Saturday, September 29, 2007

Digital Mixtape Volume 2

Mephiskapheles and Defiance, Ohio

I was going to add this track to this weeks Digital Mixtape, but found this video instead. The song "Eskamo" (which what they're playing in the video) is probably my favorite song by Mephiskapheles. The organ intro, which isn't as thick on the video as the record, is classic. I expected shows by these guys to be way crazier than this, but it's a pretty low-key song, so maybe the faster songs are a lot more wild.

Defiance, Ohio are one of my favorite live bands. Their set at Plan-It-X Fest at Cave9 (it was a traveling fest, I only saw the one date) a couple of years ago is one of my top 5 favorite live sets I've ever seen. I remember the first I said after they played was "Wow! That was like what Against Me! always tried to sound like!" The quality on this video isn't so hot, but it's listenable. It's from a small house show somewhere, which is always the best venue for bands like this.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Authorities-Puppy Love Download

EDIT: For some reason when this was packed, it only took some of the songs and I didn't think to double check it. I have reposted the download with the full album. Sorry!

The first time I heard the Authorities was on Killed By Death Volume 1. I was completely blown away by both of their tracks on the record("Radiation Masturbation" and "I Hate Cops"), and immediately started for their record, Soundtrack for Trouble. After seeing the prices on eBay, I decided to search for a more economic solution.

Puppy Love was released in 1993 on Get Hip. There's was supposedly a vinyl pressing, but I've never seen one. The CD collects the aforementioned Soundtrack for Trouble 7" (which included both of the songs on Killed By Death, and an earlier demo. Some of the songs from the demo completely smoke the KBD selections. My personal favorite is "Your Life", which is like Trainspotting set to music circa 1983. Enjoy.

Download Puppy Love

Buy the thing on Interpunk

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The Press Discography to be released next month

The Press, a SHARP band from NYC in the 80s and early 90s will have their discography available for the first time on Halloween 2007. Their biggest contribution to the national scene was their appearance on Oi! Record's "Punks n Skins Volume 5" LP with the Radicts. I like the Press, but there's a little something the press release (no pun intended) I need to dispute:

"The Press were the first American Oi! band and this is the first time their collected works, including remastered rarities and unreleased material*, have been issued in one slick lookin’ digipack release together with band photos and a pullout lyric-sheet!"

Calling them the "first American Oi! band" is an insult and an outright lie. First off, how many reissues have you seen in the past few years touting a band as "the first American Oi/skinhead band? I've seen way too many. While it might be the subject of debate, any idiot who owns anything by GMM Records can tell you that the Effigies and Iron Cross predate 1984.

I was going to write something derogatory about communists and Canadians here, but I decided against it. At least the record's coming out. I should learn to complain less.

Insurgance Records

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Digital Mixtape Volume 1

As with all things I do for the first time, this feature isn't perfect. I'm hoping to make it a weekly deal. This is basically just stuff I'm into right now that you should be, too. Some of it was downloaded from the various punk MP3 blogs around and some is stuff ripped off CD for your listening to pleasure.

Feedback is helpful!

V/A-U.S. of Oi! Download

This comp was released in 1993 on Link Records, and is still probably the definitive American Oi compilation. It's got almost all of the classic bands, from the Anti Heros ("Hate Edge" is probably the most easily recognizable US Oi! song from the era), YDL, the Uprise, and the opening track is a stripped down version of Warzone's now legendary "Don't Forget the Struggle".

It's not all amazing. The duds are still here. The Boot Boys "American Heritage" is like something that Nancy Reagan would've written as propaganda for school-age kids to a watered down punk back beat. The Kicker Boys "Sitar (I Hate Hippies)" is almost unlistenable, although "I Got a Handgun", their other contribution on this disc is one of those punk anthems that's so bad it reaches some higher form of clever art that makes it infectious.

While some people disregard American Oi as just ripping off the lower forms of the early British incarnation (which I have to admit is valid to an extent), I just don't see how you can pass off the Uprise or YDL tracks as anything less than great.

I don't really know about the politics of Youth Defense League (the spelling on this record actually lists them as "Youth Defence League", which is wrong), nor do I really care to pick apart some elaborate mythology of the band before I'll admit I like them or not. I know there have been several accusations against them about whether or not they're racist and/or right-wing extremists, but I don't know of any songs that actually state any politics of that kind, and I would assume that since they associated with bands who had a zero tolerance policy on racist skins (Agnostic Front, Gorilla Biscuits), I doubt it. The song "Skinheads 88" that appears on this record is actually a reference to the year (the song was originally released on the American Pride 7" in 1989, recorded in 1988), and was a response to the skinhead "purists" who harped on the "Spirit of 69" aesthetic.

There are bonus tracks on this that are exclusive to the CD version, which was pressed by Step-1, a British anti racist label. The Grievance Committee tracks listed as part of the "Bonus" are phenomenal, and I can't understand why they were omitted from the vinyl version. I know they released an EP in the Mid-80s, but I've never heard it.

Download U.S. of Oi!

(NOTE: I uploaded this onto mediafire instead of bigfilehost. It's a little easier to work with the download, so I hope it works out. Let me know what you think!)

This CD is still available from Amazon. It's a bit pricy, but if you like it, you should check it out.

Friday, September 21, 2007

You will now be redirected

I don't have much time or incentive to write a real entry right now. I've got too much on the brain.

However, I feel like I should point you to a a download for a very cool record I heard for the first time the other day via Good Bad Music For Bad, Bad Times. The Stalag 7" they posted the other day is absolutely amazing.

Last Days of Man on Earth also posted a great record recently. The Real Enemy demo tape from '83 will blow your brains out if you're into the Negative Approach/Necros style hardcore.

Step 3: Get some sleep.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The Uprise to release discography CD

I am so fucking stoked about this. The Uprise, who are probably my favorite 80s US Oi band, are going to release a CD of their entire catalog. This is something I've wanted for quite a while, and I actually tossed around the ides of trying to track down the band members and getting it out myself.

The record is coming out on a label I've never heard of called Satan Wears Suspenders.

If you don't know anything about the Uprise, go check 'em out on MySpace. They were both the US of Oi! and Oi: American Style comps, put out a 7" in '88, and probably some demo stuff. But hell, they're so goooood. They were rough, but they could play, and they had melody, which was almost nonexistent in the late 80s hardcore and Oi scene. It's all the best parts of Warzone with a little bit of an old British feel and absolutely no pretention. Those of you that knew me/saw my bands in Birmingham probably remember Slag covering "Around the World" a lot.
Fucking get hyped.

Monday, September 17, 2007

The Screamers-In A Better World 2xCD download

(I know the download links for the CDs weren't working. They should both be working now, sorry about that!)

The Screamers have gotten to be a much bigger deal in the past couple of years than they were just a few years ago when I got into them. This record probably has a lot to do with that. Before this came out, I had only read brief accounts of the band's liveshows (which were always raving about their genius), and this was one of the first times that any of their recordings were available to an audience larger than KBD collector nerds.

The Screamers were from LA and lasted three short years, but they managed to progress punk further in three years than most bands have in the three decades that have come. They discarded guitars and based their band on synthesizers, and they also featured a drum machine (years before Big Black or Skinny Puppy, mind you). For all their progression and differences, their sound is still very well rooted in LA. You can hear the Germs bleeding through on every vocal track, and some of the songs have the sugary not-quite-pop sound of the Pop! or early Motels. The whole thing points to that one Bad Religion record, and is probably the most accessible example of synthpunk (the Units, while conceptually a great band, were way too dancy for my taste).

This is a bootleg put out by the people who run, and the imprint says Xeroid Records. The only other release I know of theirs is a tribute to the Screamers, which I actually never heard. It came out 7 years ago and was pretty well distributed for a bootleg, but copies are a little hard to come by now (and sell for around $30). It's well worth the purchase of the physical CDs for all the great flyers, pictures, and newsclippings. It's been remastered, but the sound quality isn't amazing, so you audiophile freaks might not be pleased. But if you're that into quality, why the hell are you listening to punk rock?

Download In A Better World Disc 1
Download In A Better World Disc 2

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Reagan Youth, more follies of reunion, and the throwback delimma

I was talking to a friend a while ago about a really awesome set of videos I found on YouTube of Reagan Youth playing at Thompson Square in 1988. Dave Insurgent looks, sounds, and acts like a young Zach de la Rocha, but on a lot of drugs. The sound quality on the videos is great, and the whole thing is a little odd. I'd never seen videos of them live before, but it's NOT at all what I expected.



Now, after seeing these, I noticed a lot of videos of the recently reformed Reagan Youth from 2006-2007. The first I heard about this was when they got the headlining spot at the East Coast Oi! Fest, which I thought was a little odd since they aren't Oi in the slightest, but I guess it's not too far off since they influenced a ton of Oi bands. I was skeptical, as always, but I heard through the grapevine they were really great. Mind you, no one who said this was of an opinion that mattered to me, but I still hoped for the best.

And now I see the videos. Oh man. The band is good. They're tight. They're old, but they rock it. They're totally giving it their all. But who the fuck is singing? Is that Justin Sane with bleach blond hair? Is that some dude they pulled at random from the Rodent Popsicle roster? Who the fuck is this guy? He's AWFUL. He's got a horrible voice and he acts like he's a rockstar because he happens to be singing in front of what was once Reagan Youth. The guy doesn't even look old enough to have actually been alive in the 80s long enough to really be considered Reagan youth. What a great way to, yet again, ruin a classic band.

It seems like with the post yesterday and the post today, that's all I'm thinking about. The truth is, I am thinking about it a lot. I saw the line-up for Riot Fest this year. Naked Raygun, Bad Brains, Stiff Little Fingers, etcetc. Sure, they're all great, but who cares? Those bands were big way before I was born. How come people can't get into new bands anymore? How come you don't ever see a band playing the top spots on those bills that's less than 10 years old? Are people ever going to get over the fucking 1980s? (or 1970s, or even 60s in some cases?) When will my generation be able to place a foothold in now and build our own ideas, genres, and culture? We're the Throwback Generation. We've got nothing to call our own except for vintage relics of the past we can't even reinterpret. I'm sick to death of looking backwards, how about you?

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Sham 69 and the Sonics reunite

Sham 69 is playing Chicago on Septemeber 28th. The news broke yesterday, and everyone seems stoked about it, but I just don't see the point. The last Sham 69 record I heard was The A Files, and the one time I listened to it is still one of the most horrible half hours of my life. I barely remember it because the event was so traumatic that I supressed the memory of what the album actually sounds like, so I'm not sure of the genre classification, but I think "crap" is the section where you can find it at your local record shop. I just don't understand why anyone would get excited about seeing a band that was great 30 years ago, but is now just some old dudes playing stuff that maybe they happened to be a part of back then (I don't know how "original" this line-up, but I'm sure skeptical). That's like something you'd see for free at a casino.

And, in other, even more ridiculous news, the legendary Tacoma, WA punk band the Sonics are reuniting for the Cavestomp Fest in NYC. Again, I love this band. Here Are the Sonics is such a powerful, raw punk record that defies everything that was coming out at the time. It's like they shot the Beatles in the face, put their bodies on stage, and shot electricity through their corpses with instruments in their hands. Their versions on "Money" and "Have Love Will Travel" are more raw than anything coming out now that tries to be "stripped down" or "retro". But that record came out in 1960. I'm content to sit at home and spin the record instead of ruining my opinion of such a classic band by watching old men embarass themselves "for the kids".

Man, I am so jaded today.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Britney Spears, MTV, +Don Hertzfelt's "Rejected"

The other people I work with insist on having the radio on, and insist on which station is "best", which doesn't make sense to me at all. Every single one of the popular radio stations has the same playlist of about 600 songs that they repeat every day. The DJs are just different voices, all saying the same things, repeating all the same things after each other.

"What's up with the way that everybody gathers around
Each other, so they can steal each other's sound?"

That being said, I'm already sick of hearing about MTV's Video Music Awards. Apparantly Britney Spears is fat and she still can't sing or write decent songs. Apparantly Tommy Lee and and Kid Rock threw punches, which I'm sure was no big deal since they're both spoiled rich brats, they can't fucking fight for shit anyway. I don't care. I'm ashamed to know so much about people I've ever met, and you should be, too.

I'm going to bed because I have to be at work in the morning like a normal person and not a celebrity.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Death Sentence-Not a Pretty Sight Download

One of the classics, and also one of the most under-rated 80s hardcore bands. Death Sentence hailed from Vancouver, and they were sort of a cross between the Sex Pistols and Motorhead, and this record fuses the two sounds in a blistering crossover style attack. Their follow up, Stop Killing Me leaned much, much more to the metal side, and is decent, but mediocre compared this record.

The band reformed for a spell sometime in the past decade with a new singer, as the original died of an overdose in the early 90s. This record has never been pressed on CD, but two vinyl pressings exist, from 1985 and 1986, and typically run for around $30.

Download Death Sentence-Not a Pretty Sight LP

Monday, September 3, 2007

Rage Against the Machine refuses to write another record

I've been listening to Rage Against the Machine's People of the Sun EP a lot lately as Revelation recently repressed it. I found it odd considering I didn't really know that the record was really all that hard to come by, but I'm sure it's got everything in the world to do with the bands recent reunion. I was mildly surprised by it, as I had heard that the break-up came on bad blood and they swore they'd never get back together, but then again, you never know what's rumor, and I guess anything's possible. I wasn't really excited by it, because I was honestly never huge into the band in the first place, and I figured if they came to town it'd be too expensive for me anyway.

As it is, they never hit Chicago on tour, but they did play in Wisconsin. A friend of mine caught their show (for $70, but I think that was the scalped price and tickets from the box office were around $40) and said they were great. But, really, I don't see the point. I understand the band, sure, but I don't understand why a band with such strong political convictions would reunite under the current state of affairs in the United States and be content to sing songs written before 2001. The band is supposed to be all about achieving social and political change through music, but by refusing to write anything about what's going on right now, and instead just trying to apply ideals from songs that were written almost 10 years ago, it seems to me like they've lost site of their goals. Or are just taking money from the huge gigs they've been offered. But maybe that's just me.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Banner of Hope-Behind a Banner of Hope Download

When I mentioned this band in a review a couple weeks back, I didn't know that this record had fallen completely out of print, and apparently the label is out of business (if I'm wrong, correct me!). The song "Wrench in the Machine" should be on any mix tape you make for a younger punk kid that's new to the scene, it's an absolute classic. Outside of that track, though, I find the album to be an almost complete bore. I know some people who go completely nuts over this band, but I just can't get into it. It's sort of a Blanks 77 style band with a really heavy X Ray Spex influence, meaning there's a female vocalist that's just belting out 110% all the time but manages to keep any sort of edge out of her voice. So, anyway, you might be all about it.

Download it

Per usual, there's captcha. Scroll down, type in the letters from the graphic. Hourly bandwidth limit, sorry. And, it's zipped. You know the drill. Have fun.

Interpunk has a few copies of this left (notice the graphic: "Available Only While Supplies Last"), so if you're into it, go ahead and grab it as it's the only place you can still find a new copy, and it's probably really, really old stock.

Beastie Boys, Elvis Costello

I haven't heard the new Beastie Boys record, but I'm sure it's awful. It's all instrumental, which I assume has to do something with the fact that all their lyrics have gone to shit since they decided not to step on anyone's toes anymore (what was that song they put out after 9/11 that was supposed to be political but refused to say anything bad about the US government or terrorism? Take a stand on something, man!).

BUT, here's a good one from a show in 1995 where they played all their old hardcore stuff. You can find the whole thing on a bootlegged DVD here, along with a bunch of other cool shit.

And how do I not remember this?!?!?

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Skinheads Still Scare People-For Life LP (Koi)

I've been kicking around what to say about this record for a few days now. I want to give it a good review, I really do. I want to be all about this band, but it's hard to be. There's so much hype around these guys right now, which turns me off 100% of the time. And, I know Mark at Koi has his heart in the right place. I'm not going to lie and say I totally love all the releases the label puts out, but I definitely respect the ethics behind the label and I think he's doing a good job with it and puts a lot of time and effort into every release, and this is definately not an exception.

This is much better than the 7" they put out last year, and also a lot more along the lines of what I originally expected out of these guys. It's much more based in 80s style US Oi. It reminds me a lot of Stars and Stripes, and I can hear a lot of old Youth Defense League in their sound as well. The record certainly has it's moments, but it falls short of matching anything as intense of either of those bands, though. I think a lot of the hype around these guys actually comes partly from older guys who haven't heard a good Oi LP is years and get into this because it reminds them of the old stuff (which is completely legit), but I also think that a lot of people who may like the aesthetic behind bands like YDL or Stars and Stripes, but don't want to listen to them because of their politics, are now getting into these guys because they're sort of the same thing but they don't sing about immigration or bombing the middle east.

It's a good record, it really, really is, and my writing about it makes it sound so much worse than it is. I tend to pick apart releases that get hyped. Maybe that's a personal problem. I could have done without the instrumental intro, as they're way too common and 99% of the time don't add anything to a record except a couple minutes of filler. I also could have done without the obligatory Oi Oi rocker "Never Give In", which is just another boring song about working class pride* (which manages to misspell "byrd"), but outside of that, it's actually pretty solid. Good, tight songs, the vocals sound like Choke, and they spare us only a couple of breakdowns, so it doesn't get old and formulated right off the bat. I'm glad this record is out. It seems like the US Oi scene is starting to reaffirm itself and I hope more good bands come out of the woodwork. I really like the concept behind the band (the name sort of says it all), and I think they've gotten themselves on the right track now. Hopefully this won't be the last we hear from these guys. They're also supposedly going to start playing shows (up until this point it's been a studio project), so maybe we'll even get a tour out of them.

For the collectors:

There are two common colorways for this record, blue and gold, and there were 200 each pressed. The version that I have is limited to 139, and I guess what they did was tell the pressing plant to just throw whatever leftover vinyl they had from other projects and make limited runs of this on different colors. It breaks down like this (from the Koi website:

42 Gold w/blue swirls, 28 Dark Gray, 34 Purple Swirls, 14 Opaque brown/grey/purple marble, 12 Light gray, 6 Clear brown with purple marble, 3 Salmon

The one I've got, I assume, is light gray. There's also a different cover for this version, AND it's worth noting that the guy who did the artwork on this has done some great work with European RAC/Oi bands, and the artwork on this looks great.

SSSP on MySpace
Koi Records

*I'm working class and proud, but c'mon!

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