Sunday, November 30, 2008

Song Of The Week: "Girls On The Fiddle" (Mutiny)

Like some other weeks in the past, last week turned out to be a tribute to female fronted bands (not to be confused with full frontal female...). We're past the point where we need to have a parade every time a woman does something, but we can't ignore the lopsidedness of the male to female ratio in punk/hardcore. Hell, most of the blogs to your right are run by menfolk; any lady visitors out there? Anyway, working with teenagers, I get annoyed when I see the young ladies slipping into the expected gender roles. I'm reassured, though, when I see women in hardcore and metal-- the hope being that it will encourage girls to pick up instruments and stop regarding such an activity as "unfeminine." Which brings us to tonight's rollicking number, "Girls On The Fiddle" by my favorite Irish folk-punk band from Australia, Mutiny. It's possibly my favorite song by them, from my favorite album, "Rum Rebellion." Mutiny is a mixed gender band, but it's the ladies who dominate on this one, completely tearing up the fiddle, vocals, and I believe the bass. Whether you like this little sub genre or think it's played out, I recommend giving Mutiny a chance. And if you dare compare them to Flogging Molly, I'll be forced to break this bottle of Jamison over yer head!

"Girls On The Fiddle"

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Oasis Of The Shit

I love finding new favorite records. Just when you're getting jaded about music, you discover yet another overlooked, should-be classic, and it renews your once tireless search to unearth other such gems. This treasure hunt led me to the "Agitator" LP by Whipped (Outcast Records, 1995); I have to thank Brandon once again for supplying the map. The last post was a teaser for what Whipped would do two years later on this LP, which is a twisty adventure through the sardonic and impassioned hearts and minds of a small group of Seattle crusties. Expect no boring formulas, though; they're much faster than peace punk, sometimes nearing grind velocity, but don't expect brooding, metallic Nausea-crust either. They do throw in some awesome metal chugging, but it doesn't dominate the writing. And from song to song, you never know what to expect from the multi-faceted vocal attacks, except that there will be some snotty yelling and screaming at some point. What you can certainly expect over all is a powerful hardcore punk experience that will leave you asking where this band has been all your life!


Thursday, November 27, 2008

We Need Our Wars

Many 'Mercans have the day off today to celebrate a holiday notorious for its imperialist origins. Really it has just become an excuse to feast and hang out with The Fam. So if you've got the day off, enjoy! And to cleanse the genocidal aspect of the day, I have a nice nugget of crust to offer. The second featured band this week was brought to my attention by Brandon. This dude was cool enough to send an e-mail requesting any rips I may have by Seattle's Whipped. I hadn't heard of them, but I figured if someone likes what they hear on this blog and goes out of his to e-mail me, this band must be great. My search led me to their split with Inhumane, an LP, and I almost got a 7", but that's gonna have to wait. Until I get the LP ripped properly, chew on this split! Whipped play crusty hardcore punk that totally kills. On this split they remind me of Dirt or Mankind?, although their sound expanded quite a bit on their LP. So on this little Martha Foker, you'll receive two snotty originals and an Aspirin Feast cover. These songs only hint at what these guys/gals would do on the full length, which I'll have up by this weekend. From what I understand, some members of Whipped continued the rock legacy in Whorehouse of Representatives.

If you like other heavy crust bands from the early nineties North West (Decrepit, etc.), Inhumane may tickle your fancy. They may not have been prolific or original, but crust is all about power, not forging the next fashionable sub-genre. Metallic, heavy, plenty of conviction, and a bass player with a motorized finger. Sounds good to me. The 7" was put out by Sabotage, Earth Records and came with a poster for each band. The cover design looks generic from a distance, but upon closer inspection it's actually pretty kick-ass.

Get it

Monday, November 24, 2008

West Bay Chupacabras!

This blog may not get an excessive amount of visitors, but the ones who do stop by tend to be awesome individuals (or so it seems from here behind my desk). Two bands I hope to post this week were brought to my attention by a couple of these music-enthused passersby. The first band is Cathy Ames, who were recommended by Rygar (Ryan), who, incidentally, started a blog recently. He's a gifted wordsmith and posts bands that aren't the typical fare on all the crusty hardcore blogs. He's also looking for a job, so go over there and hook him up and leave lots of nice comments. But I digress. Ry mentioned the band when I was posting one of my favorite sub-sub-genres of music: dark and crusty hardcore with cackling banshee-ass vocals (often provided by a member of the fairer sex). Cathy Ames isn't quite that dark, but they certainly meet all the other qualifications. The three tracks herein shred pretty hard, and Fenny, the vocalist, belts out some real blood-curdlers. All searches for more CA releases have been fruitless. If you know anything else about this band, there are at least two people who would love to hear it.

Then we have Godstomper, who may not rival Agathocles for releasing split 7"s, but they hold their own pretty well. Being a bass and drum sludge/grind band, I am forced to throw in an annoying reference to MITB. If you prefer Lana Dagales, then, sure, go with that. Anyway, the six tracks on their side are heavy and raw. As a matter a fact, there's a noticeable rawness to the whole release, which was put out by Paul Barfo's (Godstomper) label, Cesspool Records. The "cover" is a two sided photocopy with no lyrics, and the recording is rough to say the least. But the music is what matters most, so see what you think...


Sunday, November 23, 2008

Song Of The Week: "Drink And Be Merry" (Amebix)

Yesterday I celebrated (suffered) another birthday. There are a rare few out there who still meet this annual aging rite with an unending, childlike enthusiasm, even after they've reached the big 3-o and beyond. I can't say I'm one of them, exactly. For me these days, the B-day is a pretty bitter-sweet affair, and for the Song Of The Week I've chosen a crusty ditty that's as emotionally ambivalent as I am about seeing another year pass. With "Drink And Be Merry," Amebix takes us on a guided tour through a stench-filled, post-nuclear planet Earth. A priest vomits blood, and the last survivors of the holocaust are cannibalizing the dead rotting carcasses that lay strewn about. And the point of this? Carpe diem, baby! Leave it up to The Amebix to take a potentially uplifting theme, and turn it into a total Dante-esque nightmare. Needless to say, I love Amebix, and I love this song. And yes, yesterday I drank (a bit too much) and was merry, but today we did not die. Shall we wait to see what tomorrow'll be like, or shall we crack open another bottle?

"Drink And Be Merry"

The Politics Of Dining

Here's another compilation that you probably won't download. There are some nice treats on this "You, Who Are Innocent..." 7", which was a benefit for Vegan Outreach and Farm Sanctuary. You got some metalcore (Upset, Morning Again), d-beat crust (Detestation), grind (Tho Ko Losi), and "powerviolence" (Capitalist Casualties). There's a ton of topical information in the booklet as well, if you still don't know how horrid the meat industry is.

Track List:
1. Upset- "Make An End"
2. Morning Again- "Martyr"
3. Detestation- "Consumed By Your Greed"
4. Tho Ko Losi- "The Laughing Christ (Live)"
5. Capitalist Casualties- "Reborn (Live)"

Here it is

Saturday, November 22, 2008

When The Orcs Ruled Arizona

I've spent the last week ripping through (correcting) about 150 essays written by 8th graders. Persuasive essays. The only thing they've persuaded me to do is to put my fuckin' head through a wall! Luckily I have grindcore as my safer and more preferred method of therapy. Since a couple of you out there expressed the desire to see Uruk-Hai's 7" posted here, and since I please to aim, I'm finally ready to deliver the goods. Some recent posts have seen this blog slowly descending the Arizona family tree of nineties hardcore bands, and today we arrive at the roots. Before there was Tho Ko Losi, Wellington, and Suicide Nation, Uruk-Hai recorded the "Give Up On God" 7" (Fetus Records, 1994?) which I believe to be their only non-demo release (I'm only assuming they did a demo at some point). The band spews out nonsense-free grindcore that's more raw and straight-forward than Tho Ko Losi. The mathematics of this release may sheds some light on the brutality: 10 tracks on a 7"; 3 vocalist, plus the other 4 musicians all provide some vocals as well (and none of them are named Mike!). Yes, their name comes from The Lord Of The Rings, but Orcs are badass and the band existed long before the films came out, so it's okay.

Click here if you've given up on God

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Ejaculation Of Serpents

I was reluctant to post the Hard To Swallow LP "Protected By The Ejaculation of Serpents" because I assumed the tracks were on their Armageddon Records CD. Luckily commenter XyosefX set me straight; I'm not too into CDs, otherwise I would have known that it only collects early EP tracks and such. So here it is... eleven blows of brute-force nihilism from one of the more underrated UK bands of last decade. By the time of this LP's release, H2S had beefed up their bass and guitar density and sickened their vocal style to become an almost full-fledged grindcore band. Those hardcore nerves are constantly exposed, though, and if you can imagine the burliness of Citizens Arrest, mingling with the cold, forlornness of Counterblast, and garnished with the dissonance of Discordance Axis, you may have an inkling as to the enigmatic yield reaped by these brits.

Household Name Records was wise enough to remaster these ragers for that anvil-around-your-neck heaviness. The LP still appears in their webstore, so maybe they have some copies left (doubtful, as it was released in 1999 in a pressing of 1000?!). If you're in the UK, hit 'em up!


Sunday, November 16, 2008

Song Of The Week: "Fallout Of Our Being" (Nausea)

Whenever I post a compilation, I can always expect half as many downloads as usual. I guess I can understand that... wanting something more cohesive, etc. But I've discovered many of my favorite bands through comps... Nausea being the third Song Of The Week band for which this is true.

My introduction to Nausea was also my first glimpse at the stench filled bog we now call crust. "New York City Hardcore: The Way It Is" is admittedly an odd place for such a how-do-you-do. "Fallout Of Our Being" was nestled among a brigade of sportswear-clad straight-edgers and right-wing pseudo-skinheads. But in the late eighties/early nineties, I was (unfortunately) only acquainted with this New York scene, and a few other bands I love to this day, like Bad Brains and Agnostic Front. I remember seeing Nausea in AF's thank you lists, and that sparked the detective in me. Finding this comp got me a little closer, but upon interrogation, the clerk who sold it to me could direct me no further. The Nausea case would have to be left open for a time.

It would be years later when I'd finally discover that crusty beacon of light, Profane Existence, and Nausea's treasured gift to hardcore, "Extinction." Having now heard their discography numerous times, I can't necessarily say that "Fallout" is my favorite Nausea track. But its stomping d-beat power and bleak lyrics belted out so urgently and gruffly by Niel, knocked something into my head (or out of it).

So it was through Nausea that I would get to know the classic UK crust and political punk bands. Now, looking back, Nausea seems like the Noah Webster of this genre, establishing the American crust lexicon, while still paying respectful homage to their forebears. Whether you agree with their politics or not, it's hard not to recognize Nausea's place in the hardcore cannon, and I personally can't help but regard them as one of the all time greatest bands of the genre.

"Fallout Of Our Being"

Destitute Populations/Diseased Minds

Censored Opinions/Dwelling On Time

Are people really blind
or just absent of their minds
A continuous pattern towards
the fallout of our very being.

And when at war
Soldiers kill soldiers
It's man killing mankind
I ask you why, why must
life go to so much waste?

Saturday, November 15, 2008

To The Holy Land Of Grind!

Who would've known that Quebec City in the early nineties was such the bastion of brutal crust/grindcore? I guess the easy answer would be the Quebecois themselves. I remember reading enthusiastic descriptions in DIY 'zines of Immoral Squad, Human Greed, Shitfit, and Global Holocaust, and, well, they're all here on the "Quebec Crusade For Auditive Savagery Proliferation" 7" comp (Doomsday Machine Records, 1994). So what's the crusade exactly? Besides steam-rolling your face with crude and ferocious tunes, the comp also tried to serve as a rendezvous point of anti-globalization solidarity for Canadian crust-types. For the most part, all the bands stay on topic lyrically, and musically the standouts are mentioned above, but I would add Drift, whose track is ten times more devastating than I remember them being in the past. Eight angry bands; nine angry songs. Fight The Power.

Get it (and don't forget to D/L the Immoral Squad 7" down below)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Immoral Squad 7"

Some bands have that knack for conjuring immensely powerful ends from meager means. Discharge and Drop Dead come to mind, and are two prime reference points for describing the scant but unforgettable output of Quebec's Immoral Squad. It's all been done before and will be done again, but some bands just have that... power. Immoral Squad played simple and straight forward crustcore (before it was fashionable to do so), but with some added speed (not quite blast beats... more like the tempo of Siege or Luzifers Mob). So what sets them apart from the hordes? Power! I know it's abstract, but damn if these guys didn't have a ton of it, mainly due to a bulldozing guitar sound comparable to early Uranus (with whom they shared a split) or any of the bands mentioned above. And I can't leave here without mentioning the howling and crooning vocals... a virile mix of Discharge, early Boston hardcore, Ripcord, etc. This is hardcore at its most visceral and unrepentant; don't ponder too much, just...

Monday, November 10, 2008

This Is Helsinki, Not Boston

You listen to entirely too much hardcore and grindcore (and other genres ending in -core). As a result, I shall be forced every now and again to give you a little injection of melody to break up all the screaming and yelling. So drop your pants; it won't hurt a bit. As a matter of fact, I think you'll like today's prescription: the War Of Words 12". These Finns (don't confuse them with the Bostonian band of the same name) did time in Diaspora and Life's A Riot, and will definitely appeal to you if you're partial to bands like Imperial Leather, La Fraction, Happy Bastards, and Signal Lost. Weaving in and out of the mid-paced punk explosions, you'll find soaring bass lines that give the tracks a "California" feel; but the first thing you'll notice I think will be the vocals. The young lady vocalist is especially noteworthy, alternating between slightly harsh shouting, and downright lilting melodies. There are a few somewhat saccharine choruses, but the greatness of the rest of the material counters that nicely.

If you own a turntable, have some extra cash, and find that you like this record, please help out either Crimes Against Humanity Records or Puke 'n Vomit Distro. I think these two outlets have some of the last copies of this disk in North America (only 500 were pressed). CAH Records is struggling to survive, so head over there NOW and throw some scrilla his way (there's even a sale going on). Download blogs get a lot of shit for taking away revenues from labels, but I'd like to believe we actually help their sales. Prove me right.


Sunday, November 9, 2008

Song Of The Week: "Inspiration" (Crimpshrine)

It was 1993, and Jawbreaker were about to play this outdoor gig at a kid's amusement park. The only thing more intriguing than this were the scummy punks with Crimpshrine patches on their tattered jackets. Who is this Crimpshrine? Such a strange and cryptic name; such a crude and inornate logo... I had to find out. Weeks later I would, and my outlook on life would never quite be the same again.

So, yes, Crimpshrine was a punk band. But for me, it isn't as plain and simple as that. They were a small group of people, who rebelled against the rebels. In a time when it was fashionable to say "Fuck you, I don't care," Crimpshrine had the balls to say "Fuck you, I do care." The concrete spires were rising up around their native Berkeley, enshrouding their world in a cold, cynical malaise; but these naive guerrillas somehow found the unction to breathe warmth and hope back into the ruins of all that used to be meaningful. Hiding and thriving in the dark crags of their fallen home, they were hellbent on teaching us how to be human again.

I would go on to listen to "Duct Tape Soup" more times than any other album. The band's power, artful simplicity, and sincerity can never quite be matched. When I find myself entering into that cold, cynical place, I look to Crimpshrine. Of the 30 or so songs I was tempted to choose for tonight's post, it was "Inspiration" that seemed to sum up what this band means to me. It appeared originally as the last track on the "Quit Talkin' Claude" 7", then (fittingly) the last track on the "The Sound Of A New World Being Born" collection. All the suffering and deliverance this band conveyed throughout their life is contained in this little song, from the bluesed-out lead-up, to the fiery punk crescendo. I can only hope that this band inspires you half as much as they do me.


Negativity's too enchanting
Cuz the world seems so depressing
But I know it can't always be that way
I get caught up in my situation
But I know my life's just begun
We all need...


And the thought of a hundred million smiles
And a hundred million buildings burning to the ground
From a hundred million miles away, I can hear the sound
Of a hundred million burning definitions
And a hundred million dead restrictions
And a hundred million minds set free
From the chains put there a generation before

I can see the world falling to it's knees
Screaming "Please someone help me"
Now I can see, we've destroyed ourselves with certainty
And this machine will crumble and fade
To a hundred million miles away
Where there's someone just like me
Thinking everything will be OK

From a hundred million miles I can see a man
And I know he understands
Saying your chains are your own
It's your mirror, so smash it.

Boredom & Bullshit

Compilations don't get much download attention, but you'll just have to trust me on this one. Unlike a lot of comps, "The Boredom & The Bullshit" (Refusenik Records, 1996?) is nonstop entertainment from start to finish. Just about everything great about the nineties DIY situation is represented here both in the music, as well as the physical product. There are great, pissed off bands all of whose styles move away from the typical eighties mode, a homemade cover, a huge booklet, and less than desirable production values. The final say is in the music, and like I said, all 10 bands deliver. Every segments of that "scene" is represented, from the unheard of (Marker), to the overlooked (Manfat), to the infamous (One By One, Voorhees, etc.). An outstanding compilation!

Bands & Tracks:

1. Kitchener- "Prefabricated"
2. One By One- "Alternative To What?"
3. Pigpile- "Happiness Is Fools Gold In A World Of No Emotion"
4. Marker- "Time To Burn: Do What You Want"
5. Manfat- "Wound"
6. State Of Filth- "Take It Back"
7. Headache- "Hate"
8. Voorhees- "What I'd Do"
9. Stalingrad- "Human Byproduct"
10. Nerves- "Caught Out Again"


Hard To Swallow Manfat

Here's some more Hard To Swallow hardcore, this time partnering up with Manfat. HTS's Sabbath/sludge influence is a little more upfront this time, but ultimately it's still fast and excellent hardcore! It's no surprise that HTS members have/had connections to Iron Monkey, Voorhees, and Electric Wizard. As for their split-mates, Manfat play really tight metallic, DC influenced hardcore/post-hardcore. Bri (Doom) handles the "lungs" on these two rock assaults, but don't expect traditional crust. The guitar picking is outstanding; the energy is unstoppable! If you haven't already, don't forget to pick up Manfat's first 7" at 7 inch crust.

Get the split HERE.

Up Next: some more nineties UK sweetness!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Praise The Lord And Pass The Ammunition

It's time for some more under appreciated hardcore, this time from the mid-nineties UK: the Hard To Swallow/Underclass split 7" (Days Of Fury Records, 1996). Hard To Swallow fit in perfectly with much of the music on this blog. At the core, they play fastcore not unlike their contemporaries, Voorhees, but with more modern discord and some bluesy, sludgy bass riffs thrown in for poops and grins. The vocals fall more on the screamy side, but not to an annoying extent. Three suspenseful tracks that will lay you flat! If you like these guys, stop by here tomorrow and/or go to Armageddon Records (Drop Dead members) to pick up their discography CD. The screaming continues on side B with Underclass who more or less follow the Bob Tilton/Ebullition framework. There's a refreshing absence of pretentiousness, though, and for the most part they pull off nicely that chaotic, syncopated mayhem that ruled the nineties.

Check It Out!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Fruit Salad Youth

Busy, busy. This week seems never-ending, and this daylight savings shit isn't helping! I've got a four-day weekend coming up, so hopefully I can set aside some time to rip some good stuff for next week. Meantime, here's a split 7" of some more Terminal Youth ripping it up with fellow Mass-holes, Fruit Salad. A few of you out there apparently dug the rip-roaring Terminal Youth 12", and on this platter you get more of the same speedy goodness (minus a significant amount of fidelity in the recording). Among other things, the lyrics deal with the patriotic hoopla surrounding the "War On Terror" ("Don't Step In The Nationalism") and the undeniable suckiness of marketing sensation, AFI ("SOA Not AFI"). As before, these gents ain't fuckin' around!

Fruit Salad don't appear to be the next "queercore" darlings as their name might suggest, but rather the next band in a growing line of grinders with decidedly anti-macho names. Cool by me! There's also a surprising humorlessness in the lyrics, which deal with their staunch support for direct action as well as their life-long devotion to being punks. The shoddy production works well with their gritty punk/grind, except for maybe the drums (sounds like he's banging on some kind of atonal vibraphone instead of a snare). Unlike Terminal Youth, Fruit Salad are still a band and have just released a 7" on Teenage Disco Bloodbath. Support 'em if you've got the cash.

I'll have a pic here of the lyrics as soon as I have time to take pictures in actual daylight.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Pushing The Shred Meter To Eleven

The reasons why you should want to download this Terminal Youth 12": 1) You like fast as hell hardcore. 2) You like your fast as hell hardcore played tight as fuck. 3) Bands like Shank, Tear It Up, Under Pressure, Infest, Hellnation, The Neighbors, Capitalist Casualties and Voorhees stiffen certain parts of your anatomy.

The reasons why you might not download this 12": You've never heard of Terminal Youth. 2) Their name strikes you as kind of generic.

You decide. But I have to say, if there was a measuring device for pure shredness, this twelver would register pretty friggin' high.

Get it HERE (320 kbps... I think only around 500 were pressed by To Live A Lie, De Rok, and Give Praise Records).

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Song Of The Week: "A Light So Dim" (Perth Express)

I'm long overdue in posting a new song, so this week we have the final, dirgy swan-song from Perth Express's recent (final?) full length, "Harrow And Wealdstone." Usually, that long, introspective-slow-song-at-the-end-of-the-album, really translates to that indulgent-as-hell-musical-sedative. Such is not the case with "A Light So Dim." This track plods along at a foot-weary pace, is repetitive, and almost reaches 11 minutes in length... But somehow this adds up to an amazing aural journey! The Express pull it off with heavy, haunting guitars, and raspy vocals, brimming with a frustration, gently tinged with hope. It's bleak as all get-out, but there's a sense that even after the song's end, that dim light at the end of the tunnel flickers on, undying.

Perth Express are one of my recent favorite bands, combining the heaviness and clean production of early His Hero Is Gone with the frenetic, mathematical precision of Coalesce (etc.). I find myself listening to their first LP more often than "Harrow," but both are phenomenal. Tempo-wise, this isn't the best example of their sound, but if you're new to the Express and are feeling adventurous, prepare yourself for 11 of the more crushing minutes of your recent life.

"A Light So Dim"