and clearer but uggghhhhh it's so frustratingly sick to know that you never will. 

11 September 2022


Punk is almost always better when it's a little rough around the edges, and Bandung's MILISI KECOA is a perfect example. Ramshackle light speed hardcore punk with a hint of Oi! and omnipresent gang vocals. I snagged their split with HÅRDA TIDER when it came out, but this 2010 escaped me until recently (thanks, Matt). Way rougher, but in a way that feels honest - the solos aren't quite dialed, the vox crack every now and then, and the drum fills are like a bag of rocks rolling down a hill. And they turn "Attitude" into a 63 second fastcore burner. It's exactly the shit I wanted. 


10 September 2022



Back in July when I left for some dates on the road, I put out a plea for strangers (and/or) friends to bring me tapes. I did this for obvious reasons (I mean...tapes, right?), but also because you never know what kind of conversation/s might result from a request like that. Unless you count the HOT LOAD tape packing in an envelope with a joint that was delivered by a UPS driver in Pomona, folks only came through twice. Some bangers from a nice couple in Morro Bay (y'all came by in Los Osos a few years ago too, you should send me your address and I'll send you something nice) and a bloke in Eugene who lingered around the table on and off for a chunk of the show while we talked about lots of shit - including the batch of tapes he brought by. Fellow has an interesting focus: Christian punk and alt. Curiously, we didn't delve into the ethics or the why or the conflicts or really any of the background at all, I just asked questions about the bands and their connections, much like I would when talking to any expert in a field about which I know....nothing. The other tapes he handed off will likely pop up eventually, but LIFESAVERS comes first - classic '90s indie/alt sound that reminds me of TEENAGE FANCLUB, THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS, THE SMITHEREENS and the like - even touches of later JAMC from time to time. Everything sounds slower and more laid back (read: more accessible) than it should ("Surf With God" in particular) - almost like the cool neighbor is trying to make sounds that the elders will approve of, but will still lure the bad kids to youth group on Wednesday night. Take the lone burner "Skate" for example: My skateboard is no crime / There's hungry children cryin' / There's politicians lyin' // The crime I see Mr. Police is this world don't know where to go when it dies. See what they did there? No doubt, Poplife sounds familiar and comfortable even when it lands pretty flat sonically, but...it was an interesting conversation and one that I hope to continue at some point. 

09 September 2022



I'm repeatedly reminded how awesome and influential compilation tapes were in The Old World. Those reminders come just about every time I pop one of those relics into the deck and press PLAY. This behemoth from Thrashing Mad Records shipped out in 1989, when the first waves of hardcore had mostly 'evolved' and many of the fans had moved on because they'd seen and heard it all before. But the folks who moved on (or aged out) missed INTENT (featuring a pre-Gloom Nate Wilson), MALACHI KRUNCH, MEAN BOOPER (check the track "knots" - a brilliantly primitive dose of adolescent angst), Fresno's S.A.D. BOYZ, Spain's ANARKOTICS, along with cuts from well documented late decade heavyweights like CITIZEN'S ARREST, RESIST and DESTROY! (who sound absolutely devastating here). Of course there are more, but who wants to just read a list of bands, right? Sure the sound is rough here and there, and sure there are some lousy edits but...I'm repeatedly reminded how awesome and influential compilation tapes were. And still are. 

08 September 2022



LEPROPHILIAC started dropping bombs just a couple of years ago but have already amassed a formidable catalog filled with churning, putrid old school death metal. Their latest offering, Slimebath, feels like running through human sludge to escape the inevitable. In this case, that inevitability manifests in the form of a jaw dropping version of the NO MERCY/SUICIDAL opus "Waking The Dead" and after that track is finished....? Well, I'm dead.

Fun Fact: 
I received this dose in the mail a couple of weeks ago in trade for a NAKED AGGRESSION tape.  
Support always: LEPROPHILIAC
Support always: Rescued From Life

07 September 2022



Hungary's GIPSY SS dropped an EP in our lives a few years ago and it blew minds. Supremely damaged and wholly unique sounding punk that just grabs you by the brain and refuses to release you. Classic punk sounds (think DKs, MUTANTS and/or the squirmier sides of the underworld) clashing with the GAGs and IDIOTA CIVILZZATOs of The New World. If you think that this shit should (still) be interesting, then I recommend their new recordings, I recommend that EP mentioned at the start of this paragraph...and I recommend these demented demos from mid-decade. If you don't think this shit should be interesting, then I am not sure if I can help you.

06 September 2022



POLITICAL ASYLUM slogged about for almost a decade, and somehow I feel like they're Scotland's most forgotten '80s anarcho export. They don't sound like anyone or anything else and they never did - melodic midpaced poetic and anthemic punk that leaned heavily on ripping leads and a confident lilt behind the mic. Walls Have Ears is five self-recorded tracks and a dozen (plus) recorded live, all in 1985/86 - this might be my favorite version of "Disarm Or Die," even though the vocals are pretty buried. 

05 September 2022



A life surrounded by hate and hopelessness sometimes leads to submission. And sometimes it leads to fight. The split from Oklahoma is absolutely the latter - a manic and desperate crust assault divided into two movements. The HUMANICIDE tracks from 2000 seem like they are almost trying for the melodic tinged that would dominate the DIY crust of the early decade, but instead they sound like LOGICAL NONSENSE and STATE OF FEAR grinding the shit out each other. And ten years later, URANIUM DEATH CROW are still grinding on - the melodic tinge traded for Swedish metal influences creeping into what is an absolutely brutal collection of sounds. Eleven songs and almost a full half hour from each band - just listening to it is exhausting. Imagine living it. 

04 September 2022



The world isn't perfect and the Bay Area has been a very unique place as long as I've known it. In that spirit, I give you SMOKEJUMPERS' one song cassingle from 1997. I recommend the Boogie Down! To The West Bay Beat compilation (featuring SMOKEJUMPERS, DONNAS and SPAZZ among many many others) if you still need to be convinced that this place is a little...off. And if that doesn't work, then the STEVE MERIT BAND demo is going to make an appearance here eventually, and don't even get me started about Dory....


03 September 2022



Three cuts from CIOCCOLATA's Dai Dai D-ya 12" from 1985 - brilliant outsider synth pop from Tokyo. The flip is credited to CIOCCALATA keyboardist Fukiko Watanabe and is considerably more outside any musical norm, these tracks are avant/orchestral gold but unfortunately that's about all I know. All of these sounds new to me, and makes me ponder why I never thought about a NINA HAGEN + J-Pop + SPARKS collaboration before, because now I can't think about anything else. 

02 September 2022



Loathed Sound was a special label. So many re-introductions and new discoveries came from their releases, and when I saw a new update I would never debate which one/s to get - I just got them all (the Lou Reed was an exception, but I already wrote about that). Their mix tapes are things of wonder, and this one soars to new heights with off the books cuts from ARTHUR LEE, PHILIP COHRAN, YOKO ONO and YUSEF LATEEF. The version of "Mama Said" from THE NEXT FIVE sounds ripped from the pages of a '60s teen mag, standing in stark contrast to the lumbering baritone in THE COSMIC RAYS' "Dreaming," which features the casually devastating line this tape uses as its title. LOREN CONORS, OAKLAND ELEMENTARY SCHOOL ARKESTRA...and there's more. Loathed Sound outdid themselves with For No Matter How I Dream..., and their efforts are (still) appreciated. 

01 September 2022



No need to waste a lot of words here, CFA has been rightly heralded and documented and analyzed as much as any New York hardcore band over the last (*gulp*) 40 years. And still....this recording is just so hard. Nine songs that helped define a genre and laid the groundwork for a scene. "Poison In The Machine" at full volume please.