By 1985 hardcore was on its way out, and the originators of the genre were looking to greener pastures. Those who didn't start playing more metallic styles opted to inject a degree of sensitivity and personal politics into their trip. Dag Nasty was the brainchild of former Minor Threat/Government Issue dude Brian Baker. Brian enlisted the talents of Dave Smalley, formerly of DYS to sing on the band's debut Can I Say. When this came out I was rather disinterested in punk bands singing about their feelings and the like, but this record is pretty great if you can just tune out the goofy "Man, navigating social circles is tough because I am an overly sensitive rich kid in a punk scene, and I have high moral standards and unrealistic expectations of my dumb friends and even myself" lyrics.
Saturday, May 30, 2009
Casablanca Records, in the '70s, was a juggernaut of gimmicky concept bands fueled with mountains of shimmery coke. At the head of the roster was KISS, then you had Parliament (black KISS), The Village People (gay KISS) and then the unsung heroes, Angel. Angel were kind of marketed as "good" KISS. Where KISS were demons and aliens and anamorphic man cat things, Angel were supposed to be like...well, angels. Feathered hair and tube steak in white satin angels, but angels nonetheless. The best stylists, producers, graphic artists and handlers were added to the Casablanca payroll to ensure the band's meteoric rise to stardom, but it just never really came to be. The band did land a bit part in the film Foxes with Jodie Foster, Cherie Currie, and Scott Baio. They also made a few albums of varying quality. Here I present their debut and, in my humble opinion, it's fucking awesome. Trust me, this will either totally give you diamond cutting wood, or make you want to puke.
Friday, May 29, 2009
Westchester, New York dude bros, Toxik, probably could have been big but they were a bit late to the party. Their debut of techy thrash wankery, World Circus, was unleashed in 1987 when the world's interest in poofy haired shredders in stretch jeans and puffy white tennies was giving way to an interest in Seattle heroin addicts in flannels shirts. Toxik were reminiscent of Anthrax without the goofy Steven King and Ninja Turtle references, they had more pressing concerns, the arms race, organized religion, social issues...Anyhoo, like every second string thrash band from the '80s, Toxik have come out of retirement to play these songs for kids in denim vests who were moshing it up in their daddy's flesh bags when this first came out.
Thursday, May 28, 2009
The Swankys were the more '77-styled punk persona of Japanese Noisecore gods Gai. Both bands operated in tandem with pretty much the same members and often the same songs. Confusing, I know, but don't concern yourself with the murky history of these bands, just dig into these early recordings (1985) done under the banner of The Swankys. It's nothing to over intellectualize or ponder, just basement pogo punk from guys with names likes Watch, Loods, TV, and Beer. Way fun.
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Here's the first LP from one of my favorite Greek Metal bands, Agatus. Released in 1994, the Dawn of Martyrdom showed a marked improvement in the band since their first demos. Agatus, made up of two brothers going by the names of Eskarth The Dark One and Archon Vorskaath, juxtapose a bit of norsecore into their traditional Hellenic Black/Death. Majestic, self-assured, Greek occult metal, is there anything better?
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
John "Bloodclot" Joseph, street hustler, drug addict, brawler, product of his environment, but perhaps best known as the frontman of The Cro-Mags. John wrote a book about his tumultuous life and it is every bit as great as it is disturbing and thought-provoking. And get this, the writing is blunt, comprehensible, and engaging as can be. John's literary voice is that of a dude on the street just spilling it, telling you ribald inner city tales that make you wanna squirm away before he kicks your fucking teeth in. There are no justifications, no apologies, no excuses, just a whole lot of "Here's another fucked up thing I did to survive," and survive he did. Judge not the man, just sit back and let him tell you how it went down. Brutally honest, matter of fact, and seriously fucked up. Here's the book on tape version with John himself laying it down. Killer.
Monday, May 25, 2009
Berserks were an Italian quintet obviously inspired by the NWOBHM movement, particularly the earliest work of Iron Maiden. Problem was Berserks had more enthusiasm than chops when they entered the studio in 1982 to make their only album. Still would rather listen to this than say, Mastodon or Opeth. Just sayin'. Don't be all mad.
Sunday, May 24, 2009
Saturday, May 23, 2009
Anyone who doesn't love Fred Cole can just turn around and get the fuck out of here. The man is Rock n Roll's fiercest loyalist with forty five years of uncompromised balls-out rebel rock under his well-worn belt. He's never surrendered to mediocrity or bullshit to achieve the filthy lucre of success, he's never diluted his vision for fame, he is the real fucking deal, and maybe you can't handle that shit, amigo. Legend has it that Cole and his band The Weeds were headed to Canada to avoid being drafted off to 'Nam but broke down in Portland. At some point soon after, The Weeds' management made them change their name to The Lollipop Shoppe and move to L.A. None of this worked out and Fred Cole returned to Portland. There he opened a music store and record label called Whizeagle and started fresh with a new band called Zipper. Here is their one and only album, and it is just beautiful. Those of you who are Dead Moon fans will instantly recognize Cole's unique and enigmatic voice, it is the quivering voice of perseverance and resolve, the voice of the everyman's struggle. Those of you unfamiliar with Mr. Cole will fall in love for the very first time and find yourselves clamoring to find any and all things the man ever did, good luck it's staggering. Fred Cole's art is the real McCoy, the dust on your boots, the job you fucking hate, the girlfriend that just didn't work out, and yet you still ignore him, but he won't go away. Fred Fucking Cole!
Friday, May 22, 2009
Durthang are depressive Swedish Black Metal band. Their 2004 demo Passage Beyond the Cold Vales of Desolation is a somnambulant spectre searching snow-covered landscapes for meaning but only finding more snow, more white, more death, more darkness.
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Hopefully by now everyone has heard this album at least once. Perhaps you were in art school and you and your new girlfriend were experimenting with heroin. Maybe this was her favorite album before she went all square and started listening to Coldplay. Maybe your heart was broken and you continued to listen to this record and smoke brown tar off tinfoil even after she left you for a poet named Steve. Maybe you snapped out of it and moved on but still dusted this album off once in a while as a frame of reference to a time in your life when you still felt things.
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Really only Italians could pull off something as bizarre and grandiose as the proggy cult doom of Dark Quarterer. The band was formed way back in 1974 by eccentric bassist/vocalist Gianni Nepi, but didn't release their amazing self titled debut album until 1987. And while I wonder what these guys must've sounded like in '74, this album shows them sort of treading the same path of backward-thinking eccentricity as Cirith Ungol and Slough Feg. This comparison alone should have you clamoring for this Dark Quarterer album. Truly epic cult metal filtered through the Italian psyche with all the melodrama and pageantry that we've come to expect from the country's metal bands. Essential.
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Some time back I posted the Welcome To Venice comp, and I mentioned the scary beach bum cholo punkers that populated the extremeley violent Venice scene. And while Suicidal Tendencies may be the best known band on the record, Beowulf actually contributed the best tracks. So here I present Beowulf's self-titled debut album from 1986. Beowulf obviously sounded much like their homies in Suicidal but they also inject a fair dose of Motorhead worship into their trip. Unlike Suicidal Tendencies these double-dipped super vatos weren't concerned with politics, skateboarding, or being a misunderstood teenager who craves a Pepsi. Beowulf sang about three things, and three things only...Drinking, fighting, and fucking, and to further illustrate this point they include a song called "Drink Fight Fuck" on this very album. Scarier than a hundred pasty corpse-painted Euro- teens singing the praises of Hitler and Satan, more unnerving than flavor-of-the-month gangsta rappers posing with automatic weapons and magnums of Cristal. This is sun baked L.A. hostility, gang violence fucking up your cool show, this is dusted, thugged out cycos who couldn't give a fuck about your scene. Fuck you.
Monday, May 18, 2009
Two Black Metal entities, Marblebog, represented here by a frog, and Hexenwood, represented by an Owl go toe-to-toe for Hungarian Black Metal supremacy. Marblebog you may know, the the brilliant one-man band has been featured on the Hearse before and has gained quite a name internationally. What sets Hexenwood apart from the scores of other Black Metal bands is the fact that they are a family. I don't mean they are a tight-knit group that supports one another through troubling times, I mean they are literally a family as well as a kvlt Black Metal band. Like a Satanic Partridge Family or Jackson 5, even little five-year-old Yrys Hexenwood (they all share this surname like The Ramones) is in on the act. Sure it's a great gimmick, but is the music any good? Well, honestly it's nothing all that special, Marblebog definitely comes out on top on this very limited split 7". Generally I don't like to post stuff in the same year it was released but this thing is already out of print, and motherfucker, you didn't get one.
Sunday, May 17, 2009
Jörg Buttgereit's 1994 film, Schramm, follows the final days of Lothar Schramm, Germany's notorious "Lipstick Killer." While Lothar lies dying in a pool of his own blood he revisits his life through a series of flashbacks. He recalls his crimes and his secret obsession with his neighbor, a prostitute played by the beautiful Monika M. Despite its unflinching violence, it is a touching and sad portrait of a lonely man. Once again, Buttgereit's work is accompanied by an equally unsettling score that I wish to share with you. Today I am dirty, but tomorrow I'll be just dirt.
Saturday, May 16, 2009
While Sweden may have had the most note worthy young Death Metal bands in the early '90s just about every other European country had at least one worthwhile crew of gore-obsessed blasphemers banging out an unholy noise on down-tuned guitars. Finland's most promising entry was Convulse. It is their 1992 album, World Without God, that is on the gurney today. Unlike the Finns from the last post, Convulse don't give a fuck about fun or flume rides, just the misshapen din of nihilistic death metal from the land of cell phones and reindeer. Crushing.
Friday, May 15, 2009
During their twenty plus years, Finnish punk band Klamydia have released a number of albums, but none as great as 1991's Los Celibatos. You will undoubtedly fall in love with the band's catchy pop hooks, rollicking sing-a-long (in Finnish) choruses, and the extremely charismatic rasp of singer, Vesa "Vesku" Jokinen. This is a really fun record and if you have doubts, check the cover, that's a picture of the band on a flume ride. Perkele Hauskuus!
Thursday, May 14, 2009
Perhaps when you were a kid you and some friends got hold of a tape deck and delighted in the simple fact that you could record fart sounds and dirty jokes and then play them back. Remember how funny you thought you were even though the majority of your jokes and skits would not be understood by anyone outside of your small group of giggling, tittering half-wit chums? The Crab Society North Demo, the first release by a band of Long Island wise asses called Stormtroopers of Death, operates in much the same way. The tape features S.O.D. engaging in a barrage of short blasts of sound with such in-joke titles like "The Poisonous Midget" and "Danny Spitz Will Fuck Anything." I'm sure they thought this was hilarious at the time, but whether this was distributed beyond a tight-knit group of fellow goombahs and walliones is unknown to me. Sixty-two "songs" in 14 minutes, and plenty of references and jokes you won't get unless you were in Anthrax or S.O.D., which I doubt you were.
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
I have, on many occasions, professed my love for regional compilations. So far we've heard Metal from Cleveland, Hip Hop from Connecticut, punk from Florida, Nationalist Black Metal from Russia, Noise Punk from Kyushu, and now we have Nuke Your Dink, a compilation of Nevada's best punk bands from the '80s. Usually these type of punk comps were the result of the tireless work of one or two scene lynchpins who gathered the source material, paid for the pressing and usually ended up losing a ton of dough for their efforts. The only band on Nuke Your Dink to ever get any widespread notoriety was 7 Seconds. The other bands are just as good but for whatever reason were not generally known outside of Nevada. The best track by far is the last one by The Yobs, their snotty, wonky punk is a refreshing change from the standard hardcore offered up by the other bands here. A good, not great, comp that acts like a nice sonic snapshot of the hardcore scene from a state you probably never gave a shit about unless you like gambling, legal whores, or nuclear test sites.
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Monday, May 11, 2009
In Europe Nargaroth is regarded as a joke, perhaps due to mainman Kanwulf's often bizarre and outspoken opinions, skewed self history, and his appearance on a tabloid talk show. There is even a whole site dedicated to discrediting Kanwulf and Nargaroth. But let's set all this controversy aside for a minute and judge Nargaroth solely on the merit of the first album Herbstleyd. We hear a roaring fire, witches in song, the clang of swords and shields, and some dialogue in German before the title track "Herbstleyd" kicks in with its plodding tempo and wispy keyboards. Overall Nargaroth's sound here sort of bridges the gap between Burzum and Gorgoroth. The riffs are fantastic even if they aren't particularly challenging or fresh. Herbstleyd is about as good as German black metal records get, I really don't understand Kanwulf's need to surround himself in controversy and provocation. It seems distracting.
Sunday, May 10, 2009
As the late Rick James once said, "Cocaine is a hell of a drug." It makes people do odd things, bad things, things they wouldn't otherwise do. It will make you sell everything from your records to your asshole. It will destroy your life faster than Satan, it will not discriminate or offer any mercy, it will ruin you. But what about the good things cocaine has done? It has provided a steady income for many Colombian farmers, and most importantly it brought us this album. That's right, what you are about to hear is pure uncut DC cocaine porno funk. Wicked Witch was the brainchild of bassist/vocalist Ricky Simms and a couple of friends spending late late nights mixing and remixing. Ricky's sleazy compositions tweaked way past anything recognizable into a disjointed haze of basement funk wankery and freebase smoke. This solid reissue collects Wicked Witch's few recordings done between 1978 and 1986. So fucking schizo-creepy and sinister in a way that only drugs can be. Like poisonous cum on black pleather. This shit's fucked up.
Saturday, May 9, 2009
See that totally voracious robot monster thing just crushing and ripping apart anything stupid or slow enough to get in its path? Like this machine, depicted by Dan Seagrave on Effigy of the Forgotten, Suffocation just rip, and stomp, and bludgeon because they can. Suffocation are a brutish killing machine, an emotionless automaton bent on catastrophic violence. This album spawned a million copycat brutal tech-tard bands, but none of them captured the soulless, trenchant bully rape of the originators.
Friday, May 8, 2009
One of the lesser known Kyushu noise punk treasures is the Violence Action flexi by Z. Violence Action goes so far into amateurish performance and recording that it is almost hard to tell what you are hearing, making Z almost as much Merzbow as they are Gai. Occasionally a recognizable riff or drum fill pokes its way through the muck but it is futile, chaos and fuzz prevail over any notion of tuneful musicianship. Released in 1988, a latecomer to the Japanese noise core scene, but certainly as potent as any of the older bands. This is short, blink and you might miss it. Essential ear damage.
Thursday, May 7, 2009
Though Manes were one of the earliest and best Norwegian Black Metal bands, they never really got the attention of some of their peers. Perhaps it was the lack of drama surrounding Manes, no church burnings, no murder, no provocative statements about jews, just distant and mysterious black metal. Manes' history goes back to 1992, but their first album, Under Ein Blodraud Maane wasn't recorded until 1997 and wasn't released until 1999. This record is mandatory.
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
This beautifully done edition by No Quarter contains a devastating live performance in London from '95 (originally released in a limited run of 500 by Blast First Records) and an unreleased demo from '90 with guest vocals from Kelly Canary and some guy credited as Curt Cobain. These are long gone now, hopefully they will come back so you can get your hands on a copy. In the meantime...
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
Monday, May 4, 2009
Sunday, May 3, 2009
Saturday, May 2, 2009
Here's some piss poor custom van rock from Anytown USA. 1983's As Your Kingdom Falls draws inspiration from such FM greats as The Outlaws and Kansas but, unlike the highly awesome Ashbury, fails to truly rock or create an atmosphere of castles and wizards. This will most likely make you say, "I remember a time when Cosmic Hearse was the best blog on the planet and now the guy just lazily posts records he doesn't even like. I'm heading over to Metal Inquisition to read another hilarious screed on how ugly Dan Lilker is."
Friday, May 1, 2009
Back when I posted the Japanese band CTR's 7" I described their trip as "what G.I.S.M. might be doing today if they hadn't disbanded"." This should have you very interested in their CD Kuruizaki Thunder Road. The words "EARLY YEARS" across the back of the CD leads me to think this is sort of a retrospective of various CTR recordings. It does contain the tracks from the EP. Traditional furious Japanese hardcore brought into the 21st century by well dressed Tokyo hipsters on tons of glittery Roppongi cocaine. Kind of like if Miike made a movie about a punk band. You will be floored. I know I was.