NOTA • Moscow 7″ EP

NOTA • Moscow 7” EP

Artcore

Being from Oklahoma NOTA is like Black Flag or Agnostic Front for me. They were/are that important, and had a huge impact on me and my friends. I didn’t really start paying attention to punk until around 1981, after all, everyone was saying it was dead. I knew of the Sex Pistols, I caught the news story about their show at Cain’s Ballroom on the local OKC channel 5 10pm broadcast, and it was the craziest thing I had seen at that point in my life. As the teen years started to come on, and the need to define myself among the masses, The Clash was the first punk band I got into. The whole notion of punk happening in a place like Oklahoma seemed inconceivable to me. That would soon change though. By 1982 I decided it was time to get off the fence and be punk, thinking I was probably the only one in the state. My best friend down the street, Dallas Vickers, got on board, so that made two of us. A short while later we discovered KGOU one night while looking to see if there was anything else on the radio other than the crummy top 40 stuff. We suddenly discovered we weren’t the only punks around (though we were not dressing the part at that moment in time). I stayed up listening to see what else there was, and discovered shows like My Tunnel, which played hardcore punk, and would inform listeners of shows in the area, and what local bands were up to. My mind was blown. There was a punk scene happening in Norman, just south of me, and in Oklahoma City, and Tulsa. Local bands like No Direction, Brown 25, Diet of Worms, Death Puppy, and others. On top of all that, there was this band from Tulsa, None of the Above, or more casually, and shortened, NOTA (pronounced No-duh, but say it quickly so you don’t sound like you’re saying, “No duhhh…”). All the previously mentioned bands were great, but NOTA were on a “whole nother level.” They had an intensity that blazed like no other. They’re on the classic Welcome to 1984 comp with bands like Rattus, Stalin, Raw Power, Upright Citizens, BGK, Crucifucks, and Terveet Kadet , so that’s says something of the level they were at. I’m of the opinion that everything this band did is worth picking up. Their output from Live at Crystal Pistol (you can get the vinyl and CD versions through Prank) on to that first album on Rabid Cat are essential.

Moscow was their first release on vinyl, and it wastes no time getting down and getting loud. Kicking off with “This Country”  and keeping it at 11 all the way through “The Enemy,” “Taking Away Your Rights,” and the title track (check out that guitar riff!). It never lets up for a second! The guitars roar and snarl, and the vocals match. The bass is heavy and dark, while the drums are surprisingly catchy, despite the speedy tempos. I remember the day I got this and listening to it over and over, and my friend Dallas coming over and we cranked it until my mom pulled up in the drive way. There’s a reason we adorned our clothes with their name, and copped the art from Rusty Short to put on the back of our jackets and Oxford button up shirts. Timeless music right here. 

Artcore fanzine fortunately rereleased Moscow, remastered from the original tapes. The sound is more full, and somewhat heavier than on the previous pressing(s). The packaging is pretty sweet as well, with a history of the band, some flyer art and photos, as well as lyrics and the back cover art for the original Unclean pressing included (though slightly altered). It’s part of issue 40, which includes interviews with Strike Anywhere, The Chisel, Vicious Dreams, and Septic Death, Jawbreaker, and Iconoclast in the Vaultage section. You gotta get this by all means.  (MA)

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Justin Dratson:JD Nate Wilson:NW  Matt Average:MA

CORRUPTED MORALS • Chet 12″ EP

CORRUPTED MORALS – Chet 12″ EP

Lavasocks Records 

2020

This is a reissue of the 1988 CM chet 7″ ep that originally came out on Lookout Records, but with 5 extra songs from that same demo session.  This version came out on Lavasocks Records. It’s been remixed and remastered and somehow nobody fucked it up. These guys were hands down my favorite Bay Area band ever.  Yes EVER!  They were able to cross metal and hardcore in a perfect way that others were trying way to hard to make work. It was organic, and didn’t reek of trying too hard.  They were formed out of the Bay Area metal band Desecration with Bob Yost (RIP) on vox.  CM was basically Desecration without Bob on vocals. 

 I was lucky enough to see them a ton and got to know Joel Wing (the bassist) a little while helping to build the stage at Gilman street in maybe 86-87?  This stuff sends shivers down my spine, and thirty years later I still know all the lyrics. These dudes were super political, and really helped to change a crossover metal heads way of thinking a little.  I traded Joel my old band The Romper Room Rejects demo for the first CM demo.  

The only thing that ever bummed me out about these guys was that about five years ago I’d tracked down the singer (Rik) for an interview. He said he’d do it but he just kept stiffing me to the point where it felt as though I was harassing him. Oh well… Still a fav for sure. Track this down if you can, it is great. (NW)

Hit me up on Instagram if you want to send me your release for review at: nate_gloom

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Justin Dratson: JD Wilson  Nate : NW   Matt Average: MA

DROPDEAD • Dropdead LP

DROPDEAD – Dropdead 2020 LP Armageddon

Anyone who knows me knows how much I love Dropdead both musically and as long time friends. Interaction with them helped change my life for the better and helped form some of my opinions in the 90s. Yes, I will forever gush about them (and this new album). I don’t think it’s much of a secret that I’ve been a pretty apolitical person for a good few years now. I must say though that this is maybe one of the most raging of political records I’ve heard in forever and I fucking love it! Lyrics are printed big enough for old timers like me to be able to read ’em (unlike the past). This shit is so catchy.

I’ve often worried about Bobs vox for a little bit (sounded like he was really straining and losing them). Whatever has happened to them has made them have a great metal crossover feel to them. I love the idea of metal heads picking this up and it changing their musical outlook forever.

This might be their best album to date. I know this is blasphemy to say, but the songs, the production, the layout… everything about it is just tops. It’s not a short 45 rpm LP, it’s straight up 33.

Don’t snooze on this. This will def be a top 10 for me and 2021. (NW)

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Justin Dratson: JD Nate Wilson: NW Matt Average: MA

LMI • Excess Subconscious LP

LMI – Excess Subconscious LP
9 songs
Handstand Records


This is LMI’s third LP (first two were CD only, but whatever) and I feel that this band is at a very intriguing point in the ark of where the band started and where they are now. This is a style of hard-core that has a crossover metal tinge with some surprisingly great upbeat hooks and LMI do a very good job of it. I feel as though they’re at a point where if they stay exactly where they are, with the slightly muddy production, great bass playing and dual vocals that they will add fans. However, if they decide to overextend themselves and get a little more technical and add clarity to the production, they might collapse from rising start to black hole. Lyrically, it’s the sort of angry poems that a kid would write in high school and the delivery is dependable. Here’s where I struggle, it’s a great record, there’s no doubt about that. However, compared to some of the other Handstand Records releases I’ve heard, and combined with the overall latest batch of stuff that I reviewed, there’s nothing about it that stands out. This is a very good record to put on while you’re doing stuff and it will definitely keep your heart rate up and moving through the day. If you’re trying to get your 10,000 steps in or you have to prep for a dinner party and you just need your chopping skills amped up a bit, then this is the record for you. Conversely, if you’re looking to sit down with something and read along and feel like you’re part of the experience, this doesn’t quite have me connected in that way. Some of the guitar lines are melodic and catchy for the style of music and for a power trio, it’s uniquely complex. Let me be clear, I’m not an expert on this but I do know what I like, and I think a very simple thing that could connect me to this are the lyrics. I like to sit down and read along with the record and with the vagueness of some of these, it’s hard for me to really find an attachment to the band. Musically, I think that they are great and if the singers could just maybe consider adding something personal about themselves, their day, or to be more precise, identify a theme of a song whether, specifically what you don’t like, what you do like, the way a tree looks in winter, a crush on Jessica Rabbit…I dunno. It’s that the constant anger and sorrow pushed off in vague ways with the standard adjectives isn’t quite grabbing me like it usually something like this would. I felt that somewhere along the way there wasn’t really that suffering and anger they are trying to express but moreover they are trying to stay within the sonic guardrails of the music is that they are making. Again, this is a great musically thoughtful record but could it have been more moving and captivating as an instrumental record for me, maybe. I like words and I appreciate when lyrics are authentic even if they are silly or hurtful or uncomfortable.

I do recommend you check this band out and decide for yourself. The musicianship is terrific and it’s entirely possible that I’m being overly critical considering I am well aware that overall lyrics in hardcore have become uninteresting and less evocative. (JD)

Pick up the LMI – Excess Subconscious, LP here!

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Justin Dratson: JD Nate Wilson: NW Matt Average: MA

CAPITLE • Why 1981 – 1986 cassette

CAPITLE • Why 1981-1986 cassette

Cacophone Records

2019

Capitile

This band might not mean to much to anyone from outside of the Albany NY area… but there is so much I can to say about Albany’s first real hardcore band. These dudes formed out of the ashes of The VERGE (the guitarist and drummer). The VERGE were great, but more dark punk rather than a hardcore band. In 1982 the VERGE got back together and that left CAPITILE trying out other players to keep the momentum going.  Both versions of the band are great. 

Capitile tape_1

The first I knew of these guys was from the graffiti I saw on the corner of Lark Street and Central Ave in Albany. This must have been around 1983. I’d go to Fantaco Comics and Worlds Records with my parents every Saturday, and would see that graffiti on every trip.  Right there, in huge fucking letters on a wall was written CAPITILE. It was scrawled all over Albany in the early 1980s right up until around 1992 when it was finally cleaned up.  Back then, I had no idea what it meant or who the band was (it was 1983 I was still just a young metal kid). I just thought it was a political statement in regards to Albany being you know… the capital (misspelled). It was in either 1984 or ’85 when these guys played Lark fest. Some work friends (Todd Smith) and myself went to see what Larkfest was all about. We saw a few other really crummy bands playing outside on Lark Street. When Capitle played I had no idea what I was seeing, and didn’t fully grasp what they were doing. I, to this day, still can’t recall much because I was drunk and stoned. What I can tell you is that it was outside, and the sound really sucked. They played on the back of a truck bed, or something.  Larkfest later turned into an annual community festival that still happens to this day.  

Capitile tape_3

Fast forward to maybe 1990 after I’d moved back to Albany from SF, and somehow found the now legendary Erl Records. Immediately, Dave (the owner) and I realized we went to the same high school together and even rode the same bus.  I was the guy sitting in the back of the bus shooting spitballs in Daves afro. At any rate, hanging out at Erl records I became friends with Phil Samuels who was the bassist of Capitile.  We’d hang out at the shop while these guys drank, smoked and talked good music.  Phil told me many stories of those early days of punk in Albany. Unfortunately, Phil (the Surgeon General) passed away a few years ago from lung cancer. He was a super sweet guy and is missed by many of us.

Capitile tape_2

For those of you that have never heard CAPITILE, I just have to say that I have always heard elements of BLACK FLAG, SUICIDAL, MINOR THREAT, and yup, I even hear some AGNOSTIC FRONT in there. Some of the songs are super short bursts, and that was pretty unheard of in Albany back in those days.  

This tape compiles everything these guys ever did between 1981 to 1986.  Twenty five songs from two demo tapes and some compilations. It’s of my opinion that this tape is all you need to hear by this band. Any reunions or re-recorded songs for records are useless to this old dude. Buy this shit! (NW)

Hit me up on Instagram if you want to send me your release for review at: nate_gloom

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Justin Dratson: JD Wilson  Nate : NW   Matt Average: MA

GAME • No One Wins LP

GAME • No One Wins LP

2019

Beach Impediment Records

IMG_7828

It’s kind of funny… because as soon as I put this slab on my turntable the first thought I had was that of the 1980’s Heavy Metal act, ACID.  I proceeded to turn the record cover over and the first song on side two is called Acid.  Maybe I’m not that crazy after all!

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This is nothing like I expected it to be. I expected some U.S. sounding hardcore punk ala Boston for some reason.  Instead it has a great catchy heavy metal feel to it, and I’m guessing that was not really the intention?  Then again I’m way the fuck out of touch with current hardcore/punk.  If this is what hc is supposed to sound like in 2020…well then sign me up, things have definitely progressed and changed a lot for the better because to me it’s really just melodic fast metal (which I’m 100% okay with).  Yes, metal is normally the lane I prefer.

IMG_7831

This music is pummeling with low end aggression, super melodic riffs and vox that are equally as catchy as the riffage.  The lyrics could also be mistaken for some metal lyrics.  Everything about this record is done with professionalism and beauty.  I really love this and have listened to it three times in a row so far tonight.  My only complaint is that the record feels too short, and left me wanting a lot more.  I guess that is the point though, right?

IMG_7830

Jonah Falco is the guitarist in this band, and for those who don’t know he plays drums in FUCKED UP (this obviously sounds nothing like F’dU).  Ola Herbich from Arms Race and Quality Control HQ plays bass and keeps things rumbling along with the drummer who just loves playing beats on the toms.   Great Metal from the land of great metal… England! (NW)

Hit me up on Instagram if you want to send me your release for review at: nate_gloom

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Justin Dratson: JD Wilson  Nate : NW   Matt Average: MA

AN UNEASY PEACE • self-titled

AN UNEASY PEACE • self titled 7″ EP

Dirt Cult Records

An Uneasy Peace

I was taken aback when I heard Lance’s voice on the An Uneasy Peace E.P. Have you ever found a note, or heard a message from someone that you were certain you’d never hear from again? It was strangely both transportive and comforting, while being haunting and sorrowful. An Uneasy Peace is a project of Lance Hahn’s that was aimed at being a hardcore band. Musically it is standard, catchy, SOCAL style HC. But it’s really a Lance record and if you’re reading this then I’m certain you already know what I mean. Lance had a way of turning anything he did into a very definable “Lance Hahn” entity by way of distinct guitar style, lyric phrasing, and voice. I don’t remember where I was when I’d heard that Lance Hahn had died. I remember it was 2007 and maybe Fall. We’d been pen pals from the later years of Cringer through the birth of the internet and onto electronic mail. The last time I’d seen him was outside of Brownies in Hoboken, NJ and I hassled him about records he owed me. It was the first time someone I knew, with a connection to the underground community that I really respected their song writing and art and who was a friend to everyone, had died. I’m happy that this has found its way from an idea to its vinyl home, the way I’m certain it was originally intended. (JD)

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Justin Dratson: JD   Nate Wilson: NW   Matt Average: MA

 

YOUTH ATTACK bundle

YOUTH ATTACK bundle

I first met Marc McCoy when he was working in a hut outside of a TGI Fridays punching holes in coed spring breakers’ punch cards. He ate a lot of steamed vegetables. I think that was around 1999 and he’s since then, as far as I know, he’s continued to put out music/media artsy projects as well as continued to eat bland steamed foods.

Below is a run down of my thoughts on his most recent releases:

Snarling Hate EP

SNARLING HATE • How To Kill EP

This has a nice little head-bobbing groove to it. The first tune, “Takeover”, is a call to arms of sorts to our under appreciated sanitation workers. The chorus repeatedly shouting, “Keep the Streets Clean” over a hooky little melody, I think, proudly reinforces how we tend to overlook some of our truest heroes. The second number, “Asphyxia”, starts with a straightforward bass intro to set the tone. The song quickly turns to reflect the seasonal allergies that many of us tend to go through this time of year. The lyrics “I need, scratch till I bleed” and “the bloom, build yourself up” is clearly about the struggle of man’s imprisonment by pollen, well done and very thoughtful. The title of the E.P., How To Kill, at first seems misleading since it isn’t so much as a manual on how to kill something, but rather an example of how to do something well. As the kids say, “you killed it” meaning you’ve done a terrific job at this thing you’ve tried.

Mangled State EP

MANGLED STATE • Stigma EP

The first thing I noticed was that this record is smaller than other ones. I think this one is around 6 inches versus the standard 7 inches. Really, not even kidding. I bet you’re wondering if the smaller size affects the play? Let’s find out together. There are 5 songs on this little thing and are all straightforward, powerful and aggressive hardcore. It is the no frills quality that I dig about this but what about their lyrics? Let’s dive in. “Stigma” lyrics start off with “believe in your own shit”, so I like the message but not the potty mouth. Song 2, “Scowl”, lyrics kick off with “take back my life, ripped to fucking shreds”. Hmm, there’s that potty mouth again. Let’s look at the song “Price You Pay”, track 3, “Call yourself a man, conceited, self serving fuck”. Well we almost made it through without the gutter words. “Cast Cut”, on the B side has no potty words. However, the final song “Façade” does. In the end, this is a raging 5 song, 6 inch, record that any fan of straightforward, unabashed hardcore will definitely love. Just be warned though, if your mom hears it, she might wash your mouth out with soap.

Arts EP

ARTS • Graveside Summoning EP

Wow, this is spooky. The very first line of the very first song, “Daemonomie”, is “I am in the grip of evil”. Heavy. However, it takes a boyish and sparkling look into the world of fantasy like the Tale of King Arthur. The packaging in remarkable and if you look at the picture I’ve included, I think that the inside of this envelope is Marc McCoy himself doing some cosplay as the Wizard of Greenpoint. This record has equal parts fiery swords, dark and damp chambers, a thing with scales and eyes, celestial crypts and more. I’d say that this Arts release is a very uplifting record that skips down a little boys dream journal. Sure, there is some scary ass metal-death-creepy-dark-core (MDCDC) but it is creative in a way that doesn’t come off as goofy as some of this style often does.

Life Support EP

LIFE SUPPORT • Die Like A Man EP

First off, this is an incredible looking triple gatefold package filled with artwork of wizards and metaphysical healing crystal imagery. However, Life Support band couldn’t be further away from chakra energy points or what your aura color says about your study habits. This is a tornado of sound and hostility and even has a few slow down “mosh- able” parts. This isn’t going to be an awakening for anyone but is most certainly worth checking out and spinning a few times a year. I just wish I knew what they were so angry about.

Combat Force EP

COMBAT FORCE • Never Stray EP

The cover drawing is of a helmeted knight with sword and shield. I have no idea what to expect but I’m enjoying the TSR arc to this batch of Youth Attack releases. I drop the needle and was hit with a the sound of a fun-time-in-a-bar-crowd that breaks cleanly into a catchy guitar rock-n-roll riff with the memorable and sing-able repeating chorus of “never stray, this is the way.” This record has a thuggish and almost pub-rock/Oi feel to it. Don’t get me wrong. This is, as these all are, a hardcore record. This is a bit more mid tempo and even has a “whoa whoa” part in a song. I thought that with the cover that this would be more about slaying dragons and love potions and a path to become a master of beasts. The song “Breached” touches upon an epic battle on a great field. The final song on the 6 song EP weighs heavily and sits clearly on their feelings about people that prey on children and I’m right there with them. If you’re curious as to the direction they’re leaning on that song, the answer is in the title, “Give ‘em the Chair”. This is a great record.

Well, that’s it for this plop of Youth Attack stuffs. (JD)

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Justin Dratson: JD   Nate Wilson: NW   Matt Average: MA

 

GREY C.E.L.L. • Self-titled LP

Grey C.E.L.L. S/T LP

King Of The Monsters Records

GREY CELL cover_1

Eleven scorchers on this beautifully colored 12” slab. The songs go by super quickly mostly due to this being a 45 rpm record.  These dudes weren’t on my radar at all until very recently.  This is harsh as all hell Philadelphia hardcore/punk. But it still has some weird quirkiness to it that keeps me interested, and also manages things from getting to generic. This record does have a massive 90s hardcore feel to it which I think works well for them.  There is some really cool guitar stuff happening with Janis who played (plays) guitar in Citizens Arrest. The drums and bass are spot on and are just rolling together and keeping the madness together. I love the harshness of the vox, they sorta remind me of San Diego’s Run For Your Fucking Life. If you like Citizens Arrest I’d imagine you’ll dig this as two of the four members are in CXA.

The lyric sheet apparently can be cut out to be turned into a zoetrope that becomes animated if played on a turntable at 45 RPM.  I am NOT going to be trying that with my insert, because it looks really nice and it would mean I no longer had a lyric sheet.   (NW)

Hit me up on Instagram if you want to send me your release for review at: nate_gloom

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Justin Dratson: JD   Nate Wilson: NW   Matt Average: MA

 

THE ELDER GODS • A P.O. Box Bomb and a Fire Hat 10″ EP

THE ELDER GODS • A P.O. Box Bomb and a Fire Hat 10″ EP

The Elder Gods

In short, the Elder Gods are pure id.

What in the world is this? Oh, it’s from Kalamazoo Michigan. Now it makes sense.
Kalamazoo was/is home to such bands as Violent Apathy, Thought Industry, Phil A. She-ohh & the Wet T-Shirt Contest, No Bails, etc. The Elder Gods fit perfectly into that family tree of the city’s underground musical heritage.

Of the six songs on here, two of them are covers (Circle Jerks “Red Tape & DOA “The
Prisoner”). Two of their originals (“It’s Good For You” and “1981”) are straight forward early 80s style punk hardcore whereas the other two (“I Am Satan” and “You Should Gnaw Your Own Neck Off”) lean more toward Th’Inbred or almost NOMEANSNO’s faster songs. The best part is that these six songs clock in at under 10 minutes total so you don’t even have time to get bored before one is over and another begins. The song “1981” sounds like it is from 1981 and fits perfectly onto any of the Master Tapes or Charred Remains comp(s). Also, the last line of the song leaves you on a positive message to never quit trying to do your best, “You might never be Lee Harvey Oswald but you can still be someone’s hero”. Keep this in mind, just because they do a couple classic 80s punk covers this band is not a retro rehash of the glorified good old days. I think it is pretty clear that they have a sound that reminds me of that time because it’s honest and they wouldn’t be able to do anything differently. In short, the Elder Gods are pure id.

They have a facebook presence but their band link shoots you somewhere creepy so if you want to pick up this 10inch you have to hit them up on Discogs. I think there are only 3 or 4 left, so act quickly. https://www.discogs.com/seller/zenandpinyin/profile

(JD)

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Justin Dratson: JD   Nate Wilson: NW   Matt Average: MA