It is truly difficult to do something different and still make yourself/ves sound compelling. Which is to say that there are a lot of jaw dropping DBeat bands - and there will be many more. There are scores of amazing goth bands that conjure SIOUXSIE and Eldrich and even Fraser's gang of multi instrumentalists. There are millions or records on shelves and mountains of records in City Sanitation Yards made by bands who have perfected the Crust Craft...and I haven't eve started talking about music that exists outside of the "underground," music that is aped and regurgitated ad nauseam, repackaged and remarketed and resold and re-loved by the Masses. But....what about artists that can still achieve the unachievable? Artists that can sound like themselves? Maybe this is a high bar to set for the bl(e)ak and angular sounds of ÂGE NOIR, but the black age is indeed upon us, and perhaps the soundtrack comes from France. The link below is highly recommended for fans of SHELLAC and VOLAHN and MILEMARKER and ALUK TODOLO and THE VSS and TRTRKMMR and things that don't sound like anything else....it's the shit that keeps us all listening. Keeps us searching. This release is special, visitors....take it in.
18 April 2018
272 seconds of ramshackle adolescent punk and pubescent inside jokes collected in the form of one "demonstration" cassette called Spending Nude Night. Tracks include "Naked Or Out," "Genitals Rule, OK?" "Pube Hawk," "Hot Tubs" and "Kick Your Butt" ...plus (an obviously essential) "Naked Or Out" redux at the end because that's a thing you need to bring it all back. Weird garage rock whammy bar on the guitar and spastic fast garage hardcore from start to finish, all delivered with a casual approach to aptitude and zero fukks given about anything other than hot tubs and friends and hardcore and nudity. You know...the things that matter.
Fun factor aside, the tracks are really good and unpretentious hardcore stuffs constantly teetering on the edge of falling completely apart. That's a difficult balance to achieve, and one to be recognized and/or heralded...even if NAKED TRUTH was (probably) a joke band. Plus, the mosh call in "Hot Tubs" is probably the coolest thing on earth today.
17 April 2018
A 30 minute, one track assault on the senses from Quebec's ÂMES SANGLANTES, the kind of all encompassing noise that evolves into comfort as time passes and volume increases. PSYCHOLOGISCHE ABWEHRFRONT deliver damaged sample laden industrial in a somewhat similar vein - slightly (very slightly) more restrained, way colder and waaaaay more oppressive. This late '90s release is not for the faint, but crank "The Law Of Fun" and hear harsh noise morph into subtle beats and then, before you know what happened or where you are, full throttle HiNRG Techno mixed with power electronics is filling your earholes and you won't even remember what "faint" feels like.
16 April 2018
It seems like forever ago when this subgenre seemed like it was going to take over Punk World, and then suddenly everyone was into goth and I found myself wondering what happened to idiot punk...and wondering why I missed it so much. Portland's FRANKY help settle at least the second quandry: Because it rules. Brilliantly simple pogo punk drenched in white noise guitars - it's quite a simple formula, really, and one must be careful to not overdo things, which is where FRANKY excel. So "Drink Up, Here's The Piss" and get weird and get loud.
15 April 2018
A cursory glance will likely send visitors to the download link or to some salacious clickbait before I'm done typing this sentence....you are either curious or completely uninterested. I was curious, and I enjoyed. Pushing 90 minutes from start to finish, perhaps this bootleg of a bootleg of schmaltzy operatic show tune folk is best digested in waves, but I am well chuffed when I spy shit like this in random small town markets (though SADKO came to me in the mail). So yeah....enjoy the background music, low volume backroom status recommended, and see how much the tunes get stuck in your head.
14 April 2018
Another relic from the depths of North America's Lost Era, Ohio's PEPPERMINT SUBWAY left but one cassette in their wake. Meat and potatoes punk rock 'n roll with casual ears towards hard charging Motor City proto-punk andearly -indie/alternative, from a time when the freaks backed DRAMARAMA and SCREAMING TREES as much as they liked DEVO, CAMPER VAN BEETHOVEN and VASELINES. Remember that Ohio, just a few years before this demo, had given us ROCKET FROM THE TOMBS and PAGAS, and would, just a few years after this demo, would bring NEW BOMB TURKS and GAUNT to the masses, and I think these nine songs are a pretty appropriate bridge. The one/two punch of "Destination" and "World Doesn't Care" in sequence is a thing that deserves more recognition from modern listeners than this little blog can offer, but I do what I can.
The (mis)spelling of the title is a nice tough as well....
13 April 2018
When the dude handed me a copy of this DIY compilation, essentially a deluxe, 90-minute Bloodstains Across Canada, I asked if my favorite power pop track of all time was on it. I hesitated, knowing that WHITE HEAT's "Nervous Breakdown" was probably my actual favorite, but nonetheless I wanted to gauge his response......"Oh yeah," he replied, "of course THE BUREAUCRATS are on here. And so I was sold before I pressed play on this bad boy, and still it exceeded expectations. With SUBHUMANS and the aforementioned classic "Feel The Pain" as the highest profile inclusions, We Can't Help It If We're From Canada helps make the argument in favor of The Great White North - an argument that's already hopelessly easy to make. DIRECT ACTION, FIFTH COLUMN, POINTED STICKS, CARDBOARD BRAINS, UNRULED, MODERNETTES, PRIVATE SCHOOL, DA SLYME, UJ3RK5, BRAINEATERS, and twenty eight more.....this tape delivers a supremely listenable collection of bangers also manages to pique my interest on a score of bands that I had previously either never heard or never heard of. Get amongst this one, and Let The Want List Increase.
12 April 2018
Just before I went to Everything Is Not OK last month, I was gifted the first ROLEX demo and was fukkn blown away - I loved the shit out of that tape (still do), and I wondered "Who is this band?!" They sounded DEVO circa 1977 blasting URANIUM CLUB demos while smoking meth and pretending they were CITIZEN FISH on crack (and on 78 rpm) but with LA '83 vocals. It was next level shit, and I was pumped when I saw their name on the EINOK4 show listing...but I still had no idea what I was in for. Real talk: ROLEX is the best band on Planet Earth (or at least they were for 20 minutes on a Sunday in early March). Manic and fierce (and quirky) and wholly unpretentious hardcore punk that shirks all norms in favor of just going hard...and killing it. Included in this link are the ROLEX demo from last summer and the "O" cassette that appears to be a part of a (brilliant) plan to release a tape for each letter of their band name. I don't know what to say about that except that it is a genius idea and has so far been executed perfectly. These songs are stunning, the song construction and presentation is absolutely insane, and ROLEX is (still) the best band on Planet Earth (or at least they are in my house at the time I typed these words).
11 April 2018
Well before the opening track "Anonymous" comes to an end, even the most casual listener will be inclined to cease all unrelated activity and give full attention to Embodiment....it's that kind of music. Sparse, witchy electronics with sporadic/hypnotic vocals, MORTAL BODIES live up to their moniker and then some with eight pieces of dark bliss. I'm not sure if this is proto or post or pseudo industrial, but the effect is one of full immersion - like being enveloped and consumed by the sound. Casual experiences not offered b/w Highest recommendation.
Discerning eyes will recognize that this release is available from Chondritic Sound.
10 April 2018
Another installment in my likely futile quest to reinvent the lost decade of North American DIY punk. For the sake of most arguments in favor of the '90s sucking, the period in question actually spans something like 1988-1998, since by the end of the actual decade I think most people would agree that underground punk had stepped up its collective game in a very real (and very deadly) way. But despite questionable recording quality and an occasional lack of sonic direction (which is still, in my book, often a net positive), the '90s in Canada and the USA were fukkn teeming bands playing their asses off and touring like motherfukkrs - living was cheap and life was sometimes cheaper, and we just went for it. Nuclear war was no longer the boogeyman that dominated the '80s, and Reagan was gone as a whipping boy (GHW was a suitable replacement, of course), which freed bands up to explore subject matter beyond the obvious, often looking inwards in the process with admittedly questionable results. Scores of recordings that have spent years being looked over and dismissed for whatever reason (be it relevant, valid, or superficial) keep resurfacing...enter BUNCHA LOSERS. There's a DEAD MILKMEN vibe lurking, and contemporary East Bay punk surely played a role in this suburban band's development, but drop this tape into a different decade, take the toilet seat off the cover and tell a stranger that it's important, and all of a sudden off kilter (and off time) tracks like "Couldn't Think" become invaluable pieces of history. Context and perception can be as important as content, my friends....
09 April 2018
Nasty fukkn UK hardcore....dissonant guitars and a terrifying vocal attack set to break neck start/stop shits that takes the power of the mid tempo stomp to dizzying new heights. Six tracks, eight minutes and twenty one seconds of your life. Thank me later.
08 April 2018
It shouldn't really be a secret that sometimes I think that content and context are more important than presentation. That's to say that even though I realize that this cassette, in it's presented form, is borderline unlistenable, I think that there is value in a Russian DIY hardcore release that draws influenced from under the radar West Coast SXE (live xCHORUSx cover included here) and new millennium positive fastcore, even if that release is on a cassette that has been brutalized by years of mistreatment and troublesome transatlantic journey. But even a poorly recorded live version of "Transitional Liar" has value....right? Exactly. Late '90s Russian Straight Edge: ACTIVATE!
07 April 2018
Second plastic shell from this Austin whirlwind (thankfully there's now a wax platter in the ether also), and I dare say that OBEDIENCE have only gotten more fierce. The bass is hollow and punchy, reminds me of early '00s København, while Dave's bark has apparently gotten more adolescent and snotty with age. Cram all of that into a abrasive '80s Euro hardcore package and strap in....or just listen to punk and set yourself free.
06 April 2018
I think many Escape visitors will find Area Friends to be an excellent casual springtime weekend listen. A few catchy garage tracks, an ultra infectious driving dark wave number, some alt throwbacks reminiscent of the '70s indie/rock influenced '80s college radio fodder....and it's all just: good. Like every track holds you. LEONARD THE BAND, who probably deliver my least favorite track in "Observation Tower Headache," offer up some pure STEELY DAN-esque sounds that land somewhere in between yacht rock and '70s Mojave greats....and even though it's my "least favorite" track I totally love it. There's something (and something positive) to be said about a compilation filled with artists you've never heard, playing music that outside of your go-to comfort zone, that resonates this well. Featured acts include: KENTUCKY VULTURES, DEATH BRIGADE, HAPPY FOREVER, COCOONITUDE, JOAINE, QUAILBONES, SECULAR PETS, JACKSON PURCHASE and a few others from Ghost Orchard Records, who seem to have left us a few years ago based on (lack of) internet activity but have kindly left us with a soundtrack for a weekend. If not this weekend, then just stick it in your back pocket for another time, time to be spent with a few of beverages and the people of your choosing.
05 April 2018
Anyone else want to move to Seoul? It's not just that more bands keep cropping up from that megalopolis...it's that they all seem to be insanely fukkn good. Enter: SLANT. Meaty hardcore that makes me want to break...well, break everything. Check the extra snare taps in "How Did It Feel?" and the ever present buzzsaw of guitars that fill every crevice of the recording and the brilliantly erratic, mosh defying construction of "Culprit" and the damn vocals that are even more vicious than everything else put together. And check it all loudly. Get this band to the USA, now. Preferably to the West Coast. Or someone offer Karoline and me a year long sublet in Seoul? Either option is fine. Please and thank you.