Wednesday, April 24, 2013

[BE-08] Altered Boys cassingle

In time for their spring tour, New Jersey's Altered Boys have recorded 2 new songs which are housed in an cassingle style cover. You may be already familiar with AB from their 7"s on Katorga Works and Deranged Records. They play a style of HC reminiscent of the early 2000 era HC bands like Shark Attack, Knife Fight, Tear It Up, etc... These 2 new songs were recorded after their 2 EPs, and are exclusive to this release. Side A is a mid-paced stomper, side B is a fast thrasher.

Limited to 250 copies on pro duplicated yellow cassettes, with screened shells and wraparound covers . (2 songs)
Check out some songs: 
Buy it here: 

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Corey Webster for Righteous Rides show

 Hero Complex has another show, this one with a central theme of transportation in movies. I decided to do a skateboard based on the classic cheesy 80's movie, THRASHIN'! In the movie, the main character dreams of being a professional skateboarder, and dreams of having his own deck. My idea was to basically make that deck, based on the illustration he shows in the movie, and the Smash Skates logo. Unfortunately I didn't have access to an 80s shaped deck, but it came out rad. I'd had this idea in the back of my head for a while, and I'm glad this show came along to give me the proper motivation to get it done.
I did all of the artwork without any stencils, but instead cutting out little tape masks (based on my original vector artwork), and positioning them on the board before painting. This allowed for a lot more detail to stay crisp. I also upgraded my tape to the green Frogtape for this.
"Righteous Rides...And the Dudes Who Drive Them!" - A show focusing on prominent characters of fiction and their often creative ways of getting around!
From skateboards to spaceships, anything that rolls, races, flies, or crashes can be counted in this high-throttled, tour de force that celebrates your favorite modes of transportation and the characters who drive them!

Opening Reception:
May 3rd, 2013 - Los Angeles

Friday, April 05, 2013

Record Reviews (Fall/Winter 2012)

Ok, so I know it's been a while since I've made a record reviews post. As you can tell from the rest of the blog, I have been busy with art shows. I also went on a tour w/ Coke Bust and Sick Fix, and did some traveling to Chicago. I wanted to have this finished by the end of the year, but while updating it, I accidentally deleted the whole thing. So in starting over, I also added more current record purchases, but of course like a true addict, I have enough new records for another post...

Vaccine- Crimes in Blood (Painkiller Records)
5" record? What is this the 90's? Shockingly my record player could actually play it. I like Vaccine I don't love Vaccine. I thing a lot of their songs are fast, but not that interesting. However the lyrical theme and simple, yet effective layout really makes this cool. If you get just one 5" record this year, make it this.

Coke Bust/ Vaccine (Refuse Records | Drugged Conscience Records)
Arguably the  two fastest band sin straight edge today have teamed up on a split to coincide with both bands' separate European tours (though a US re-press is out now). This is Coke Bust's first new material with their new guitar player, and it fits right in with their other material. If anything, it sounds a little heavier, but the hyper fast riffs and catchy choruses are all there. Hopefully this is where the LP they're working on will go. Vaccine produce their standard fair of fast blurred out hardcore.Vaccine to me was always good but not great. Well matched split of the 2 fastest edge bands in the biz.

Altered Boys- s/t (Katorga Works Records)
Altered Boys are basically the only band from NJ I care about. They channel the early 2000's era of HC, when bands were more into the early 80's than youth crew and the terrible 90's. A comparison to Shark Attack or Knife Fight wouldn't be too far off. Despite the impression that the pink artwork may imply, this is straight forward hardcore. They have another (less pink) 7" coming real soon on Deranged, so get into it.

Bloodkrow Butcher- Anti War E.P. (Side Two Records)
Where did this come from, bought this on a whim with the Green Beret LP, and this rules. I know nothing about them, except that they're from Boston, but sound like they're from Finland in the 80's. Fuzzy distorted fast d-beat styled hardcore punk, done well! This is great, if they have any other records out, I want them.

Noose- Depraved Indifference (Refuse Records)
Despite their disasterous European tour, and the tidal wave of Facebook drama that followed, this new Noose record is solid. The guitars sound a lot more full (which I thought was lacking in the past), and the vocals have some distortion as well, which gives this a more harsh sound. They even cover one of my favorite Ripcord songs. Lyrically, the militant vegan straight edge thing doesn't do much for me, but most bands that go that route are terrible metalcore. If you liked Noose's previous records, this is probably their best.

Kremlin- Will You Feed Me? (Hardware Records)
I know this band has Ivan, the drummer of School Jerks, but is a bit more European in it's early 80's HC punk influences. Some of these sound like they could have been on a comp like Killed by Death or Bloodstains Across... I really don't like the cover art. I guess this is kinda in style, but purposely bad drawings will never win me over. This is good, not great.

Violent Reaction- s/t (Static Shock Records | Quality Control Records)
Oh shit, their demo was amazing, and their 7" makes that look tame. Violent Reaction is a one person side project that sounds like if the Out Cold/ Voorhees split LP was one band. Basically early 80's Boston influence, no bullshit. Great record, try to find it while you can, because it's worth the import costs from the UK. New LP will be out on Painkiller, so jump on this now!

No Tomorrow- Nuclear Exposure (Sorry State Records)
This North Carolina band reminds me of the fast crust bands from the early 2000's, like Severed Head of State, Born Dead Icons and World Burns to Death. Though not touching the intensity of those, granted that in 2 songs, it's hard to make too much of a statement, this is real goody though. I like the screen printed artwork, it seems like there aren't many records like that anymore. Includes a digital download.

Spine- Subhuman (Bad Teeth Recordings)
Spine's demo reminded me of the early Harms Way stuff, maybe because they had 2 original members of HW. I remember describing them to a friend as Infest covering Outburst. The 7" goes more in a heavier power violence direction. I hear some Rorscharch and Assuck in there, but still some NYHC at times. It's definitely hard hitting, no doubt about that. For a band with members spread across 2 different states, they're surprisingly active.

Unruled- s/t (Schitzophrenic Records)
Unruled was Canada's first D-beat band. Maybe, I don't know, all I know is this band was from the early 80's and heavily influenced by Discharge. It seemed like that style was more copied in Europe, so it's cool that this is an early example of it across the pond, as they say. I'm pretty sure the original 7" was only 3 songs, some bonus trax from the same session, so more bang for your buck. I don't know what else they released in the 80's, but I always thought this EP was great. Apparently they reformed and did an LP somewhat recently though...

Rational Animals- Gabrielle b/w Eating My Words (Cowabunga Records)
Record #2 in Cowabunga's Sick Club releases. I really like that they used the old Sub Pop singles style layout. The 2 songs are good, "Gabrielle" being my favorite of the 2. They really capture that oddball sort of Flipper meets later Black Flag style. That probably goes over most people's heads, but I think it's cool. If you like their other records (especially the LP), get this!

The Narcs- Long Hot Summer (Cowabunga Records)
This is a weird one. If you've been following the "Rot-Core" scene lately, bands like Rational Animals, Insubordinates, Bad Taste, etc... this fits in with those. Bands influenced by oddball KBD punk and early rock n roll. It's cool, but not something I'd listen to repeatedly.

Clear- s/t (BBB Records)
I caught Clear in the spring at a show in Philly. I thought they were real good, if not the best band on the show. I found out later that they had the singer of Have Heart , which had I known previously, probably wouldn't have watched them. Luckily I did, because this record is cool. Standard youth crew influenced HC, though in the grand scheme of modern youth crew, this is way up there. Every time I've seen them afterwards has been a different line up, so who knows who's really in this band, either way this is cool.

DNA- Destructive New Age (BBB Records)
Another band I knew nothing about, but got on a whim.  If I had heard they were members of Cruel Hand, and other bands like that, I probably wouldn't have. Though there's some heavy Corrosion of Conformity influenced HC here, similar to Direct Control and early Double Negative.  I like this, but I feel like most people who would fully appreciate it won't check it out, so here's your heads up.

MFP- s/t (Painkiller Records)
Some older dudes from MA play some fast mean hardcore. Not too unlike Sheer Terror, but with a Boston slant. Nothing really new here, but an enjoyable 7" none the less.

Government Flu- Holes (Yama Dori Records)
Government Flu has a few records out already, and I was able to see them in Poland a few years ago. This is ther most recent record, and probably their best. They fit in with bands like Anti You, Citizens Patrol and other early 80's USA HC influenced Euro bands. The cover art is awesome, and has a hold die cut in the center, which lines up with the hole in the record itself. Fucking cool!

Weekend Nachos- Watch You Suffer (A389 Records)
A little 2 song teaser 7" released in time for a389 Fest. Weekend Nachos' songwriting has evolved over this year from power violence to to more thick heavy hardcore, reminiscent of Left For Dead. The title track in particular is hard as nails. The next LP will turn some heads for sure. Includes a digital download.

Broken Prayer- Wow b/w Pull a Kazynski (Not Normal Tapes)
This is a single for Broken Prayer's LP (see review below). You get 1 song off the LP and one exclusive song. I suppose this came out before the LP, but I got them both at the same time, so it's really only one new song to my ears. Either way, it's a real cool release, with a screened dust sleeve (available in multiple colors).

Freedom- United States of Mind (Lost Time Records)
Much like Free Spirit, this band takes the Straight Ahead influence, and uses it as a template for how a band should sound. Apparently this has members of Face Reality, but I like it more. Short to the point hc in the late 80's NYHC sense. This is their demo, but re-recorded with a new song and an AF cover. All fitting on a one sided 7" that has a screened B-side. Really awesome record, track it down for sure.

Rot In Hell- Termini Terrae (Dark Empire Records)
I had seen Rot In Hell in Leeds when I went to Europe 2 years ago.  Since then, they've gone on to release records on Deathwish and a389 Records. They play the "Holy Terror" style of HC, similar to early Integrity and Catharsis. While I generally don't follow that style too close, what drew me to this record was that their new vocalist is Lecky from Voorhees. So being a band I already enjoyed, adding a singer who's bands I enjoyed made me get this.Side A is 2 song sof what you'd expect, however, Side B... holy shit! Starts off sounding like Metallica, then sounds like Slay and ends by sounding like Judge. I've listened to that one song so many times. Seriously ridiculous. I don't think it says Rot In Hell on this record at all, but try to find it for sure, because it fucking rules!

Caged Animal- s/t
Took a chance on this one, despite knowing nothing about the band. Something just stood out to me, possibly the graffiti logo. Glad I did, because this is some short fast violent sounding music. Reminds me of Duress, or some 625 releases from the early 2000's. There's even a rap intro ala Spazz's La Revancha LP. This rules, give it a shot!

Razar- Stamp Out Disco
A late 70's classic from this Australian band. These 2 songs are great. I had come across this band somehow a while ago, probably an mp3 blog, but this reissue is great. Sure it may be a bit pricey for 2 songs, but they're both awesome. Also I know literally nothing about old Australia punk, but if other bands sounded like this, I hope more reissues happen.

Violent Future- s/t (Slasher Records)
Not to be confused with their demo 7" that just came out on painkiller, this is 4 new tracks. I think where the demo had this sloppy, but good quality, this record really steps up the tightness. I love their style of UK82 style mid-paced HC, ran through an old Boston/X-Claim filter. The recording quality is similarly a little blown out, and the artwork is top notch. This record is great over all.

F.O.D.- Chinese Food demo (Who Cares Records)

This is a vinyl pressing of one of F.O.D.'s early demos from 1982. Flag Of Democracy was straddling the melodic punk meets fast hardcore punk, even in the earlydays. I love FOD's early material, and this fits right in with their Love Songs 7". I had never heard these songs before, so I was very stoked to after all of these years. If you like Adrenalin O.D. and haven't checked out FOD, I know a reissue of their first LP just came out. I know this 7" was limited to 300 and from a French label, but try to find it.

Altered Boys- s/t #2 (Deranged Records)
Altered Boys recorded both of their 7"s at the same time, so the sound quality is exact to the first. These songs I feel are their strongest. The songs vary from fast stompers and fast blasts of HC. By far my favorite NJ band in years. Definitely pick this one up.
Fun Fact: I did the cover layout on this

Green Beret- Violence is Their Currency (Side Two Records)
After their demo in 2010, Green Beret laid dormant, but in the mean time became a full band and recorded this awesome EP.  Continuing their style of high caliber d-beat, mainly influenced by Totalitar. This LP rips. My favorite song "Vultures" has a mid paced Motorhead vibe, that will make you want to listen to it on repeat. Great, Great record!

Prisoner Abuse- s/t (Painkiller Records)
Another DFJ / CC project here, and those 2 continue their streak of perfect bands. This one has a Boston Strangler vibe, though a little heavier, recruiting the former singer of Think I Care. Heavilly influenced by Boston hardcore from the early 80's, and similar to Boston in the early 2000's. This LP is great, hopefully this isn't just a one off project. Oddly, it credits some of these songs being written way back in 2004. I almost don't wanna know all of the shelved CC/DFJ projects from the past 10 years, because they're all good.

Mindset- Leave No Doubt (React! Records)
The most highly anticipated straight edge record of 2012? maybe. Musically, I always thought Mindset's riffs were directive of a lot of other bands in the genre, thought they really step it up on this record. The title track itself is a modern classic, that I can see people stage diving and finger pointing to. If you were on the fence about Mindset, let this record convince you. They are also without a doubt the best current live band in HC. Art layout is very clean, but totally works, reminding me of a lot of the more simple REV designs. Includes a digital download.

Sick Fix- Vexed (A389 Records)
Sick Fix's last piece of vinyl came out about 4 years ago, in the mean time they've done numerous tours and changed the lineup a little. 1/2 of these songs appeared on a 2010 demo tape, but sound more full and heavy here. I think this record shows off Michelle's vocals well, and I thought on previous recordings they were not the same as they were live. Musically they continue to balance heavier 90's bands like Left For Dead with fast 90s style powerviolence. They also re-record the song "One Third," which means it's now been on every one of their releases. Awesome. Includes a digital download.

Manpig- The Grand Negative (Deep Six Records)
In a weird turn of events, this was recorded in 1992, then lost, then re-recorded over the course of the 22 years. Why? well, why not I guess. I'd rather see it out now, than have it lost in time. Oh should I mention that this band is just 2 members, but both of them were in INFEST! So what you get here is similar to a Low Threat Profile vibe, not re-inventing the wheel here, but definitely doing it more justice than others. This is real cool, and a must for obsessive Infest fans

Broken Prayer- s/t (Sorry State Records)
I had the fortune of seeing these guys on their recent tour. To be honest, had I not known a few of the members, I may not have checked them out, but I'm glad I did.  Musically, they seem to vary. There are moments of early 80's HC in there, and moments where they could be a Brit-pop group. The band consists of members of Civic Progress, Libyans, Noose, Manipulation and a ton more. Musically it's very diverse, especially with a keyboard in the band. This is one of those bands I would recommend to people who are sick of "generic hardcore." The cover art is weird, the music is weird, weird is good. Includes a digital download.
Bloody Hammer- s/t (Hardcore Victim Records)
Bloody Hammer is a new band from Australia, who fills the void that Criminal Damage left, of being highly influenced by UK82 oi bands. I hear elements of Blitz, The Last Resort and Combat 84. The singer used to be in Pisschrist, and I'm sure there's some other familiar faces, but this probably doesn't sound like any of their other bands. This is ridiculously good, and hasn't left my turntable in days. Get it in the US from Havoc; it's easily my favorite record of 2013 so far.

The Rival Mob- Mob Justice (Revelation Records)

Probably the most anticipated LP of the year is finally out, and definitely the most hyped REV release in what, 10 years?I'm sure everyone downloaded or bought that Mob Justice promo song, so there weren't many surprises here. All of the new songs from the tape were re-recorded as half of this LP, and sound a lot cleaner. Slightly more produced I suppose, but still good obviously. The intro is hard as nails, and get things off to a good start. Includes a digital download.

Magic Circle- s/t (Armageddon Label)
With members of Rival Mob, No Tolerance, Mental, Righteous Jams... you might be expecting one thing. However, what you get here is total Black Sabbath worship heavy metal. Despite most of the band being edge dudes, this is some serious stoner shit. A few songs were posted online like 2 years ago, and it was awesome that this finally came out. Definite fans of that NWOBHM sound, the music is mid paced, and the songs are long. If you're not head banging, you might be dead. It's awesome that dudes from HC bands can crank out something technically more complex. This is awesome, and I hope to see these guys live at some point. Includes a digital download.

Who Killed Spikey Jacket?- s/t (Total Fucker Records)
A friend called them "the Good Clean Fun of street punk."  Somewhat accurate, but in all reality, how serious does street punk ever take itself? Of course there's songs about beer, being punk, pogoing and (of course) spikey jackets. If you take your punk very serious, then this may not be the band for you. However, if you like to let loose, and just have some fun with your punk, then check this out. Stud your jacket, stud your face, do it today bastard!

Punch In The Face- Live On Radio K (Counterfeit Garbage Records)
PITF was an awesome band from the early 200's era HC scene. They did 2 7"s and an LP in their time. This LP collects the Live at Radio K session, which was released as a CDr (remember those?), with the b-side collecting demos, covers and comp songs. The live set had songs, which at the time were new and un-recorded yet for their LP. So obviously these sound different than the LP versions. A very good radio set though, well recorded and all. I actually had no idea they even did a demo, so hearign these songs for the first time was awesome. Everything they released is now out of print, so it's coolt hat this could potentially introduce new people to this awesome band. The labelt hat released this is also responsible for Counterfeit Garbage zine, and contains a zine sized insert with a retrospective, photos and discography info. Great package all around.

Demos / Tapes:
The Nukes (tape)
The Nukes released this tape at the end of summer, and I think it's one of the best demos of the year. I hear elements of early Black Flag, The FU's, Necros and Career Suicide. The singer's voice has that snotty vibe of CS to it. This fits in with bands like School Jerks and Birth Deformities, doing the early 80's CA style of punk well. Dumb cover art, but I display my tapes in a rack, so I'll only ever see the spine. Mine also came with a huge button that says "The Nukes Is Creeps" that now sits on my microwave. Great demo, hopefully we see some vinyl this year from them.

Hounds of Hate (tour tape)
The Hounds are back with a tape they made for a tour, that contains 3 songs for their LP, and a re-recording of a demo song. These songs are killer, and much better than their 7" songs (which were also good). This LP is going to be really good, and on Painkiller no less. They really capture that late 80's NYHC/ New Breed comp sound.

Chestnut Rd. (tape)
So if you read this blog regularly, you probably wouldn't think I'd ever write the phrase "check out this French pop-punk band." Welp, check out this French pop-punk band! Heavily influenced by early 90's UK pop-punk bands like Leatherface, they are named after a Broccoli song and cover Hooton 3 Car. I feel like those bands are highly under appreciated, and to have one band wear that influence so prominently is amazing. Hooton 3 Car is probably my favorite of that group, and I didn't think anyone would ever cover them (and well). I always get confused looks at record stores when I ask if they have any of their records. Seriously though, I don't care about 99% of the stuff masquerading as "pop-punk" these days, but this is an awesome demo for sure!

V/A- Joy Boy Mix part 3 (tape)
The Joy Boy Mix tapes are compiled by Omegas (who are absent from this one), they compile bands they like onto a comp. Which is a simple, yet cool idea for sure. A lot of stuff is exclusive to this, and some it is just weird. There's a lot of odd samples between songs which sort of ruins the flow a little for me. Standouts are: Free Spirit, Duress, Neo Cons, Altered Boys, Cardiac Arrest, Peacebreakers, Creem, Waste Management, Reckless Aggression

Abuse (tape)
Abuse are some young guns from Raleigh, NC playing very good power violence, in the style of the classics like Crossed Out, No Comment, Seige. Very fast, very tight, very angry. If these guys were from CA, they'd be huge already. 7" should be out any day now.

Last Words- Tied & Tour CS (tapes)
I had the pleasure of seeing Last Words in the winter on tour in NJ. I knew some of the members from Devour and Stripmines, so I knew this band would be good, but damn was I blown away. Marina is probably the most intimidating female singer I've ever seen. The demo was good, but the LP promo tape is amazing. Musically it reminds me of Stripmines a bit, but with a sort of Antidote and other early 80's NYHC bands feel. LP on To Live A Lie soon.

The Flex- Flexual Healing Vol. 1 (tape)
I love The Flex, I re-released their demo obviously. This new tape is basically a promo tape for their new 7". You get 2 new songs on here, plus 3 covers (Youth of Today, DYS, Breakdown). The recording quality on this is real raw and blown out, like Urban Blight. The new 7" is killer, can't wait to get a copy. This tape is great, from the cover art to the title.

Night Prowler- Psychopath (tape)
Fuck, I loved Night Prowler's first tape, "Crime Wave," but this new tape may be even better.More songs, same great production. I like the look of these tapes, like the old LP cover style tapes. Musically I get a strong Violent Minds vibe, of being influenced by old NY/Boston hc punk. I had heard this is a one man project from someone in Vacant State, but the cover has no info about that. I hope this project turns into a touring band, like Violent Reaction and Boston Strangler did. Or at the very least more tapes!

Lung Matter- Sever All Ties (tape)
I had seen Lung matter on tour last summer in Raleigh, and they were awesome. I thought their demo lacked something, but they agreed and said their EP would be better. Unfortunately that ended up being their last show, and the EP came out posthumously as this cassette. This is what they sounded like when Is aw them, which was