Of all the 'nuclear' bands that have appeared on these pages over the years, Germany's NUCLEAR might be the most unhinged. I grabbed it on a whim a couple of years ago when I was scooping a few Euro comps (with some house money from selling garbage pop punk) and hoooooo-weeee was I pleased with that decision. Folks on a search for fidelity will want to move right along because this NUCLEAR is fast, loose and raw as fukk hardcore punk from 1984 - the kind of band that is playing way faster and way more intense than their physical ability should allow. This recording and a slew of tracks (most of which seem to have come from this session) on cassette comps (most of which I now feel like I need) are all that NUCLEAR did until recording an EP in 1990 (I guess I need that also). Total MOB 47 / LÄRM vibes here, and the entire B side is a blistering and abrasive live set from Bielefeld in 1985....legendary shit (at least it should be).
27 February 2023
Textbook raw DBeat - "A Guerra Continua" is one of the most perfect examples of the (sub)genre I've ever heard - a one chord riff into a three chord chorus, driven by blown out cardboard box drums and howling anguish. EYES OF CROW are so brutally simple that you feel like you've heard every song before, and it's that simplicity that makes this demo work. I was fukkn hungry for each track because I knew what was waiting for me, and then "Katastrofe" starts and the guitars are buried and it sounds so dark and ominous...like a door is closing. And then it's over. In less than ten minutes, my faith in ramshackle DBeat hardcore - a faith that has never wavered - has been strengthened by a seven year old cassette from Spain. Sometimes, punk works in mysterious ways, and sometimes it just hits you in the face.
26 February 2023
NEON existed for a short time (for them) during a weird time (for me). I knew them, I knew their other projects (THE BLUES, STILLSUIT, MOZART, PIG DNA), and I knew NEON from its inception. But it was a weird time and I never saw their chaos in person. There weren't very many shows, to be fair, but that shouldn't be an excuse. It's a reason...but it's not an excuse. What did I miss? No rules, sonic dissonance, art smashing full speed into punk norms and destroying sonic and visual expectations. Sometimes Rosie's bass is quite literally the only thing holding the band together (we're talking about PIG DNA drums and STILLSUIT guitar here, remember), and the vocals are could be an abrasive noise and/or no wave project on their own. And it happened while the Bay Area was in transition, while the members were in transition, while I was in transition, and while I listen this morning it's as if NEON represents so many of those changes (to me), even though I never saw them live (the 12" release show at The Hive is a thing of legend) and didn't even have a copy of this tape until recently. Even when things change, I guess you've still got some time to catch yourself up - and even without the context, NEON gonna take you on a wild ass ride this morning.
25 February 2023
I first heard Glenn Branca's name in the 1980s, associated with SONIC YOUTH members and early NYC no wave experimentation (I had no idea what "no wave" was at the time). Later I read Zorn mentioning him in the same context, but I never heard the sounds until I got a promo copy of Symphony No. 6: Devil Choirs At The Gates Of Heaven to play on my radio show in Ponca City, Oklahoma....and just think about that for a moment. More than three decades later (and four decades after it was recorded), these sounds still put me in an absolute fucking trance.
24 February 2023
Killer collection of ramshackle early '90s punk from Latvia. You'll need to settle into the recording and replication quality here, but once you do that you'll be treated to sounds from cold and infectious punks КОНЕЦ КАПИТАЛИЗМА with a wild driving lead guitar that reels me in, raw lo-fi hardcore from SEPSIS and a few no-fi closet miscreant tunes from ХАОС В ПЕНТАГОНЕ that defy accurate description. PEPEL'S BEY are the catchiest of the bunch and there are a couple of freak show acoustic tunes from ЗВОЛЦИЯ КАКТУСОВ that have me at a complete loss. Nothing casual or passive about this listen (especially if you do it right), and there's a second volume headed your way in the future. So you're welcome.
23 February 2023
Where the fukk did this even come from...? It physically came from San Diego but cosmically speaking here: where the fukk did this even come from?! A precision attack in eight sharp movements, without even the slightest whiff of bullshit. It's from the crew of folks responsible for SLUMS OF THE FUTURE, so it's not like I'm surprised that it's good - but maybe I'm a little taken aback that it's this good. Anxious modern hardcore with obvious early century roots. Way into it.
22 February 2023
Snotty and feisty punk that oozes Southern California '90s. This is every band that played a suburban strip mall skate shop, every band that played backyard keggers in Ontario, the local band who played first on a six band package bill, the band who opened for MDC in a random locals bar in Temecula, the band who had one EP on Beer City. If these things make sense to you then you will identify with these sounds immediately...and sometimes I really like listening to a time warp.
21 February 2023
One hour of mind melting immersion noise from KJELD. These sounds are more than fifteen years old now, and it feels like a mechanical creature emerging from the past as a reminder of the doom that awaits in the future. Ten minutes into the first movement I start to get anxious as the rumbling just....continues. The aftermath of an explosion. Sonic debris rolling towards you in waves. Two faint respites follow, and then the ominousity returns in the form of a deadly drone track that will fill eight minutes of your day with unabashed dread. These are the reasons we wake up in the morning, kids.
20 February 2023
Something about this demo just hits right - and hits right from the start. The thing is fukkn short as hell, barely filling up five minutes in the fast line to destruction, but what they do in those five muddy, chaotic minutes is something special. Maniacal guitars on top of manic riffs, marbled mouthed vocals making the case for a new way of showing the Kids how the shit is done...making the case for letting the damn Kids do it themselves, actually. Damaged, dark, ferocious hardcore - and y'all know what happened after this, right? Coupla long players on Iron Lung under their belts and they just keep getting better.
19 February 2023
18 February 2023
17 February 2023
Twenty six blasts of raw Brasilian hardcore circa mid 2000s. You shouldn't need much more than that, so I'll list a few of the bands: ABUSO SONORO, NAUZO, ANTICORPUS, ESTILACOS DE ODIO, SOBREVIVIENTES, SEPTICIMIA, ROT, DEADMOCRACY, SEM ACORDO, EXECRADORES.....sure, there are more. So just download the shit and start screaming, because life after CONSTRASTE BIZARRO is far better than life before CONTRASTE BIZARRO. Trust me.
16 February 2023
15 February 2023
Victoria's INFANTILE DISSENTION exist/ed in this murky hybrid Other Space between biting black metal and angular UK anarcho punk. Riffs that beg for Blinko comparisons, femme vocals ripped from early 2000s political crust and a treble heavy recording reminiscent of '90s Scandinavian outsider metal. It's a harsh and cold experience that moves forward in grudging, forceful jolts. INFANTILE DISSENTION sound....uncomfortable, and they make you feel uncomfortable when you listen.
14 February 2023
The careful manipulation of sound fascinates me. To the outsider, elements of noise (and particular segments of the "noise" community) seem to thrive on the chaos - the all encompassing nothingness, the absence of anything that could be defined as structure. As the noise gets more cerebral, however, it occupies a space where even the strictest adherents to accepted sonic norms may be forced to recognize the meticulous collection, creation and construction of sound. Carry on a bit further, and you start to drift into a reality that mirrors primitive new age music. Alternate plane ambiance. Tweaked slightly or abused with abandon, these are sounds that have a home in the unused corners of your cerebral self that need to be fed even when there is no appetite (or taste). And when sound arrives here, when sound takes you here...it's not an accident.
13 February 2023
Ramshackle Japanese anarcho-stench presented in seven chaotic movements. Worth it for the title track alone, but the whole thing is only a hair over six minutes, so if you manage your time properly then you won't miss a blast.
12 February 2023
Full on knock yer socks of hard driving dirty punk from Florida. It's worth mentioning that I watched the Wäntage KARP documentary last night and reached for PLURAL BEING this morning. No, one doesn't necessarily sound like the other, but the ability to suffocate the listener while offering infectious repetition will sound familiar. This tape is all we got (get?) from them, so look straight into the sun and blast "Revolution Bummer" today.
11 February 2023
The Final Salute In The Name Of Human Misery is an all encompassing double album that captures TROTTEL at the height of their transition from underground Hungarian punk band experimenting behind the Iron Curtain to a full on prog/alt juggernaut. You can still hear remnants of their UK anarcho influenced roots mingling with the exploration that would carry the band well into the new century - like INTERNAL AUTONOMY and Gish and SO MUCH HATE. The cassette version was self released (with only seven of the thirteen cuts on the vinyl version), and is an excellent introduction to folks looking to travel forward or backward in time with TROTTEL. Fortunately for potential travelers, there's not a wrong choice.
10 February 2023
Sometime in the mid-2000s I was at an afternoon show in Austin talking to the first guitarist from WARCRY (maybe on the patio of a bar-b-q joint because....well, because Texas). While we were generally chipping it up about whatever and waiting for the first band to start, a raging DBeat song started blasting over the PA and we both took note (perhaps because it was loud enough that casual conversation was rendered temporarily impossible). After a moment, he commented that the then-relentless wave of DBeat clone bands had gone too far and that he was tired of hearing DBeat everywhere and more or less dismissed whatever new DBeat clone band had wormed its way onto the too-loud afternoon bar-b-q show playlist. We both laughed, since he was kinda right, and black clad two riff wonders did seem to be coming out of every dark alley around that time. And then the pick slide for "Without Warning" dropped over the PA and we were both struck momentarily silent, realizing that the band the WARCRY guitarist was dismissing was, in fact, WARCRY. Then we laughed more.
09 February 2023
If you want to fully grasp the importance (and awesomeness) of the 1980s punk comp tape, I suggest digging into the mixes from France's Acts Of Defiance. I've posted several here already (yes some of the links are dead, no I'm probably not going to revive them any time soon) but the internet tells me there are still a few more that I need to track down (You Can Be A Victim Of Their Authority and Where Is The Freedom, most specifically). Fantastic blasts of under the radar (mostly later) '80s hardcore and punk, with a possibly inadvertent focus on German, French and English bands. The tracks are typically available on other releases, but it's not like everyone is clamoring to get their hands on the Bloodsucker comp so they can learn about BLOOD AND THUNDER (no need now - "State Rebel" is included here) or digging through bargain bins trying to score that elusive DIOXIN 12" (which is not hard to find...you just aren't looking for it). So log another enthusiastic vote in favor of the format, and check out THE YOB, RUDOLF'S RACHE, DIE FROHLIX, LD 50 and tracks from GENERIC and SHRAPNEL, two bands you're likely already familiar with...and help me track down the other Acts Of Defiance comps, please.
08 February 2023
It's sometimes interesting how much what I post differs from what I've been listening to. I spent last weekend jamming the SO MUCH HATE catalog, the new SPEED PLANS 12" and a live BUTTHOLE SURFERS tape I just booted, then yesterday the new INNUMERABLE FORMS LP so the evening got a little ugly. But my arsenal of ripped tapes to post is populated with the weird sonic bender I was on a few weeks ago - digging through (and digitizing) oddities and spending a few quiet (dark) cold days and nights with sound. So even though I might spend the day blasting, I'm going to leave you with twenty minutes of understated and subtle electronic experimentation from Saint-Petersburg solo artist SKRIPP. After a couple of careful listens, perhaps my favorite part of 2014's Abrasion Marks is that is doesn't seem to go anywhere...it just....exists. Even the most expressive track, the closer "Rainy," just sits like a picture of an aural moment. There's a swell around the four-minute mark that listens like movement, but really it's just the sound of the clouds shifting and naturally adjusting the (lack of) light in the room. It's careful and deliberate, nothing at all like the insanity dominating my turntable (and my mind) lately.
07 February 2023
A mind bending no-fi sonic journey through Space and France, ZAD KOKAR pushes the limits of sound perception on Moon & Earth Collapsed On The Day (4,46 Billions Years Ago) and I can't get enough. Maybe you call this experimental punk? Maybe it's just what happens when a creative mind is allowed to create unencumbered? Damaged drum machine techno beats form the foundation for repetitive future punk deconstructions, and then ZAD KOKAR drops a surprise in your lap (the brilliant "Warm Leatherette" cover, for example - a treat for everyone (like me) who didn't think they ever needed to hear another "Warm Leatherette" cover). MILK CULT meets LAIBACH in the twenty second century...but from France.
06 February 2023
You see the cover? How it looks like a middle school kid was drawing band logos on his notebook and ran out of space but didn't want to start over and do it properly? That's what IDIOTA CIVILIZZATO sounds like - hurried, anxious, frustrated, damaged. And then it sounds like you're listening to the whole thing on dumpstered tape...that's still in the dumpster. Truly unhinged Italian hardcore in the classic tradition, but from Germany. Riffs are pure mania and the vocals are something else entirely - you've probably heard the records Static Shock did but I swear this demo twists the knife just a wee bit deeper. Blast "Pervesso" a few times and it'll change you.
05 February 2023
Record store manager in New Mexico watching me dig through stacks of dusty unknowns, "I've got this tape, kinda weird prog / yacht rock but I have no idea who the guy is and I can't find anything about him on the internet - you interested?" Me, digging through stacks of dusty unknowns, "Yes." You see, sometimes you make quick decisions based on intuition and hunch...and sometimes those decisions are wrong. Also sometimes they are right. Bob Goldstaub is gonna be a harsh toke for some of you, but if you ever wanted a little Michael McDonald in your Led Zep then listen to the last series of tracks on this mysterious nugget. If you ever needed a country rock violin in your Floyd, if you ever wanted your adult contemporary music to sound just a little....off? Then Bob is your fukkn guy. What do I know about Bob? Nothing - except that I rescued his tape from an eternity of obscurity and put it on the internet. You're welcome, Bob.
04 February 2023
We played several shows with APATIA NO in Europe in 2003, we were both on nine-plus week adventures that intersected a few times. At the time, they were probably the most prolific and best known Venezuelan DIY punk export and people were more than a little excited to see the dual vocal trio live - which benefitted our single vocal trio handsomely. Solidaridad is a collection of EP and comp tracks all recorded in the late '90s, including their side of one of their two splits with RENUENCIA, which is their rawest (and best, to my ears) material. I'm not going to talk about the time the drummer rolled backwards off the stage and out the door and down the stairs in the middle of a set because I mentioned that a few years ago...