Wednesday, July 30, 2008

New Blog w/ Underdog as the Inaugural Post

Luciferyellow, a long time ZAFP reader and contributor has started his own blog. he has great knowledge of the scenes of times past and he has a great taste in a wide variety of music.

His new blog is called Prediction-Error-Signal and his inaugural post is the epic and mighty Vanishing Point by none other than Underdog. Other than listening to a friends copy of Revelations Demos album I really never knew much else about Underdog. Even being the HUGE Into Another fan I am and having skateboarded most of my life I somehow never really got deep into Underdog.

How?! I dont know. Thats not important. What is important is that you go over to PES and read Luciferyellow's post and book mark the site for future awesomeness. He also has the OG artwork for this beast. And trust us, its a beast.

This has been a ZAFP broadcast.


Side C - An Addendum to NYHC

Quickly now, lest the boss know that I am making posts instead of making prints. Hehe...

Side C, it began as the NYHC post, see below. So I made that post, listened to the mix all week, got damn excited about it, wrote about the two areas of NYHC that existed in the end of that particular decade and wrapped it up, succinct, to the point, but as I knew at the time, though happily looked past to make a concise point in an easy way, I overlooked some of the more fringe bands of the NYHC scene that fell in neither the youth crew group or the tough guy group. This was in part due to the fact that I wasnt aware of all the bands that populated this fringe part of the scene. Of course Born Against was the first and foremost of these that I felt deserved their due, but I did not feel right in adding this third sound to this concise little mix I made. Born Against were sort of anomaly of the NYHC scene, even going to far as to create epic beef with some of the heavyweights in the scene.

So it is my intent to bring to light some of the other bands that werent repping the same styles as the Rev crowd or the Schism crowd or the Blackout crowd. And so it goes that I owe a large part of this post to Luciferyellow for sharing with me some of his favorites of that scene. Their is more variation in sounds within this group and I think that makes for not only an interesting mix, but an interesting way to view how varied and broad the NYHC scene really was. Some of these bands were from outlying areas of NYC, such as Rorschach, Merel and Native Nod, coming from Jersey. But if Youth of Today (originally from Connecticut) and Bold (originally from my hometown in Westchester, NY) could be NYHC, then why not the whole goddamn tri-state area?

It is also worth noting the subject matters that these bands tend to cover. Whereas much of the youth crew scene sang about being straight edge, being pure, being true and sticking up for you friends, and much of the tough guy scene (this is NOT an actual scene, I am calling this Tough Guy because of the power of the music and the image of band members looking tough, not because they actually bullied people around and talked all tough, though I wouldnt cross any of them either, but thats just NYC, especially at the time), but much of the tough guy scene sang about not taking shit, revenge, hit me and i'll hit you back, help me and i'll help you back; Where as those bands had those messages, these Side C bands have a much more politically conscious message and/or personal reflective message that colored the output of the hardcore scene well into the nineties.

So, grab this, get a taste. This is side C to the NYHC post. The fringe styles of NYHC.

1. Won't Allow - Citizens Arrest
2. The A-Train - GO!
3. Yellow Journalism - Yuppicide
4. Here Today... - Nausea
5. Crossings - Native Nod
6. Sticks To The Skin - 1.6 Band
7. My Sweet Dull God - Merel
8. Checkmate - Rorschach
9. Nine Years Later - Born Against

Saturday, July 26, 2008

NYHC - Revised and Reordered***

Zen and the Art of: New York Hardcore - A NYHC Compilation

Todays post is all about NYHC.

A NYHC compilation is not, in any way, a new idea. And the comp I offer you today, painstakingly pieced together with 18 influential hardcore acts, is not going to blow any doors of subconsciousness open and make you all of a sudden love New York Hardcore. If you already enjoy NYHC from 85-90 then you will like this comp.

My major goal is not so much to turn people on to NYHC as much as rectify an issue I have noticed a few times. This is the fact that a number of these compilations are weighted towards one type of sound. The Revelation comp, The Way We Were, focuses more on straight edge youth crew hardcore while the New Breed comp (thanks Sven!) focuses more on the tougher bands. Of course, when dealing with NYC things from this time period they are all imbued with a natural toughness. The city was still a rough place and the struggle was all the more present. Drugs were rampant and so was disease. Gangs were prevalent and the crime was at an all time high. These thing then, become all the more evident upon listening to these two types of hardcore. For the sake of easy explanation (cuz lets face it, there is so much more involved on closer inspection) we will visualize this into these two styles. And both of these styles make sense in regard to the current state of affairs at that time. Hence the messages of positivity, the unity and the humanitarian concerns of the more youth crew variety. Also just as understandable are the messages of hate and anger and disgust of the tougher and more street oriented NYHC bands.

So my goal is essentially to marry these two ideas together even more so then I have experienced before. Here I am trying to portray a balance of ideas set forth by these bands in the late 80's period. One of mistrust, frustration and anger yet also one of hope, help and new directions. They are both equally valid and have their successes and failures, their idealisms, so to speak. But there is no denying, however idealistic, that these bands were a powerful force of influence and a catalyst for change in a situation that was against all odds.

Times seem easier today. We can overlook a lot of the bad things that still exist because we have TV or movies to watch, "reality shows" that are anything but real. We can go buy pre made healthy food at "Whole Foods" and get cheap and "hip" fashions, talk on our cell phones, go to myspace and get the latest "cool" band and the see the latest trends, etc etc. It's absurd. The bad things in life, to those who dont have to deal with them everyday, have been relegated to Youtube videos and the News thus furthering the sensationalism and yet utter desensitization of all the horrors that still exist today. The call of hardcore, and not just NYHC, is all the more important now. The odds against us are even greater, more subversive, crawling under your skin. And the messages of these 18 bands dont ring any less true today than they did 20 years ago. So scream your lungs out, be different, ask the world to be different, demand it, god damn it! Its, your world, our world. We all have a voice and if we need a little prodding from our favorite bands, than so be it. Music is a powerful medium and it should never lose that momentum for change.

So, this is music as well. It's not only about messages. It's also about badass tunes; jumping out of your skin, freaking the fuck out, with a smile or a sneer, flipping off the world and saying, "fuck you! I am going to stage dive off my bed, right now! I am going to go apeshit for no other reason than this breakdown makes me want to karate chop through all the bullshit!".

To start it off, I think Sick Of It All's "Clobberin' Time" is a choice way to get things moving. This song makes my blood boil. Beginning with KRS-One's awesome intro, the first ringing bass chords are some of the most chillingly powerful moments in hardcore history. I will leave the rest for you to decide. I personally have been enjoying the hell out of this mix for the past week while I was compiling it and feel songs flow together well. Also, I would like it to be noted, that even though this obviously a digital thing, I arranged the songs to flow as two sides of a cassette. I did this because when I was getting into a lot of this stuff cassettes were still prevalent. So, side A and side B have their own flows, peaks and valleys.

Side A
1. Clobberin' Time / Pay The Price - Sick of It All
2. Vitality - Beyond
3. Dead & Gone - Absolution
4. New Release - Raw Deal
5. Trapped - Crumbsuckers
6. Sick People - Breakdown
7. Blind Justice - Agnostic Front
8. Enforcer - Leeway
9. No Guts, No Glory - The Icemen
10. Malfunction - Cro-Mags

Side B
1. New Direction - Gorilla Biscuits
2. Time Is Now - Side By Side
3. Blue Blood - Biohazard
4. The Bright Side - Token Entry
5. ...Shall Be Judged - Burn
6. Breakaway - Straight Ahead
7. New York Crew - Judge
8. Disengage - Youth of Today
9. Mass Movement - Underdog

The last thing I would like to mention is the cover. Everything about the cover I owe to other artists. Most notably the amazing artist Dan Witz. Dan is a NYC artist that as far as I can tell was around in the 80's and from looking at his amazing oil prints of mosh pits one can only assume that he was there during those times. The artwork I made is basically a re-rendered version of one of his mosh pit paintings laid over a number of hardcore flyers from the era done by various artists. The text was the easiest part and that was done by me. (Carnivale Freakshow, for anyone who likes fonts) So, this is a free comp, not endorsed by anyone involved other than me. I encourage you to pass it around and play it very loudly. Get pumped, get inspired.

One things for sure, you need to go check out Dan Witz's artwork. His oil skills are sick and his street art is inventive and inspiring. He has an amazing looking book coming out this fall too.

22x28" oil and mixed media on canvas © Dan Witz (posted without permission)

Also, enjoy this flyer site, Hardcore Show Flyers. Tons of flyers from all time periods, updated daily. And man oh man, I wish I could've been at some of these shows...

One more thing...

Hahah!!! Sven, aka Luciferyellow, made this amazing picture in anticipation of the NYHC comp. Little did he know that Ganesh is a huge thing in my life. I am planning (for years now) a tattoo of Ganesh to be applied to my body at some point in time. A Revelation Ganesh holding NYHC records might be one of the best things ever. Thanks!!
(Although I have to admit, no Sheer Terror or Maximum Penalty.)

At a point brought up in the comments it was revealed that I completely overlooked the mighty hardcore of Agnostic Front. So please, if youre into it, re-download the mix, appended with AF and delete the old one from your player. I placed the song Blind Justice from 1984's Victim in Pain album making it the earliest piece of NYHC on the mix. As forefathers to a lot of the other stuff this fits nicely within the time period. I put it right in between Breakdown and Leeway. I think it sounds good right there. Tell me what you think.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Worlds Collide - All Hope Abandon

So I got this in the mail the other day. Quickest delivery ever. Serious. It came from Florida from some third party Amazon seller. I ordered it last Monday and it came that Wednesday. Awesome. Because I was dying, literally gasping for my last breaths, to hear this album. I know, as the story goes, that this wasnt heralded as the awesomeness that Object of Desire promised, but I do remember listening to this in my room, in my car, at school, wherever I could manage a few untouched moments to fill my ears with the fury and anguish of hardcore music... (oh, also the positivity and the unity! It wasnt all anguish and anger! I was a happy kid who loved the emotional displays present in music)

Well, upon popping this in the first song instantly sent waves of nostalgia washing over me. Ritual is an awesome metal song that totally fits within the promises laid forth by the 7". I think there is a definite early Soundgarden feel to the intro riffs. From there it is a pure Megadeth riff. The song is great and is no doubt the highest point on the record. There are tons of great sections, tons of great grooves and rhythms. And that is one of Worlds Collides strong points. Ken was and is, obviously, a good guitar player, lacking no chops and maintaining a decent sound throughout most of his recorded output. And he is really good at keeping things interesting (which I why I should really give Damnation AD another shot). Even Battery had a great amount of riffs for a hardcore band. (Not to leave Graham Land out, but he is not on this release as I think he was playing with Shelter at this point.)

It's no secret that Worlds Collide were less of a hardcore band and more of a metal band (at least in my eyes). This is ever present on All Hope Abandon. She's Drowning is the second song and truly sets the pace for the remainder of the album. More of a mid-paced affair and less appetizing as their strongest cuts, but still an awesome song. Faces is a long one that doesnt really need to be. The version from Pain Is Temporary is much shorter. On this version they tack on an extra 4 minutes of mid paced sludginess that may or may not be your cup of tea. It's good as an album side closer, but in a CD or MP3 format it kind of sags the middle a little. Crusade is another awesome song, but its the least metal and the most grungy, garnering even more Soundgarden references, but then the album closes with Any Worse which is back to the intensity of Ritual and the metal chug that made this band so appealing to begin with.

According to singer Matt Burger, this pained sort of feel is what he intended and is also indicative of the strains on the band members personal relationships (See the Aversion link in the last post and find Matt's comment, consider this a footnote of sorts). You can feel this in a number of places, especially the slower numbers. Overall it is still a good album and I definitely still like it. Though I think Ritual and Any Worse could have made a ridiculously good EP with Object and Absolute. Tell me what you think.

As stated before, all the members have gone on to perform in a variety of other hardcore bands and you should all seek these out if you are just looking for something new, have an intense fascination with where band members go to or are just getting into these bands from this era and are looking for more of the same.

Oh and check these pictures from the liners. ^_^

Friday, July 18, 2008

Updates, New Blogs, Stuff and more Stuff...

First of all, this picture rules the most.

If you know this girl, send me her number. (just kidding Lara. ^_~)

Ummm, second of all, eh, Im not gonna order this, thats silly... though I love the word tertiary, if I could figure some way to use it I will. The next thing to discuss is all the awesome new blogs on the list.

Alphabetical? Sure, why not.

Am I Mean? from Papst Benedikt XVI is an awesome hardcore/punk/grind/thrash blog. Basically any scathing and revolutionary music you could want. He has lots of OOP stuff and is especially noteworthy for all the amazing artwork scans that he provides. I always try to offer good sized artwork and he ups the ante by offering liners notes and the like.

An Attitude Exhumed run by hardcore's very own hearthrob Buske. (Sorry man, I had to give ya a dig) His blog has been up for a bit now, but just wanted to point you in that direction. He has a number of great out of print, badass hardcore posts as well as the occasional "thought" post, like why do people fall on the floor when playing live. These and many other issues can be discussed while listening to great bands like Dissolve, Trapped Under Ice, Jasta 14... you get the picture. Great blog.

Condensed Fresh has awesome show flyers and stories from various shows as well as a lot of underground Japanese hardcore and grind related stuff.

Unsavory Palindrome is another hardcore punk blog with plenty of hard to find classic of the genre, spanning way back to more recent 90's era stuff...

Severed Forever run by Deathmetaldan has been in the links for a bit, and offers up some hefty slices of early metallic hardcore classics. Check his recent post for an awesome live recording featuring Converge, Endeavor, Still i Rise and others.. Awesome recordings..

The Poet You Never Were is another great OOP blog with tons of great mid-90s emo/screamo classics.

There are a bunch more including the classics most of you may already know.Aversionline, Burning Down the Dreams of Forever, Mostly Blue Skies, Damn Those Bloodsuckers, Wine-Women-Song, Lo-res Viscera. All amazing blogs with commentary by people who obviously still have tons of heart for the music that makes our hearts pump faster.

Of course there are plenty of others that are all noteworthy reads. So check the links and say hello to all of these people and leave comments and get involved in discussions, critiques, opinions etc.


Portraits of Past is playing a few reunion shows at the end of the summer. Two in SF and two in NYC.
Check their myspace for show listings. It is a given that I will be going to one or both of the NYC shows. Ampere is playing one of the shows with them. it should be pretty fun, and especially so if anyone else wants to meet up.

They also just released their discography, finally, after years and years of promise. You can order it from Interpunk for only 8 bucks.


Just for the shit of it, here are two desktops I use. One I created. It is an industrial section of Brooklyn, out in between Bushwick and W'Burg. The other is a photo I took of some stuff pasted on a wall. This one section mesmerized me, so I made it into a desktop, though it is a bit chaotic and you'll probably lose your icons, but it sure is inspiring to me.

Click and view to make full size, then do what you gotta to save it to the proper folder on your computer.


Lastly! (Tertiarily? nah! I made that up, besides, this is the 4th or 5th point of interest.) A drawing I made of elephants. I love elephants. They are amazing creatures. Dont really know what to do with it. Maybe a shirt, maybe nothing. I will let it speak for itself for the time being...Elephants. Fo-Evah!


I lied. One more thing...

Youth of Today's awesome Disengage EP from 1990. Three of my favorite YoT songs. This is still available from Revelation, so if you dont own it then its more than worth the meager price. But for ultimate-summer-fist-pumping-finger-pointing-action grab this now and give it a number of spins.

Hope everyone has an awesome weekend!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Worlds Collide 7"

So, that last post was long. Way longer than I had planned. I really do have to get a move on, so I will keep this one short, which is difficult because I have been searching for this 7" forEVER! I bought this at Trash American Style in Danbury, CT (one of the best record stores that ever existed, past tense.) Being a metal head I found it awfully easy to love these two songs. The members have been in a host of other bands and their pedigree is not one I care to cover. Andrew at Aversion actually wrote about these guys 3 or so years ago and he provides all the information one could want. Matt, the singer even left a comment to his post, so there is even more information then one could hope (From the Horses mouth, so to speak)

What I care about is how ragingly awesome these two songs still are! Pure metal riffing, fret runs all over the place, chopped up rhythms and the proverbial crunch that makes this music so goddamned awesome to begin with. Picture Megadeth, Soundgarden and Ken Oldens other band Battery. Yeah, that doesnt make too much sense until you delve into this heaping mess of awesomeness. Anyway, I had been looking for this and their cd All Hope Abandon for sometime and I would like to thank Sven for hooking me up with the Pain is Temporary CD, which has the demo and a live set that sounds pretty great. This initiated a search for All Hope Abandon, which, despite a few people mentioning it not being as good as the 7", I remember liking. So then the greatest thing happened. I found the CD for sale, used, on, through one of their third party sellers. And to top it off I also found the 7" for $3.99! So I ordered them up. Very stoked. I always loved the artwork for this 7". And then it occurred to me that these two song were released on the Victory Singles Comp, which also has the awesome Iceburn 7" with the songs Burn and Fall.

I remember having that 7" around the same time as the Worlds Collide one and it is similarly an awesome early metallic hardcore classic. Those two Iceburn songs are also available on their first LP, Firon, which is equally as good. After that they became all experimental, which was much to my liking as Hephaestus was always one of my favorites.

Also. ALSO! It seems that Interpunk still has some Worlds Collide 7"s for $4.00, so if you are interested in spending some hard earned scratch, then head on over and pay them a visit.

So, go over to Aversion and read his post, check the comments too for Matts (the singer) response and play these two songs loud! For the rest of the summer! Alternate between this 7" and the Rollkicker Laydown 7"


For the partial record:

Ken Olden went to play in Battery, Damnation A.D., Better Than a Thousand, Face The Enemy and When Tigers Fight.

Graham Land played with Shelter, Better Than a Thousand, Battery and Face The Enemy

Hillel also played with Damnation A.D.

Matt Burger had a band called Jack Potential and as of 05 had a band called the Whips.

Zac Eller also played with Battery before going on to Seven Gone and Bluetip.

It seems most of these guys are still active and are still playing some version of hardcore or punk rock these days. Keep your eyes peeled.

More soon!

Extra Addendum:

ALSO! Bluetip is playing some reunion shows! I dont know the details just yet, but this is good news. Gray Matter, another awesome DC band is also playing a reunion show August 12th in DC!!! May be checking both of these out.

Rollkicker Laydown 7"

So, long story, short, or even longer, depending on how quickly I can type (end of the day, at the old job, red ta go!):

It all starts with Sweet Baby Jaysus (how sweet it is!) from the wonderful and often hilarious and quite insightful blog Burning Down the Dreams of Forever. Jay writes me often here and around a year ago we established a repoire based on a similar fascination with the same music scene that we all gush about over here. See, it's already becoming verbose in structure. I even used the completely unnecessary word "verbose". What. The. Fuck. How come you people dont call me out on this shit?!

Where was I? Oh! Talking with the Jaysus (nobody fucks with the Jaysus) who at the time was living in the great northwestern state of Seattle, where one of my nearest and dearest friends lives. I mentioned an excursion I was to take out there and inquired about anyone from the area that may be interested in meeting up and scoring some beers and tossin out a few words of mutual appreciation for hardcore. Jay replies, "I live here, we will hang, we will blaze" Yes, kids, blazing, tough! Being that I was to spend most of my time in the mountains this was an agreeable thing.

So, fast forward, but not too fast or you'll miss the good stuff... I fly, I land (as is sometimes the case) and, holy shit! I am across the country! (A rare feat for this earth-bound sort.) I meet up with Fooch and we proceed to drink, only the best the Pacific Northwest has to offer, Rainier Beer. Giant ones. At the Sloop Tavern. As big as my head! And so I call Jay and he says he's slave to the grind and when he gets off he will meet up. So continuing to fast forward we meet up and share some stories and some brews. This is essentially my first Pen Pal meetup. As lame as that sounds, it was quite awesome. We got irie on the curb and parted ways. I met with him again and he mentions he has this 7" he really wants me to rip and post. That is what you are seeing at the beginning of this post. I recognize the DeSoto Records imprint but am at a loss for who Rollkicker Laydown is. Jay says "it's J. Robbins from Jawbox. A little project they did at the beginning of the 90's". Unsure of whether to take this supposed gem off of him Jay assures me that it is fine. I pack it in my bags and depart. Take off (the worst part), Fly. Land. NYC. Home again.

Now, that was last August. I still have this 7" and I never ripped it. In fact my ripping tools were never quite great to begin with (recall my one channel rip of the Absinthe 10" and you will understand.). To further complicate the situation my turntable needle got all busticated and being the lax individual I am I have still not replaced it. So I have this 7" which I need to rip and send back to Jay, who now lives in Tulsa, OK.

Well, wouldnt you know it, this guy Spavid on the blog Willfully Obscure posted it, and forgive me that I can't remember who pointed this out to us, but needless to say Jay and I were psyched. I had been wanting to hear it and Jay was being very patient with me. So, without any further delays, download this lost gem from the early 90's DC era. Jawbox, Government Issue, Gray Matter and Wool alumns. It sounds like two Jawbox songs that could have easily fit on either Grippe or Novelty and they are both incredible songs. Thanks very much to Spavid at Willfully Obscure for the original upload (Read his post for actual info regarding the band) and thanks to Jay for entrusting me with his record. Jay! I am still waiting for your address so I can send it back your way.

PS. I LOVE these two songs!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Absinthe 7"

Absinthe were a dirty, crusty, evil sounding hardcore band led by ex-members of Arizona legendary Groundwork and Bury Me Standing. As my previous post attests, Absinthe seemed to loosen the hold on the political lyrics of previous bands and focus more on the negative associations with mass market religion.

The sounds are lurching, powerful and caustic, like any good hardcore band should aspire to. This 7", which I had never heard, ) and in fact wasnt even aware of its existence at the time it came out) has proved incredibly difficult to track down. I have heard some people mention that they prefer the 7" over the 10" and while that is a difficult call to make I can say that these 4 songs positively seethe with grinding energy.

Big thanks to Luciferyellow (via Mike), for linking me up with this! ^_~

In other Absinthe related news, Brendan, the vocalist (or Vo-kill-ist, as some may prefer) paid us a visit and mentioned that there are plans to re-master and re-release the Absinthe discography. For anyone who has had the pleasure of hearing my damaged rip of the 10" then this should be exciting news. I personally dont need much in the way of recording quality to make me happy, but skips? No good. I am not sure when this will be released, but I will give a shout when I know.

For those that are interested, King of the Monsters Records have repressed the out of print 10" Absinthe record on white vinyl. It is available through them directly or through Interpunk for a whopping $5.50. A wholly worthwhile purchase if this is your thing.

Get pissed!

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Clikatat Ikatowi - Demo

Clikatat Ikatowi - How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

1. Your spazziness is life affirming. Juggernaut of treble and razor sharp "Zing!"
2. Your angularity makes me nervous and exciteable, prone to bouts of pouncing, bearing my teeth.
3. Your Slintyness, oh so tense and soothing, slow burns, desert planes and sand in my shoes.
4. Your eruptive, dual nature of controlled chaos, limbs flailing wildly, grin, 1 mile wide.
5. Your icky sticky strange name, alien to me, like 6 legs, 8 legs and more, tickles the tongue on delivery of sound.
6. Your swagger, flying in the face of what punk is, at once embracing and eviscerating to the genre.
7. The way you jangle, sends shivers up my spine, burrowed into my cerebellum, release cold chills throughout my body.
7. Mario Rubalcalba, once a hero on 4 wheels, now a hero with 8 arms.

Know this: 4 Unreleased tracks, 3 later released on Orchestrated and Conducted by...Slinty tendencies are highly visible on the first two tracks, "Saxby's Gail" and "Meatho". "Librarian" is pure punk. "Off To Here" is the closest thing to a pop song they ever wrote. Close is still a million miles away, but peep the jangly, indie style guitars. The other three didnt change much from the originals. The recording is fairly decent. Enjoy.

Clikatat Ikatowi - Demo
1. Saxby's Gail
2. Meatho
3. Identity Crisis
4. Librarian
5. Off To Here
6. Transmission
7. Affirmation

* The cover art is not official. I took a pic from their myspace and cropped and gradient mapped it and added some typewriter text. Duly noted.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Junction - A Collection of Random Mishaps (1995)

Junction were a 4 piece band from PA who toed the line between post-hardcore and straightforward rock music. If there were ever a time for this kind of style to truly be heard then it takes place in the early 90's. Bands like Quicksand and Jawbox were heading the way with their almost radio friendliness, but there was always something that kept it from being so trite and consumable. It's sharp edges were still apparent, twisted forms left unpolished for others to glare at and eventually feel association with.

Junction falls within these parameters. Exisiting from 1989 to 1993, they had a few releases on Significant Records and Art Monk Construction eventually released a discography in 1995. The vocals were sung by Vanessa and the guitars, two of them, pushing a distinctly DC-ish sound, were manned by Gregg and Ben, who later both played in Delta 72 with Ben eventually going on to play in the Capitol City Dusters. Vanessa later played in a very similarly structured band on Art Monk called Samuel.

I personally have always loved the tense angularity of Junctions music juxtaposed with Vanessas smooth voice. She doesnt resort to cheesy vibratos or anything of the sort (ie. Elena from Ashes), instead coming off like a mix of Joan Jett and DC's own Chris Thompson. Definitely a rocker chick with some great lyrics to boot.

Also, Ben Azzara has a website for Junction that is a little out of date but still interesting. Check it

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Shield - Build Me Up... Melt Me Down (1994)

Shield were a Swedish hardcore band from the mid 90's. They had releases on Desperate Fight Records. They released one full length and this EP. The EP was their first release to hit the states. It is 5 of the best hardcore songs I have ever heard. I say this with conviction because I have been able to put this on for the past 14 years and still want to listen to it over and over again.

"Flow" is an amazing start off with a great riff. The reference the "relentless flow" and that is a good starting point for how powerful these 5 tracks are. There isnt a weak part to be found (though some might feel differently about the female vocal additions on "Hide"). My personal favorite has always been "The Snowman Blues", which the cover and title cheekily reference. Its starts off slowed down and slurred, like what it must feel like to wake in such cold climes, drums lagging, sounding weird, guitars lazily riffing, then it speeds up to proper speed and it feels like the sun has just opened up on the land... But this isnt post rock, this is a shredder. Of course the lyrics could be the subject of much humour. The song is written from the viewpoint of a snowman who wishes for the sun to shine its warmth upon him, to clear the winter from his heart. "Build me up! Melt me down! Please turn your face to me / I am the snowman, and I am singing, the Snowman Blues". If the song that backs these lyrics werent so amazing then these lyrics would be trampled by tougher animals. But as it is, the chops alone make you feel for the sad, frosty fucker.

So, think Swedens answer to New Age Records... Similar to Outspoken with a dose of early Lifetime melodies (early, like Backgorund early) These 5 songs give The Current EP a run for its money. And for any Outspoken fans, they know that The Current is the best Outspoken record.

I know very little else of Shield, but these 5 songs positively burn with roiling, introspective energy. I havent shown this to one person that did not like it.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Best Of.... Converge

Fact Leaves It's Ghost - A Zen and the Art of Face Punching Best Of Converge (2008)

Converge has long been one of my favorite bands in any extreme aggressive music genre. They have tact, skill and feeling in all that they do. The albums have artwork that is equally as good as the songs within. The lyrics echo sentiments of lost love and innocence all while waving a big fuck you to all who care to balk. Its no surprise that with those elements Converge have been a consistent force in hardcore and metal for the past 15+ years. They have yet to tire and yet to show any signs of slowing down, whatsoever. Their latest album, No Heroes, released last year, attests to this fact. It is some of the most surgically precise and visceral music made on the planet.

I compiled this 2 disc set together in an attempt to convert those who might need converting. Consider this the Converge Missionary Post. I want you to join my church. A church of togetherness, emotional release and blistering metallic hardcore. Not such a bad deal eh? Just sign on the dotted in your own blood and youre good to go.

This 2 disc set is NOT official. This is not a release, and nothing to do with it is official, other than the complete and official awesomeness of the songs and their makers. The cover artwork is also not official. I made it in a paltry attempt to keep up with the Converge design aesthetic. Of course some will think I missed some of their favorite songs and I must assure you that it was no easy task to leave many songs off. Each and every album has a particular flow that is worth hearing in its entirety (Except maybe Petitioning and Unloved, which are compilations of sorts, but Petitioning is also my all time favorite Converge record). As I said before, the packaging is amazing on all releases and there is nary a weak song on all 6 or 7 or 8 of their releases.

Songs are arranged in chronological order starting with the very first song from Halo In A Haystack, "Shallow Breathing". Most of these songs stick out to me for particular reasons here and there and that is why they are included. It could be song I skated to, a song I blasted in my car, a song my friends and I jumped around like lunatics to. Do yourself a favor and if you find yourself as into these guys as I expect you to be, then do seek out the rest of their stuff because I left a lot of amazing songs off of this.

*As it turns out, the song that I was wondering about is called Serial Killer. It is the b-side to the Downpour 5" and is a cover of a Vio-Lence track. Thanks to Forever Gold from for clearing that up. If anyone has the full track and wouldnt mind upload please leave a link in the comments. The mp3 I have is cut off towards the very end.

Converge [Disc 1]

1. Shallow Breathing / I Abstain
2. Two-Day Romance
3. Fact Leaves Its Ghost
4. Divinity
5. The Saddest Day
6. Dead
7. Farewell Note To This City
8. Color Me Blood Red
9. Snowblind
10. For You
11. Downpour
12. My Unsaid Everything
13. The High Cost of Playing God
14. Conduit
15. Year of the Swine
16. Love As Arson

Converge [Disc 2]

1. Serial Killer*
2. Locust Reign
3. This is Mine
4. My Great Devestator
5. Concubine
6. Fault and Fracture
7. Hell To Pay
8. Thaw
9. Last Light
10. Drop Out
11. Hope Street
12. Heartless
13. You Fail Me
14. Hanging Moon
15. Heartache
16. Hellbound
17. Sacrifice
18. Vengeance
19. Weight of the World
20. No Heroes