Posted by -Kamikaze Dan on 6/4/2023
aaaaand I'm back! Baltimore was one hell of a party, and in 4 days of a TX BBQ roadtrip Eric and I traveled through Dallas/Denton/Fort Worth, Austin, San Antonio, the hill country, several small towns, and we hit 11 BBQ spots, 4 TexMex hitters, 4 pie shops, 2 chili spots, 1 chicken fried steak spot, 1 burger joint, 1 bakery, 1 old timey candy store, the world's largest convenience store, 2 arcades, 1 putt putt golf course, and the Rangers/Braves game. I realize there's a lot of negative things to be said about TX in 2023, but I cannot lie, TX the fuck lit, we had an amazing time.
Now I am back and caught up with every order that didn't come in within the last few hours and didn't include a Pestigor LP. Thanks for everybody's patience and understanding.
On a totally separate note,
Since I moved to Minneapolis, I’ve become a fully fledged gym guy. Five times a week I go to a small independent gym across the bridge from me and take a wide variety of group fitness classes. After being in the groove for several years, we’ve developed a pretty solid friend-group and community around the gym. It’s an important part of my life, not only does exercise really live up to the hype for doing wonders for your mental health, but as a remote worker, the gym is my one guaranteed social interaction every day, a place I can always go and be greeted and feel comfortable. There’s a lot to say about the gym but I want to focus on one particular interaction that’s caused me to think a lot about punk in the past bit.
I have a gym acquaintance that, whenever she sees me, almost always inquires about whatever band shirt I’m wearing. “Your shirt looks so cool, what’s it say?” “Gasmask Terror, it’s this punk band from France that I’m friends with, I’ve traveled around with them a bit and released some of their records on my little record label.” “That’s so cool, my daughter would LOVE that, she’s into all this heavy metal and hard rock stuff, our household is so musical, we always have music playing all the time, blah blah blah”. Pleasant little conversations and surface-level chats.
After a few months of this I finally decided to go ahead and make a mix CD-R of crucial punk shit from across time and place, ranging from Leatherface to Lebenden Toten, nothing too crazy or abstract but enough to get a feel for what’s out there, to give to my acquaintance’s daughter. I wondered if that’d be weird but I kinda decided, we spend enough time talking about my band shirts and her daughter, my acquaintance can decide if she wants to pass it along to the daughter or not. Maybe it’d be a meaningful friendly gesture to just volunteer it along. I’m basically under the impression the daughter is a teenager so she’s probably at an age she could stand to hear some of this stuff, and I mean, who knows, maybe she’d be into it.
I thought about whether it’d even be relevant to give a young person a mix CD-R of punk shit. Today’s youth have access to all things at all times, basically in perpetuity. That situation first began with my generation and has only continued as more and more of culture finds its way online. But I think a fundamental difference between my youth and today’s youth experience is the platforms by which this information is accessible.
In my youth, we still interacted with other human beings to gain information, get recommendations, learn context through oral histories and testimonies. I spent so much time on message boards reading discussions between all sorts of people, a wide variety of demographics, nationalities, identities, relevancies, and sponged up so much information.
Today, access to new information is regulated by corporate algorithms that assume what you’re going to interact with based on your developed shadow profile online. There’s no passage of information from human to human, it’s YouTube seeing you listen to Long Knife and then deciding you’d probably want to hear Death Side next. No context, no detail, just machine-learned assumptions based on search data. In the end, it’s easy to find whatever you’re into on the internet, but is there much meaning to the end result without any journey to bring you there? And I don’t mean in a gatekeeping sense, I mean in the sense that like, if you heard Death Side for the first time as an autoplay after new Long Knife record, is it meaningful enough to just hear the damn thing without contextualizing how Death Side influenced generations of punk bands in their country and beyond, including Long Knife?
So, I made my acquaintance’s daughter a mix CD-R. I still believe in the power of human-to-human transfer of knowledge and culture. I still hate big corporations dominating the internet. I still wish punk was removed from all that.
I feel like I hear all the time, people are into “punk”, “heavy metal”, “hard rock”. Amelia’s sister told me she listens to “the craziest music in the world” cause she’s a hard fuckin rocker, and proceeds to put on a modern nu metal band akin to Static-X but with heavier breakdowns. Being into loud rock music can mean all sorts of different things. Could my acquaintance’s daughter be into Slipknot? Turnstile? Dying Fetus? I mean, one of the gym instructors and I had a great discussion about Dying Fetus as her only Baltimore reference point when I first moved here. And this instructor sings in a Nightwish cover band, wtf?? Who fuckin knows what people are into, you know?
In my life, I am used to assuming that nobody likes anything I’m into LOL. Even at punk shows, I’m used to assuming that nobody is going to know the specific reference points I know and like the specific things I like. I’ve mentioned several times before that, personally, I just feel like I’m living on a totally different wavelength from the rest of the world of punk, in terms of taste, in terms of values, in terms of worldview and politic. But also, my worldview is shaped by my own experiences coming up in Baltimore.
When I was a kid, my local punk scene was relatively disengaged from the larger world of punk around us. Larger trends had no impact there, went completely ignored. Nobody was buying records. Interesting tours skipped over us. “Big” shows you’d expect huge crowds for would have minimal attendance. Hey, remember when I saw Iron Lung/Endless Blockade/Hatred Surge/Insect Warfare with two locals play to about 5 people, 3 of which came from out of town? It wasn’t because the local scene was small, actually it was pretty latently big, and we had totally raging gigs all the time. The issue was the way everyone processed and valued punk.
Our punk was a space created for freaks, geeks, dirtballs, damaged people, those who could not get along as well within normalized society at large. No fashion, no trend, no awareness and not even much interest in punk as an artform, from my perspective. Just punk as a lifestyle, as a place where we can rock the fuck out, punch each other in the face with a smile, do drugs, go nuts, fuck it man let’s live until we die here we goooo. In general, there wasn’t anybody fawning over Kort Prosess or Olho Seco records. It didn’t really matter if you sounded like Totalitar or not, charged your hair or not, just please be heavy, fast, and loud, that’s all that matters. Coming up in this environment had the biggest influence on me, it greatly impacted the way I think about punk and what it should/could be.
It's a meaningful change from that to a big city scene like Minneapolis. People walking around in high punk fashion talking about Chaotic End and Panikos with me. My bandmate talking about the new Guillotine Terror album. What?? That’s such a deep cut LOL, why the fuck are we even talking about this band in earnest?? In some ways, it’s a bit closer to the way I relate to punk, but in others, it’s so distant from what I’m used to.
So, I made my acquaintance’s daughter a mix CD-R. You never really know what people are going to be into. Maybe the daughter will be into this shit too. Or maybe not. But imagine how cool it’d be if she was and this mix CD-R was a relevant and meaningful event in her life, illuminating a new path that captured her interest. Or maybe she’ll just throw it in the trash lol. In the end, for me, it’s all good, cause the important part is the part I can control, my own actions and beliefs.
Well, my acquaintance was very pleased and excited about the CD-R, thanked me several times, told me she’d report back on her daughter’s thoughts. And I'm not holding out for any feedback, but I’ll report back here if I actually receive any LOL.
MAY NEW ARRIVALS
BiP has a new release!!
Pestigor - Baptized in Pus LP
We were so blown away by the debut Pestigor 7" a few years ago that we went ahead and did an American pressing of their new LP.
Pestigor is far and away the best Sacrilege-style crust band of the modern times. An immaculate mix of hardcore attack and velocity with thrash metal riffing and heaviness, with the attitude-laden, slightly-reverb'd vocals you'd expect. Plenty of other bands in the last 10+ years have played this style but never really left an impression on me, but Pestigor got me stopping in my tracks and wondering what they're gonna do next.
This American pressing gonna start shipping on June 1, but if you pre-order now, you can get color vinyl and also order an exclusive shirt design. The shirts are being made-to-order, we won't be selling them past the June 1 release date.
Thanks to everybody that's ordered so far and thanks in advance for your patience cause all this fancy preorder stuff is a new hustle to me.
This month's big winner is, once again, Finland. Swear to god Finland is the place to be for punk these days.
Tiikeri LP is my summertime smasher this year. I CANNOT stop listening to this record, it's been on the tip of my tongue since I heard it and I've been recommending it and playing it for everyone that'll listen. Finland 77 is the clear starting point, but the nasal vocals remind me of one of my favorite obscurities, The Dudoos, which maybe means it's kinda like Toy Dolls? Tiikeri got the swagger and attitude of 77, but the heart and songwriting of the finest garage rock-type bands. Ah it's a beautiful convergence of influences to make a record that's the full package, from the production to the songs to the artwork and layout.
1981 new EP is another one that I haven't been able to stop spinning over and over. One of my top favorite bands of recent memory, blessing us with another 7" single out of nowhere after a few years of silence. And apparently there's more in the works? I can't wait.
1981 play a sort of pop-oriented, melodic anarcho-punk that recalls a less dramatic/flamboyant Chumbawumba, or maybe if Zounds was less direct. It's a style simultaneously familiar and comfortable yet ultimately unique, full of personality. Informed, not copying anybody. The contrast of the clean, simple guitars to the hyper-busy rhythm section, backing the most thoughtful lyrics this side of Active Minds, it's perfect. I can't get enough.
Next on the docket....my main label SPHC also has two new releases too LOL.
First, I dip my toe into metal with a split 7" between Deconsecration (USA) and Noizegoat (Japan). Never thought I'd see the day I'm releasing metal records but the power of friendship is very compelling to me LOL. Deconsecration plays a style of thoughtful, atmospheric death metal that sits pretty well with me, and fuckin Noizegoat, hot damn, if you didn't pick up their previous split 12" on RSR then you done goofed. Noizegoat absolutely the best slow/heavy band in the game today, the Corrupted of this generation.
To go along with this 7", I picked up big stacks of the previous two Noizegoat CDs if you want to take the full dive. Highly recommended. These have not been distributed outside Japan at all. "We'll paint your boring daily life in black"!
Second, I dip my toe into compilations with a comp 12" of all new generation Finnish noisecore bands.
I think anybody into noisecore already has an eye towards Finland. Fans will already know names like Nihilist Commando, Aunt Mary, Unpeace, Funeral Mongoloids, YesMeansYes. And there were multiple terrific Finnish noisecore comps in the 2010s that documented all these veteran and classic bands.
So for the 2020s, I'd like to present to the world, a new Finnish noisecore comp, with younger and newer bands you may not know, but who are currently blossoming into their primes and continuing to make noisecore exciting and fun.
Behind the scenes, this is all possible due to Mikko/Garbage Fountain zine, so tip your hat to the true patron saint of Finnish noisecore.
Oh yeah, speaking of noisecore, my own crappy band Anal Butt has a new split tape out now.
SPHC-adjacent, we got a bucketload of the new issue of Private Scandal zine that focuses in on some SPHC fam, Chaos Channel. A deep dive into obscure histories and fantastic legends of one of the coolest Japanese punk bands, as told by the man in charge, the mad genius No. 6, with extra commentary by one of his best friends, Mark Wanky.
I haven't read it yet but I have been reflecting a lot on all the happy memories around the world I've spent with Mark and No. 6 over the years and how proud I am that the Chaos Channel 7" single I released maintains as one of the best SPHC releases. I still got No. 6's art for Lotus Fucker and Merciless Game framed and hanging on my apartment wall lol.
If you don't want to read about noise, you want to hear it, we got ample brutal crust this month. Consume collection LP has been a great one to revisit, and I'm totally loving this Genogeist EP that's steeped in the classic sounds of SDS. I was really excited for the Squandered collection LP, I only know them from the split 7" with Disclose and didn't totally realize the Cracked Cop Skulls connection or that there were more recordings. But what seriously shocked me was this Non Fortes Sed Crudeles LP, an obscure 90s demo from Sweden featuring folks from Skit System. I'd never heard of this before but I think it's a terrific banger of raw brutal crustcore, totally rampaging and bursting at the seams.
If you need slightly more easy listening, pick up the D.O.V.E. LP if you forgot to grab it on their recent tour.
On the more hardcore side, people are flipping over the new Destruct LP, and actually, I am too LOL. To my ears, it's a huge step forward from the first LP, they've honed their style to a relentless stomper of Framtid-influenced hardcore. Highly recommended! And if you're digging that, it's worth checking out SkyMars debut EP too, the new band of AGE and Blowback (and Scrum Half!) folks. To me, this sounds like AGE without the SDS, as a hardcore rather than a crust band, but I wonder how much of that is because singer guy has such an unmistakable voice.
On the more punk side, I'd be writing about this Alambre de Puas 2x7" if it had dropped at a different time than Tiikeri LP. HIGHEST RECOMMENDATION!! I can never ever ever get enough of this traditional style of South American hardcore: toopa-toopa drums, simple clean bass, guitar sounds broken, singer sings really fast. Me and everybody else fawn over Ignorantes, but don't forget Chile scene is popping off right now and there are plenty of other great bands coming from that part of the world.
Also, there's a new Order record??? From an American standpoint, that feels so random, but I'm happy to report they've basically picked up where they left off, with two tracks of bass-driven attitude-laden PUNK weirdness. Please recall that their last record in the 2010s was also a weird one and this band was getting progressively weirder as time went on. I miss the days of "Space Junk" and "Zero" but I like their weird style too.
The Black Ganion side is also a weird grinding smoker, yowzers!! Go Uno go!!
God damn I feel like I've been rambling so much this time around and made this shit way longer than usual so I'll be brief here.
We got a great spread of the world's oi, from Death Ridge Boys LP to Terre Neuve EP, buuuut I don't really care for oi that much so I'll use this ending point to highlight we got all the latest FOAD Italian reissues, ranging from straight classics like Nerorgamso discography 2xLP to hidden obscurities like London 77 demo reissue.
For more commentary on this stuff and more, please scope our Instagram page, where we review choice new arrivals as they come. If it sounds cool when we talk about it, it'll sound even cooler when you hear it streaming on the online store, and even cooler still when you buy the record and slap it on your turntable.
on the way for June:
more Alchemy Records reissues
more of the latest Japanese shit
big box from FOAD, including some restocks
CDs CDs CDs
Terveet Kadet shirts? I think?
more More MORE
Thanks and talk more later.