Thursday, April 29, 2010

Pukeoid - Demo

So just yesterday I was going on about how it's nice to listen to records where bands are tight, well practiced, and obviously rehearsed. Then again, the imperfections and apathetic musical attitudes in some bands are what makes music unique. If you're looking for razor sharp, blisteringly complex hardcore, Pukeoid definitely isn't in your wheelhouse. However, if gut wrenching, sound splattering, noisy hardcore punk is your thing, this is the next demo that belongs in the tape deck for the next week or so. Packaging layout includes white pro tapes with blue print, plus j-cards and a lyric sheet with strange artwork and hand written words scratched out all over the place.

Barking vocals, sloshing guitar riffs and furious drumming blast at semi-maxed out levels throughout the duration of this demo, which stays on the rough, yet still listenable side. Pukeoid reminds me of older punk demos you might come across mistakenly at shows, only it's surprisingly decent. The quality can become a little bothersome at points but anyone who frequents hardcore demos or live tapes shouldn't have a problem with getting through this one. Eight songs clocking in at five and a half minutes isn't half bad either.

Lyrically, this is some pretty tormented content, filled with depression and anger that approaches the near suicidal level. Clay seems pushed to the fringe of sanity during "Suffocate" while screaming "Can't take this world/Pressure building up/I just want to suffocate." The next song, "Gimme Death" oddly reminds me of an old Blood for Blood track, even though Pukeoid doesn't really sound anything like them. The lyrics continue in similar fashion here with "Sick of living/It's always misery," and so on.

Pukeoid churned out a pretty vicious demo which assuredly announces their pissed off, enraged arrival onto the Indiana hardcore scene. Filled with plenty of "I don't care" and "enough is enough" attitude to ruin your day, this isn't the cure for those after work blues. There's some sloppy and repetitious qualities on the tape, but that's not always a negative thing, right? If you like the download PLEASE SUPPORT THE BAND and buy the demo from Not Normal. Seriously, its three bucks.

Not Normal Tapes
Pukeoid MySpace

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Much Worse - Proper Execute

Those familiar with the well known Fashionable Activism blog have probably been hearing about this release for a while now. After a couple expected delays and a cassette pre-release limited to 25, the first record on Pass Judgement records is finally ready for the world. Firey, raucous hardcore punk from Minneapolis, Much Worse deliver seven songs worth of fast rippers that grate upon your ears in an ever-so enjoyable manner. For packaging, this guy comes in a non-glossy cardstock sleeve with black and white art, hand stamped labels on both sides of the vinyl, and a numbered insert out of 300.

Immediately punching its way through your speakers, Proper Execute begins in an attention grabbing fashion, holding on tight as it works its way though itself during the 11 minute EP. The appropriately dubbed "Speed Intentions" rips through in old school punk rock fashion, as the band draws from influences ranging from DYS to Los Crudos. Right off the bat, I realized how well organized and rehearsed these guys are, far surpassing some of the other contemporary hardcore punk bands floating around these days. While there's still something to be said for careless, unapologetic, manic hardcore, it's still refreshing to hear bands who've obviously allowed themselves more than a week and a half to put their songs together.

Out of the seven songs presented on this slab of black wax, there's a number of highlights, from breakdowns to lightning quick drumming and chord progressions. I could go on and on through each song but if your head isn't banging during "Need New Sights" I'm not quite sure what else to say. Actually, the same goes for "Psycho Thrills" and "Token Entry," both of which should have you ready to punch the person in front of you at the next ill lit, dingy house show these dudes play.

It doesn't seem like this band has completely caught on yet, so now is the time to get wise and pick up a copy from Kevin at Pass Judgement. The 7" is also available from distros like Grave Mistake, Sorry State, and others if you want to combine orders from somewhere else. Check out a couple songs for free on their MySpace page, you won't be disappointed.

Pass Judgement Records
Much Worse's MySpace
Fashionable Activism Blog

Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Final Plan - 4 Song Demo

Another great Northeast hardcore band that's been sorely missed for years now. Four songs of speedy, passionate music which served as the precursor to the wildly popular EP on Dead By 23 Records. Ideal for fans of Frostbite and Horror Show, The Final Plan wasn't around long enough to make the impact they should've, which is easily illustrated by this powerful demo tape.

The sound quality and levels are a little screwy on this one, with certain parts approaching the blown out level, especially while the tom drums are relentlessly being pounded on during build ups. This is still a must listen though, especially for those of us who still miss many of the straight forward hardcore bands of the late 90s and early 2000s. Copies of the art and lyrics are included with the tape rip.

Download here

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Down in Flames - 3 New Songs

Who else loved this band? One of the better, rip-roaring New Jersey hardcore acts from the early 2000s. Thinking back on these dudes reminds me of many once-upon-a-time VFW halls and Knights of Columbus venues that have long since been shut down. Actually, I wish I could remember where I picked up this tape, or what show it was from, although I'm sure it was an ear ringing, sweat dripping evening.

Three songs in two and a half minutes, raging through with powerful gang vocals which nearly give me goosebumps. If you live in New Jersey and never lost your mind while screaming "The one thing that I had/Has been taken away/Now I wish I was dead/I guess I know what it is to go down in flames!" you definitely missed out. Also, seems to be even more relevant now than it was in 2000 when the band recorded it. This is ripped at 320 kbps with the cover and lyrics included. Enjoy.

Download here

Digital Onslaught

So I decided that instead of relying on other sites to do rips of OOP or sold out releases, I should start making more of my own again. I used to do this with vinyl a few years ago on an older computer, so it took awhile to get things set up with newer gear, but I'm working on a couple of my old favorite tapes. I'm going to attempt to make these as high quality as possible, but keep in mind that for many of the releases the initial recording job might sound like it was done in a sewer system with a $25 Radio Shack mic hanging from a wire. Not saying I don't love those all the same, but still.

Anything posted on here will most likely stay within the confines of defunct bands, or at least records and cassettes that aren't available for purchase. As always, if there's a problem with a link or something posted please contact me first and I'll fix or remove it immediately. In the meantime, do yourself a favor and check out the new Weekend Nachos song that was just posted on their MySpace. If this is any indication, their upcoming 12" EP will probably make your parents' house collapse in on itself.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Converge - You Fail Me Silkscreen Edition

Apparently Deathwish Inc. had a few leftover copies of colored vinyl from the original press of Converge's 2004 LP, You Fail Me. 101 copies to be exact, some bloody red with a bold black stripe, and some of the stunning clear and white cross design. Much to collector's delight, Jacob Bannon decided to create a multi-colored silkscreened cover on heavy card stock, with Deathwish stamps on the inner sleeves. Did I need another copy of this record? Probably not, but this recent Bannon creation is beautiful.

Cue the "Bannon is playing you" and "it's a scam to swindle more money off stupid kids" comments. $25 including shipping was pretty steep for a single LP, but considering people will shortly be committing hari-kari over the upcoming eBay flipping prices, it's not going to ruin my day. Also, considering his prints usually sell for around $40 really snaps this into perspective. Sure, he probably just screwed up people's "complete" collections, and upset some lunatic, avid fans who weren't there during the 20 minutes or so it took to sell out, but thus is the nature of anything he places his mark on. With people clamoring over nearly every print or silkscreen he designs, it feels like Bannon could screen the Jane Doe image on a pair of maracas and it would still sell out in a half hour.

Anyway, enough internet controversy and back to the layout of this silkscreened beast. The brown card stock is thick, but still pliable enough to fold out to view the screen in full. Similar to the labels adorning each side of the LP, the snake design sprawls out in a hypnotic spiral-like shape, with the red, white, and black reptiles slithering out across the cover. The vinyl is as crisp as ever, with hints of gray blending in between the clear and white shapes, forming a brilliant cross in the wax. Finished off with a hand stamped Deathwish Inc. logo in black on the inside, and this is the most gorgeous copy of You Fail Me around. A tip of the cap to Bannon on another impressive job while putting a new spin on a fantastic record that's somehow already over six years old now. More pictures are below for viewing enjoyment or displeasure, take your pick.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Defile - Demo 2010

Yes, it's more Chicago hardcore. More mind numbing, ear splitting, stereo smashing music from the Midwest; another soundtrack to crash your car to. Another opportunity to annoy your friends and turn girls off, while simultaneously falling down the stairs after being stricken with vertigo from the crashing, sloshy seven song, three and a half minute demo by Defile. Pro tapes with black on black print splattered all over and J cards featuring the lyrics scrawled out in one big stream of consciousness mess.

Defile ratchets up the noise level on this demo a few notches, blasting through each song with complete abandon, as the raspy, snotty vocals shout over the band at an overhauled volume. You still can't actually understand most of what is being said, but they certainly wanted to make sure you at least heard the full seven songs of yelling, which culminates during "Swollen" with coughing and gagging as the whole thing comes to a nauseous end. The music follows suit in relatively simple fashion, staggering through each quick burst with distortion while the drums attempt to keep the madness stitched together.

For a demo, this definitely deserves some credit for being completely unapologetic and carefree in its raucous punk approach. Also, the abbreviated song length and rough recording style makes this tape a breeze to listen to, even if it isn't your cup of hardcore tea. At times, Defile musically reminds me of early 80's UK punk rock such as Discharge or Chaos UK, with a twist of earlier NYC bands like Urban Waste. I haven't been able to find out too much information on the band, other than someone from Raw Nerve sings, but hey, it wouldn't be "mysterious" then, right? Don't be fooled by previous Youth Attack distro updates, this is still available for consumption.

Lifetime Problems Webstore

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

RazorXFade - Demo

One of the latest in a growing line of aggressive Chicago hardcore bands, RazorXFade, recently released a demo on Not Normal Tapes, ran by Ralph of Raw Nerve. This baby comes with pro black tapes, fold out insert with lyrics, and j-card all in a slick black and white color scheme. Don't let the name fool you, this is straight-up, no nonsense, balls out hardcore.

The demo wastes absolutely no time, firing six potent bullets of musical fury from their magazine that rip through you like a .45. Reaching high speeds, but in a maintainable fashion, RazorXFade combines different tempos in each song to keep you waiting for the next track. Influentially, the band smacks of Jerry's Kids or other old X-Claim bands, along with some Antidote-era NYHC. Carlos' rough, shouting vocal style fits the grainy music pretty well, ranting through the lyrics at a nearly inaudible pace at times.

After the first two songs, it's crystal clear what this Chicago four piece is shooting for. A quick 56 second song to kick it off, followed by a little intro riff which leads into the second song, as Carlos growls "Straightedge!" right before "Last in Line" explodes from your tape deck. Building guitars and drums leads into a nice mid-tempo breakdown before the vocals gasp "This world thinks in dollar signs/If you don't prepare to be last in line." My personal highlight is probably "Choke," which threatens to completely spin out of control while the guitar mashes its way through chords in between screeching harmonics, to your ear drum's dismay.

Each song seems to attempt to raise the bar from the last one, resulting in an exciting listen from beginning to end. There's an interesting element of social consciousness to the lyrics, touching on kidnapped children, war, greed, scene preachers, and more. I was a bit amused by the 17 different X's on the tape and packaging (yes, I counted), but thankfully these dudes don't waste half their demo screaming about the edge. Find seven minutes to set aside in your busy day and rage with this tape, you won't be disappointed. The first run of tapes is sold out already, but expect a second press soon from Not Normal.

RazorXFade Myspace
Not Normal Tapes Myspace

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Nomos/The Men Split Tape

Six songs straight from two of Brooklyn's finest acts right now, split right down the middle between Nomos and The Men. Each group delivers two fresh tracks along with a classic punk rock cover for everyone's listening enjoyment. The packaging on these is fairly appealing as well, including red pro printed tapes, j-card with artwork on front and back, topped off with a double sided fold out with lyrics (for only the Nomos side) and gritty black and white photos.

My initial reaction is to the distinct change in Nomos' sound, both musically and vocally, which at first didn't seem comparable to the demo that blew me away on the first couple listens. The similar dark nature and lyrical themes are still there, but the overall sound appears to be heading in a different direction from the more straightforward approach to the demo, and deeper into noisy hardcore. Each song pummels away at a similar pace, while the guitars and drums pulsate together, combined with lower, raw barking vocals to round out their style, which is still growing on me each time through this tape.

Just when Nomos are at their evilest, darkest sound yet, they launch into a jaw-dropping cover of Black Flag's "Nothing Left Inside." This is seriously one of the better covers I've heard in a long time, with the vocals and guitars squealing together in a manner so haunting the lyrics begin to drip with torment and anger.

The Men are always an interesting band, especially combined with Nomos, due to their unpolished, experimental sound. Their songs are much longer, lingering around the four minute mark, filled with heavy feedback, distortion, and shouting vocals that cement a complete wall of sound that threatens to wash you away with them. "Twist the Knife" is a fascinating, angry blast from The Men, which left me immediately wanting to hear more. I was even further surprised by the three-piece's ability to keep me interested through lengthy songs, while many bands tend to fall into the trap of droning on with boring filler material. Cap this all off with a surprisingly well done cover of The Breakaways "Walking Out On Love," and you've got a split tape that begins to reach the realm of "essential."

It's tough to choose a favorite here, although I'll ultimately give the edge to Nomos, with both sides holding their own in respectable fashion. There's plenty to explore musically on each side, and each band has a distinct, aggressive style that excites me for more. Vinyl Rites' copies are already sold out, but the bands had some on tour recently, although they're probably gone as well. This is another one that's pretty easy to locate for download though.

Vinyl Rites 
Nomos Blog
The Men Blog

Friday, April 9, 2010

Raw Nerve - Live Tape

A live recording documenting the madness that is Raw Nerve's live performance. Raging guitars, pounding percussion, and roaring vocals put down at ear-splitting volume that barely manages to stay under the blown out level. Recorded live at the Legion of Doom in Columbus, Ohio on 10/02/2008; features stickered tapes in a vinyl case with art on both sides for those that care. If you've seen them before in person, this is a pretty accurate cross section of what your ears would experience.

Opening up with a popular favorite "Stay Staid," the set essentially mercilessly blazes on until abruptly coming to a quick end. Raw Nerve mixes it up with a decent assortment of older and new songs in an order conducive to receiving everything in a short, but sweet manner. I'd like to think the second half of the set was deliberately this well thought out and put together, with "Weeds" ending almost as quickly as it starts, then leading into the brooding, building "Crosses." Once the song bursts towards the end into a manic hardcore explosion, they plow through three more tracks with the force of a jackhammer, crashing to a halt with "Cold One."

The quality of the recording isn't half bad, especially considering some of the other noisy hardcore live tapes that are floating around these days. If you haven't been able to catch them in person, give it a try for sure. This is long sold out, blah blah, whatever, find a rip of it on a blog instead of wasting $25 on eBay. It shouldn't be too hard to find, there might even be a link on this blog...

Raw Nerve Blog

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Youth Attack Bounty

The internet hyped, bursting at the seams hardcore label from Brooklyn has been busier than the subway during rush hour over the past few months, churning out releases and distro items for the "masses." The joke is on us though, as most of these items are highly limited; especially live, tour, or special mail order only releases. Even the quantities of the label's own material doesn't seem to be enough to satisfy the insatiable appetite for Youth Attack Records or their related bands, labels, or distros. Having bought items from them before, and followed some of their bands for years, the unusual activity surrounding these particular artists is approaching a level of questionable phenomena.

As with most popular labels or bands, maniacal message board chatter and mailing list news bulletins generate incredible amounts of essentially free publicity for underground music. Of course, I 100% support bands and labels promoting themselves, but the unique nuances of buying these releases is unlike anything I've seen in a long time. Unless the bands are touring in your area, attempting to pick up some of these records, tapes, or zines has become a ridiculous task of spending hours on the computer while feverishly hitting the F5 key until you're ready to rip it right out of your laptop. Youth Attack has a mailing list which will alert you of an incoming update, but this isn't necessarily fail safe either, as some of the items will literally sell out in a matter of a couple minutes, or even seconds. As each item pops up in the store, they almost instantly run out, forcing you to place upwards of four or five different orders if you want more than a couple items (refunds are given for combined shipping later but, still.) During the update that contained the Veins cassette, the Big Cartel store basically crashed, wreaking havoc through internetland and generating endless complaints in the Jerkbooth.  

There really wouldn't be so many aggravating factors about this, if it weren't for the fact that an inordinate amount of copies immediately end up on eBay, sometimes with outrageous "Buy it Now" prices approaching $75 to $90. Occasionally, you can hunt down copies in distros, or even at places like Interpunk (yeah, really), so the willingness to search will definitely help to avoid being ripped off by flippers. Right after Raw Nerve went on tour, a landslide of copies of the LP's tour press went up for sale, turning the entire purpose of buying it into a relative joke. The obvious response is "Well, just go to a show and buy one for yourself if you don't want to pay triple or quadruple the price." This would be great, but many of the Youth Attack bands don't visit a large part of the US, leaving many people out, especially on the West Coast.

Am I willing to sit through another pending update refreshing my browser for a couple hours? Probably. Will I consider buying ridiculous industrial noise or power electronics cassettes I don't even want so I can attempt to resell them for five times the asking price later? No chance. I'm not complaining about the rarity of the material, the difficulty currently buying them, or even having to place multiple orders to get the music or shirts I really want. However, fighting mobs of people on the internet to buy noisy underground hardcore or live powerviolence tapes seems like an oxymoron to me. I'm aware of my support of the label, and not interested in beating the dead horse that's the SQRM trash bag shirts, these are just some thoughts. My apparent irritation and criticism is derived more from the people who have no interest in supporting the bands, not McCoy, his label, or the groups fortunate enough to be on it. 

Pending reviews and more pictures of the items above will be up soon.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Halifax Collect Posts

I meant to post this last week, but better late than never. I recently started doing some guest posts and reviews on the Halifax Collect blog out of Toronto, Canada. This site encompasses plenty of genres, ranging from metal, hardcore, punk, rock and the like. They accept submissions and promo materials for reviews and write-ups, so if you've got a band or a label, be sure to get in contact if you're interested.

PC Deathsquad/Take Offense - The Battle for Chula Vista Review
Pointless Youth - First Two Demos Review

Halifax Collect Home

Check it out.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Down to Nothing - All My Sons

Yes, here it is, the latest installment of hardcore from Reaper Records. Richmond's Down to Nothing are turning out to be one of the longer lasting bands in this particular scene, churning out new material and playing shows to many straight edge kids' delight since forming in 2000. They've been fairly quiet on the release front since their last LP, The Most in 2007; only putting together the highly limited Hem Hem EP and a split with Australia's 50 Lions. All My Sons continues in a similar manner to their last full length, featuring six songs that unfortunately begin to border on the monotony level.

Sure, I was a fan of Save it for the Birds, and I probably have about four different copies of the first 7" on Dead by 23 records in my collection. Sometimes though, it feels like certain bands that are around for a decade or more inevitably start to coast on the mundane or stagnant fringe of hardcore. Maybe it's the nature of the music and lyrical content in so many of the bands out there today, or possibly there's too many other newer groups with similar, yet fresher sounds coming out, that the longer lasting guys begin to fall out of the highly temperamental limelight.

All My Sons keeps Down to Nothing in the heavier, almost metallic influenced trend that most of their recent material since The Most frequented. Nearly completely gone are the fast, punky, 60 second blasts of juvenile, skateboarding, straightedge hardcore, replaced with heavier, slower breakdowns and slightly raspier vocals from David Wood.

There's still some high points on the EP though, as these Richmond dudes haven't lost their touch for writing straightforward and catchy riffs. "Number One" sounds like a great live song with some decent mid-tempo guitar work. "Undefeated" exploded from my stereo system, bursting into exciting gang vocals with pounding percussion and bass lines to start side B of the record.

This definitely isn't some of the most original or imaginative hardcore around right now, but Down to Nothing are at least still a fun, exciting band to see live, although people such as myself would probably be bummed by the probable lack of older material. All My Sons fits pretty snugly into the Reaper Records mold, which is up to you to decide if it's necessarily a good or bad quality. I still give these guys credit for sticking it out so long, but this certainly isn't the EP I would want to characterize them with. Fans will still enjoy it, but newcomers might easily dismiss this one. Limited covers are sold out, but the regular version is still for sale from Merch Now or Reaper Records.

Buy at Reaper Records
Buy at MerchNow
Down to Nothing MySpace