Sunday, October 16, 2016

Assfactor 4 'mastered' discography

I put together an Assfactor 4 collection many years ago, but after recently listening to it i realized it needed a massive upgrade (it was crap). I worked on this new collection over the past few months and can easily say it was the most time i've ever put into anything on this blog. I worked on each and every track until i was satisfied that the entire discography was uniform in sound quality and volume. I'm especially proud of this one. Hopefully an official Assfactor 4 discography sees the light of day in the future, it's long overdue. Assorted Porkchops, get on that shit!

Assfactor 4 Discography

Assfactor 4 from South Carolina formed in 1992 by two members of Tonka (Jay and Alex) and two members of Unherd (Eric and Kevin). I discovered this great band by reading a review of the "Smoked Out" 7" in the pages of MRR back in '94. I had never even heard of Assfactor 4 at the time, but the review said something about AF4 taking the best parts of Rorschach and condensing them into short songs, filling a 7" EP with 9 memorable tracks. Obviously i was curious as Rorscach was one of my favorite hardcore bands of the '90s. I'm pretty sure i ordered "Smoked Out" through Vacuum mailorder (i think i spent just about every penny i made on Vacuum during the early '90s). Anyway, the record floored me. Sure, there were some Rorchach influence, but this was something more, The music was fast, frantic and disjointed yet still melodic. The whole thing sounded like it could collapse at any second. The lyrics were as personal as i'd heard on a HC record, screamed like an adolescent version of Charles Maggio. It was like some unpopular high school kid's diary set to manic music. Just read the lyrics to the first track.
I'm too skinny, don't bother crushing me like meat between your "wisdom" and your "peace." Your boots have outrun my shoes and i don't know what to do so i lose. This is highschool, i never knew what to do - i just had to get that shit through.
And the second song starts - I am so tired i want to sleep and cry and dream of punk rock...
I had never heard anything quite like Assfactor 4 at the time. There were definite elements of bands like Merel and Heroin, but AF4 had their own unique sound. Their will never be another band that sounds like that. And even though they get lumped into the whole emo or "screamo" scene or whatever else, they're a hardcore band. Plain and simple.

Kevin (Evil Dean) - guitar / vocals
Eric (Cool Breeze) - guitar / vocals
Jay (Earth Boy) - bass / vocals
Alex (Commander Fun) - drums / vocals

The "Sports" LP was recorded in 1997 and released by Old Glory Records in 2000. This was the last Assfactor 4 album i heard, actually years after it came out. It was also the only one of their releases that didn't hit me immediately, probably due to the 10 year hiatus since first hearing the band. Now it's my favorite AF4 record, and maybe the best HC record released in 2000. Absolutely timeless, and a perfect swansong. Serious heartfelt punk hardcore that kicks you in the ass while retaining a great sense of humor. Song titles include "White House Is Alright If You Like Saxophones", "Forty'd Out And Feeling Gay", "Free Tibet And Pussy" and "Crank Up The 2short". Let's not forget the amazing Huey Lewis and the News parody cover, with band members and cats pasted on the actual 1983 Huey Lewis LP (also titled Sports), turning what looks like a scene from Cheers into a bizarre random collage. This is an excellent rip that you'd never believe was transferred from vinyl. Pretty much flawless, and i don't throw that word around casually.

The "Nothing's Quiet on The Eastern Front" comp was released on both LP and CD in 1996 on Reservoir Records. The LP came with a 16 page booklet. This is one of my favorite comps of the mid-'90s and is packed with killer East Coast hardcore bands active at the time. Mostly exclusive tracks from C.R. Devoid of Faith, Eucharist, Halfman, Coercion, Disassociate, AF4, Dropdead, Black Army Jacket, Brutal Truth, Judas Iscariot, Monster X and Suppression. The Assfactor 4 tracks are great. "Bonkee Number Three" is my fave track on the comp. "Cleenkee" is great as well, but it kind of pales in comparison. The Disassociate tracks are great as well. They contribute a batch of lo-fi demented songs (heavily influenced by MITB), that sound like they recorded the whole thing free-form in a pot smoke filled basement. It's awesome, and my fave thing they ever did. The Superfly (one of my all time fave movies) soundbite at the beginning of the Devoid of Faith song rules. Great cover art by Miguel Heredia. Concept by Andrew Orlando of Black Army Jacket and Reservoir Records. This was pretty much one of the last great comps of the '90s. About a year later the East Coast scene (and pretty much every other scene) was pretty much dead. It took a long time to recover.

The "Yo Hablo" comp 7" came out in 1996 on Lenguna Armada Discos, run by Martin of Los Crudos. Bands on the comp are Copout, Animal Farm, Arma Contra Arma, Haymarket, Jara, AF4 and Spitboy. As with most politically-minded Lenguna Armada releases, most lyrics deal with racism, sexism and other social problems. As with the "Nothing's Quiet on The Eastern Front" comp, the Assfactor 4 track is the best thing on the comp. To me anyway. "Boy Cult Seavers" is a ripper. I love the artwork and layout as well.

The Assfactor 4 self-titled LP was released in 1995 on Old Glory Records. It was recorded and mixed in 36 hours at Sweetwood Sounds in New Jersey. Unlike "Smoked Out", this album clicked on first listen. It's just an amazing collection of songs that still sounds great after 20 years. From the opening track "Hey Stinky" (with vocals by Charles of Rorschach) to the closer "Assfactor 4", it's just perfect, I listened to this album during the '90s more times than i can count, and i still listen to it today. Fave tracks are "I Reckon", "Fuck Hate Breeders", "Dorothy", and the killer cover of "Attempted Control" by Code of Honor from the great split LP with Sick Pleasure from 1982. I'm usually not big on covers, but not only is this an exceptional cover, it's also one of the highlights of the LP. Once again the record is filled with personal, sometimes humorous lyrics, and most of all, a shitload of memorable songs. A classic.

The "We've Lost Beauty: A Compilation For Christopher" comp LP was released in 1995 on File 13 Records. The comp was a tribute to Christopher Horne (1978-1994), the drummer of the band William Martyr 17 who was killed in a car accident in '94. The inserts include a memorial essay and a hand-assembled lyric book. The comp leans on the emo side of punk, even the cover and layout is in typical emo style. There are some great bands though, like Franklin and Current, but the Assfactor 4 track "Nemo" definitely stands out.

The "All The President's Men" comp LP was released in 1994 on Old Glory. The LP came with a 12 page booklet with info, and in some cases lyrics, for each band. The AF4 page reminds me of Ebullition for some reason. Once again this is a mostly emo punk comp, with a couple oddities thrown in, and once again Assfactor 4 steals the show with one of their best tracks ever, "Close Captioning For The Blind". This song opens the comp, and sets the bar too high for anything that follows. It's a pretty good comp though, and i remember spinning it quite a bit in the '90s. I really like the Hoover and Acme tracks.

The "Smoked Out" 7" was recorded in 2 days in March of '94. It was released in 1994 on Old Glory. The record contains a lyric and art sheet, and is housed in a fold-over cover, that when opened reveals the entire cover image. This is the best of their 7" EPs.

The "Sometimes I Suck" 7" was recorded at Jan Room Studio and released in 1993 on Repercussion Records. The songs "Is Love Just Jive Turkey?" and "Don't Fall In Love With..." were recorded in the winter of 1993. All other tracks were recorded in the summer of 1993. Lyric sheet included. Two different covers exist on Repercussion. There was also a pressing on Auricle Records, this version is a single sheet of 7" x 7" photocopied white paper printed on both sides. Lyrics/info included.

The Assfactor 4 / Rights Reserved split 7", also known as the "Underwater and Hatin' It" EP was released in 1993 on Fallen Squirrel Records. Two tracks by each band.

The song "Assfactor 4" was also on a compilation LP called "400 Day Headache" on Unite & Fight Records in 1993. Unfortunately that version is not in this collection. Also on that comp were tracks by pre-Assfactor bands Tonka and Unherd, as well as a great collection of pop-punk, hardcore and crust bands. The comp was a benefit for Rainforest Action Network. If anyone has a rip of that album, please hook me up.

Also not in the collection is the track "12 Years Of Living Hell" from the "Big Pants Waste Precious Fabric" comp CD released in 1995 on No Idea Records. It came with issue 11 of No Idea Fanzine. A slightly faster version of the song is on the self-titled LP, re-titled "Dear Grampa". I didn't include the original version as it would have put the collection just over 80 minutes. However, the "Big Pants..." comp is somewhere in this post for download. Just gotta hunt.

According to online sources, there's also an Assfactor 4 demo from '93. Good luck finding that.

 Assfactor 4 - Live on WFMU 5/27/93

This is a great sounding set from one of the 2 times AF4 played live on Pat Duncan's show on WFMU. All tracks from the "Sometimes I Suck" 7" and split with Rights Reserved, plus the self-titled track from the "400 Day Headache" comp. The other WFMU set was recorded 1/07/93 and has a bunch of songs not on any releases. I'd love to hear that.

Post-Assfactor 4

Nearly ten years after the break up, guitarist Evil Dean of AF4 and drummer Cuz got together with bassist Curly from the metal band Necrocide to continue in the tradition of Assfactor 4 (especially on the great "Parasitic Host" LP). The music is a bit heavier and less loose and chaotic than their '90s stuff, but that Assfactor 4 spirit is still there. On the heavier stuff, it kinda sounds to me like AF4 mixed with Ringworm.

Sled Discography

The Sled demo was recorded in March of 2007 at The Jam Room in Columbia SC. It was self-released on CDR in '07. Most of the tracks are mid-paced and metallic, but a few songs, like "Whale" and "Metal Boy Band" stand out as a sign of what would be coming by 2011. The Sled self-titled LP was released on Lunchbox Records in 2010. Half the album was re-recordings of demo tracks. This is my least favorite Sled release. It's not bad really. I guess, based on the members, i was expecting more frantic, melodic hardcore and less Integrity crunch.

Sled's newest album, "Parasitic Host" is another animal completely. It was released in 2011 on Lunchbox, but i'm not sure if any actual vinyl or CD exists. You can download the album from the band's bandcamp page here. This one kills. Twelve tracks of fast melodic hardcore with screamed vocals. That old Assfactor vibe is definitely there this time, and the songs are as memorable as anything these guys ever did. Just perfect from beginning to end. Highest recommendation.

Pre-Assfactor 4

Unherd started in the fall of 1992 with AF4 members Eric and Kevin. Their 1993 self-titled LP on Assorted Porkchops is excellent. The LP is half straight-forward melodic hardcore rippers and half indie/emo/punk. Like a mix of Garden Variety, Chisel, Fugazi and even a bit of Moss Icon on some tracks. Unlike those bands, Unherd remained mostly unknown, as great as they were.

Unherd LP (1993)

Kevin - bass / vocals
Eric - guitar
Ryan - drums

Aside from the album, Unherd had tracks on a bunch of other (not so easy to find) releases.

The Straight Up / Unherd split 7" was released on Young Funky Records in 1991. I've never heard this record, or any Straight Up for that matter. They had a track called "Walklin' Around" on the "Stupid By The Grace Of God" comp 7" (Assorted Porkchops 1992), along with Bedlam Hour, Toast and Unherd. They had a track called "Nosebleed" on the great "Stereonucleosis Comes To You House" comp 7" (Stereonucleosis 1991), with tracks by Antischism, Buzz Oven, and Tolerance. Their song "Peel" was on the "400 Day Headache" comp LP (Unite & Fight 1993), along with tracks by Assfactor 4, Tonka, J Church, Rights Reserved, Youth Gone Mad and many more. Lastly, they had a track called "Saturday" on the "Please No Profanity" comp LP. Other bands on that comp included Tonks, Bedlam Hour, In/Humanity and even Hootie and the Fucking Blowfish. The CD was a benefit for South Carolina college radio. Released by WUSC (Columbia) and WSBF (Clemson.

I'd love to see some kind of Unherd discography one day, but that seems extremely unlikely. If i can ever locate all the tracks, i'd for sure put something together for the blog.

Tonka was formed at the start of the '90s by Jay and Alex (future bass player and drummer for Assfactor 4 respectively) prior to Unherd and AF4. They played pop infused hardcore punk with an obvious DC post-hardcore influence. I also hear elements of Hated in there, as well as the first Sleeper EP, and a touch of early Jawbreaker (maybe the 7" cover is a tribute of sorts?). The song "Take It Back" from the "400 Day Headache" comp is my fave, as it's a bit more on the fast discordant HC side, pretty similar to tracks on the "Sometimes I Suck" 7".

Tonka - Anthology 1992-1993

The "Calling Waffle House Home" 7" was released on Assorted Porkchops in 1992. Four great poppy HC tracks that brings to mind early Chisel material, in both the music and production. In fact Chisel has a song called "Waffle House", although the Tonka EP may have come out first. Anyway, who gives a shit?

I won't go into detail over all the compilations that Tonka contributed to, as most of them were already discussed throughout this post. Track 10 is a short studio pisstake on "Smells Like Teen Spirit". The vocals are hysterical. The last 2 tracks are unreleased songs and are both killer tracks. Far from filler. The sound quality on "Over" is not too hot, but everything else sounds great.

13 Easter Eggs.


Friday, June 3, 2016

Deathrock California

The deathrock scene in California in the early '80s produced some of my favorite music ever, in any genre. Even 30 years after first hearing most of this stuff it still gets plenty of spins.

Since i was a little kid, i was always into campy horror movies, EC comics, Black Sabbath... anything on the darker side. When i first got into punk and hardcore in '87, i was obviously infatuated with The Misfits. Then, somewhere around 1989, i finally heard the sounds i'd been waiting for. "Only Theatre Of Pain", "Sleep In Safety" and "Autopsy", the ultimate goth-punk trifecta. I guess i thought this was a doorway to a whole new world of amazing albums, but it turned out there was really only a handful of stuff like this out there, with these 3 records being at the very top.

I'm really looking forward to the upcoming book "Phantoms: The Rise of Deathrock from the LA Punk Scene". It amazes me that this extremely influential sub-genre that gave birth to the entire Goth scene was never properly documented until now. The music itself was never really documented in compilation form either. Outside of a few key punk comps that had some great deathrock tracks scattered throughout, like "Hell Comes to Your House", "Can't Argue With Sucksess" and "American Youth Report", there's really no definitive collection of just deathrock bands. Some labels like Cleopatra Records tried a few times with so-called deathrock comps, but they're pretty badly researched. They all have the same, few, early '80s bands like 45 Grave (always "Evil"), Christian Death (usually not the classic early stuff for copyright reasons), Kommunity FK (always "We Will Not Fall"), and sometimes Super Heroines. From there it always falls apart with late '80s and '90s goth and rockabilly bands that just happen to be from CA. Stuff without the punk edge that takes itself a bit too seriously. Strobelight Records did a little better job with their "Kaliffornian Deathrock" comp, and their "New Dark Age" series is great. Kudos to them. A while back i put together my own compilation of favorite early '80s dark LA punk songs, and i figured i'd share it here.

I've included hidden links of collections (mostly discographies i put together myself) for just about every band on the comp. To make it easy, each band link is in that respective band's paragraph in the "band rundown" below. I also threw in some of the key compilations mentioned. So there's actually around 20 downloads in this post. Collect them all!!

Deathrock California: The Darker Side of California Punk Rock: 1980-1985

Here's the rundown of the bands/tracks:

Secret Hate were an incredibly talented and diverse punk band from Long Beach. They had killer tracks on following compilation LPs: "Hell Comes to Your House" (1981), "You Can't Argue With Sucksess" (1982), and "When Men Were Men... And Sheep Were Scared" (1985). They also put out the "Vegetables Dancing" 12" on New Alliance Records in 1983. The CD version of "Vegetables Dancing" has the 2 tracks from the "When Men Were Men..." comp LP, and a live set from Bruin's Den, Long Beach in 1982, but the other 4 comp tracks are missing for some reason. But hey, maybe some crazy bastard put all the tracks together in one file and even mastered all the tracks to the same volume, ripped it at 320kbps and hid it in some blog post. Who knows? I would guess Secret Hate would not be considered a deathrock band, as half their discography is straight punk rippers with the occasional odd influence seeping in, but the other half of their songs has an obvious influence from the dark sounds that were going on around them in LA at the time. Deathrock California tracks: "Charade" is from the "You Can't Argue With Sucksess" comp LP put out on Mystic Records in 1982. This track has a heavy Christian Death vibe, in both the music and the vocals, and shows that the band can write a goth-punk tune on par with the best of them. "Death In the Desert" is from the "When Men Were Men... And Sheep Were Scared" put out on Bremisbrain Records in 1985. This is my favorite Secret Hate song. Just an epic track full of memorable riffs. They were definitely in their prime at this time, and of course this is when they broke up. They got back together in the '90s though, after Sublime covered their song "The Ballad of Johnny Butt", putting them on the mainstream map.

Voodoo Church from Los Angeles released just one (incredible) 4 song 12" EP put out on Second Death Records in 1982. They reformed roughly 20 years later and released the "Unholy Burial" CD in 2004, and the "Eminence of Demons" CD in 2009 (with Rikk Agnew on second guitar), both put out by Strobelight Records. Deathrock California tracks: "Eyes (Second Death)" and "Live With the Dead" are both tracks from the 1982 12" EP. To keep the entire compilation in CD quality, i used mastered versions from CD comps. "Eyes (Second Death" was taken from the Kaliffonian Deathrock" comp CD put out on Strobelight in 2006 and "Live With the Dead" was taken from the "Strobelights Vol. 1" comp CD put out on Strobelight in 2004.

Burning Image from Bakersfield were another band with a very thin '80s output. All that was officially released was the self-released, two-song "Final Conflict" 7" in 1984 and one track on the great "Let's Die" comp LP put out on Mystic in 1985. Fortunately, Alternative Tentacles put out the "1983-1987" CD in 2004, which included the EP and comp tracks along with 10 unreleased songs. Like Voodoo Church, Burning Image reformed over 20 years later. They released the "Fantasma" full length CD on Alternative Tentacles in 2009, the "Orleander" download album on Revelation in 2011, and the "Grand Guignol" CD (what, they never heard Naked City?!) on Mokat Records in 2014. And like Voodoo Church, i've never heard anything they did past the '80s. Deathrock California track: Time Is Running Out was one of the unreleased songs from the "1983-1987" CD. The first song the band ever wrote, and also the best in my opinion.

45 Grave were from Los Angeles. They formed in 1979, playing ripping punk hardcore songs with campy horror themed lyrics, pretty much kick-starting everything. Of course you can argue that singer Dinah Cancer's previous band Castration Squad was the first California deathrock band, but they never released anything, or even recorded anything as far as i know. Plus they were awful. 45 Grave were just amazing on the other hand, with Paul Cutler from The Consumers, Rob Graves from The Bags and Gun Club, and Don Bolles from Germs and Nervous Gender. Most notable in the band's discography is the ripping "Black Cross" 7" put out on Goldar Records in 1981, the incredible "Autopsy" anthology LP put out on Restless Records in 1987 and the "Sleep in Safety" LP put out on Enigma Records in 1983. There also released various 12" EPs and comp tracks throughout the '80s, but all the essential material is on "Autopsy" and "Sleep in Safety". One of my top 10 favorite punk bands of all time. Deathrock California tracks: "Consumers" and "Choices" are both from the "Autopsy" LP, a compilation of material from 1981, half of which were Consumers songs, as well as the 2 tracks from the "Black Cross" 7". "Choices" is one of the 2 tracks that Paul Cutler sings (the other being "Eye"), and is one of my fave punk songs ever written. Just perfect. "Bad Love" is from the "Sleep in Safety" LP.

D.I. from Fullerton released a bunch of records from 1983 to about 1996, and then again from 2002 to present. The best would be the self-titled 12" put out on Revenge Records in 1983 (later released as the "Team Goon" LP in 1986), the "Ancient Artifacts" LP, and the "Horse Bites, Dog Cries" LP, both on Reject Records, both in 1985. Word of warning - stay away from "Richard Hung Himself" comp LP from 2007. I figured this was a collection of remastered tracks, but it's actually a collection of re-recorded tracks, Suicidal style. Deathrock California tracks: The great and probably most well-known D.I. song (thanks to the movie Suburbia), "Richard Hung Himself" from the original 1983 S/T 12" on Revenge Records, and the Sabbath-like "Wounds From Within" from my favorite D.I. record, "Ancient Artifacts", put out on Revenge in '85. You'll recognize some of the songs on that album from Rikk Agnew's 1982 LP "All By Myself".

Red Scare from L.A. were one of the most overlooked yet most talented bands from the early '80s Cali scene. They released the "Then There Were None" LP on Upstart Records in 1984 which included classic dark tracks like "Don't Look In The Basement", "Red Rum" and the incredible "Street Life". They also appeared on various comps throughout the early '80s, most notably the classic "Meathouse" comp cassette from '82. Grand Theft Audio re-released their LP in 1995 on the "As Promised (1982-1988)" CD, which also included demos, unreleased tracks, comp tracks and a live set. Well worth tracking down. Vocalist Bobbi Brat, one of the best female punk singers ever imo, died of cancer in 1988 at age 26. There's a great site dedicated to her memory here. Deathrock California track: "Red Rum", one of my faves from the "Then There Were None" LP. A song about Kubrick's classic giving Bobbi nightmares."The Shining won't let me sleep, it won't let me rest...". That film had the same effect om me as a kid.

T.S.O.L. (True Sounds Of Liberty) formed in the late '70s in Huntington Beach. They put out a few great EPs in the early '80s and 2 classic LPs. The legendary "Dance With Me" LP on Frontier Records in 1981 and the more progressive and keyboard-heavy "Beneath The Remains" LP put out on Alternative Tentacles a year later. They also appeared on more comp than you can imagine. T.S.O.L. kept going, in various forms, for nearly 30 years, churning out slab after slab, including hair-metal albums at one point in the late '80s. All you need is the first 2 LPs and the "Thoughts Of Yesterday: 1981-1982" LP put out by Posh Boy in '87 and you'll pretty much have all their essential material. Deathrock California track: "Sounds Of Laughter", the goth-punk opener of the "Dance With Me" LP, which also appeared on the "American Youth Report" comp LP put out in 1982 on Invasion Records.

Christian Death, another legendary band from Los Angeles, and maybe the most important. Certainly the most influential, to many different genres of music. Along with 45 Grave, Xian Death have always been one of my favorite bands of all time. To me the first 3 albums and the "Deathwish" EP are perfect. But there are lots of great obscure songs scattered throughout the time Rozz was with the band, like the 1985 demo tracks, "Haloes" and "Spectre", which can be found on various collections, including the "Invocations" comp CD put out on Cleopatra in 1993. Anyway, they must have put out well over 20 albums between 1982 and today, but after "Ashes", i couldn't give a shit. Deathrock California tracks: "Deathwish" and "Romeo's Distress", both from the "Deathwish" mini-LP recorded in 1981 (the band's first recordings) and not released until 1984. I like these version better than the ones on the "Only Theatre Of Pain" LP. Actually my fave version of "Romeo's Distress" is the 1981 demo version which you can hear on the "Six Six Sixth Communion" rarities CD. Rozz's vocals sound so great on that recording, much less dramatic than i've ever heard from him. He kinda sounds like a young Robert Smith. It rules. The only reason i didn't include it on the comp is the sound. Not that it's terrible, but it wouldn't have matched the rest of the quality of the comp. The live version of "Theatre Of Pain" is from "The Decomposition Of Violets", originally released on cassette on Roir in 1985. The LP and CD versions came out in 1990 on Contempo Records. I like this live version much better than the studio version from the first LP, where it's titled "Mysterium Iniquitatis". This version is an almost completely different arrangement. They should have recorded it like this on the debut. It would have even fit perfectly on the second LP.

Conservatives were a killer Long Beach band who unfortunately released a total of 6 tracks between 1981 and 1982 and are today a total mystery. They released 3 tracks on the "Hell Comes To Your House" comp LP in 1981 ("Suburban Bitch", "Just Cuz" and "Nervous"), and 3 tracks on the You Can't Argue With Sucksess" comp LP in 1982 ("Confusion", "Nuclear Madness" and "Beaver Cleaver"). And that's it. I've never seen any further info on this band, except that one of the band members went by the name Butthole. If ever i wished a band from the early '80s had released more material, this would be the one. Deathrock California tracks: "Nuclear Madness" is a nice life-affirming number about slowly dying of radiation. Slow, doomy stuff with almost spoken lyrics. "Nervous" is pretty much the polar opposite musically. It's a quick hardcore ripper that clocks in at maybe a minute or so. Lyrically, however, it's just as nihilistic and negative as "Nuclear Madness". All there songs are worth hearing, and they're all in this post.

Legal Weapon were yet another super talented female-fronted punk band from Los Angeles. What was in the water down there? Between 1981 and 2002 they released 7 LPs and 8 EPs. All you really need is the first 2 LPs and the first 7" EP. Their early comp tracks kicked ass too. The 5-song "No Sorrow" 7" EP was released in 1981 on Arsenal Records and is a killer debut. The "Death Of Innocence" LP (my fave) was released in 1982 and the "Your Weapon" LP in 1983, both on Arsenal. Frank Agnew of The Adolescents and D.I. played guitar on "Death Of Innocence". Such an underrated '80s punk album. To me it's as classic as pretty much anything else released at the time. Deathrock California track: "Daddy's Gone Mad" from the "Hell Comes To Your House" comp. Easily my favorite recording the band ever did, and maybe even my favorite song on the comp, which says a lot. Such a great chorus. They re-recorded this track for their first album, but they over-did it with all kinds of back ups and overdubs. This stripped-down version is far superior, and really the only time the band sounded exactly this way. They actually sound a hell of a lot like 45 Grave ("Autopsy-era) on this recording, so much so that i would have bet anything that Paul Cutler was playing guitar on it the first time i heard it. Even vocalist Kat sounds a lot like Dinah Cancer here. If they would have recorded an entire album with this exact sound (and superior songwriting), it probably would have been my fave '80s female-fronted punk LP, right  up there with "Sleep In Safety". Oh well, at least i have this one track. And as much as i love their other stuff, i almost always come back to this song when i'm in the mood for a little Weapon.

Adolescents were a Fullerton favorite, even though they really only released one good LP and one good EP. I guess it helped that they had killer tracks on key comps like "Rodney On The Roq" (1980 Posh Boy), "American Youth Report" (1982 Invasion), and "Someone Got There Head Kicked In!" (1982 Better Youth Organization). It also didn't hurt that they knew how to write excellent and memorable hardcore songs with pop sensibilities. Rikk Agnew's guitar playing cemented the deal with his Greg Sage style (pretty sure they started around the same time, so i'm not sure if one was actually influenced by the other, but the similarities are undeniable). You could feel that Christian Death style starting to creep in on certain tracks (like "Kids Of The Black Hole"), pretty much laying the groundwork for the goth style that would take shape years later. The self-titled "Blue Album", released on Frontier in '81 was great, but my fave was always the follow-up "Welcome To Reality" EP, released on Frontier that same year. Rikk Agnew was gone at this point, just leaving his brother Frank on guitar duties, but for me they just fucking nailed it with those 3 tracks. Deathrock California track: "Losing Battle" from the "Welcome To Reality" 7". First song i ever heard by Adolescents, and still my fave. I heard it on the "American Youth Report" comp LP and it blew me away. It just sounded so much heavier and angrier than anything on the debut LP. And the vocals never sounded better. "Now suicidal, caught in a trap. Can't get out don't want to fight back. Now the firing squad is set. To give me the bullet to help me forget...". Love that shit. If only they made a second full length at that time, it would have been a monster.

Rikk Agnew! Since the Adolescents track was from the EP that Rikk didn't play on, i figured a good following track would be from Rikk Agnew's 1982 solo LP "All By Myself", put out on Frontier Records. An absolute punk classic, with Rikk writing all the music and playing all the instruments. I think it kicks the Adolescents album's ass. Deathrock California track: "Yur 2 Late". I was tough picking one track off that album, every song is great, but the riffs on "Yur 2 Late" are just so damn perfect. A perfect song from one of the originators of the entire goth scene. It doesn't get much better. I never heard the second album "Turtle" from '92, or anything from Rikk Agnew's Yard Sale.

Super Heroines from L.A. were a great (mostly) female deathrock band that had a sinister punk vibe similar to early Christian Death. Part of that inspiration could have been from Eva-O being in the band, who played with Christian Death for a while. The first 2 albums are great. "Cry For Help" from 1982 and "Souls That Save" from 1983, both released on Bemisbrain Records. They also had 2 killer tracks on the "Hell Comes To Your House" comp, and even put out a third LP in '93. In 2006 Cleopatra Records put out 2 separate Super Heroines anthologies. Both are great, but the "Anthology 1982-1985" is essential. It has all 3 albums, so i'm assuming that 3rd LP was recorded much earlier than 1993. The other anthology is more of a "best-of" type collection, which i usually find pretty useless. Deathrock California tracks: "The Beast" is the massive opener from the first LP and "Embalmed Love" is one of the 2 tracks they did for the "Hell Comes To Your House" comp LP. It's a great alternating mix of gloomy dirge and thrashy punk. I can't make out most of the lyrics, but i'm guessing it's a necrophiliac love song.

Lost Cause from Orange put out a killer 7" called "Born Dead" in 1981, even more impressive because of how young they were at the time, with half the band being around 14 years old. In '82 they put out the "Forgotten Corners" LP with a different vocalist. Both records were released on High Velocity Records. They also have some other recordings that i'm not sure ever made it to vinyl, as they recorded 6 tracks for the debut 7" and only 4 were used. They called it quits shortly after the LP came out. It would be great if someone reissued all this stuff. Grand Theft Audio used one of the EP tracks on their "High Road To Obscurity" comp back in 2000, so i was hoping maybe they would do it. Wishful thinking. Deathrock California track: "Lost Cause". The title track from the '81 7" EP which i actually first heard on the "American Youth Report" comp. It came right after the Adolescents "Losing Battle", and it always seemed like the perfect one-two punch for me. Those song seemed as connected to me as "Heartbreaker/Living Loving Maid". Even 30 years later, when i hear "Losing Battle" on the Adolescents CD, i expect to hear that echo-like guitar kick in. Whatever, i'm rambling like Lenny Bruce all of a sudden... anyway, dig, "Born Dead" was really the only creepy track on the record. A haunting galloping melody with lyrics about a still-birth. The other 3 tracks were pretty straight-forward punk rippers, but every track is good.

Peace Corpse from Pomona put out the classic "Quincy's Lament" 7" in 1983 on Toxic Shock Records, which seemed more of a parody of the deathrock genre than being influenced by it. With songs like "Dead In A Pile Of Chairs", "Small Talk Death" and "JockoMacho", you could tell they didn't take themselves very seriously. But spoof or not, fuck if they didn't pull off the sound perfectly. The Pushead cover of Jack Klugman from the TV show Quincy is absolutely amazing. Such a great record that Toxic Shock even reissued it in 2010 as an LP re-titled "Terror Of Quincy". This version included 3 bonus tracks. The A-side of their 1986 12" "The Terror Of History", which was less punk and less satirical than the EP, and more doomy sounding. They never should have changed their sound. These recordings feature future maniac of Man Is The Bastard, Eric Wood on bass.  Peace Corpse also released some comp tracks, including the great "Breach Birth Generation" on the "Barricaded Suspects" comp LP released on Toxic Shock in 1983. They also had 2 tracks on the "Budget Ranch Box" 3x7" box set put out on Budget Ranch in 1986. One was a ZZ Top cover called "TV Dinners" and the other was a kick ass cover of Neil Young's "L.A.". Toxic Shock should have just released everything on CD in 2010. Anyway, it's possible someone else did. Deathrock California track: "Breach Birth Generation", the great opener of the "Barricaded Suspects" comp.

Kommunity FK, another classic L.A. band, seemed to be more influenced by the post-punk and new wave sounds of Bowie and Joy Division, as well as more experimental stuff, like maybe Nurse With Wound or something. Their debut 1983 album, "The Vision And The Voice", put out on Independent Project Records, went back and forth from dark punk songs to fucked up damaged art shit. Excellent album if you can get through all of it. They put out one more album in the '80s called "Close One Sad Eye", and then took a little 25 year break before recording again. Deathrock California tracks: "Anti-Pop" and "We Will Not Fall" from "The Vision And The Voice" LP. "Anti-Pop" is one of the most perfectly crafted and unique punk songs i've ever heard. I never get sick of hearing it, it's just flawless. "We Will Not Fall" is the Kommunity FK track that seems to make it to all the goth comps, and with good reason. It rules. I couldn't resist.

The Flesh Eaters from Hollywood put out a lot a good records during the '80s, but it was their second LP "A Minute To Pray, A Second To Die" (1981 Ruby Records), that it all came together perfectly. One of the most unique, unsettling and bizarre records in the history of punk. The music is kind of a weirdo mutation of punk, jazz and blues, with marimbas, xylophone and sax expertly weaved into their instrumentation, topped off with demented lyrics sang by what sounds like a satanic psycho-ward patient trying to keep it together for the album before they have to throw him back into his padded room. "Roots rock voodoo blues" is how their sound has been self-described. "See You In The Boneyard" is my favorite track from the album, just total madness, with xylophone playing that reminds me of the skeleton fighting scene in The 7th Voyage Of Sinbad. Awesome and original as hell. Deathrock California track: "Pony Dress" from the "American Youth Report" comp. A great dark punk track that simply fit this comp more than anything from the superior LP.

U.X.A. were originally from San Francisco, but moved to L.A. early on in their inception. They recorded their great "Illusions Of Grandeur" LP in the late '70s, and put out a pre-release of the album in 1980 on Posh Boy, housed in a cardboard sleeve with the title stamped on it. The official album with artwork and lyric sheet came out in '81. Not a deathrock album, but this record definitely had dark tinges of what would become the Cali sound. I would imagine "Illusions Of Grandeur" had a pretty big influence over many of the bands mentioned in this post. Vocalist De De Troit looks like a starlet right out of a 1930s movie on the LP cover. They reformed in the early '90s and put out a bunch of new material which i never checked out. The debut LP was re-released in 1990 and again in 2004 on Get Back Records. The also had 2 tracks on the "Tooth And Nail" comp LP (Upsetter Records 1979) including one track exclusive to the comp called "Social Circle". This early California punk comp also had tracks by Controllers, Flesh Eaters, Negative Trend, Middle Class and Germs. Deathrock California track: "U.X.A." from the "Illusions Of Grandeur" LP. My fave U.X.A. track. This one's taken from the newly remastered version that can be downloaded on sites like Amazon. The remastered LP sounds great, and has a bunch of bonus tracks. Not sure why they changed the title and artwork though. I would think it would just make it harder for people searching for the record online. But whatever, i'm just glad it's available.

That's it for this time. Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016


The first time i heard anything Warzone-related was on Pat Duncan's radio show in early 1987. It was a live version of the song "Skinhead Youth" by the band of the same name. I searched like crazy for any demos by Skinhead Youth, but of course that's pretty rare to come by, even then. I had only recently discovered hardcore/punk music at that time, and had zero knowledge of Warzone, Raybeez, Agnostic Front etc. The only HC records i owned were the first Suicidal LP and DRI's "Dealing With It". Some weeks later a friend took me to a record store in Dover, NJ where i bought the first Warzone album (thinking the track "Skinhead Youth" was a cover song actually). The Warzone LP instantly became a favorite, and was pretty much my introduction to NYHC (along with the SFA "NY" '87 demo). But the Warzone record was something different entirely. Hearing "Don't Forget the Struggle...", and then later hearing recordings like "Victim in Pain", the Cro-Mags and Breakdown demos etc... they just sounded like New York City. Street hardcore. The same way a band like Adolescents sounded like beach hardcore.

I think one of the keys (to me) to a great hardcore band, is the ability to vividly remember first hearing them, and i remember spinning that Warzone LP like it was last week. The back cover and insert images of the band threw me for a loop. And then of course the album intro "Yo, wus up wit dat, less start jammin'! I was half-way expecting another Licensed To Ill. Instead, of course, i got 12 incredible hardcore songs that still stand up 25 years later.

 Warzone - Crucial Recordings

This is a collection of demos, comp tracks and other rarities spanning 1984-1988 with far superior sound quality than the collection i posted years back.

The first 2 tracks are from the classic New York City Hardcore: The Way It Is comp LP, released in 1988 on Revelation. The NYHC scene kind of exploded between 1986 and 1988, and this was one of the first documents showing that the scene in NYC was finally catching up with the rest of the US. Better late than never. Great and diverse (Bold followed by Nausea!!) comp that barely scratches the surface as to what was going on at that time. 320 rip from CD version.

The US Of Oi! comp LP was also released in '88, and features a completely different version of Don't Forget the Struggle... I prefer the original, but it's always great to hear alternate takes on classics. Some killer tracks by YDL and Anti-Heroes on the comp as well. 320 rip from CD version.

The WNYU tracks were recorded on July 23, 1987. These versions were taken from the New York City: Those Were the Days Vol. II compilation CD put out by Chaotic Records. This is not the entire session unfortunately (pretty sure 2 tracks were cut for the CD), but it's the best sounding source i've ever heard of these recordings. The CD also has tracks by Nihilistics, Token Entry, Norman Bates and the Showerheads (great band), and Krakdown, all recorded live on WNYU between 1987 and 1990.

Next up is the meat of the comp. The Some Records tape. Fourteen tracks recorded in 1986, including many that weren't properly recorded until years later and a ripping 7 Seconds cover that became a staple at Warzone shows. For me, these are the definitive versions of these songs. That raw a fuck guitar sound, and Raybeez' vocals never sounded better. Tracks from this session were released on the Lower East Side Crew 7" put out in 1987 as Rev. 1. The entire set was booted onto vinyl in 2008 as the "Street Kids Demo" along with the 1984 Tommy Rat demos. Not sure where i came across the rip here, but it sounds incredible. Best i've heard, and i must have had 5 or 6 versions of this over the years. Easily one of the best NYHC recordings of all time. "Don't forget the struggle, don't forget the street kids!!"

Raybeez with the Warzone Women

The heavily traded (back in the day) "As One" demo was distributed by Raybeez in response to the 7" selling so fast with many rabid fans still needing their fix. There were 50 copies of the original tape (slightly altered later) that were copied by Raybeez and given to Some Records to sell. Not sure which version is posted here, but there were 3 more tracks on tape, which were omitted here. "Don't Forget the Struggle...", which is the same version as on the Some Records tape, so that's already in this collection, and 2 live covers. Wire's "12XU" and of course 7 Seconds "Young Til I Die". On the rip i got the sound on the live tracks were beyond shitty. Unlistenable really. This is a great demo, and this has surprisingly great sound for a demo that has not been re-released in any was for the past 30 years. Thanks to Cooch for this one. There was also a Don Fury rehearsal tape recorded in '87 that was basically the Gorilla Biscuits lineup with Raybeez singing. Would love to hear that! Hopefully somebody properly documents all this essential stuff one day as there would be enough in the way of demos, rehearsals and live sets for a double LP or CD. I heard Revelation is planning on releasing old Warzone material, but judging by their output, it will most likely be the first 2 LPS and maybe the comp tracks. Maybe even a remastered (and castrated) version of the LES Crew ep? I doubt there will be anything to cream about, but hey, hopefully they prove me wrong. Thanks to Cooch for the rip, and for various info throughout this post.

Last up is the pre-Warzone incarnation, Skinhead Youth. Recorded live at CBGB during the infamous show in 1984. It's an incredible set, with many songs that would wind up on the first 2 Warzone LPs. Lots of banter between songs. Great sound, great set. One of my favorite live NYHC recordings. I have yet to find a decent sounding rip (or tape) of the Skinhead Youth demo. One of my top wants.

Warzone - the first 2 albums

The "Don't Forget the Struggle, Don't Forget the Streets" LP was recorded in August 1987 at Studio X in Ridgewood, NJ. It was released on Fist Records in 1987. It was repressed in '88 on Fist/Caroline Records. Last (unofficial) pressing i know of was in 2012 on red vinyl, with lyric insert and stickers. I traded off my first press years ago, along with lots of other rare shit, which i now regret of course.

"Open Your Eyes" was recorded in August, 1988 at the Kampo Cultural Center in NYC and released on Caroline the same year. A great follow-up although a bit more mid-paced. My fave tracks are the 2 reworkings of early Skinhead Youth songs. Love the cover and band pics.

Both albums were released on one CD in 1994 on Another Planet Records when they were in their 'two NYHC albums on one disc' phase. I remember having CDs by Cro-Mags, Murphy's Law and Leeway many years back. Those are almost impossible to come by now. The same CD was then released by Lost & Found in various pressings between 1994 and 1997. The first pressing had an odd cover depicting two dogs attacking each other, and was later changed to the cover shown above. This is a 320 rip from Lost & Found CD.

Warzone - The 1989 Demos and Live at CBGB

So now we get to 1989. Warzone releases one of the worst 'metal/rock album by a hardcore band' in the history of 'metal/rock albums by a hardcore band'. Seems like every scene in the '80s died when classic hardcore bands decided they had "chops" and all of a sudden wanted to be the next Van Halen. It happened in Boston, DC and California and of course NY would follow suit. Of course some pretty good albums came out of that whole mess. I love the Void LP for instance. It sound like exactly what it is - Void trying to play rock songs. How could that not be great? Same for the YDI album. But when the bands got it wrong... holy shit (ever hear Antidote's "Return to Burn" LP?). It was inevitable during the late '80s that metal would influence the NYHC scene. Let's just say Agnostic Front got it right and Warzone got it wrong. The Warzone s/t album was released (for some reason) on vinyl, cassette and CD in 1989 on Caroline Records, and i can only imagine the amount of jaws that hung open as this slab hit turntables in NYC.

The demo for the album is a different story though. While not as great as any of the band's previous work, it's a pretty good hardcore/metal demo. In fact, most of the best tracks from the demo didn't make it to the album, and the tracks that did were changed drastically. The demo has a raw sound, Raybeez' vocals sound good, and there are some rippers. Basically they should have released the demo as the album. A different album cover wouldn't have hurt either. The title for track 1 is "Out of Control" and track 5 is "On the Run". Also included is six songs recorded live at CBGB in 1992. Great sound.

Luckily Warzone's rock phase didn't last long and they continued to put out hardcore records throughout the '90s. The "Lower East Side" album released on Victory in 1996 has some re-recordings of classics that were never properly recorded in the '80s. I kind of lost interest at that point. For me the band peaked around '86, but remains one of my favorite NYHC bands ever. RIP Raybeez.

Everyone loves Warzone!

There's a great Raybeez tribute here.
Raybeez interview here.
Six Easter Eggs in post.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

My Tribute to Stinkweed

This is a few years late obviously, but i've been without a computer for quite a while now (as you can probably tell by how stagnant the blog has become), and now that i have a computer again i'd like to kick things off by paying tribute to one of my heroes, Kindred McCune aka Stinkweed aka a dozen other aliases. As far back as 1994 up to present day, he's had a great impact on my life. Bands like No Less, Plutocracy, Agents of Satan etc, had a much different vibe than anything else in the scene. And not just the West Bay fastcore scene, i mean hardcore/metal in general, And of course the common factor in those bands was Stinkweed. Right off the bat i knew this guy wasn't your average musician by any stretch. This guy was special. The way he fused his influences (grindcore, hip hop, metal, classic rock/psychedelia, hardcore...), he created something fresh, something unprecedented, and most importantly something incredible. The underground music scene will never produce such a talent again, of that i'm certain. He'll always be an inspiration to me.

I was really sad to hear about his passing, but he was much too unique for this shit planet anyway. RIP Kindred McCune.

I didn't know the man personally and don't have stories to tell, like in the tributes already written over the past years by the likes of Dan Lactose (for MRR), Lord Balsak (for Decibel), Max Ward and various band members of Stinkweed's countless bands, so i've put together an audio tribute. His music was the real story anyway, Enjoy!

A Tribute to Stinkweed

Twenty tracks (really closer to 30 if you count the intros and outros by his hip hop outfits Shed Dwellaz and Shadow People) spanning roughly a dozen bands.  Of course this is just skimming the surface. There are numerous Stinkweed related bands i've yet to hear (Paranoid Freak Out, Apeshit, United Sicko Foundation...), but i plan to remedy that soon. I've only recently heard Bullshit Excuse, great stuff as usual.

As a bonus i've added some collections of my favorite Stinkweed projects. All have been ripped at 320 from the best possible sources available. Also, i've tried to add as much extra material as possible to existing albums and anthologies. The No Le$$ "Lessons 1993-1998" has 4 extra tracks taken from the "Boxed In" 7" (Slap A Ham 1997). The Agents of Satan "The Old Testament" CD has 25 extra tracks taken from various releases. The Elephantman / Bastard Squad split CD has 10 extra tracks (all Elephantman tracks), Stinkweed only plays on the Bastard Squad stuff. And on the Plutocracy "Sniping Pigz" LP, i added the "Off The Pigs" 12" and 3 tracks recorded live at CBGB in 2000.

Some of the stuff i mentioned, and lots more, can be found on the West Bay Koalition bandcamp. Check out the Altamira "Point of Impact" album. Members of No Less, Agents and Bastard Squad ripping it up Doomryder style. Killer. You can also grab some of Stinkweed's hip hop projects at the Stinkweed bandcamp. Lots of great stuff there, some of which hasn't been released (in many years in some cases) until now. Shed Dwellaz' "Children of the Woods" is my personal fave.

So here's the music. Enjoy. If any bands want their music removed please contact me or leave a comment and i'll delete it immediately.

Agents of Satan discography

Satanic bass-driven madness from Redwood City, CA. They started out as Radioactive Lunch (with a slightly different lineup) in 1991, recorded a demo and an EP and then changed their name to Agents of Satan in '95. Between 1996 and 1998 they released splits with No Less, Noothgrush and Burn the Priest (containing the Agents' 1995 demo). They also released a 7" in '96 on 625 Thrashcore. A song from that record, "Goat-Core" perfectly describes their sound. They were also on various compilations during the '90s, and even reformed to contribute 4 songs for the "This Comp Kills Fascists" comp CD released in 2008 on Relapse Records. This collection contains all the tracks from the "Old Testament" CD plus the tracks from the Relapse comp, various tracks recorded live on KFJC and a few other odds and ends.

Plutocracy 1991-1995

This is the essential collection put out out on 625 (and Convoy) in 2001. It contains the amazing Dankstahz LP from 1994 (one of the best albums of the '90s) as well as various other recordings. Plutocracy blended grindcore, Black Panther politics, hip hop, and samples galore to create something wholly unique. Dankstahz, and the split with DA are some of the crowning achievements of the West Bay Koalition output.

Notes taken from the CD:
Tracks 1 to 6 were originally released as the Split EP with Discordance Axis on Slap A Ham. 
Tracks 7 to 16 were recorded live on KZSU in 1993 and are previously unreleased.
Tracks 17 to 3 released as the Dankstahz LP on Slap A Ham. 
Track 33 was originally released on the Freedom Denied EP. 
Track 34 is previously unreleased.
Tracks 35 to 40 were originally released as the Plutocracy - Progress? demo.

All tracks recorded at House of Faith except the live KZSU set.

Plutocracy 2000-2010

When Plutocracy returned nearly 5 years later, they came back as strong as ever. The "Sniping Pigz" LP recorded at House Of Faith in 1999 and released in 2000 on Six Weeks Records picks up right where the band left off. The hip hop intro, the sick riffs, the political samples and the extreme hatred for the police are all in full force here. An instant classic. After another hiatus, TEN years this time, Pluto releases the "Off the Pigs" 12" in 2010 on Forest Moon Special Projects. Time certainly hasn't slowed the band down, and they're as creative as ever. Also included here are 3 tracks recorded live when the band played CBGB in 2000. Excellent sound quality and an amazing performance.

No Le$$ - Lessons 1993-1998

The first time i heard No Less i was floored, as i am every time i listen to them. They were like no band before or since. Taking what Plutocracy did to the furthest extremes. Hardcore, psychedelic rock, blast beats, hip hop, samples (especially '70s exploitation films) and a heavy Black Sabbath vibe (all sometimes in the same song). They just did their own thing. Between 1994 and 1998 they released splits with Evolved to Obliteration, Agents of Satan, Laughing Dog, and Potato Justice. They also released the "Boxed In" 7" on Slap A Ham in 1997 as well as contributing tracks for nearly 10 compilations. This collection has all the tracks from the "Lessons 93-98" CD as well as 4 tracks (not on the Lessons CD) taken from the "Boxed In" 7". "Ruff and Tumble" and "Decapitated Pigz" being 2 of my faves from the band. No Less have a great exclusive track on the "Hymns For the Hearing Impaired" comp CD (1999) called "Frank Ripples Sick Ass Little Propane Stove That We Used To Cook Carne Asade And Sausage On Some Vegans Front Lawn". I'll be posting that comp soon as part of a compilation megapost.

Elephantman / Bastard Squad extended CD

From the Doomryderz blog:
Elephantman features Mike from Capitalist Casualties, and Frank from Agents of Satan, mixing up grind, punk and Sabbath riffs, with screaming in Japanese! ....not unlike that of Sleep, Iron Monkey, old Napalm Death and Capitalist Casualties....

Bastard Squad features the legendary Stinkweed from Plutocracy, No Le$$, and Go Like This, and Mike from West Bay psychos Apeshit, ripping up sickening riffage and fucked up samples....

These recordings are from 2004 and have not been released until now.
Better late than dead.

Elephantman: Recorded 4/3 at The Kompound.
All the songs have titles, but they are impossible to read, except #5. Lyrics in japanese.

Bastard Squad: Recorded 9/28/04 at House Of Faith, Oakland.

Both sides on the split are sick. Elephantman being more on the heavier side. Sabbath dirge mixed with frantic hardcore. Bastard Squad are a bit more on the metallic side. Demented in the usual Doomryders fashion. Such a crushing split that seems to have gone under the radar. Everyone into extreme music should know about this. Along with the split CD, i've also added the Elephantman 7" released in 2002 on Impatience Or Indifference Records. Seven tracks including a cover of Black Flag's "Thirsty and Miserable". I also threw in the track from the California Thrash Demolition comp CD released on 625 in 2005, as well as a Fearless Iranians From Hell cover called "Blow Up the Embassy" recorded during the split CD sessions. Ending the fun is an unknown track. 

Shed Dwellaz - 4-track Archives / Children of the Woods

This download contains 2 releases. The "4-Track Archives Vol. 1 (1996-1999)" and the "Children of the Woods" album. Both excellent.

"4-Track Archives Vol. 1 (1996-1999)"
From the Stinkweed bandcamp:
Recorded from the original 4 track tapes, mixed down to a 2 track digital master by DJ Eons One, Stinkweed Malone and Tizoe DaVinci in 2009.

This collection of Shed Dwellaz songs was mixed down from the original 4 track tapes in order to preserve songs we had recorded with our fallen comrade, Zodiak Iller aka Big Boy aka Dan Hogan. We sat on these mixes for years and with untimely passing of Stinkweed it is time that they finally see the light of day.

RIP Stinkweed
Released October 13, 2012
"Children of the Woods"
From the Stinkweed bandcamp:
Originally released in 2000
Released April 3, 2013

Beats and music arranged by Eons, Tizoe "Da Vinci", Grand Master Cylinder Stinkweed
Lyrics: Stnko, Tizoe, Lobiano, Zak1, Geno, Stretch, Shanky Tooth
Mixed by Bart "The Hit Man" Thurber
Green Stones.......... 
Also check out Shadow People.

Torture Unit - Demos and Live

West Bay Hardcore with members of Plutocracy, Spazz and others. This is total early '80s HC worship. We're talkin' raw ugly shit like Mecht Mensch, The Fix, No Labels etc. But this doesn't play out like a modern band emulating the '80s sound. This sound more like some long lost demo from 1984. The 2010 demo kills, and "Fuck War" is an instant classic. The track "Blinders" was included on the "Short, Fast & Loud" comp 10" put out by Six Weeks in 2011. Not sure if it's the same version as i haven't heard the comp yet. As a bonus i've included the complete set live at Hazmat, Oakland, CA from May 20, 2011. If anyone knows the names of the unknown tracks in the live set please get in touch or leave a comment.

I'm pretty sure my introduction to some of Stinkweed's bands was first hearing the El Guapo compilation LP released on 625 in 1994. Tracks by Agents of Satan, No Less and Deadbodieseverywhere blew me away. It was like discovering a whole new sound within the hardcore/powerviolence scene (still in it's infancy). El Guapo is still one of my fave comps of the '90s, and at one point i owned at least 3 copies (with different covers). Aside from a few bands i was already into, like Spazz and Benumb and I also discovered a shitload of great (mostly West Bay) bands on that comp, some of which would become faves. My 2 all-time favorite Benumb tracks are on there, and it's a shame those songs were never re-released on any of the band's albums. And what ever happened to S.B.C.? I loved that stuff, and as far as i know they never released anything since. The next Kindred related records i bought was the 976 / Plutocracy split 7" in 1991 and the Evolved to Obliteration / No Le$$ split 7" in '94. From there i just started picking up any and all records by Agents, No Less, Plutocracy and Deadbodieseverywhere (not sure how many tracks Stinkweed played on with this band, but i don't think it was many). I even got into some Meat Shits for a while. I've never been one for 45 second porn samples followed by 5 seconds of repetitious grind, but between roughly 1991 and 1993, when the members of Plutocracy were basically the "backing band" for Robert Deathrage, they had their moments for sure. Their best material (to me) is the second half of the "For Those About to Shit" CD comp (the first half is recordings with different incarnations of the band). But with the Pluto boys they had some pretty decent (even hardcore style) songs. Death Machine, Baptized in Shit, Sodomized (do i hear a MITB influence in there?) and my fave, Wanilla Ice Warriors (originally titled Crack Slave). I also like some of the early split 7"s with bands like AxCx and 7MON. Still, outside of a handful of tracks it's not really my thing, and that has nothing to do with the annoying PC Police. If a band wants to sing about porn, who gives a fuck. Although after 1993 the Shits did get pretty ugly, by anyone's standards. I only recently discovered Bastard Squad sometime in the past few years, and their split CD with Elephantman is one of the best splits of the past 5 years easily. Both bands are massive. Plus Go Like This, Kalmex and the Riffmerchants, Torture Unit, Barely Legal... and that's just the metal/HC side of it all. Stinkweed's hip hop projects are pretty fucking far from just some white kid rapping over beats on a laptop. Shed Dwellaz and Shadow People were the real deal. Tracks like Not Rilla, Tortured in the Temple, Night Trippers, Red Alert, Get Back Step Back, Whippersnapperz, , Casket Born Sonz, Disciples of Cyrus etc are as legit as it gets. Seems the guy could do no wrong musically. 

It would be hard to pick a fave Stinkweed release, but i'd either have to go with Plutocracy "Dankstahz" LP or the No Le$$ collection.What's your fave? Please eave a comment.

Ten Easter Eggs in this post. Happy hunting.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

My favorite post-2000 hardcore recordings

I've been listening to lots of "current" hardcore/punk this past year. Of course to an old bastard like me, "current" implies anything recorded post-2000. In retrospect, there's been an impressive number of great and diverse recordings over the past 15 years, and i'm still discovering stuff on an almost daily basis. Not to say that anyone's really breaking new ground (with certain exceptions), but i've never been too concerned with all that. Good hardcore is good hardcore so who really gives a shit. Especially after the HC drought of the late '90s. Just enjoy it while it lasts. And i have a feeling it's not going to let up anytime soon.

I've included albums and self-compiled collections by many of my fave bands post-2000 for this post. Hopefully you discover something here that really catches your ear, that's always my goal. If something here is still available, please support the bands and buy the music. This post should be used for discovery purposes only.

Aside from a few bands, i've kept this limited to mostly US bands, as i didn't want it to get too out of control. All the collections that include vinyl and/or cassette rips were, as usual, cleaned to the best of my ability, and all the tracks adjusted to the same volume. If there are any bands out there that want any links removed, please just leave a comment or email me. Enjoy.

First up is Coke Bust from Washington DC, a straight edge band who embody everything that interested me about hardcore from the get-go. Great riffs, breakdowns, speed, anger and just great songwriting. The first material i heard by Coke Bust was the "Fuck Bar Culture" 7", which (to me) fused the best classic '80s HC with early '90s West Coast bands, particularly No Comment. I was sold immediately. 

Coke Bust - Hardcore History

This collection compiles material from 2006-2013. Much of it was lifted from the anthology put together by OldschoolMike for his great blog One Track To Hell. Cheers to Mike for putting that together. Coke Bust are still together and playing shows although they haven't released anything that i'm aware of since the "Confined" 12" in 2013. According to their website here, they're working on a split with the legendary Despise You. Can't wait. You can also check out their Bandcamp page, their Facebook page, and they have a store called Flophouse here. Buy all their stuff.

Amazing cover art by the great illustrator/cartoonist Matt Gauck, done for a possible T-shirt design.

Dan over at Old, Fast & Loud has some great Coke Bust live sets you can grab over at his world class blog, where you can grab the Live 2007-2009 download (this one has a 2007 set from the WFMU studio in NJ as well as a couple other great sets from 2008 and 2009), and a set from the This Is Hardcore Fest 2014.

Current members:
Nick Tape – Vocals
James Willett – Guitar
Daniel Jubert- Bass, Vocals
Chris Moore – Drums

Former members
Matt Parsons – Bass
Jeremy Evans – Guitar

There's way too many Coke Bust records to get into all the release dates and other details, so i kept this one pretty short. Members of Coke Bust have also played in Rations, Sick Fix, Magrudergrind, Misled Youth, Collusion, Red Death, Disciples of Christ and many others.

Next up is a band i've been singing praises about for years. The Deathrock/hardcore band Ciril, from Long Beach, California (now defunct), put out an impressive amount of great material for the time they were active. The bulk of their material was released between 2000-2006 (2 full length LPs, one single-sided LP, one split LP and several EPs and comp tracks. Ciril formed in 1995, with vocalist Daren Hall being the only constant member. Most of the band's output was released on Know Records.

Ciril - First Two LPs

Six of the fourteen tracks on the debut album were previously released on the Ciril/Armistice split LP released in 2000. Eight new tracks were recorded for the debut, including a cover of Christian Death's classic "Romeo's Distress". Tracks 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 11 & 14 were recorded at Rusty's Garage 4/99 through 7/99. Tracks 1, 6, 9, 10, 12 & 13 were recorded at The Distillery. It was released in 2001 on Know Records. Artwork by Darrin (vox) and Kyle (guitar). Comes with 4 page lyric insert. Fave tracks for me are the darker Bound and Burned, Injected, Herman and Love Flow. Amazing debut though, and the whole album is great. Along with the deathrock leanings, i also hear a Filth (split w/ Blatz) vibe, especially in some of the faster songs.

Hysteria Driven was recorded and mixed at The Distillery in 2002 and released in November of 2003 on the Know label. Front and Back cover at by Kylie Chew. The front cover is especially great, and brings to mind Blinko's psychotic artwork. This is by far my favorite of the two. Standouts for me are the morbid Bellgrave, the Peni-worship of 7th or Anaheim, Shines on Trash, Death is Gone... and a killer cover of "Rebel Girl" originally written by Bikini Kill in 1992.

Darrin Hall - vocals
Kyle Chew - guitar
Tom  Doyle - guitar
Norman - bass
Dan Gebhard - drums

The tracks on Ciril's final album, Sick Surreal, were recorded between 2006-2008. No info on the recordings that i can find, but i'll say for sure, this is the band at the top of their game. Ciril's swan song album "Sick Surreal" was recorded prior to their break up but not released until 2011. On this album the band shedded most of their Christian Death meets Rudimentary Peni vibe and found their own unique morbid sound. Still, hints of Christian Death remained as part of the band's sound, even so far as having front man and founder Darrin Hall's girlfriend Gitane Demone (Christian Death) providing back-up vocals for songs. Sick Surreal is by far my favorite Ciril material, and one of my single favorite punk/hardcore LPs of the 2000s. While the 2 previous albums, the Self Titled LP from 2001 and the excellent "Hysteria Driven" LP from 2003 were more refined and had superior production, "Sick Surreal" sounds almost like a demo or basement recording, which, for me, just adds to its charm. Not too sure about the lineup on this album. Sick Surreal was never released on CD, but i was able to clean up the recording here to get it as close to CD quality as you'll find. Fave tracks are "Hell Fell Down Again", "Your Lips", and the 2 openers, "Full of Salt" and "Wash of the Hand". If you're going to check out Ciril, this is the one. Definitely less refined than their previous records, but this album has atmosphere to spare, and Darrin's vocals on this one are both unique and morbid. The only was i could possibly describe it would be - imagine Peter Murphy trying to sing like Jello Biafra. I'd also recommend hunting down the band's harder-to-find-releases as well, especially the psychotic "Pink Cave" 7".

 Ciril - Sick Surreal

You can check out a couple of great interviews with Ciril vocalist Darrin Hall here and here. Also check out their bandcamp page, and the Know Records website. Thanks to Gen for turning me onto this amazing album.

The mighty Annihilation Time was a punk rock (strong emphasis on the word rock) band from California who existed from 2001-2009. Along with Inepsy, they were my favorite band of the 2000s. They took influence from bands like Black Flag, Bl'ast (most noticeable on their first record), The Stooges, Black Sabbath, Thin Lizzy, MC5, Deep Purple and even KISS. The result was a '70s hard rock and punk fusion, not just in the music (complete with ripping solos and COWBELL), but in the lyrics, the appearance, the artwork etc. The kind of band that would look more at home on the cover of Creem than MRR. For me they will always be (along with Inepsy as i've mentioned), the best rock band of the past 20+ years.

I've split the band's complete discography into 2 CDs. If you dig it (and you will), go buy all their shit.

Annihilation Time - Discography Part 1

The first Annihilation Time LP (self titled) was recorded at Blood Tracks Studio, Granada Hills, CA, and released in 2002 on It's Alive / Dead Alive Records (now defunct). The debut was pretty much straight up Black Flag / Bl'ast worship, right down to the Raymond Pettibon cover art, and they pull it off perfectly. Fine by me.

The band's follow up, and first EP "Bad Reputation" was recorded on June 9th-10th, 2003 at Expressions! in Berkeley, CA. and released in 2003 on Dead Alive.  The 7" came with lyrics printed inside.By this time the band had a new bass player, and more importantly a new vocalist. This time around the cover artwork was done by underground comic legend and illustrator Jeff Gaither who did the cover art for The Accused seminal crossover album "Martha Splatterhead's Maddest Stories Ever Told". The band's trademark 'classic rock fused with hardcore' sound was already showing on this EP, even so much as including a cover of "Bad Reputation" by Thin Lizzy.

In May and June of 2004, in Motorwolf Studios in The Hague, Holland, Annihilation Time recorded and mixed (for me anyway) their masterpiece. Annihilation Time II. ATII was originally released on CD by Manic Ride Records in 2004. It was released on both CD and vinyl in 2005 on Six Weeks Records, and since then re-released on both Tankcrimes and Annihilate! Records.

On this album all the influences come together perfectly to form THE powerhouse rock n roll hardcore album. Single-handedly both laying waste to most current hardcore/punk and what has been passing for rock for the past 25 years. Favorite tracks are "Too High to Die" which plays like punk version of Sabbath's "Trashed", and "The Worm" with it's catchy destructive chorus.

I lineup 2002:

Fred Hammer - vocals
Graham Clise - guitar
Jamie Sanitate - guitar
Chris Grande (Huevos) - bass
Tony Melino - drums

II lineup 2004:

Jimmy Rose - vocals
Graham Clise - guitar
Shaun Filley - guitar
Chris Grande - bass
Tony Melino - drums

The "Cosmic Unconsciousness" 7" was recorded at Earhammer Studios, Oakland, CA in January 2006 by Greg Wilkinson and mastered by Dan Randall at Mammoth Sound. It was  released on April 20, 2006 on Tankcrimes. Three new recordings and cover art that brings to mind the psychedelic flyers of the mid-'60s.

Annihilation Time - Discography Part 2

Annihilation III - Tales Of The Ancient Age was recorded and mixed at Earhammer Studio, Oakland, CA.  and mastered at Salt Mastering, Brooklyn, NY. Released on Tee Pee Records in the US and Reflections Records in The Netherlands in 2008. Both on LP and CD. This is AT's most straight-forward rock album in their discography. All the Sabbathy Bl'ast-like intros are gone at this point. Most of the tracks rely on repetitious (but for sure infectious) riffs to carry the tunes, along with the abundance of solos the band was known for. Just balls out rock n roll. After many spins i can say this is every bit as good as II. The first 3 tracks are especially rippers, and "About To Snap" is my favorite song they ever recorded. Perfect way for this band to go out.

The live radio show (KCSB 01/19/03) sounds great. All tracks from the first 2 EPs including a cover of State Violence/State Control by Discharge.

III lineup 2008:
Jimmy Rose - vocals
Graham Clise - guitar
Wes Wilson - guitar
Chris Grande - bass
Noel Sullivan - drums

The excellent artwork on Annihilation Time II and III was done by guitarist Shaun Filley.
Visit the band's website here. It's really well done.
"Annihilation Time strongly endorses weed, LSD, mushrooms, hash, beer, booze, vans, and Deep Purple".

Deskonocidos were a Spanish dark punk band from Austin, TX who released a bunch of great material from 2009-2010. They had a similar vibe to '80s Spanish post-punk legends Paralisis Permanente. On their 2010 full length "En La Uscuridad" they even cover Paralisis Permanente's classic track "Unidos" from the band's 1982 "Quiero Ser Santa" 7".

Deskonocidos - discography

The Singles Collection cassette was released on W-tapes in 2010 and compiled the band's three 7"s prior to the "En La Oscuridad" LP. The self titled 7" on 540 Records, the split 7" with Sacred Shock on Desobediencia Records, and the "Problemas" 7" on Lengua Armada Discos. All 3 records were released in 2009. Also on the cassette were the 2 tracks from the "Vicious and Loud" comp. It was released in 2013 on the Japanese label Persona Unknown as a double 7", one translucent blue, the other clear. It also came with a CD of bonus songs and a fold-out insert with info and artwork from all the bands.

Most of the 2009 recordings were in the vein of '80s Spanish punk hardcore. Every track an aggressive ripper. Raw and fast with great discordant guitar work and plenty of sing along choruses. The track "Desaparecer" sounds like it should be on some Spanish version of Only Theatre of Pain, kind of a sign of what was to come on the following LP.

The "En La Oscuridad" LP was recorded on October 5th-7th 2009 at Buzz Or Howl Studios in Portland, OR. Mastered at Mammoth Sound Mastering. It was released on Todo Destruido, Trabuc Records in 2010 in the US and Spain. The Euro press of the record included an insert with lyrics printed on glossy paper.

Eddie Leal - vocals
Victor Gutierez - guitar
Matt Badenhop - bass
Ryan Maloney - drums

This may be the finest Spanish post punk/goth LP since "El Acto", and will certainly be regarded as a classic in years to come. To me it's already an instant classic. The opening track is especially a killer, but the entire album is pretty much perfect. Love the cover too. Members of Deskonocidos have also played in Vaaska, Criaturas, Impalers, Coldera, Sacred Shock, The New Flesh, and more.

Low Threat Profile from Los Angeles, California formed in 2000. These guys are like the Asia of powerviolence. Members of Infest, No Comment, Spazz, and Lack of Interest, and it pretty much sounds like a combo of all those bands. Definitely not as busy and overdone as some of the more current bands doing this style. This is just straight forward fast and powerful hardcore, showing the younger PV bands how it's done. So far they've released two 7"s and one LP, as well as a couple of comp tracks. Hopefully they're not done.

Low Threat Profile - Products

The first LTP 7", known as "Product #1" was recorded before 9/11/2001 and mixed after 9/11/2001. It was released in January of 2010 on Draw Blank Records / Deep Six Records. It included a printed lyric sheet. There was a limited run of 100 on red vinyl. It was repressed in 2014. This is by far my favorite of all the Low Threat Profile output. Eleven scorchers in probably as many minutes, and for me their most memorable material. Andy's vocals fit Matt's riffs perfectly, sometimes coming across like a melding of the best aspects of No Comment with "Mankind" era Infest. How could you ask for more out of a powerviolence record?

The music for the LP (Product #2) was recorded in the fall of 2000, and the vocals recorded in the summer of 2010. It was released in 2010 on Draw Blank / Deep 6. Pressing of 1000 copies. includes a lyrics insert. Fifteen tracks with a lot more breathing room than the 7". The songs are a bit slower and longer (at times), yet as ripping and angry as always. Great stuff once again.

The music for the "Product #3" 7" was recorded the winter of 2010 and vocals recorded the summer of 2011. It was released on Draw Blank / Deep Six in August of 2014. No Andy on this one, and guitarist Matt takes over vocal duties. Nine more tracks of what you'd come to expect, but maybe with a bit of a Manpig vibe.

Andrew Beattie - vocals
Matt Domino - guitar legend (vocals on Product #3)
Bob Kasitz - drums
Chris Dodge - bass (not credited on records)

Facebook page here. If you dig Low Threat Profile, you need to check out the Dead Language LP on Iron Lung Records. One of the most intense records i've heard in years. Andy from No Comment and some of the guys from Iron Lung playing psychotic, and at times experimental powerviolence. Think "Downsided" mixed with the Man is the Bastard side of the Aunt Mary split. Seriously.

Inepsy is a band i've been infatuated with for years. They formed in 1999 in Quebec, and after some lineup changes they found their sound in 2002. As i've mentioned, along with Annihilation Time, i think they're the greatest rock band (in the Sabbath, Stooges, Purple, Stones etc sense of the word rock) in decades. This is pure Motorhead worship, with some Discharge and various '70s rock thrown in. They don't stray much from their formula (at least on the 2 first LPs), but their formula is perfect. Inepsy hits the spot for me every time. I've included everything the band recorded and compiled it in 2 volumes. Play it fucking LOUD.

Inepsy - Rock N Roll Weapons

The two full lengths from 2003-2004 are simply punk rock classics. That's not even an opinion. That's just science. The "Rock 'N' Roll Babylon" LP  was recorded April 26-28 of 2003 in Quebec City. Released in 2003 on Feral Ward, 1000 copies pressed. Killer cover art by guitarist/vocalist Chany Pilote, and easily my fave art from all their records. The debut is song after song of massive Motorhead / Venom fueled d-beat with lyrics about war, drinking, urban decay, death, rock n roll, and more war. The only time the music seems to change tempo is during "Street Kids", which has an almost KISS vibe to certain parts of it.

The band's masterpiece, "City Weapons" was recorded in September of 2004 and released on Feral Ward in 2005. Ten songs about war, destruction, drinking, bikers and wastelands. Fucking Mad Max music! The title track "City Weapons" is the song here. Everything is just perfected on this track, and it gets my blood pumping every time. That fucking riff!! The following track "M.O.A.B." is straight up Discharge. After that it's just all great rockin' hardcore up to the anthemic closer "Last Call".

Chany Pilote - guitar / vocals
Steve Bennett - guitar / backing vocals
J.P. Tasse - bass / backing vocals
Sam Verville - drums

Inepsy - Rock N Roll is the Only Way

"Madness and Overkill" was recorded in 2009 at DCB Studios and released as a 12" picture disk on Feral Ward Records in 2010. Steve Bennett is not listed on this release, and bassist J.P. Tasse is credited as J.P. Hearse (also credited as engineer). Six tracks of the usual greatness.

The "No Speed Limit For Destruction" LP was recorded and mixed March 30-April 2, 2007 and released on Feral Ward / Ineptik Records in 2007. It was also released on both vinyl and cassette on Southamerican Holocaust. This new material mostly veers away from the Motorhead / Discharge vibe and into more '70s rock territory.  I think the bulk of it is just as good as anything they've ever done. It may take a while to warm up to, but these songs are growers for sure. Rhythm guitar on this LP is credited to Bob E.

The "See You in Hell" 7" was recorded in 2001 and released January 1, 2002 on Ineptik / Feral Ward. The debut is studded jacket, bullet belt rock.

Last up they cover the song "Straight to Hell" for "A Tribute to Anti-Cimex" comp LP released on Pelea Records in 2005.

Inepsy facebook here. Check out Chany's other bands, Proxy and Unruled.Other members of Inepsy also played in C.C.S.S., SkullNbones (o few members of Inepsy were in this band), Wisigoth, and Kontempt.

Rampage were a hardcore band from Rhode Island, who were mainly influenced by NY Hardcore in the mid to late '80s. According to bassist Craig, they were mostly inspired by the lesser known and demo-only bands of the time, and would rather be taking cues from bands like Krakdown and Altercation than Cro-Mags or Agnostic Front. Listening to their music, i'd say Straight Ahead and Breakdown were very prominent in their sound.

Based on the strength their "Heads in A Vice" demo (which would later be pressed onto vinyl), Lockin' Out Records (out of Boston) offered to fund the band's debut LP. Keeping true to wanting that vintage '80s NY sound (and like i said, we're talkin' NY Hoods, not Killing Time), the band insisted on recording to analog. No digital. However, unlike the '80s, it's hard these days to find a professional studio that records to tape. After some hunting, Rampage went with Slaughterhouse Recording Studios in North Hampton, MA as it was one of the only studios with the capabilities to record entirely in a retro, analog style. The band's goal was not to intentionally produce bad or rough recordings, but to emulate the sound of an earlier generation.

The "Limit of Destruction" LP was recorded at Slaughterhouse Studios in MA between July and August of 2006 and released on Lockin' Out Records in 2007. I'd say they definitely achieved their goal of producing a hardcore album with an authentic old school sound and attitude. Taking all the best aspects of NYHC circa 1985-88 and injecting frantic rapid fire drumming that sounds like Straight Ahead on adrenalin. This LP is pretty much an anomaly. The kind of hardcore record that comes around maybe once a decade. 

Josh Perrault - vocals
Brian Wilcox - guitar
Zach Silvia - guitar
Craig Arms - bass
Ben Perrault - drums

The "Heads in A Vice" demo tape was self-released in 2004. It had a full color cover of a bear moshing while working out with dumbbells. Combine that with songs about weight lifting and you run the risk of having a novelty record on your hands. Fortunately the music was so good that Lockin' Our Records pressed the demo onto a 7" that same year. And as mentioned before, the label saw so much potential in the band they offered them financing for an album on the spot.

"Heads in A Vice" was released in 2004. The first press was limited to 350 on red transparent vinyl. The demo tracks were lass powerful than the LP, but still exceptional hardcore. Much more of a Straight Ahead influence on the demo 7", so much so that it almost comes off like a tribute at times.

Ending this collection is a full live Rampage set recorded on W.E.R.S. in 2006. The tracks in this set were too close together to properly separate the show, so i left it as one mp3.  Excellent sound and a killer performance. The second track in the set, "Best Enemy" from the LP is CRUSHING in it's original early version. It drags along at a snail's pace scattered with bursts of speed, veering into Crossed Out territory. Easily the heaviest and angriest thing they ever did.  Too bad they changed it for the LP.

Members of Rampage have played in Mind Eraser, Waste Management, Say Goodbye, Meltdown, and The Wrong Side. 

Another band that plays killer hardcore on the late '80s style is World War 4 from Boston and New Jersey. Similar musically and lyrically to Floorpunch (in fact there are 2 members of Floorpunch in the band). This is old school hardcore with a youth crew vibe. Metallic guitar work, divebombs, plenty of breakdowns and lyrics about friendship, shit-talkers, frustration, and of course, edge. Some songs are straight-up heavy mosh groove and others are fast metallic rippers. Kinda like Leeway meets Breakdown (or something like that, you get the idea). 

WW4 released 2 demos so far, both recorded at the Pain Cave in Boston. An 8 song demo released as a single-sided cassette in 2012 and a 6 song demo, also released on cassette. Hopefully they put out a 7" or LP at some point and not just keep WW4 a demo-only band like it's 1987 all over again. Shit, i don't even own a tape-deck.

Mark Porter - vocals
Chris Corry (CC) - guitar
Bill "Punch" Hanily - guitar
Doug "Free" Cho - bass
Justin DeTore - drums

Mark Porter was the vocalist for Floorpunch and Anger Regiment, as well as supplying additional vocals for the No Warning "Ill Blood" LP.

Chris Corry has played in No Tolerance, Prisoner Abuse, Mind Eraser, Step Forward, Righteous Jams, Soul Swallower, Magic Circle, Stop and Think, Put to Death (vocals), and several more. He also does recordings, production, and layout/designs for shitloads of hardcore bands. Does this guy sleep?

Bill Hanily played in Floorpunch and Anger Regiment.

Doug Cho (aka Doug Free) played in Rival Mob, No Tolerance, New Lows and Give.

Justin DeTore played in Boston Strangler, Waste Management, Battle Ruins, Mental, Rival Mob, No Tolerance, R'n'R, Shot Dead, Prisoner Abuse, Mind Eraser, Violent Minds, Taste of Fear (first 3 tracks on anthology CD), Magic Circle and many more. Damn.

Pretty much no other info on this band online. No website, no facebook, no bandcamp... nothing. These guys are more mysterious than those Youth Attack band. Actually there is an interview with Mark on the In Effect site. Check it out here. Fun fact: Floorpunch beat Ensign in a tackle football game (on a regulation field), 7 to 0 (counting by ones). The guys in Floorpunch claimed Ensign never even crossed the 50 yard line. Now if they could just play Ten Yard Fight.

Natural Law are a hardcore band from all over the East Coast (New York, New Jersey, Maine, and New Hampshire). First stuff i heard by them was the Spring Trash demo which just levels everything in it's path. It's rare for a hardcore demo to floor me these days. It's a very short demo and left me wanting more. Tons more. Luckily more stuff was to be found.

The "Find the Flock" 12" was recorded at Dead Air Studios in late 2011 and released on March19, 2012 on Katorga Works / Deranged Records. Ten tracks of pissed off hardcore punk. A bit of an '80s DC vibe at times. Not as urgent or violent as the "Spring Trash" demo, these songs are more refined and fleshed out. Some catchy tracks on here. Standout for me is "Party Trick", just a perfect hardcore track. The kind you wish would never end. The opening track "First Against the Wall" is a killer as well, with some great melodic guitar work. Solid stuff.

The "Spring Trash" demo is the highlight here. It was recorded in the spring of 2010 and self released on cassette the same year. It was  later released as a 7" on Hardware Records out of Germany in 2012. A hundred were released on white vinyl. This is an extremely raw and dirty sounding demo with negative anti-everything lyrics. It's also a very short demo, only 4 songs. 4 short songs even. Still, this is one of my favorite hardcore demos in years. The first track "Cheap Blood" just comes barreling out of the gate. Seriously one of the most pissed off tracks you'll hear. It's over before you can take a breath and then comes the massive "Scholarship" with it's crushing dirge like riffs. While you're wondering how they can possibly top that track, "Cold Comfort" (after it's false start to which the singer says "too slow") takes off like a rocket. Probably the fastest and most vicious song on the tape, with the psychotic sounding chorus of "Drag me out!". The closer "Loss of Freedom" is a mid-paced burst of anger with the Spring Trash theme in the lyrics. After that comes "Cheap Blood" again, because you'll be sure to start the demo over when it's finished. I love everything Natural Law ever did, but they never matched the intensity of this first effort.

The "Slump" 7" was recorded at Dead Air Studios in July of 2010 and released on Katorga Works / Hesitation Wound on November 1, 2010. 500 copies pressed.Six more killer tracks, and much more like a continuation of the "Spring Trash" demo than the LP and second demo. Once again a very short recording. The longest track is roughly one minute.

The "Coming of Age" teaser cassette was self-released in March of 2011. Five four-track demos of songs that would later be re-recorded for their LP. These are killer songs and it's great to hear them in their primitive origins, but the LP versions are a hundred times better.

Bob "Goblin" Cook - vocals
Colman Durkee - guitar
Bob Santucci - bass
Jay Wiggin - drums

Bob Cook also played in Nuclear Spring and Failed States. I've never heard either band (but i plan to fix that soon), and i'm not sure if either are still active. Colman Durkee played in CREEM, Nuclear Spring and several other bands. Bob Santucci played in Sick Fix, Bloodtype, Special Patrol Group and more. Jay Wiggins played in CREEM, Hounds of Hate, Black Kites and more.

Check out the "Natural Law" website here.

Dry-Rot were a hardcore band that formed in Santa Barbara in 2004 from the ashes of 2 bands, Blood Dumpster and Hit The Deck. Their sound is hard to describe, and they definitely hardcore in any straight forward or conventional way. Imagine all the members of Void dropping LSD, playing a session and recording the results. Actually that would sound NOTHING like Dry-Rot, but i have no other way to describe what it is they're doing. Their music is chaotic, discordant, extremely diverse, and they play a wide range of styles, sometimes all in the same song. The goal for the band's approach was summer up by guitarist Jordan in an interview with Swingset magazine:

...we wanted to make music that we imagined might have been made if/when people attempted fast, heavy music in the early ’60s. Look, we all know about the Stooges, Blue Cheer, et al. But there are hundreds, maybe thousands of bands (with ad infinitum ideas) that never made it to a recording studio. I refuse to believe that a ‘hardcore’ beat was first played in the late 1970s. There is nothing new under the sun. So the impetus for the LP came less from imitating a certain band, per se, and more with re-imaging a sound that we were certain existed, but couldn’t prove; and then adding our spin to that.

Included here is the band's discography minus the "Hairless" 7" and the live double flexi 7"s, "Jingle on the Records" which came out in 2011.

The "Philistine" LP was released in 2009 on Parts Unknown Records. The lyrics were printed on the record sleeve and it included a fold out poster and order form. There was an edition of 100 with screen printed sleeves (completely different cover art). This is my favorite Dry-Rot material. The music is all over the place and they always manage to keep it interesting. From frantic, deranged hardcore, to jazzy interludes to just all out madness. Mental patients with instruments.

The "Subordinate" 7" was recorded on March 17th and 18th of 2007 at Rockwell Sounds and released on Painkiller in 2007. Sleeve forms an 8-sided fold-on booklet with lyrics and art. First press was 638 copies, 218 on clear vinyl, 420 on black. Second press was 420 all on black. This is a concept EP based on the true events of a cult leader who imprisoned victims in holes in his backyard, shaving and painting their heads. Dark stuff, but actually ending on a positive note with "Release".

The "This is a Forest / Lumberyard" EP was released on Dear Healer Records in 2006. They abandon hardcore completely here in favor of some weird abstract variation of jazz, electronics and ambient. Like a soundtrack to some surreal movie. In this collection it makes for a nice intermission. I like it.

Dry-Rot's debut 7", "Permission", was released on Cold Vomit Records in 2006. 500 copies pressed. Side A (labeled side D on the vinyl) was 7 songs recorded with Brian Wallace, the tenor sax player for Sublime. The band wanted someone who knew absolutely nothing about hardcore and was completely ignorant of the whole process. On top of that the band hadn't practiced for over a week prior to recording. The session was tracked in one day with no overdubs. The B side (labeled side R) was a jam that guitarist Jordan made up on the spot right there in the studio. They just hit the record button and basically released an improv rehearsal as the flip side. According to Jordan the whole record was a mess. A mess they were shooting for. It definitely has an inept charm. Awesome cover too.

"Permission", "This is a Forest / Lumberyard", and "Subordinate" were all released on a CD ingeniously called "3 Records on 1 CD" released on Parts Unknown Records in 2008. The songs in this collection were taken from the CD versions. The CD also included 2 tracks recorded live on KCPR 93.1 FM in 2007.

Original lineup
DrewWardlaw - vocals
Jordan Darby - guitar
Cameron Squire - bass
Patrick Landfair - drums

2009 lineup
DrewWardlaw - vocals
Jordan Darby - guitar
Adam Jacino - bass
Tony Cicero - drums

Many members of Dry-Rot were also in the bands Constant Fear and Heavy Air,  and Tony Cicero played drums for Saccharine Trust. And be sure to check out Jordan's new experimental band Uranium Orchard.

Vaccine were a powerviolence band from Leverett, Massachusetts who existed from 2009-2013. Although i'm a huge fan of all the post-Infest stuff that came out of the West Coast during the '90s, I've not into the more modern bands that basically just emulate Crossed Out. I do like some of the newer PV bands like To The Point, Dead Language, Gas Chamber, Mind Eraser, The Endless Blockade and Iron Lung, but those bands are far from Crossed Out clones. The one band that followed the Crossed Out formula that blew me away was Vaccine. They took the whole 'faster parts even faster, slower parts even slower' approach and did it in a vicious, raw way. Like Crossed Out, their songs were condensed bursts of anger, but they weren't just trying to copy that sound. I think their stuff stands out. Their records are crushing.

The demo was recorded May 24th, 2009 at Dead Air Studios. It was self-released on cassette, with insert. Clean Plate / Red Room Records released the demo as a one-sided 7" the same year (several pressings), and re-released it in 2012 on green vinyl as the European Tour edition. 

The "Human Hatred" 7" was recorded at Dead Air and released on Painkiller Records in 2010. I love this record. Great minimal (in that MITB kinda way), and extremely pissed off lyrics. Anti-drugs, Christianity, consumerism, patriotism, and humanity in general. "Humans are the worst fucking failures". Family music.

The "Crimes in Blood" 5" was released on January 18, 2011. Once again recorded at Dead Air. Once again released by Painkiller, and once again great angry hardcore. Three pressings. First on gray marble and black. Second on black, and third on pink.

The Vaccine / Coke Bust split 7" was released in July of 2012 on Refuse Records out of Poland. It was repressed on Drugged Conscience Records in 2013 with new cover art. First pressing of 200 copies on yellow vinyl for mail-order and directly from the bands themselves. Came in a two color silk screened cover housed in a resealable poly bag. There was also a limited edition of 40 hand numbered copies with different covers for Damaged City Fest, Washington DC, 04/12/13. And there was some crazy super sized edition (3'x3') given to a fan at the Infest/Vaccine show in Miami FL. The record was housed in a giant cardboard sleeve with artwork pasted on either side. This split is maybe my favorite Vaccine material. It's actually some of my favorite stuff by either band. One of the best splits of the past 10 years. Last Vaccine track has additional vocals by Meghan Minior, vocalist of Relics.

The "Dead Inside" 7" was released on Cut the Cord That... Records out of Germany in 2012. Folded sleeve with lyrics printed inside. 300 copies were pressed of a 2012 European tour edition, handnumbered on dust sleeve. It was also released the same year on Painkiller with limited red vinyl available from Painkiller mail-order. Ten tracks of violence with the most minimal lyrics yet. Each line being one or two words. Bleak stuff.

Vaccine's final record was a split 7" with No Faith, released on Vinyl Rites in December of 2013. 550 on black vinyl and 220 copies on clear vinyl. No Faith is pretty much Vaccine with a different guitar player. Although i haven't heard No Faith yet, from what i've heard, there's no similarity to Vaccine. That would probably be obvious just because they contribute only one song on this split.

Matt McKeown - vocals
Will Killingsworth - bass
Matt Swift - guitar
Joe Shumsky - drums

Members of Vaccine have also played in Think I Care, R'n'R, Orchid, Relics, Close Call, Laceration, Ampere, Failures, Fit For Abuse and plenty more. Quite a resume. I highly recommend every one of those bands.

Check out the Vaccine bandcamp here. And you can still check out their now defunct blog here.

Activator are a crossover thrash metal band from New York City. The band was founded by vocalist Shannon Moore who, after being mentored by Dr. Know of Bad Brains and Mackie of the Cro-Mags, decided to form a band with the hopes of combining '80s hardcore and current metal. In fact, Gary Sullivan, who played drums for the Cro-Mags between 2002-2003, was in the original Activator lineup. Gary split because of other obligations, and Shannon recruited his lineup that would go on to record their debut EP.


Shannon Moore - vocals
Jared Drace - guitar
Willie Paredes - bass
Sunny Leejean - drums

The "Unfortunate Lovely" 5 song EP was recorded by Scott Harding, who worked with Wu Tang, Gravediggaz, Black Sheep and tons more, at his studio in Greenpoint. It was released on October 7, 2009 as a free digital download by Afropunk. The influences on these 5 songs are all over the place. I can hear elements of NY crossover bands like Leeway and mid-period Agnostic Front, Slayer, Bad Brains, Iron Maiden, Bad Brains, Black Sabbath, Candiria, Burn, '70s rock, death metal, rap... which sounds like a big mess on paper, but these songs are perfectly crafted, and not a bit overdone. The EP has a great raw, live in the studio sound that captures the band's intensity perfectly. The opening track "Shackles" is my fave, but the whole thing rips from start to finish. I've also included some great sounding songs recorded live in NYC. They cover "Hybrid Moments" and do the intro to Leeway's "Rise and Fall" as a lead-in to one of their songs. It sounds massive.

Activator released a full length LP a little over a year ago that you can check out on their bandcamp page. The new songs sound great, but as far as the songs that were re-recorded, i prefer the EP versions. I just think the band sounds better with a less polished sound. The LP cover is excellent. It looks like a vintage late '80s crossover thrash LP. Faccebook page here.

Crazy Spirit are a demented punk hardcore band from NYC. Their music is hard to describe. I've read reviews comparing them to Germs, Discharge, GISM, "Pollywog Stew" era Beastie Boys, and Cheetah Chrome Motherfuckers. Their music definitely does have the same vibe as the early CCM demos, but to me it sounds a hell of a lot like a darker version of the New Bomb Turks "Destroy-Oh-Boy" album. Almost all the songs have that same galloping drumbeat like in the Turk's "Born Toulouse-Lautrec". Now just add a bit of a Rudimentary Peni vibe, from the bass playing, to the creepy lyrics, right down to the band artwork (by bassist Sam Ryser and guitarist Eugene Terry), which looks like Nick Blinko trying to draw Jeff Gaither paintings. In other words, the whole thing is awesome.

The Band's self-titled 12" came out on Toxic State Records in 2012, included with poster insert and booklet. The whole thing's loaded with scratchy and meticulous psychotic art. It's also loaded with great punk songs. "Train" and "Baseball Bat" are standouts for me.

The demo was released on cassette by Toxic State in 2009 and then as a 12" in 2011. A 12" version was also released by Quality Control HQ out of the UK in 2011. This version was remastered at Abbey Road studios. 400 normal editions. 50 limited editions. 50 tour editions. This demo is my favorite Crazy Spirit stuff. The raw, lo-fi production and bizarre soundbites all add to the freak show. They also released two 7" records between 2010-2011, both containing re-recorded songs from the demo as well as new tracks. There was also a new demo that came out last year, which i haven't heard yet.

Walker Behl - vocals
Eugene Terry - guitar
Sam Ryser - bass
Henry Wood - drums

Members of Crazy Spirit were/are also in Dawn of Humans and Perdition. Facebook page here.

I'm sure The Repos need no introduction. I have a collection of their earlier work on the blog already. I was psyched when they reformed as The Ropes not too long after their breakup, and they put out some killer stuff under that name. Then of course they changed back to The Repos and eventually put out my favorite recordings of theirs. 

The "Lost Still Losing" cassette album was recorded in Chicago in 2012 and released on Youth Attack Records in 2013. They rip through 17 quick tracks of no-frills hardcore seemingly influenced from some of my all time favorite bands. Infest, Septic Death, Jerry's Kids (especially the tracks from the "This Is Boston Not LA" comp) and early Poison Idea. As a bonus i've loaded this up with lots of tracks from other 7"s and demos, including the 2013 demo "Poison Head", which has the rough tracks from the "Lost Still Losing" release. I like the demo versions much more personally. Much of this stuff was mixed or remastered by Will Killingsworth, the bass player for Vaccine.

Aaron Aspinwall - vocals
Joe Phillips - guitar
Andrew Hinton - Bass
Adam Sharani - bass (Lost Not Losing cassette)
Craig Seeman - drums

Aaron also played in Charles Bronson, Christ Mess, Pretentious Assholes and Das Oath. Joe played in Mushuganas, Andrew played in Vile Gash, Violent End and Mugger.  Adam played in The Killers. Craig played in Chronic Seizure and Mushuganas.

The Repos facebook here.

This next band is not a hardcore band, but i've been listening to it so much i wanted to include it here. The Bellicose Minds are a dark post-punk band that formed in 2009 in Portland, Oregon. To me they sound like The Cure playing '80s anarcho-punk. Addictive stuff, and currently my fave band playing in the goth punk style.

"The Buzz Or Howl Sessions" was recorded at Buzz Or Howl Studios in Portland Oregon in the Fall of 2009 and self-released on cassette in 2010. It was remastered and released as a 10" (black and clear vinyl) in 2013 by A389 Recordings. This is my favorite release by The Bellicose Minds by far. All five tracks are great but the first track "OD" (Oppression Depression) is just perfect. All the elements that are great about this band condensed into three minutes. The 10" record is available here.

"The Spine" LP was recorded at Buzz Or Howl Studios in  June of 2012, released on Black Water Records in 2013. It was also released on Sabotage Records out of Germany.

Nick Bellicose - guitar / vocals / synth
Mira Bellicose - bass
Aj Bellicose - drums
The Bellicose Minds bandcamp here and facebook here.

That's really just a taste of my favorite hardcore post-2000. Many more are hidden throughout this post. 15 Easter Eggs this time. Other favorites:

Pukeoid Demo and 7" of old old school sounding dirty primitive HC. Think the Infest demo with a guitar sound that sounds like The FU's or something. Vigilante Demo and LP of NYHC sounding HC from Australia. Big Altercation influence. They even cover Altercation's "Vigilante Song". The demo is especially great. Nails The "Unsilent Death" LP is massive violent HC with a Celtic Frost vibe. Think I Care Angry shit. Lots of releases. I especially love the self-titled 7" and LP. Cold Sweat The "Severed Ties" 12" is my fave. Crushing and frantic. For fans of Siege. In other words, for everyone reading this. Cult Ritual I dig the LP most. A nice mix of Born Against and Black Flag. Sacred Love I've only heard the first 7" on Youngblood. Bad Brains influence obviously. Quickness era to be precise. Life Trap Two great 7"s of fast HC. Like early Poison Idea. Manpig Matt Domino of infest on guitar and vocals. Davies of "No Man's Slave" era Infest on drums. LP of songs originally written in 1992 and re-recorded sporadically from 2004-2010. Now we just need a Mouthfart LP!! Sex Vid Lots of great releases but i'll take the demo. Sounds like it coulda been recorded in '82. The "Communal Living" LP is great too. Rival Mob Love that Neanderthal bass sound. Mob Justice! Tremors great demo tape. Opening track "Hometown Hatred" is an instant classic. Iron Age HC with an early Metallica vibe (especially on the first LP). The "Saga Demos" is best. Warkrime Like Koro meets The Accused? I'm not that great at descriptions. Iceage I'm only really into the second LP "You're Nothing". Great album. Magic Circle Not HC, but a great Sabbath vibe, which is always HC to me.

Also: all the new Bastard Noise releases, Boston Strangler, Slices, Altered Boys. Career Suicide, Punch In The Face, The Men, Vile Gash, Mind Eraser, Hounds Of Hate, Hope Collapse, Fed Up, Condominium, Nomos, Wild Child, Endless Blockade, Fucked Up, To The Point, Pregnant, Snuff Film, Hoax, Hatred Surge, Extortion, Sucked Dry, Male Nurses, AShtoDUST, Creem, Tear It Up, Prisoner Abuse, Pollution, Knucklescraper, Dawn Of Humans, White Lung, Book Burner, NASA Space Universe, Total Abuse, Dead Language, new stuff by Despise You, Agents of Satan, Infest, Dropdead, Lack Of Interest, Apt 213... probably a hundred more i'm forgetting.

On the more punk side: Marked Men, Lost Sounds, Spits, Shards, FM Knives, Smalltown, The Bomb, Kill The Hippies, The Observers, The Pulses, Moral Hex, Milk Music, Phantom Limbs, Makthaverskan, The Shards, The Girls, Arctic Flowers, Epoxies, Merchandise, the Naked Raygun 7" Series...

I'm always looking for more so if you have suggestions please leave a comment. If you're in a band you think i might like, please drop me a link. I would appreciate it.