Absolutely deadly 2014 release from THE HAUNTING PRESENCE (the cassette version of the Hells Headbangers 12"). Classic death vibes on a collision course with howling modern black metal, anyone who even pays casual attention should be well versed already....amateurs are encouraged to start here, but you have been warned.
18 October 2017
Orange County, California straight edge hardcore circa 1987. Nice and loose (ok, really loose at times), closer to early east coast 'core in its simple delivery, but there's something about that raw ass guitar sound that really puts this one over the top. Ten tracks, clocking in under 20 minutes...and yeah, I know I missed the boat on edge day, but respect to sisters and brothers who commit themselves to a better life, regardless of labels.
17 October 2017
You remember 2001? You remember when, amidst the sea of proto stadium crust clones and a relentless assault of by-the-numbers rehash thrash coming from every corner of the world, a crew of teenagers from Copenhagen completely changed the face of DIY punk? Sure, there was the HUL 12", but that one slipped past most folks, but in rapid succession there were records by AMDI PETERSENS ARMÉ, YOUNG WASTENERS and NO HOPE FOR THE KIDS, whose self titled 2004 LP quickly became as omnipresent as Vengeance had been just a year earlier. There were others after that first wave, as the teenagers grew up and influenced teenagers of their own, but I can think of very few times in my punk life when one sound from one scene in one city so drastically affected the international punk scene. And this....? This is the natural progression. More than the bands that came after the initial detonation, THE WAR GOES ON listens like a more focused, more determined incarnation of those early sounds. When adulthood is a reality and that reality really sinks in - youthful idealism is washed away and the choruses are cloaked in darkness and resignation. I confess that The War Goes On didn't initially grab me as tightly as the aforementioned (now) classic acts. Where is the "Rainy Day" on this record? Where is the hit? But....just listen. "This Shitty Life" into "Darkest Days" is the highlight, followed by the guitar drenched desperate bliss of "The World Hates You" (check those titles, and that shit is back to back to back). There can be no mistake that while time may have been as cruel to these kids as it has been to the rest of us, they have remained as fierce (and as full of hooks) as ever. Songs to get lost in, songs to sing along to, songs to understand and a well earned time to be understood.
As always with current acts, support of the artists and labels responsible is encouraged. This cassette version of the LP on Adult Crash/New Dark Age comes to me (and now, you) courtesy of Singapore's Pissed Off Records.
16 October 2017
Noisy, bombastic DBeat raw punk from the Midwestern wasteland somewhere near the center of the USA. This description should be all that you need to proceed......so proceed.
You like to follow the rules...right?
15 October 2017
There was a time in the early days of The Escape when I was posting tons of shit from Albany, New York and a friend from Texas started to get a little touchy because why was this rust belt shit heap getting so much attention while a certified punk mecca was getting ignored. Well.....it's because there were a lot of really good sounds coming out of Albany at the time. That doesn't mean that Texas wasn't booming, it just means that SYSTEM FITE and NUCLEAR FAMILY and ACID REFLUX and NEUTRON RATS and ANAL WARHEAD were absolutely on fukkn point. This tape was one of the ones that I skipped over in the mad shuffle of life, and though it's hard to believe that it's eleven years old now, listening to "Falling" and "Nuclear Family" today makes me feel just like it did then. So in case you weren't paying attention: Albany, New York was a seriously hot spot for punk and hardcore in the mid-late '00s, and this demo is killer.
14 October 2017
1992. While NYC was trying to decide which side of the BORN AGAINST vs. SICK OF IT ALL/IN EFFECT debate they were on, kids upstate were spending their final pre-hardline years dishing out heartfelt and emotional hardcore with awkward adolescent vocal (and musical) musings akin to DAMITOL clashing (and coexisting) with the kind of hard hitting DIY basement hardcore that we devoured here in North America in the years before DIY basement hardcore was actually heavy or hard hitting. The digestion of that statement might seem a little convoluted, but a few of you know what I mean, and those few will likely enjoy the time machine that UNDERSIDE provides.
13 October 2017
A collection from six Navajo Nation bands you've (likely) never heard of. Stylistic comparisons to desert baked rotten shit punk of the era, but also to early '90s Bay Area grimy fukks like FILTH (most notably from THE SPOILERS) and there are a few catchy tracks that will stay with you all day (I'm thinking of THE CH'IZHÍÍS sub-90 second "Bloodshot" here, potentially the best song on the tape). The Native reservations of the Southwestern USA were a special place for punk in the 1990s (as they are now), relatively insular and self contained, full of spirit and passion that transcends riffs or genres, absolutely punk as fukk - plus, the MULTIPLE CHOICE show outside of Leupp in 1994 was legitimately one of the most eye opening and formative gigs I have ever played, so there's that....
12 October 2017
Rising from the ashes of (THE) PEOPLE'S WAR, this Memphis, Tennessee outfit seemed to pop up and slip away in the blink of an eye, even though that blink, in hindsight, lasted several years. The sound owes as much to SXE 'crew revival subgenres as to the heavy aggression that Memphis (and Nashville) became known for in the early '00s, though the drawn out ending of the opener "Funeral" gives more than a casual nod in the latter direction. As I've said countless times in these pages, there are scores of bands like DEAD CITY - bands whose impact was rarely felt much outside of their respective epicenters, but who deserve far more than a casual mention in the footnotes of region specific DIY hardcore punk. My point is...these are good jams, and if you missed them when they were new? Well then here they are.
11 October 2017
Malaysia's Pissed Off Records has been crushing lately, and these two cassette releases from Oakland's ODIO are a prime example. It seems like as soon as a domestic band h drops a record, there's a pro-cassette version available from the other side of the world...make the nerds sweat indeed. If you don't know ODIO....strap in. Knuckle dragging riffs and a bludgeoning 1-2-1-2 that slips occasionally and briefly into DBeat when it seems that Giacomo just can't take the ignorant hardcore drums any more. Howling vocals, and honestly a presentation that is head and shoulders over what I was expecting when I dropped the black plastic shell/s into the player. ODIO just sound massive, and they make simple and straightforward riffs sound way more important than they would at face value. Pissed Off released two tapes at the same time, so they are both here; eight tracks on Ancora ("Silenzio" is the banger, with the ominous intro and the guitar leads that get them closer to metal than anything else in the collection) and four on Un Mondo Libero dall'Uomo (slightly rawer recording, and the primal churn of "World" takes the cake).
Worth noting: ODIO has been utilized by a few other bands over the years. I mean, the world means fukkn HATE and this is punk, right? So please revisit Mexico's ODIO here, one of the most brutal things I've ever posted....
10 October 2017
A few months ago I was on tour with SUBHUMANS and we played in a California town called Los Osos. This band BEARCATS opened the show and as they were doing a quick soundcheck I confess that I was thinking "what are these kids doing playing this show?" because it was a bass/drum duo playing really stripped down kinda indie and very amateurish punk(ish). It was endearing - don't get me wrong - it was just pretty far removed from the kinds of bands we typically cross paths with. And then the doors opened and the douchelords and bros started pouring in, and there were the apolitical '80s rejects and there was the dude in the MENTORS shirt (and his girlfriend...also in a MENTORS shirt) and there were sketchballs by the metric ton and I looked at the promoter as BEARCATS started and he just smiled...because he is (apparently) smarter than I thought. It's not just that the band is good (they fukkn are), it's that they are important. Two young women on a stage doing what they do with confidence, doing it on a revered stage and in a place of power...it's important. And "Turn Me Around" is pretty much perfect song, so there's that.
09 October 2017
Searing and intense hardcore from Singapore that harnesses many of the clichés du jour and manipulates them into something entirely their own. Something entirely SIAL. This and the recent XRDM tape are two of my favorite drops from 2017....I think I need to go back to SE Asia.
08 October 2017
I could listen to this shit endlessly. Abstract beats, psychedelic synths, TANGERINE DREAM vibes filtered through a Millennial Filter, future/past throwback presence - it's hard to tell if Post-Body is accidental brilliance or a calculated manipulation....but by the time "Jacked In" starts I could fukkn care less because I just love these sounds. For anyone keeping track, this is the solo manifestation of the MOZART drummer. Get down.
07 October 2017
I remember hearing/seeing this name a lot during '90s East Coast jaunts, but I don't know if I had ever (consciously) heard them before my pal Daniel gave me a handful of old demos this past summer. I am pretty sure I would have hated it then - just no teeth, you know? But my middle aged self has come around (a bit) to some of the sounds I dismissed as a tunnel visioned twenty something, and the meandering FUGAZI-meets-shoegaze-and-puts-on-a-backpack vibe is suiting me just fine this morning. It doesn't always have to be about breaking shit.
Also - pretty certain that I fukkd up the edit so that the track presented here as "Starfish" is actually the reprise of "Dating Is Stupid" - apparently the ACTUAL "Starfish" is not included on my cassette.
06 October 2017
I was excited to see these Argentinians when they finally made it to the USA earlier this year, and was please (but not surprised) to find that their high energy dual vocal hardcore translated perfectly to the live environment. As concept releases go, their Somos Latino America cassette from 2015 is prime material - twenty covers of bands from all over Central and South America, and LOS CAÍDOS go pretty fukkn deep, taking care of the obvious spots (Brasil, Argentina, Colombia, Peru) and also hitting Honduras, Panama, Bolivia, El Salvador, Uruguay and others. It still sounds like them, which is the cool thing, and means that it bangs from start to finish...and it means that you are likely to find a handful of new bands that you'll want to know better. GUERILLA URBANA track is possibly my favorite, but that could change tomorrow.
05 October 2017
I always thought LUNACHICKS were way tougher that L7 or BABES IN TOYLAND. The Cookie Moshter EP blew me away at the time, and they just seemed so bad ass (and high). I consulted Karoline on this and she said she was firmly in the L7 camp ("Fast And Frightening"?! she said, and suggested that LUNACHICKS always seemed less serious) and I confess that listening to this MLP recorded for a Japanese tour in the mid '90s makes me think that my wife is probably right. If there were no joke-y vocals then this band would be deadly, because when they are tough? LUNACHICKS will fucking crush you, and they swing ("Curve Of Mother's Axe") at all times. But it's hard to forgive the "More Than A Feeling" cover included here...but I'll keep cranking "Light As A Feather, Stiff As A Board" for the rest of the day anyway. Because even if Karoline is right on this one, that song is a certified banger.