Saturday, February 26, 2011

Socialcide- Sick of the Pressure EP 7"

Year: 2005
Artist: Socialcide
Album: Sick of the Pressure EP
Label: Self-released
What the fuck!! Talk about the definition of "this record fucking rips" all put into 7inches of thrusting hardcore punk angst. When I first heard this record, I could not believe what I was hearing. This is straight up HARDCORE. It's got this pen sketch cover that just says the name and title in bold lettering with a picture of a house in a field. I have no idea how this works, but it sure looks like a hardcore record.

Hailing from Richmond, VA's almighty hardcore scene of the late 2000's, this band is an essential piece of that puzzle. I've seen them live about 5 times, and it's always a wall of noise pounding me against the wall. These kids really know hardcore.

 I can be fairly brief about this one, because telling you anything beyond, "holy shit you have to hear this fucking record" would probably be past the point. This is some of the tightest hardcore punk around nowadays. It's got the punchy riffs of bands like Government Warning except this is way faster, almost powerviolence speed, but paced well enough to be "perfect". It avoids sounding metal by all means, making it even more awesome. This captures the bands energy at their finest, and this is their best release ever.

Also, I told him I would get the word out. Since I'm blogging about SOCIALCIDE, the singer of this band, Zach, is actually moving to Raleigh this summer. If you're looking for a rad roommate, you should hit him up.


Skitkids // Nightmare Split 7" EP

Artists: Skitkids (a-side) & Nightmare (b-side)
Year: 2007
Label: Hate Records
1- Skitkids- Äckliga jävlar
2- Skitkids- Inskränkt Å trygg
3- Nightmare- Ruin on Parade & Light the Darkness

When Seth Beard was broke out of money, I feel like I totally intruded his record collectionby snagging this record from him for a few bucks. Before I owned it, I would go to his house and look for this record in particular just because I knew he had it. When he did catch up, I did eventually give him his Bastard 12" bootleg back, but I hid this one in the depths of my room and almost put a machine gun turret next to it because I never want to lose this record.

The A-side begins with Sweden's SKITKIDS; a lukewarm bass tone creeps in laying out the concrete for the massive amount of guitar and drum traffic that will rampage this piece of wax. The drums come in at a gruesome pace and a high volume production. Then rhythm guitar invades, which all leads you to believe that this is how loud this record's about to be. Suddenly, like a nuclear blast, your speakers will face an enormous threat that is the next part of the song where every instrument explodes, and this pissed off Swedish dude begins yelling like no one I've ever heard before. So much can be said about the intro to this record, but the best that can be said about the entire thing, start to finish, is that it absolutely does not leave any room to breathe and suffocates you entirely with frantic hardcore energy, and does not once slow down or calm down at all. Prepare to face the assault that is this entire record. When the guitar solo comes in, it also feels like that might be the max volume you'll hear of it, but then after a couple of stops and a punchy re-intro, you hear a massive burst of energy from the guitars, just slamming in unison. At the end of the first song, it gives you less than half a second to think about what you just heard, and then kicks back in with the drum roll into the next song which is just as hellish as the first. This is definitely the best thing ever recorded by SKITKIDS... two songs in four minutes.

Then flip to the b-side, and scramble your brain with a disturbing rumble. The NIGHTMARE side of this record is a complete frenzy. The instrument recordings are very blown out and the drumming is tight where it needs to be and get's real loose during the breaks, and flows up and down from both, defining evolved Japanese hardcore at it's best. This is hard as fuck, that's all that really needs to be said. Imagine drumming that makes GAUZE seem technical, NAPALM DEATH's bass tone, and a sinister and throat slicing guitar tone that will make you trash your room and break things. You can throw your death metal CDs in the trash can now, because NIGHTMARE makes that shit look like Bruce Springsteen or something. I highly recommend not listening to a rip of this record if you are driving down a highway; you would become the most frantic driver ever.

Download here


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Out Cold - Two Broken Hearts Are Better Than One

Artist: Out Cold
Album: Two Broken Hearts Are Better Than One
Year: 1999
Label: Kangaroo

1. High Maintenance
2. Energy Vampire
3. A Is For Asshole
4. You'll Never Learn
5. Skinned Alive
6. Dangerously Unstable
7. Nailgun Murder
8. Schizo
9. One Trick Pony
10. Crawlspace
11. Restraining Order
12. It Went Bang
13. Deviant
14. Spaceshot

Starting in a town a few miles outside of Boston in 1989, Out Cold went against the trend of the time and would uncompromisingly stay true to their formula of tried-and-true 80’s style hardcore for another 20 years.  This record came out in 1999 or 2000, preceding the explosion of 80s hardcore obsession that would flood the US a few years later.  This is not necessarily to say that the band is responsible for a sudden rise in hardcore’s popularity; however, a lot of their influence, while maybe not alluded to, is fairly obvious.  After 20 years, Out Cold’s body of work has become large and significant, and I feel they are severely underrated. 

While they’ve had a ton of releases over the years, Two Broken Hearts Are Better Than One is definitely my favorite full-length they’ve ever put out.  This record seems to get less attention then some of the others for whatever reason.  There is no real good quality rip of this record anywhere else online, which is a shame because sonically, the songs on this record hit you like a ton of bricks with in-the-pocket rhythmic intensity. That being said, to me the stand-out quality of Out Cold’s sound is that while the songwriting is pure, unadulterated, and straightforward, it is also somehow extremely catchy at the same time.  This is due to the genius of Mark Sheehan, who handled vocal duties for the latter era of the band.  He is another one of my favorite all-time hardcore vocalists, delivering some of the most throat-callusing growls I’ve ever heard, always with serious attitude and lyrical content centered around either personal frustration or sadistic methods of murder.  Even so, no matter how menacing the riffing and lyrics are in a song, he always manages to create some-sort of vocal hook to grab onto.  This is no more apparent than in my favorite song on this record, “Deviant,” with a riff that, while simple, is one the most unrelenting and sinister opening riffs ever, still managing to get stuck in your head. 

On a side note, while I had always planned to post this record on the blog, I recently found out by an eerie coincidence that Mark Sheehan died unexpectedly at the age 41 in early October of last year.  This was obviously devastating for me to hear, Out Cold being one of my favorite bands in the last few years.  I never got a chance to see them live, but this record, and the other slue of great records Out Cold left behind are testament to how great Mark really was.  He will definitely be missed.  RIP.


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Beastie Boys- Aglio E Olio EP

Artist: Beastie Boys
Album: Aglio E Olio
Label: Grand Royal
Year: 1995

1. Brand New
2. Deal With It
3. Believe Me
4. Nervous Assistant
5. Square Wave in Union
6. You Catch a Bad One
7. I Can't Think Straight
8. I Want Some
9. Soba Violence (CD bonus track)

Written in 1995 during their successful rap career and released only in Australia and Japan, the Beastie Boys keep to the "Aglio E Olio" (that's Garlic and Oil in Italian) formula of their original hardcore punk influence with this release. This EP in particular is often overlooked for obvious reasons, mainly because their more popular hip-hop and instrumental material kinda rules hard, and this EP is real tricky to find. Nowadays, the most accessible way to get some of these tracks in physical format would be from their 3-disc "Beastie Boys Anthology", which is a mix between everything they've ever done, from the "Polly Wog Stew" sessions, to catchy tunes form "Hello Nasty" and "Ill Communication", all the way up to everything preceding "To the 5 Boroughs"; it includes about 4 tracks from this EP on it.

This record is a NYHC trophy in my opinion. It's got the punchy bass guitar style that sounds like Adam Yauct is worshipping the Bad Brains. The guitar sounds like it was plugged into some pawn shop gear, and replicates the playing of New York's Kraut with the tone and snarl of JFA or Reagan Youth. Mike Diamond's drumming shines in this recording, with his jazzy fluctuations, mathematical and punctual formulas, tight stops synced next to the bass guitar, and perfect analog sounds. He also does the all of the vocals on this record, and he still keeps that teenage angsty vocal delivery, much better than performed on their "Polly Wog Stew" record from the 80's. As a drummer myself, I take a lot of influence from this EP and other early NYHC that sounds anything like this. It's got a lot of weird instrumental breakdowns, that tap into tracks from "In Sounds From the Way Out" (their instrumental record), and their stomper "Sabotage". This EP is a staple of NYHC, especially for the era of the mid-90's when the NY scene was overrun by doofus shit bands like 25 ta' Life, Crown of Thornz, Hatebreed, and other bullshit that sounds like that. The reason I say that is because I imagine the Beastie Boys hearing about the scene at the time, and saying "oh fuck all that", and wrote this EP which is rudimentary, still raw punk, and blows all of that other shit away in a quick 11 minutes. Check out quick tracks like "Believe Me" and "Nervous Assistant" for a real raging fast, and aggro sounding hardcore, and tracks like "Square Wave in Union" and "I Can't Think Straight" for their more technical song structures. Especially on "Square Wave in Union", the intro has this mathematical open-handed drum tricks which is a rare find, because it's really hard to pull off.

Imagine all the Beastie Boys' fans who line up at their show and then see them pull out a Minor Threat cover in the middle of it... I think that's really fucking cool... See THIS VIDEO to find them covering "Screaming at a Wall" by Minor Threat. Other videos can be found of the Beastie Boys performing their Aglio E Olio material live, and I will provide the links here: NERVOUS ASSISTANT LIVE; I WANT SOME LIVE; BRAND NEW LIVE; BELIEVE ME LIVE; TOUGH GUY (from Ill Communication) LIVE. I would have really liked to have been there, except at the time I was like 10 years old, and this footage is from them playing somewhere in Australia, so there's no way in hell for me to have seen that.

Overall, if you haven't heard this record, you're really missing out. That's why I'm uploading this. CDEP released in Japan and Australia, and double 7" released in Australia. If anyone finds a 2x7" copy of this, I'll trade you a really sick record in my collection for it. The CD-EP's can be found rarely in some used bookstores, but all of this is out of print. This would make a really sick bootleg.