Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Capitalist Casualties/Verbal Abuse @ Kung Fu Necktie 5/21

So when I first heard about this tour I nearly fell out of my chair. Yes, really. This band brings me back to high school, when I really started delving deep into punk, crust, and all sorts of heavier music. I remember blasting Disassemble Line at obnoxious volumes, while struggling to decode the vocals and somehow manage to keep up while reading the lyrics. Absolutely essential, classic aggressive west coast music. One of the older powerviolence bands that even the most pretentious fans of the genre won't argue over.

Kung Fu Necktie is a pretty decent spot, small and tight, but enough room to hang out, along with a full bar. Lots of dudes with dreads and patched up clothes, swilling Pabst, Schlitz, or some other cheapo motor oil type beer. The lovely aroma of old beer mixing with dude sweat really opens the nostrils. You get the picture. The sound system is quality too, so my ears were effectively shred before the night's end by the thundering, relentless sound of the Capitalist Casualties.
I was slightly apprehensive about the show, especially since reunion tours with bands comprised of 40-year-old members can sometimes be inconsistent. The west coast four piece silenced the naysayers with a blistering set, packed with classics and 30 second ragers. Before each song, the bass player would inaudibly say the song title, immediately followed by deafening powerviolence fury. Easily an absolutely stellar performance by a band I never had the privilege of experiencing when I was younger.

Ah, Verbal Abuse. San Francisco hardcore punk from the 80's which has somehow managed to reform and continually play shows over the past few years. These guys definitely looked like they'd seen better days, but the sound they created was still fairly impressive. Although not without some mistakes and hiccups, they put together a nice set, but definitely not as tight as CC.

Philadelphia has attracted some pretty amazing shows this spring and summer seasons, and this was certainly no exception. I left weary, buzzed, and elated after seeing an iconic group I never expected to experience, and even more satisfied by their well honed manic, grinding sound. I also snagged their new split 7" which came with the newest issue of Short, Fast, and Loud; a highly worthwhile read. Check it. Maybe a rip coming soon?

Capitalist Casualties
Verbal Abuse
Kung Fu Necktie

Friday, May 21, 2010

New Lows - Paincave Sessions Vol. 1

This was released a while ago by Painkiller Records in anticipation of New Lows full length LP debut on Deathwish Inc., due out sometime this year. After a roaring demo and raging EP, the Boston area hardcore five piece put together Paincave Sessions Vol. 1, which continues in the same vein as their previous releases. Red pro tapes, slick j-cards on textured paper and a digital download are all included in the press out of 300 copies, which is somehow still available.

A grueling, devilish intro track gets things started, with slow, deliberate guitar riffs which seem to sink into the depths of New Lows' dark vibe. Immediately cracking open the first song "Born and Razed," they brood along at mid-tempo, with PBoy's recognizable screams leading the way. Hacking through the cassette like a machete through the jungle, New Lows moves right into the next new song, "Plague Grounds." Chugging, heavy riffs compel you to bang your head as hard as possible as they continue to impress with each and every release.

The reworked "Compulsive Repulsion," which concluded the EP on Lockin Out Records, sounds meaner than ever, re-recorded in all its pissed off, distorted glory. As if this weren't enough, they spin off a nice rendition of the Jerry's Kids classic, "Raise the Curtain," complete with echoing vocals during the chorus which take me right back to their 1983 classic, Is This My World?

As if I needed another reason to get stoked on New Lows upcoming LP, Paincave Sessions is the icing on the cake. Brand new material, a redone track, and an awesome cover by one of my favorite Boston bands of all time. It's $4 people, what are you waiting for? While your at it, pick up some other Painkiller releases, as nearly every one belongs in a hardcore punk collection.

New Lows MySpace
Painkiller Records

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Mother of Mercy/Foundation/Backtrack @ Broad Street Ministry 5/17

So it's been quite a while since I caught a show at the Broad Street Ministry in downtown Philly. Originally, this was supposed to be at The Barbary on Frankford Ave, but there was a last minute venue change for whatever reason. I rolled down to the The Barbary at around 7 p.m., only to find the whole road blocked off from the Delaware Ave entrance, and not a soul around when I found a parking spot and walked over. Fortunately, some people posted the new location on a message board and I was able to run over to the church just in time for Backtrack. Kind of a bummer that I missed Cut Short and My Turn to Win, but oh well.

Somehow I've never caught a Backtrack performance, even though they're from Long Island, so I was pretty stoked for their set. The crowd was sparing, but considering it was a rainy Monday night after a venue change, it could've been far worse. Crunchy riffs, decent vocals, and a confident stage appearance gave Backtrack the fuel needed to power through a decent set, as they played songs from the demo and Deal With the Devil. Also, props for the NY Yankees bass drum head, especially during a set in Philly.

Foundation. YES. If you don't know by now, light a torch, grab your loincloth, and climb out of that cave you've been in for the past year or so. Atlanta, Georgia straightforward straightedge hardcore, laced with heavy riffs, raging vocals, and well crafted song structure. I haven't seen them since the last Have Heart show in New Jersey, and they easily one upped the other bands as the crowd responded with energy and swirling movement. I was especially stoked hearing "Pray For (Atlanta)," during which I'm pretty sure I somehow hurt my back (am I really that old?). After playing most of Hang Your Head and some of the first EP, including a brand new song, they left the stage, leaving everyone sweaty and weary. 

Not without some opening percussion technical difficulties, local favorites Mother of Mercy ripped into their set, loaded with distorted guitars, pounding drums, and Bob Wilson's furious vocal style. Screaming until the veins in his neck might burst, they dropped songs like "Back to the Agony," "Divide," and "Demise," concluding with one of my favorites, "Nailed Down." Essentially a typical Mother of Mercy set, but maybe I'm just a little spoiled living so close to their local shows.

Even on a random night with poor weather, people came out for another Philly hardcore show to support both touring and local bands. The venue was definitely too large for the size of the crowd, but I'm just happy it wasn't canceled altogether. This summer is bursting at the seams with upcoming shows, with plenty more to come all over the tri-state area, so keep your eyes and ears open.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Neurons and Guinea Kid Split Tape

I'm sure there's someone out there who could probably prove me wrong, but I don't think I've ever seen a tape cover done with a screened cloth patch. Not only is the patch awesome, but it snaps shut, securely wrapping up all of the little goodies inside, making for one hell of a package. Yellow tapes with stickered labels, photocopied lyric sheets, a photo cover, and a cloth patch for $3 ppd? Really?

Featuring Chicago hardcore act Neurons and their Northwest neighbors in Indiana, Guinea Kid, each group contributes three songs to this Devo-themed split release. Neurons kicks things off with fuzzy, distorted cover of "Devo Corporate Anthem," an instrumental 80s style intro track. If you're not into Devo, have no fear, as they break up the covers with an spanking new song, "Toy Monkeys," beaming with the usual screaming vocals and raging hardcore distortion we've come to know and enjoy from Neurons. They finish off their side of the Devo worshiping mess with an entertaining cover of "Penetration in the Centerfold," which stays fairly true to form, just without the old school electro-drum effects.

Snotty, sloppy, yet delightfully pissed, Guinea Kid blasts into their side with the 33 second "Motorhead Jerk," which might actually be my favorite pick for the tape. Not to be excluded from the Devo party, they deliver a ramped up, hyper version of 1976's "Mongoloid." With the distortion blaring and drumming rolling at double-time speed, you almost might not even recognize its resemblance to the original, which could work positively or negatively depending on your opinion of Devo. Guinea Kid lets the guillotine drop during the final track, "Burn," with heart-wrenching chord changes and enraged vocals, leaving you dazed and satisfied.

Whether your into Devo or not, there's some pretty unique things happening on this tape, and for the price it's impossible to argue with the value here. Contact the bands to see if they still have copies, or scoop one at a show if you're in the area. There's three different patch colors, each limited to 33, so it won't last long. This is the rip directly from the band, so it's is as good as it gets as far as sound quality goes. Download, bang your head, and go steal your dad's Devo records afterward to see what you've been missing.

Neurons MySpace
Guinea Kid MySpace

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Life Experience

Killer show coming up in Brooklyn at the illustrious Bushwick Music Studio. If you're in the area check this one out, and don't show up two hours late either as every band is worth it.

Lots of straightedge. Lots of hardcore. New Jersey, Chicago, and Massachusetts all representing. Check these dudes out if you've been sleeping:

Caught in a Crowd

Friday, May 14, 2010

Neon Blud - Whipps 7"

Enter another fascinating Floridian project; Neon Blud. Featuring members of Cult Ritual, Slavescene, and Merchandise (although it doesn't really have much bearing on this band at all), their original cassette demo was repressed onto black vinyl by Maryland's Fan Death Records. The preorders contained a limited ZZ Suxx zine packed with disturbing content and distorted naked bodies, blue photo copied inserts, and silkscreened covers. All of which were pretty impressive, if that's your sort of thing.

Establishing a sound as grating and potentially nauseating as a roller coaster ride after eating a two month old chili dog with sauerkraut, Neon Blud cultivates a haunting and inspired persona throughout this record. Distortion blaring at full volume, smashing percussion, and clean female vocals make for a unique sound capable of piquing interest, or turning you off within about 60 seconds. Don't be mistaken on this one, Whipps isn't another noisy hardcore EP, or even a typical "mysterious guy" release (whatever that means), but rather something which successfully pushes the musical envelope into frightening territory.

Whipps kicks off with blaring feedback and noise, backed by horrific samples, signaling the impending disturbing musical onslaught, and sure to raise some concerned eyebrows. As if on some fuzzy, drug induced binge, Neon Blud begin to labor through their first actual song with sloshing cymbals and ringing distortion which pushes the recording levels to the max. Oddly enough, the vocals are exceptionally clear considering how noisy the record is, creating an alluring effect which draws me further into the record.

"Neon Agenda" is an easy favorite, taking you on a haunting, car sickness inducing minute and a half ride which culminates with dizzying speed and feedback while Slamantha repeatedly shouts "Nothing for you/Pretend you're pure." The second song, "Sophomore Blud" is another ripper, utilizing a similar formula that's driven by a loopy, somewhat repetitious rhythm which drunkenly stumbles along until its last gasp.

While the sound is definitely not for everyone, Whipps is an interesting record which stands out from the growing pile of loud hardcore that seems to be everywhere these days. The vinyl repress has the same songs as the cassette demo, so for those who missed out during its original limited release and want a physical copy, definitely hit up Fan Death and BUY ONE. The rip also contains the lyric sheet to make sure you're follow along and achieving the intended effect. 

Cult Maternal
Buy at Fan Death Records

Monday, May 10, 2010

Further Expansion

In addition to Halifax Collect, I'm going to be posting some reviews and rips on Alec's blog, New Fits. Please check it out when you get a chance, as he posts more downloads than I'm really able to. The first one is a favorite of mine from "back in the day" that was partially responsible for piquing my interest in hardcore and punk. Don't miss out. Listening and reading pleasure can be found here.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Vile Gash - 7" EP

Alright, so here we go again. Another well packaged, rip roaring release from Brooklyn's Youth Attack Records featuring 10 short bursts of pissed, down in the dumps hardcore. Columbus, Ohio's Vile Gash released three different demos of sorts before this, with many of the tracks being redone and re-recorded for their vinyl debut. Thick black wax, black and white printed inner and outer sleeves, wrapped up in the ever popular resealable poly bag, topped off with a quaint black Vile Gash sticker complete the packaging.

Raw, stripped down, and fast paced, Vile Gash pull off 10 songs in just over 7 minutes, partially thanks to the final track, "Incapable" lasting just over 2 minutes. Low, fuzzy bass tones match well with the grinding, fast guitar, backing the abrasive vocal style which spews venom all over the listener. I could rattle off about 15 bands they remind me of, but essentially it all comes down to some serious d-beat worship, just with some slight variations and shorter song length. Being a lifelong Discharge fan, this instantly appeals to me, but at the same time its not quite anything fresh or exciting.

Rash, violent, and chock full of disdain and hatred, the lyrics are brief and to the point, wasting absolutely no time, similar to the musical style. "Monotonous, stagnant, devoid of though/Each day is shit/Your life rots" repeated three times over takes care of the first 42 second track, and you can pretty much imagine where the rest of the record is headed from there. Depressed, hateful, and performed in a raw, honest fashion, Vile Gash is another soundtrack to further your nihilistic, negative point of view, if so inclined.

Neither shocking musically or lyrically, this is a decent EP which easily appeals to fans of the genre, but probably wouldn't make it too far outside of the slim scope of dark, dreary, fast hardcore. Fast rhythms and plenty of old school punk rock and hardcore influences are prevalent, which can either enhance the experience or bore you, depending on musical preferences. The record of course sold out weeks ago in about six minutes from YA, but there's a repress available on red wax from Deathwish Inc. (no, that's not a joke.) I'd imagine the band might have copies too, as well as some other random distros. Lyrics are included with the rip so you won't miss out on any of the fun. SUPPORT HARDCORE.

Youth Attack Records
Buy at Deathwish Inc.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Gypsy Spit - Demo

Spanking fresh new music! Bordering on the insane, right down to their name, Gypsy Spit delivers raging noisy hardcore with plenty of old school powerviolence influences. Just under five minutes of string breaking, drumstick snapping music, which is spent mostly on the first three songs, culminating with the 19 second long "I Like Food (Veg.)" If this initial demo is any indication, there's some eyebrow raising potential coming from this four piece bundle of noise.

Low pitched, nearly guttural vocals, paired with fairly brutal guitar riffage announces Gypsy Spit's persona within the first 15 seconds of the opening track, "Keep Clear."  After about 25 seconds of opening mania, they finally come up for air with a brooding breakdown riff, allowing each chord to ring out while the drums keep a slow pace.

Vaulting right back into their beginning form, "Controlled Extinction" ignites with more speedy drumming, leading into a slower chord-smashing interlude that fills the gap before launching into a car accident-like ending. "Fucked Lives" pounds along, with heavy guitar tone which surprisingly turns eerily grating midway through the track. Just before you think the demo comes to a close, Gypsy Spit punches you in the mouth one more time with a cover of The Descendents' "I Like Food (Veg)" which whizzes past your ears as quickly as it starts.

Definitely take a few minutes to check these guys out, as the demo is available for free on their MySpace page to download. Is it groundbreaking music, stylistically speaking? Well, no, not really. But this is a decent demo, especially within a genre that tends to have recording quality reminiscent of the 1920's or just become ridiculously repetitious. There's also a tour in the works for September, so give Gypsy Spit a try if they happen to be coming through your area.

Gypsy Spit Myspace

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Mindless - Human Conditioning

Somehow this band managed to sneak by me over the past year or so, and I'm definitely kicking myself already for missing out on the demo. Featuring Faiza of Hatred Surge, Mindless just dropped their latest installment of teeth grinding, instrument smashing tunes on Financial Ruin. Seven songs not for the faint of heart, this truly rocked my world the first five or six times through, and continues to force a grin upon my face each time I hit play on my tape deck again. Amongst a smorgasbord of hardcore, punk, grind, and metal tapes being released faster than you can possibly listen to them, Human Conditioning stands tall; head and shoulders above many of their similar contemporaries. 

Financial Ruin masterfully pulled off the release, with black pro tapes, fold out glossy inserts with lyrics, and excellent sound quality. Seriously, this is some of the best sounding music I've heard in a while, especially for a band of Mindless' ilk. The guitar tone is wretchedly distorted, and shreds its way through the songs while remaining remarkably clear. Grinding bass lines provide a thick foundation, from which completely insane drumming is fostered, charging with the force of a rhinoceros stampede. Faiza's vocals are harsh, angry, and couldn't fit the music any better, similar to Hatred Surge. For those waiting to jump all over this and bash female-fronted vocals; this is capable of changing your entire point of view.

The lyrical content isn't anything particularly ground breaking, but still falls in line nicely along with the violent, grating musical tones. There's plenty apocalyptic imagery of war, death, and disease, along with hatred and disdain for humanity, society and everything in between. Mindless is about as negative and dark as you can go before becoming completely monotonous and boring, although I'm sure lines such as "Society's fucking leeches/Human scum/Left to rot" might turn some people off.

I could continue gushing and start making stupid comparisons to bands like Infest or The Endless Blockade, but it's probably better for everyone if you just pick this one up. Brutal, heavy, and forceful, Human Conditioning is nearly everything I look for in bands like this, and one of my favorite releases of 2010 so far. If I have to choose a favorite, it'd be "Mental Deficiency," but there is literally zero filler on this tape. High quality rip includes lyrics and cover art, so you can feel free to attempt to follow along with Faiza's lightning quick delivery. Play as loud as possible and destroy your parent's living room while your house caves in around the explosive sound of Mindless. Again, SUPPORT THE BAND AND LABEL.

Financial Ruin Records
Mindless MySpace