Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Head2wall Playlist #3 4/8 - 4/14

For this mix I added some non hardcore intro and outro tracks along with some songs by bands that might not be recognized as hardcore bands, either now or ever that I feel still have that energy. As my last post indicates I saw Jocko last week and they blew me away so it was a big "duh" that they would be included on this mix. I also picked up the first official repress of the Wipers - Alien Boy 7", the Idles 12" EP that includes Romantic Gestures and was lucky enough to be turned onto Get a Grip. Share the love of music whenever you can, if you find a band you know even a single friend might enjoy get it in their ears.

Check it out here, playlist listed below.

1. Herbie Hancock - Watermelon Man
2. Jocko - Soylent Green
3. Wipers - Alien Boy
4. Idles - Romantic Gestures
5. Get a Grip - The Attack
6. Candy - Candy Says
7. Mil-Spec - A Separation
8. Praise - Healing
9. Dag Nasty - Circles
10. Shelter - Don't Walk Away
11. Moonkisser - The One Percent
12. Creative Adult - Americans
13. Ceremony - Root Of The World
14. Every New Dead Ghost - Insanity
15. Buena Vista Social Club - Publo Nuevo

Jocko - The Fallout - Minneapolis, Mn - 04/12/19

Jocko - The Fallout - Minneapolis, Mn - 04/12/19

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Head2wall Playlist #2 - 4/1 - 4/7

Almost half the bands on this mix I found or checked out for the first time last week. The other bands are ones I've loved for years. With these posts I may pull out a few bands to touch on. Starting with Method from Des Moines, who I had the pleasure of seeing last month and hope I get a chance to again soon. Their energy reminded me of all the early Lockin Out Records bands I saw back in the early 2000s. Second is Nasti from Seattle, who blend a few styles together to really have a unique sound (not to be confused with Nasty). And lastly Hushed from Detroit who have a harder gruffer sound but without trying to be an ignorant mosh band. They are playing Friday with Strange Magic at Transitions Skatepark.

Check it out here, playlist listed below.

1. Fury - Vacation
2. Insight - End the Cruelty
3. Extricate - A Thousand Cuts
4. Raw Brigade - Terrorist
5. Method - Push for More
6. Nasti - Parasites
7. BGK - White Male Dumbinance
8. Reaction - How It Ends
9. Combust - Force My Hand
10. Lower Species - Contention
11. Floorpunch - Changes
12. Hushed - Nothing to Lose
13. No Tolerance - Knew The Truth
14. No Exceptions - Not Just Drugs
15. Vision Quest - Vision Quest

Monday, April 8, 2019

Another first or perhaps just a one time type of post

I wrote this poem a few weeks ago when I was at work and wanted to do something more than just let it sit in my phone, so I made this yesterday.

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Head2wall Playlist #1 - 3/25 - 3/31

I've been making mixes for most of my life, beginning with cassettes in the mid 90s with CDs I got from the library. Next were CD-Rs with songs I downloaded using Napster, Kazaa and then Soulseek (using Winamp). And then downloads of mixes for my blog Things I Can't Say, twelve mixes over two years (that are still available).

Over the past year I began making mixes using Spotify, here is the first for the blog. Current hardcore that you NEED to be bumpin (unless you wanna be a total posedawg) and my favorite song off Pulling Teeth's masterpiece Paranoid Delusions|Paradise Illusions as it was the ten year anniversary of its release back on the 31st. Enjoy.

Check it out here, playlist listed below.

1. Devil's Den - Obedient Insect
2. Lurk - Combat Culture
3. Illusion - The Rock and Roll Circus
4. Out For Justice - Playing Dead Just To Survive
5. Choice to Make - Think Twice
6. Worn - No One Hears Your Cry
7. Life's Question - Rotting from the Head Down
8. Sanction - The Prophet Who Saw Fire
9. Pulling Teeth - Unsatisfied
10. Devil's Den - Die the Slow Death
11. Lurk - Lurk
12. Porcupine - Hardcore Drones
13. Illusion - Behind the Mask
14. Choice to Make - Composure
15. Worn - Who Will Save Us?
16. Life's Question - Another Neighborhood Disaster
17. Seed of Pain - Champions of Chaos
18. Ekulu - Half Alive
19. While God Sleeps - Blood Means Nothing
20. Never Ending Game - Hate You

Monday, April 1, 2019

Blue Monday

A couple recent pick ups happened to all be on blue vinyl. Enjoy!

Judge - New York Crew (Blue) (Out of 1000) (Revelation Records)

Shelter - No Compromise (Blue) (Equal Vision Records)

The First Step - What We Know (Blue) (Out of 885) (Rivalry Records)

Self Defense Family ‎– The Corrections Officer In Me (Blue) (Out of 100) (Family Drugs)

Saturday, March 30, 2019

While God Sleeps - Caydence Records - Saint Paul, Mn - 03/29/19

While God Sleeps is a great band from here in Minneapolis, Minnesota who I have been waiting to see play again for nine months (since I saw them play with The Deal last June). Watching them play last night reminded me of bands I used to see play from around my area in the mid 2000s. Hard, heavy, unapologetically metal influenced with kids just going totally bananas. They are not alone in this sounds currently but I feel they stick out more than most, bringing high energy and proficient playing rather than overly technical and stylized music. I'll just be honest here and say it, too many "metalcore" bands right now are just ripping off old bands or doing what they think old bands would do, they are not doing their own thing. While God Sleeps is not one of those bands and they deserve your attention.

While God Sleeps - Caydence Records - Saint Paul, Mn - 03/29/19

Lurk - Caydence Records - Saint Paul, Mn - 03/29/19

Lurk is a band whose most recent release Hi-Fi (on Undertone Records) would have bumped someone out of the (digitally) Best of 2018 list because it's so damn good. Sadly I didn't find out about them until early 2019 when I saw they were booked here with Devil's Den (Kansas City Hardcore). Even though Lurk are a relatively new band I still can't believe I missed both their Demo (2017) and a Promo Tape that also came out last year. I was hoping to grab a copy of Hi-Fi last night at the show but currently due to some hang ups at the plant (read as Record Store Day) the 7" is still yet to be released physically. Also when checking Discogs to see if the band shares members with any other bands I've heard of, I noticed that their singer also is in a band called Vortex, I also missed their demo coming out last year (and are also "damn good"). I've also included a music video they posted yesterday for their song Gouge (off of Hi-Fi), its pretty rad so check it out.

Lurk - Caydence Records - Saint Paul, Mn - 03/29/19

Saturday, March 23, 2019

This World Won't Defeat Me

My commitment to a promise I made to myself has never been pushed to its limit. But I have had days that the world has pushed me towards leaving it. Some songs mean different things to different people. This is one of those songs to me.

Something Found, Something Lost

For some the idea of a hardcore being a conduit for radical thought might sound obvious and pointing the finger to bands for doing so may seem asinine, but in the modern era of hardcore to me at least, it is still refreshing to hear. Regional Justice Center is clear in their message and how adamant they are about their mission is nothing less than inspiring. Putting emphasis on concepts beyond what we maybe be thinking about everyday out in front of people in lyrics and imagery is something hardcore bands have been doing since the beginning and those bands like Regional Justice Center who have used emotion to show struggle instead of just spelling it out for people are the ones that have the most lasting impact. The 12" test press below was something I didn't think I would ever be able to snag off the popularity of the band alone, but I couldn't be more excited to add it to my collection. Regional Justice Center seems to clearly have grown beyond a project with this 12" and Ian Shelton who fronts, plays (on the recordings at least) and writes a majority of the music also plays in Self Defense Family, the band the other records in this post became.

The 7" test press in the photo below is a split between End Of A Year from Cohoes, New York (any fan of this blog should be very much aware of them or my love for them) and the band Kids Explode who hailed from Freiburg, Germany. Though this is a split and I can't say any band End Of A Year (of Self Defense Family) has done a split with is bad, they are not one of the best, or at least the songs on this side aren't their strongest. It could be the End Of A Year track on their side, entitled Audrey Kishline. It is one of my favorite End Of A Year songs being one of the handful named after a real person with lyrics in a way touching on that individual or their beliefs but exploring it through Patrick Kindlon's personal lens. With this record being as limited as it is, I never thought I would be able to get one but here it is. 

Regional Justice Center - World of Inconvenience (Test Press) (Out of 30) (Adagio830 Records, Forever Never Ends Records, Straight & Alert Records, To Live A Lie Records)
End Of A Year / Kids Explode (Test Press) (Out of 3) (Narshardaa Records)

Even more than the last two, this record has been my white whale. Not for rarities sake as over a hundred of this particular version exist but because I have had such bad luck trying to get a copy. As far as Discogs goes only one has sold per year for the last six years, always before I had a chance to snag it, but that isn't the worst of it. Back in August of 2008 I emailed someone who had the only copy listed in their HowsYourEdge trade list. They messaged me back and a deal was struck, one Frostbite shirt size XL for the tour version of End Of A Years first solo 7", We Understand Europeans Are A Sexual People. I sent out my part immediately and in October of 2008 a package arrived from Germany with a version of the 7", but not the correct version. I remember being super disappointed and after checking the email I was actually nice and didn't really fight the guy on it. I think over time I got more and more bitter about it (can you blame me thought it did end up taking eleven years for me to get a copy). But here it is, in all its glory.

End Of A Year ‎– We Understand Europeans Are A Sexual People (Tour Version) (Rainbow) (Out of 110) (Blacktop Records)

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Energy of Lonesome Goal

This past week (on the day of the great Instagram/Facebook crash), my favorite music news website of all time Noecho did us the great favor by premiering the first song off Summerhead's debut single, Snoozer. With this premier we also put up pre-orders for the single (and a sick soccer jersey), the A-side being one of my favorite Summerhead tracks, The Crypt (LP is already finished and will be coming out later this year). The video can be found below but give Noecho a click too.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Great Plains - Naked At The Buy, Sell, And Trade (Test Press) (Homestead Records)

Sometimes you go to the record store and you find something that absolutely shouldn't be there, this is one of those records. A test press of a Columbus, Ohio "new wave" "garage rock" band (I would honestly just call them punk, in the same way Devo is punk) shouldn't be sitting in a record store in Saint Paul, Minnesota. And I shouldn't have found it 34 years almost to the day after it was pressed. Below I've included a picture of the record and a video of my favorite song off the album.

Great Plains - Naked At The Buy, Sell, And Trade (Test Press) (Homestead Records)

Great Plains - Letter To A Fanzine

Saturday, February 23, 2019

SpiritWorld / Black Coffee Split Pre-Orders

Just the other week Head2wall Records put up pre-orders for the much anticipated split between SpiritWorld from Las Vegas, Nevada and Black Coffee from Houston, Texas. This release was announced back in August of last year with an incredible interview on my favorite hardcore news website NoEchodotNet. The interview was between Ian from Head2wall Record's Acid Rain and now Running In Place Record's World Tension and Stu the vocalist and SpiritWorld who had previously been in the legendary LVHC band Folsom. For anyone who missed it I highly recommend going back and checking it out.

SpiritWorld's music is akin to bands like Lucero, Two Cow Garage and Uncle Tupelo but still with some hardcore elements that any fan of the genre can pick out. On the flipside Black Coffee hearken back to a time when hardcore was still wild. Their sound could be described as a mix of those early hardcore scenes in Michigan and California, with comparisons to the Necros, Negative Approach, TSOL and Adolescents being equal between each.

It would be impossible to talk about this record in any detail without mentioning the art by my favorite living artist Give Up. The connection between the artist and the members goes back just as far as their own friendships, over a decade. With Give Up doing art for both bands on more then one occasion. It is only fitting that his art would grace the cover of their collaboration. The art is stark, with details the artist pulled from an old family photo and with the bull seemingly leaving the boarders of the page as it passes the rope brings life to a moment long past.

But What Do I Get, What Do I Expect To Find

Gut Instinct - Disturbing The Peace (Cornerstone Productions)
No Escape / Turning Point split (Gold) (Out of 200) (Temperance Records)
Ringworm - Demo (Purple Shell) (Out of 25) (Eat The Worm Productions)

These three releases have been on my wantlist for years and in the past few weeks I've been able to score each for great prices. I hadn't noticed until it was pointed out to me last night that the Gut Instinct cover has their name spelled wrong on it. I wonder how many people that own it have noticed this themselves. I love the style of older "tougher" hardcore The Icemen, Breakdown, Outburst, Raw Deal/Killing Time and they play. It sounds urgent, but like in a "you better listen to what the fuck I have to say" kinda way. I wish more bands would take note of that and pace themselves better. Not to say I haven't heard bands that have had that affect on me over the years but though I'm sure it comes natural to a lot of people trying to get sincere messages across I am sure some people tone it down when recording and shouldn't. How would In My Eyes sound if Ian MacKaye dialed back his "At least I'm fuckin' trying. What the fuck have you done?" 

Now as far as the No Escape / Turning Point split 7" its been a record I have wanted for well over a decade. The first time I found out about its existence was when I found a copy of the 12" version of the Rebuilding compilation at Magnolia Thunderpussy back in 2002 or 2003. I know that record was the first place I ever found out about No Escape but might also have been the first place I heard Burn. The original compilation was on a 7" and featured Turning Point, Burn, Gorilla Biscuits and No Escape. The 12" version had three times the number of songs as the 7" version. On its A side it includes the original 4 songs from the compilation with two additional songs by Turning Point and Burn. On its B side it includes The No Escape / Turning Point split with two more additional songs each being covers, with those songs being Turning Point covering Ignition's song Anxiety Asking and No Escape covering the Big Boys song No.

Lastly of  these pick ups, the Ringworm - Demo. Five masterpieces of Cleveland Hardcore, as they would say "All killer, no filler." This is a version of the cassette that is more recent (pressed for a show they played in 2016 with 3/4 of the original members who played on the demo) but is limited to only 25 copies. Its not a version I thought I would ever get. And though I would LOVE to have an original copy, purple is one of my favorite colors so I had to scoop it up. Strangely enough after I received it in the mail I realized a friend of mine from back in Columbus (who now lives in Chicago) had been the seller. Small world. 

KDC / Bleak split (Human Beard)
Throat Culture - The Nervous Episode (Sore Ear Collective)
Moutheater - No Ballet (Grey Shell) (Out of 20) (Swim Harder Cassettes)

These three cassettes feature a band who would either eventually or had previously been a band Head2wall Records had worked with. Both KDC and Moutheater will hold special places in my heart because they were the first two LPs we did and are both bands I had not just the opportunity to see but the privilege to book, with Moutheater being the first band I ever booked and KDC being the first band I booked when I moved to Las Vegas. Sadly I never had a chance to see Throat Culture but I am sure they were incredible live as the cassette and 7" we did for them are both fantastic.

Monday, February 18, 2019

Prayer for a Fallen Angel

Prayer for a Fallen Angel was a hardcore super group that came after (and featured members of) perhaps the most known hardcore super group Path of Resistance. These guys were in a lot of bands prior and after Prayer for a Fallen Angel such as Brother's Keeper, Abnegation, No Innocent Victim, xDisciplex, Chokehold and Head2wall Records own Human Animal. The list of bands these guys were not in might be shorter if I continued on any longer.. This post is just to spread the word about a band that I think a lot of people don't know about really should. If you want more info on the band, some history and even to check out an interview with a few of the members check out these posts on Stuck In The Past and Coregasm. To be honest anyone reading my blog should be already aware of both of these blogs but the posts are from some time ago so it will save you some digging time. In the past month or so this band kept coming back up and then just the other day I was able to find a copy of the CD for a dollar, saying I was siked about it would be an understatement.

Monday, February 11, 2019

Head2wall Records Welcomes Summerhead to Head2wall Records Featuring Grey Gordon of Head2wall Records Wickerwolves

The Head2wall Records Nation is thrilled to officially introduce SUMMERHEAD! This semi-psychedelic slowcore-meets-trip-hop trio is comprised of three experienced minds from across the country, and with storied musical histories from across the sonic spectrum. The result of this long-distance cross-genre push and pull is an incredible collection of songs that perfectly meld the electronic melancholy of late-era Massive Attack with the subtle emotional intensity of Spiritualized, and a near-Codeine level of droning, endlessly relatable banality. Keep an eye out for music in the coming weeks, and the debut 7” single, The Crypt b/w Snoozer, out this spring!

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Reunited Wickerwolves To Release First Physical

We are very excited to be working with recently-reunited Fort Wayne, Indiana post-hardcore powerhouse Wickerwolves on the first-ever physical release of their posthumous swan song full-length, Tokyo Bones. This masterpiece is 30 minutes of ripping, emotionally charged riffing, in the vein of Jawbox, Shift, Hum, etc., and will be available on a limited cassette Friday, March 8th, and at their first show back the following night, at The Bug House in Fort Wayne. If you haven’t heard this monster yet, stream it now, wherever you do such things.

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Monday, February 4, 2019

Texas's GOODGIRL Joins the Head2wall Fold

We at Head2wall Records are so excited to welcome Houston, Texas’s GOODGIRL to the H2W roster, and announce the release of their debut EP, Poor Habits, out February 14th! As much a collective as a band, this incredibly talented group of individuals artfully blends the lo-fi pop of ‘90s alternative rock staples like The Breeders and Pixies, with the noisy dissonance of bands like Sonic Youth and Melvins to create something simultaneously beautiful and off-putting. Stay tuned for details and music in the coming weeks!

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Gadget - Minneapolis Straight Edge

Gadget is a brand new Straight Edge hardcore band from Minneapolis, Mn. Back in mid December (of 2018) they released their demo online. It was the only demo that made my Best of 2018 (digital) List. Their music is riffy and hard but without incorporating any obvious elements of thrash and beatdown as many modern bands seem to be doing right now. And there is really something about the drumming that I connected with on a "I need to see this band ASAP" kinda thing. Their style is different, as is their production, but when I first listened to this demo it brought me back almost 20 years ago to my first hardcore shows. I needed that reminder, that bands will still be out there doing it, screaming out into the void of a world gone mad, long after I'm gone.

Their first show is tonight with Cross Me, Dare, Low End, Life's Question (who I am also pretty siked on right now).


Saturday, February 2, 2019

Conflict - Mortimer's - Minneapolis, Mn - 01/26/18

Conflict - Mortimer's - Minneapolis, Mn - 01/26/18

Stalemate Joins The Head2wall Records Family

For the uninitiated, Cleveland, Ohio's Stalemate have been a band for almost two decades beginning as Tooth Fuzz in 2001 and adopting their current moniker back in 2010. To say these guys have been putting in work is an understatement, they have taken great time in refining their sound with each album coming out three to four years after the last. In 2015 they self released Permanent Things that to me harks back just as much to a band like The Get Up Kids as it would to Weezer, alternative rock but still with a punk edge. I love this band because I feel like even on a recording you can hear the energy in both their vocals and their music and even on slower songs you can hear them drawing things out in just the right way (I think this is harder to pull off and it sound earnest). Grab a copy of their last LP/CD in the Head2wall Webstore now, to get caught up, and stay tuned for more details on the new record in the coming weeks!

Sheer Terror - James Ballentine Uptown VFW Post 246 - Minneapolis, Mn - 01/11/19

Sheer Terror - James Ballentine Uptown VFW Post 246 - Minneapolis, Mn - 01/11/19

Victory - James Ballentine Uptown VFW Post 246 - Minneapolis, Mn - 01/11/19

Victory - James Ballentine Uptown VFW Post 246 - Minneapolis, Mn - 01/11/19

Friday, January 25, 2019

Small Stresses - S/T EP Streaming Now

We have a new EP by the band Small Stresses available for FREE on cassette with any order from the Head2wall Records webstore, while supplies last! You are also able to Stream and/or download it wherever you prefer to do such things, including the Head2wall Records bandcamp. This thing jams and the cassettes won't be around forever, so get on it!!!

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

The (Digitally) Best of 2018 (Part Two)

Here we go again, It would have been too hard (and I didn't wanna) limit this to ten so here are twenty (and ten more honorable mentions) of the best releases I heard in 2018 but didn't end up getting a physical copy of yet. I’m intentionally leaving a few records off but I'm also listing them here but I consider them to be separate. These records should be assumed, they are obvious. These bands records were anticipated before their release, but without question they were going to be incredible records.

The DUH these records were gonna be great list-

Harms Way – Posthuman (Metal Blade Records)
Ken Mode – Loved (Season Of Mist Records)
Mammoth Grinder – Cosmic Crypt (Relapse Records)
Nothing – Dance On The Blacktop (Relapse Records)
Tragedy – Fury (Tragedy Records) *Surprise of the year
Vile Gash – Nightmare In A Damaged Brain (Youth Attack Records)

Best of 2018 Digital List-

Kill Surf City – Ever Notice How Everything's Stupid (Blacktop Records)
Stigmatism – Stigmatism (Beach Impediment Records)
Lift ‎– Harsh Light of the Truth (Dropping Bombs Records)
Idles – Joy As An Act Of Resistance (Partisan Records)
Drip Fed – Drip Fed (Coin Toss Records)
Wound Man – Pre History (Iron Lung Records)
Rule Them All ‎– An Alignment Of Polarity (New Morality Zine)
The Threats – Saboteur (Self Released)
Drug Church – Cheer (Pure Noise Records)
Gadget ‎– Demo (Self Released) *Demo of the year
Lace – Human Condition (Funeral Party Records)
Hirs Collective - Friends Lovers Favorites (SRA Records / Get Better Records)
Fiddlehead – Springtime and Blind (Run For Cover Records)
Wanderer ‎– Abandoned (Tilde Records)
Sunstroke – Second Floor/Seven (Coin Toss Records)
Caged Existence – The Body Prison (Self Released)
World Tension ‎– World Tension (Running In Place Records)
Minimal – Minimal (Self Released)
Wrong – Feel Great (Relapse Records)
Candy – Good to Feel (Triple B Records)

Honorable Mentions- 

Burden ‎– 4​-​Song EP (NxA Records)
Comforter ‎– Where the Heart is (Self Released)
Death Bells – Echoes (Funeral Party Records)
Ecostrike ‎– Voice Of Strength (Triple B Records)
Gouge Away – Burnt Sugar (Deathwish Inc Records)
Horsewhip ‎– Horsewhip (Financial Ruin Records)
Mil-Spec ‎– Changes (Lockin Out Records)
Riga Tiger – Haha Paradis (Digital only)
Vis Vires – The Wolves (C Records)
Wake of Humanity ‎– Fight/Resist (Bitter Melody Records / Ugly And Proud Records)

Strange Magic

Strange Magic is a hardcore punk band from Detroit, Michigan featuring members of such bands as Freedom, Hollow Earth and Undesirable People. They released their demo this past Friday and though I've seen a few people post about it, its not anywhere near enough. So I figured my blog might be a good place to do that.

This is one hell of a release to start the year out, I'm not always the best at comparing bands but to me they sound like If Smoking Popes was a hardcore band. Make the time to check this demo out and keep your eyes peeled for more music from these dudes.

Saturday, January 19, 2019

The Best of 2018 (Part One)

                This past year (2018) was a great year for full length LPs and 12” EPs. When putting together my list of favorite releases of the year I noticed it had only a single demo and only a few splits (that ended up getting trimmed down to just one). While I tried to balance out these releases it had me thinking, was this a year of stagnation or fortification. Meaning were bands just not coming out or were bands that were already established just doubling down and working harder on their releases pushing out demos that might have excited me. This question is still on my mind and honestly I’m going to try to compare it to the list I make at the end of 2019 to see if there are any correlations.

                Now onto my Best of 2018 list(s), the (s) is added on there because I’m trying to do something different. I’ve noticed I’m buying older records more than newer records but still paying a lot of attention to new releases and loving them. I don’t like not owning records I listen to (sometimes) daily. Something rubs me wrong about that idea. So this first post is a list is the top releases from 2018 that I own physical copies of and the second post will be a list of my top releases that I don’t have a physical copy of (yet).

Regional Justice Center - World of Inconvenience (Forever Never Ends Records)

                This is a band that has been on my radar since I first heard their demo last year and when I saw the art by Mark McCoy I knew it was going be something to take note of. I don’t just love this record because pissed off and fast hardcore (that I’m known to be a sucker for) I love it because it is not without purpose. The band and its message have a meaning beyond people wanting to tour or have a record out. It encourages people to think beyond their own experiences. To me, I needed this band and I need more bands like them, not sonically but emotionally, with a worldview and lyrics that explore issues rather than just say if they are wrong or right. For Regional Justice Center the microphone is a spotlight for those struggling, those locked up and those circumscribed to one narrative about a particular group of people. It seems obvious but when you live in your own echo chamber and don’t hear new ideas, new stories, new concepts and our minds don’t compare and contrast it with our own beliefs we will not grow. And if you make your life the same day in and day out it doesn’t matter if your cage is locked or not.

Self Defense Family - Have You Considered Punk Music (Run For Cover Records)

                Self Defense Family (and End of a Year) has been one of my favorite bands for almost 15 years now. A lot has changed, but not that much has changed. Their music has evolved, but isn’t so far from the original material that it isn’t recognizable anymore. As a puritan, this is my favorite of their LPs since Disappear Here. Rather than do an in-depth breakdown of this record (that I would love to do but don’t have the time for) I’m just going to pull out some of my favorite lyrics. 

“Wall of flowers between myself and dinner guests / Chain and stanchion between myself and all the rest.”
-From the song The Supremacy of Pure Artistic Feeling

“I don’t pray but sometimes I find something worthy of praise / Nature, God, I’m grateful for the problems I’ve got / Their scope and scale and what they are and what they are not.”
-From the song Watcher At The Well

“Explaining motherhood to a man / Cold observation but he’s not capable of understanding / Detailing math to a dog / Won’t retain a word but if you’re lucky he may be a good boy and nod.”
-From the song Have You Considered Anything Else 

Forewarned - Unforgiving Years (Contraband Goods)

                For most who stick around in movements it takes conviction. And with conviction strongest tests come from oneself rather than outside influence. Questions like “does what I do matter?” and uncertainty can spiral someone away from beliefs they may have head strong at one point. But if your question is “what else can I do?” your convictions can only grow stronger. Forewarned lyrics are not direct statements; they use allusion to make you think about the world beyond your gaze. A world we all live on and take from every day and at least for me the lyrics make me question if I can give more back. The more reasons, the more tenets, the more action you take, the more you put yourself into something; the more you can do in its name. The final track on this cassette is titled A Thousand Cuts and it begins with the lyrics “How dare I even raise my voice, against the ills of this world when they all live in me?” These lyrics are not unlike thoughts I have had about myself (and others) actions. I have a personal credo; I try to always have both my feet on my soapbox. Now, this song’s lyrics don’t only focus on this idea of feeling as if you shouldn’t speak out when you are part of the problem but it was something that hit me hard when I was listening, like something I hadn’t felt in a long time. I highly recommend checking Forewarned out and taking the time to read the lyrics while you listen to it, and then perhaps taking some time for yourself, outside (weather permitting).

Great Reversals – Stalactite (Dropping Bombs Records)

                The day before my birthday last year (March 4th 2017) I got to see Great Reversals for the first time and I knew from the end of the first song that I would want Head2wall Records to work with them. Fast forward to May of this year and their drummer Eric sent me a message with a link to the record. It didn’t end up working out where we would be able to be a part of bringing it to the world. That really sucked, every year I feel like this happens where I hear a record where I want to do it and we just can’t weather that is because another label is already attached or things just don’t line up and it always seems that those records are some of my favorites of those years. 2013: The Sanity Universal by Seizures, 2015: Return to the Valley by Putrid Brew, 2016: Never by Withdrawal and 2017: False Walls by Unfair Fight immediately jump to my mind. They are all incredible records that might be closer to wounds that I have to pour salt into because I lot them so.

Protester – Watch Them Fall (New Absolute Records)

                The Best Straight Edge Record of 2018. I don’t have anything else to say about this record that you can’t learn from listening to it. So go listen to it!

Fixation ‎– Marked (War Records)

                If someone asked me what I want hardcore to sound like in 2018 this is the record I would play them. Obviously this isn’t what most hardcore sounds like right now and there are a lot of other great new hardcore bands currently killing it. But this is my shit. This is what I needed to energize my love of hardcore. Just go listen to this fucking record.

Blacklisted ‎– Slow Moments b/w I Should Have Been AMurderer (Six Feet Under Records)

                Blacklisted is and will always be one of my favorite hardcore bands and though the volume of their output isn’t what it used to be the few songs that trickle out still blow me away. These two songs are ones I’ve needed to hear from them for a long time. The A-side Slow Moments seems to be about how George processes parts of his own life and the flipside of the record I Should Have Been a Murderer is about how the world sees him. This contrast is perfect and both these songs are incredible not just lyrically but musically. Blacklisted is not your average hardcore band, they are still evolving, growing and creating art that stays with you beyond just when it’s hitting your ears.

La Armada ‎– Anti-Colonial Vol. 1 (Epidemic Records & Creep Records)

                I picked up this LP when I went to see La Armada on December 14th at the Seward CafĂ© in Minneapolis, Minnesota. I’ve wanted to see them live for years but have always been out of town or worked when they have played in an area I was living (I need to stop moving around so much).  Well, when I finally did get to see them, they blew me away. Sometimes you can see the best band of the year, month, week, hell even just the best live video of a band you may see in a day and only one or two of the members is moving around or drawing any attention to them. You can tell the energy of the performance comes from them, they radiate it. Well La Armada is not one of those bands; they all were exploding with energy from the first note to the last cymbal crash. And this wasn’t their first night of tour, it was the last show of a three week run and they still where incredibly energized.

Moonkisser – Moonkisser (Self Released)

                Big thanks to Carlos over at No Echo for his write up about Moonkisser, it helped me find one of my new favorite bands. Obviously any comparison to Quicksand will grab my attention and though I hear it, the sound isn’t what reminds me quicksand the most. It is the energy and attention you can hear in the music. I love music but these songs pulled me in like no band has since Renee Heartfelt and Memorial. My best words for this band couldn’t do it justice; it’s another record you HAVE to hear.

Ekulu – Ekulu (Triple B Records)

                It has been a long time since I listened to a record and wished there were more songs. Usually records are too long or just right. This is Ekulu’s demo as a 7”. Their next release is my most anticipated release of the future.

A few runner up records I've picked up would be...

Candy – Candy Says (Triple B Records)
Battle Ruins - Glorious Dead (Rock 'N' Roll Disgrace Records)
Mindforce – Excalibur (Triple B Records)
Waste Management - Tried and True (Painkiller Records)

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

2018 First Ears Playlist

Before I release my muchanticipated (joking) Best of 2018 List, tonight I share with you a playlist I made (on Spotify) of the best music I heard for the first time in 2018, only including songs from 2017 or before. I called this playlist “2018 First Ears.” The playlist features several styles of music and the songs are in order from the first I heard during the year to the last. I wrote some notes during and after I first heard these songs and I worked some of that into the text I’ve included with the song info.

I used to have a blog just for mixes I made called Things I Can't Say, I might start updating it more but no promises there. I’ve included a link to the playlist on Spotify and clicking on the song name will take you to a video of the song on Youtube. Enjoy.

1.     Johnny Moped – No One from No One / Incendiary Device via Chiswick Records (1977)

I found this song when poking around on the Gordon Solie Motherfuckers Discogs page. They had done a cover of it on their 10” Power Bomb Anthems Vol. 1. It didn’t sound familiar and I thought to myself “Anyone GSMF would cover must be amazing.” And god damnit, I was right. The song blew me away, reminded me of early American Hardcore but they were from England, before Hardcore was even a thing. I was floored. I’ve listened to the song at least once a week since first hearing it and shared it with quite a few people to see their reaction when I told them where and hold old the song was. I’m glad I started here with this song because it should hopefully put urgency in you going and checking out this playlist.

2.     Oneohtrix Point Never ‎– The Pure And The Damnedfeaturing Iggy Pop from Good Time (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) via Warp Records (2017)

I eat shit like this up. Your older “how are they still alive” singers, working with young(er) almost pioneering producers and musicians. Think Rick Rubin’s work with Johnny Cash, Neil Diamond and that Roy Orbison track off the Less Than Zero Soundtrack (a song Roy Orbison co-wrote with Danzig) and some of my favorite Elvis Costello / Brian Eno tracks. Yeah, these mother fuckers are all old, but so am I now so I have to pretend they are young still plus I’m pretty sure Iggy Pop is over 200 years old now (and still killing it). I feel lucky to have found this song as I have not seen the movie, but just from hearing it I know I need to track it down.

3.     The Roots ‎– It Ain’t Fair from Music From The Film Detroit via Motown Records (2017)

Another song from another soundtrack to another movie I have not seen. But at least with this one it is streaming on Hulu, so I can check it out easily. Are soundtracks where artists put their best work nowadays? I guess I should say again since I feel like that is the way it used to be. I don’t have enough soundtracks on vinyl but I have a large amount on cassette. Maybe that’s me being a big movie guy or maybe that just shows the strength of soundtracks that I had never really picked up on before.

4.     Nina Samone – Why? (The King Of Love Is Dead) from Forever Young, Gifted, & Black: Songs of Freedom and Spirit via RCA (2006)

This was originally recorded in 1968 just three days after the Assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. for her album Nuff Said. This song is incredibly powerful I can’t believe I had not heard it before 2018. I’m sure I’ll do another post about this song specifically in the coming weeks.

5.     Faraquet ‎– Conceptual Separation Of Self from The View From This Tower via Dischord Records (2000)

I wish I could travel back and time and kick myself in the face for not listening to this band sooner.

6.     The County Liners ‎– Maria from Mary Jane Dunphe & Chris McDonnell In The County Liners via Wharf Cat Records (2017)

This popped up on my Sam Craighead radio after his albums had ended. A fantastic cover of a Lucinda Williams song from her 1980 sophomore full length Happy Woman Blues. The County Liners are from Olympia Washington (which surprised me) and their members have been playing in several other bands of various styles over the years, but this release felt very genuine and all 6 tracks on the EP are worth your time. This song just happens to be my favorite, but anyone who knows me knows I love covers.

7.     Red Handed – Wounds Remain from Wounds Remain via Rivalry Records (2007)

In 2007 Rivalry Records released Allegiance – Desperation, Go It Alone – Histories, Soul Control – Involution and the last EP by The First Step – Connection. All records I loved at the time and still go back to several times a year, with that Go It Alone record being one of my favorite melodic hardcore albums ever.  How this Red Handed record snuck by me for so long I have no idea. This was the same era I was digging bands like Lewd Acts, Hour Of The Wolf and Grace Alley so when I heard this album it made me feel the same way I felt when I first heard those bands. I need to track down a copy of this LP to add to my collection ASAP.

8.     Planning For Burial ‎– Somewhere In The Evening from Below The House via Flenser Records (2017)

Planning For Burial is a band I had heard of but never checked out until last year, what a mistake that was. I was very surprised to see they are from Wilkes Barre, Pa where 15 years ago I had attended the Posi Numbers Fest and currently one of my favorite new hardcore bands called One Step Closer (who would have for sure played Posi Numbers) hails from.
9.     Queen Sarah Saturday - Robert Deniro from June German via Sound Proof Recordings (1995)

Just off the band’s name alone I would never check them out, but I’m glad they popped up on my Spotify one day. For some reason their vocalist reminds me of Mac McCaughan from Superchunk, maybe it’s their North Carolina (“c'mon and raise up”) accent.

10.  Kent - Things She Said from Isola via RCA (1998)

Sweden isn’t just the home of bands like Anti-Cimex, Mob 47, Skitsystem, Refused and Millencolin they also have bands like Fireside, The Cardigans and Kent who show Swedes can rock! I know that sounds lame as fuck but really when I think of Sweden other than some pop punk and the weirdos in Refused/TINC, I really only think about faster and dirtier (at least looking) punk bands. As far as in The States go I feel like Sweden doesn’t get the credit it deserves for pushing that style. But that’s (maybe) for another post. Check out the English version of this album you will not be mad you did so.

11.  Meilyr Jones ‎– Featured Artist from 2013 via Moshi Moshi Records (2016)

Another song that came from Sam Craighead radio on Spotify that jumped out at me. I really love how the singer changes tones during the song to go along with the music. Not much I can say other than I like this track a lot.

12.  Strawberry Runners ‎– Brother from In The Garden In The Night via Salinas Records. (2017)

I only checked out this album because of its cover and I’m glad I did so. I listen to a lot of hardcore, but I need stuff to balance that out from time to time.

13.  Bing Crosby – Brother, Can You Spare a Dime? From The Essential Bing Crosby: The Columbia Years (2003)

I heard this song when listening to NPR just before the New Year began. It hit me hard and the version I head was sung by the writer E.Y. “Yip” Harburg sadly wasn’t on Spotify (and I can't find it online anywhere either). This song like a few others I feel will carry with me for a while, like I’m sure it did with a lot of people. The last song I felt this way about was Clay Pigeons by Blaze Foley.

2018 First Ears