Active during the second half of the '90s, Illinois act FRAGMENTED left us with a legacy of incredibly engaging sounds. The Solemn Drain's nearly hour and a half excursion is simultaneously a throwback to primitive first wave noise/electronic purveyors, and a precursor to today's constantly growing world of knob twiddlers...but FRAGMENTED still exist on an island. The sounds are dark, introspective, they draw you in and hold you tight and, in the right mood, I barely notice that the rest of the world fades into the background. This one is important, kids...
25 October 2016
Hard to imagine that Tokyo's LIFE have been dishing out relentless bursts of bulldozer crust for more than two decades...but put this demo on high and fukkn believe it, punk. A twelve minutes, eight track chaotic Japanese assault - blast "Forest Destruction" and you'll understand how far ahead of the curve these punks were. Still one of my favorite Japanese bands...
24 October 2016
23 October 2016
This one got lost in my mental shuffle during the deluge of Black Twilight/Crepusculo Negro related releases during the first wave from 2009-11 or so. Thankfully, I hoard shit, so SHATAAN was waiting patiently for me last week, waiting to me to open myself to sounds of primitively reproduced and musically advanced discordant bleak metal. And I was opened. I certainly would put this in the same category as VOLAHN or GLOSSOLALIA, but there's something about the vocals and the howled desperation...it makes up for the almost casual delivery of these relatively complex tracks. Listen to the guitars, let the tracks sink in...it was worth the wait.
22 October 2016
21 October 2016
20 October 2016
Welcome to the gnarliest 216 seconds of your Thursday. The Free State Of Jefferson keeps cranking out some monsters, and these four tracks from SICKO continue the trend with bursts of ferocious adolescent hardcore. Check "Ghosts," and listen to the drums and know what is like to listen to someone else destroying everything. Fast, short, to the point, and pushing some serious tonnage, these kids just sound juicy. Get juiced. All men die, and the world keeps spinning...
19 October 2016
This band must have existed in every town that had even the slightest hint of an alternative scene in the early '90s. Equal parts melodic alternative rock and rehashed late '80s US punk, these are the bands who had friends who were sure they were gonna make it, though I dare say that none of them ever did (I can name at least a half dozen from my shithole town). There's a part of "James #1" that is dead on NAKED RAYGUN, but the song has none of the teeth, you get what I mean? But still,m there's a time and a place for this shit, and strangely I still find these scores rather endearing...perhaps the eight of you who bother listening after I basically said the tape is a stinker will find Georgia's MIDGET FARMERS rather endearing too.
And yes, I am aware the that song "Black Girl" is, at best, really stupid but most likely it is just super racist. I'm not making excuses.
18 October 2016
I'm not trying to break the next big thing here, but I like to make sure you're getting everything you need. Austin's MIRROR have been kicking around for a while, people from several other bands that you already (should) know, but it wasn't until I saw them in New York earlier this year that I truly understood what The People were talking about. Destructive and passionate hardcore, delivered under a wash of madness...shit just sounds demented, and I love it. The recent(ish) EP is mandatory material, and this demo is pure cream. Check the drums in "Univseral Dismay." Get it.
17 October 2016
This one is something else, punk. Eleven minutes of Florida brutality...searing and relentless. Even when they "slow" things to a dull pummel on "Proclamation," these kids are a swarm of devastation. And that's when they scale it back a bit. You see where I'm going with this? Pure power..and those vocals. Ooooof. The shit is nasty in all of the right ways. Get it.
16 October 2016
These are the sounds that quietly emanated from my grandmother's stereo 24 hours a day when I visited as a child. It wasn't traditional classical music, though I didn't really know the difference...pop music from a different time and for people left clinging on. They called his signature sound "Cascading Strings" and the descriptor fits beautifully. Palatable, light, schlock...no teeth whatsoever. But somehow the fact that all of the edges have been removed is what makes me pull these records out from time to time - they are harmless, they are sweet. It's like warm cookies on a rainy day, but for your ears. I guess sometimes everything doesn't need to be so angsty, the world has enough angst.
15 October 2016
Boots on the ground, punks. Street hardcore from Madrid, TENSIÓN get straight to it and don't let up. Every time I found myself starting to think "I've heard this before..." these kids would drop something so good - a tasty lick, a killer riff, a perfectly timed snarl - that I couldn't wait for the next track. Certified banger status achieved.
14 October 2016
It's supposed to rain here today...so I guess this one will be perfect. Driving, brooding, dark punk with a rock solid rhythm section and a meandering guitar that lands somewhere between Love-era CULT and BELLICOSE MINDS. It's straightforward, and fans of the subgenre will be well pleased because these Canadians touch all the bases with equal vigor on this 2013 release, and the reverbed Revolution Summer vocals don't hurt one damn bit. Perhaps I was drawn because the first 98 seconds of the opener "Exil" remind me of one of my favorite current bands, but I certainly stuck around because these kids fukkn nail it.
13 October 2016
Rarely does modern synth driven music completely capture the warmth of The Originators. PURE GROUND does. I feel like I am stepping into the comforting arms of CABARET VOLTAIRE circa Voice Of America and it never feels contrived. 2013's Protection is a dark force, simplicity as intensity and a constant underlying buzzsaw of distorted electronics...it occurs to me with almost alarming frequency that Chondritic Sound does not seem capable of slipping up...
The recent "Giftgarten" and last year's "Standard Of Living" are obviously essential once you are up to speed...but whenever possible, I like to make sure all of your bases are covered.
12 October 2016
A criminally short lived SF band, THE VARICAPS only played a handful of shows before calling it quits. The one I saw was great, even though fuck having to go to the Hemlock to see shows, and this demo is a way under the radar banger. Hopelessly catchy driving punk, Kat's vocals harness THE GITS and drip with soul while Kevin's buzzsaw guitar cuts through the melodies and gives the band just enough tension. Rhythm section is pure LES THUGS/LA FRACTION four on the floor power and never lets up. It would have been good to have more, for sure, but if nine minutes of killer punk is the whole of your legacy and nary a clunker in the mix....? Then you're doing pretty damned well, young punk.