31 August 2023



One of the more interesting documents left in the wake of the venerable Loathed Sound label - a rough recording of a STONES jam session from 19968. Most of the tape focuses on Keith Richards' noodling, and it's hard to explain why it's so pleasant to listen to but...it is. Few (if any?) fully formed songs, just nuggets of blues worship and murky primitive rock 'n roll. Jagger's vocals are never the highlight, and listeners should be aware that fidelity is nowhere to be found here. It's a weird listen, and this is exactly why I miss that label so damn much. Weird listening.

30 August 2023


 More Bay Area? Millinneal Bay Area hardcore? Sure...and fuck do ACTS OF SEDITION ever hold up. I think the first time I saw them was in in 2004 when I was rolling with IRON LUNG and HERO DISHONEST, then I helped book a midwest tour for them in 2006 (also with HERO DISHONEST maybe?), but they were still kicking (and with a second guitarist) when I moved back to SF in 2008 and they had turned into an actual machine. Full throttle hardcore that shied away from the stadium DBeat that dominated the era in favor of speed and off kilter that are like a collision of early century fastcore and '90s dark East Bay punk. Even if "Sun Or Death" is the only song that stays with you...trust me here.

29 August 2023



If you were around the Bay Area in the early '00s then you knew these kids...you at least knew their scene. And if you were old/er (which is relative of course, I was barely thirty), then their energy infected you. THE LAB RATS and SHARP KNIFE kicked all of our asses. Fast, snotty, raw, absolutely in your face adolescent punk. I love this shit still. 

28 August 2023



I heard you wanted to start your week by moshing in your bedroom. Well....FOR GOOD are going to help you get that one person pit started. Two mid teens EPs combined in one plastic shell, sixteen minutes of smashing shit before you go to work or whatever....sometimes you don't need much, but it needs to be right. FOR GOOD is right. 

27 August 2023



Another dose of improvisational mania from Max Nordile...twenty three minutes of manipulations, found sounds, free jazz, repetition and calculated madness. Nothing but respect for the constant and consistent compulsion/s to create....and release on cassette, of course.

26 August 2023



We don't need to talk about this one, do we? PUNCH existed in a post Y2K-Thrash Bay Area that needed something. That needed PUNCH, apparently. What do you need?

25 August 2023



To find something meaningful is something truly special. To find meaning is something else entirely. But to find out that you have meaning, to be found? What about the realization that you've been realized? The understanding that you've been understood? There are sounds on this tape that have been with me for decades - sounds that I didn't comprehend at the time, sounds that waited for me until my ears were right and my heart was in place. And now everything sounds different, but the sounds haven't changed. 
The Milwaukee Mix Tape Exchange has been mentioned on these pages before, a small and consistently dwindling group of friends collecting sounds to share with each other in the style of the white elephant. This tape is one that I made in or around 2005, a tape that passed through Nina's hands before landing in its forever home with John. Nina's review is at the bottom of the post and...well, I can think of no higher accolade. John visited last weekend and offered the tape on loan - I love listening to my own handiwork, to hear what I remember, to hear what hasn't changed with ears that have.  

24 August 2023



If you lived in a small/er town or an out of the way place in the '80s and you wanted punk things then you looked to other punk things. You ordered a MINUTEMEN record because you liked BLACK FLAG. You might have snagged one of those mediocre SCREAM releases because you liked MINOR THREAT. And if you liked DEAD KENNEDYS and were combing an Alternative Tentacles catalog...? Well, you might have decided to take a chance on EVAN JOHNS & THE H-BOMBS. What?! Yeah, that's what sixteen year old me thought when I plopped that fucker on the turntable after getting my ass blown out by the BGK record in the same package. And now, three decades later, here I am listening to those fukkrs backing shockabilly art/blues freak Eugene Chadbourne on 1987's Vermin Of The Blues. I can't even describe it, and I don't even want to. John Trubee by way of John Zorn with a little John Hopkins thrown in the mix just because....shit is weird, y'all. And I'm here for it. I don't think my sixteen year old self could have handled it any more than that copy of Rollin' Through The Night that confused me back in 1987 or so....but I'm not my sixteen year old self anymore, so that's fine. 

23 August 2023



SPACE TOILET never should have happened. Even when SPACE TOILET happened, it never should have worked. Even when SPACE TOILET worked....it shouldn't have worked this well. Jason's vocals are spot on perfect - a dreary, whiny croon ripped right from the '90s as if Blake and Lance had gone the gritty shitpunk route while the rest of the band just....I don't know man, SPACE TOILET snarls and screams and holds you tight. Shouldn't work, but it does. Listen to "Ward 93" and think about taking sides. Listen to "Fellowship Of No Trust" and picture this band destroying The Chatterbox, but then again I saw them once (might have even played with them?) and it was utterly forgettable...I was not prepared for this. 

22 August 2023



Halo Of Flies dropped this in my lap a while back, and I've listened to it (a lot) and I kinda can't get enough. Four doses of beautifully melodic and relentlessly savage black metal from Austria...there's more to be said, to be sure. But you'll say those things after you listen to Aurea Aetas repeatedly...won't you? 

21 August 2023



If I could make a time (and space) machine, I might choose to go to Portland, Maine in 2003 or so just to check shit out. Renegade Tapes did a pretty good job of documenting what might have been a small but was definitely a ferocious scene that included LUNCH MONEY THUGS, PINKO AND THE ACTION BOYS, CREEPY CRAWLER, DYHS and more. But these fuckers called DOWN TO KILL? Ooooofffffff this tape is such a scorcher, and you know they were playing basements to less than 20 people (because let's be honest - the best bands do). Unhinged and fast as fuck hardcore punk with serious Southern California feels...but from Maine. So gimme that time machine and plop me down in a room full of kids going hard as fuck in front of their friends. I'll feel awkward.....but dude I will be so stoked. 

20 August 2023



There are subgenres I don't spend too much time with, not because I'm not a fan, but because there's just too damn much. I would like nothing more than to spend hours every day just listening and discovering and remembering and contextualizing sounds, but life...life is a motherfucker sometimes. So certain the surfaces of some sonic realms remain only slightly scratched and I settle for "this hits just right for me" and that's enough. MARDOU is kinda like that - the sound is instantly recognizable, but I could never fully pull them apart and separate the dark INTERPOL-esque sounds of "Earth" from the Nuggets swagger of "Dirty Streets" - dark indie by way of garage punk vibes. But then I stop analyzing, because I want to keep listening. 

19 August 2023



Brilliant late '90s metallic screamo/hardcore from Redding, California. AFTER THE FALL fits the genre mold perfectly, and I can only imagine what the band could have become if they had existed for more than a couple of years...of course, I can only imagine what a lot of things might become if they lasted for more than a couple of years. Thankfully, New Knee dropped one hundred extra copies for new century ears back in 2021...I am grateful.

18 August 2023



If I was good at this, then I would have posted all twelve volumes in succession, starting with the first. I did start with the first (well over a year ago) but the world of tapes is a distracting world and I will never apologize for getting buried or distracted by sound. In fact I love it. The fourth volume is another international affair - fourteen bursts of intense hardcore and punk from LÜGER (Croatia), DISSIDENT (Indonesia), XIAO (Sweden), ORPHANAGE NAMED EARTH (Poland), WALK ALONE (Ukraine), EFA SUPERTRAMP (Wales) and several others (you do the math - I said fourteen, remember?). Quality level (as with all of these comps) is through the roof, I'm taking CHØRNOBYL and DDM as my two favorites but there are no losers here. Except you....if you don't listen. 

17 August 2023



Why not celebrate Sewercide's release of a new four track stomp from HEAVENLY BLUE with the five track tape from 2021 knocked every punk on their ass. Sweaty and intense garage punk with hooks that defy description, this band is when you think of when you talk about "rockers" - no bullshit, no nonsense. This is what I'm after today - no bullshit, no nonsense.

16 August 2023



Darkness abounds on the seventh offering from THUP, In The Wake Of A Collapsing Star. Too intentional to be dismissed as damaged, this duo's ability to manipulate noise scapes is deadly, and their mission is focused. The sound of living in and through the silent horror biopic of your own terrifying existence, and evidence that the film is already in production. You're the collapsing star...it's your time to shine.

15 August 2023



I want to say that it's the guitars that make this tape....but really it's the whole damn thing. You'll hear hints of fellow Twin Cities rockers URANIUM CLUB mingling with wild off kilter punk and then boom there's shades of chaotic '90s indie/emo and why oh why does it all work so damn well together? I can't answer that, young punks...but I'm here to share, not question. Kinda like therapy. 

14 August 2023



You want some long winded missive or you want some raw alien punk for your earholes? That's what I thought....and New York is the place that gives the gifts. Volume. 

13 August 2023



I wouldn't love this is you described it to me but fortunately I listened first and now I'm describing it to you. Picture LOS CANADIANS playing raw '77 punk with an early Rough Trade swagger...see? You aren't sold are you? Trust...trust. 

12 August 2023



Imagine the volume knob (or button or key or whatever tool the Modern Generation uses to make things louder, to make things more). Imagine that knob is a hand on your throat in darkness. Imagine that knob is life. Your life. Imagine that life (your life) is a grip on your windpipe that grows stronger as the sound increases. Imagine increasing the volume and increasing the intensity, and the physical nothingness that surrounds you starts to give space to the ethereal darkness that inhabits you. Breath giving way to a physical silence until the only thing left in this moment is the deafening sound of your struggle. The life that has (always) crushed you metaphorically manifests as that hand on your throat, and you control the knob (or button, or key...you control the key) - you control the flow of sound. The flow of air. And the volume increases. You increase the volume and you suffocate. And then it's over. You are released and you can breathe...and you look at the symbol like the head of an arrow pointing to the right as you feel your heart working harder to return you to a normal but you can still feel the sound linger. You can still feel that hand lingering...your hand lingering. And you look at that head of an arrow and you think: "Just seven minutes...I can do it again. I am strong." And you you press play. Or you click that head of an arrow. Or you let your system repeat automatically. Or you use whatever tool the Modern Generation uses to make things louder. To make things more. And it starts again. 

11 August 2023



I posted an unearthed S.M.B. demo/rehearsal tape a few years ago - a nugget from a Mission District that helped mold a significant chunk of my young adult life. When Scott passed a few years ago, I unearthed this STEVE MERIT BAND tape from his collection and I just sat there holding it for a minute. It wasn't the sounds (more on the sounds in a sentence or two) - it was holding the past itself in my hand that gave me pause. The nights and mornings at 109, surrounded by creativity and (and in) darkness. The casual conversations with friendly acquaintances with people who would become legends. The fucking music. SMB were like an outtake from the scene, a side project from a bit player - both of which flew almost entirely under an already very low radar - but listen to this tape with 2023 ears and it's nothing short of brilliant. Dark and addictive pop constructs that bring up late '80s Homestead and Alex Chilton without ever leaving the streets of of the neighborhood...and never seeing the sun. 

San Francisco readers will understand why I posted this relic today, and I reckon I'll see many of you tonight at the Thee Knockout. Hard to imagine that the HICKEY 12" is old enough to drink, right?

10 August 2023



For the reader who thinks the world is just a little too pretty, a little too well put together, I offer TOXEMIA. Filthy guttural old school death thrashers from Philippines, TOXEMIA have been in the game for two decades and its clear on 2048's Invocation Of Misanthropy that they have not gotten any prettier over time. Dust up your knuckles and take a look at your surroundings...shit is fucking nasty. 

09 August 2023



Tough as fukkn nails and not even the slightest whiff of bullshit. COMBATANT deliver quintessential East Coast Hardcore in twelve defiant blasts on this tape from Pissed Off! - the demo from 2015 on the first side and tracks from the shredding Psychosis EP on the flip. Music to wreck shit to, for sure. 

08 August 2023



You see the guy on that skateboard? That fukkr likes to get wild. Like....real fukkn wild. That fukkr also has nothing whatsoever to do with SLOW COOKER, but I love this tape. Kinda lands like a chilled out SoCal skate punk approach to FRANZ FERDINAND and STROKES and maybe even the first INTERPOL record with grit in the grooves...but it sounds like it comes from a different time entirely. You know the tapes that sound cool that you realize are even cooler because they don't actually sound like anything? Allow me to introduce SLOW COOKER. That fukkr on the skateboard? He loves 'em. Just look at his face. 

07 August 2023



I remember Yannick handing me a copy of the See You In Hell EP at Pointless Fest in Philly. At the time, North Americans were obsessed with sonic tonnage and Swedish riffs and this thing just looked....raw. Sounded rough. Sounded punk. Then R N' R Babylon dropped the next year and it was game over - MotörPunk had ben re/born and it was from Montreal. Feral Ward was a constant for the band, includinh the vinyl issue of this collection of outtakes from INEPSY's 2009 recording session (their last?). It's every bit as essential as the rest of their output - fast, intense DBeat dredged through rock 'n roll. Still hits just as hard as it did then...then only difference now is that I know what I'm getting into when I reach for it. 

06 August 2023



Absolute mind fuckery of the highest order from Richard Exelbert aka MAHARADJA SWEETS. Harsh electronics mingle with whimsical compositions and seemingly found sounds - it's a noise tape to be sure, but you haven't heard anything like The Caprice Of Young Gods. Fortunately, you have now...and there's so much more where this came from.