Archive for the ‘1980s’ Category

Phantom Tollbooth

Monday, May 3rd, 2010

Phantom Tollbooth
Homestead Records, 1986

Considering the year, the debut album from New York nutjobs Phantom Tollbooth could be considered an influencial landmark of screamo mathcore — had anyone heard the fucker. Their back catalog was a mainstay of cutout bins throughout the late eighties and nineties, probably the result of slightly weaker follow-up records and the lack of audience for the sort of selflessly unhinged and intensely cerebral hardcore The Tollbooth was dishing up. You can trace back the explosion of fractured mathy hardcore in the 1990s and early 2000s to this record, as demonstrated with bands like The Dazzling Killmen, Last of the Juanitas, and Brass Knuckles for Tough Guys. With discordant shards of guitar and jazzed-up rhythm section that wouldn’t find much of an audience until a decade later, this record should be considered a reference point for the evolution of hardcore punk.


Phantom TollboothPhantom Tollbooth LP (21.1MB)

Galloping Coroners

Monday, April 5th, 2010

Jumping Out The World / Instinct / Teach Death A Lesson CD
Alternative Tentacles, 1991

When you think of Jello Biafra, his antagonistic spoken word tirades and cult status as the brain behind the Dead Kennedys are the first thing to come to mind. However, it should also be noted that the man is a fanatically obsessed and rabid collector of music. I once witnessed him tear through the beloved stacks of wax at Love Garden Sounds with the deftness of a librarian on crank, nabbing an armful of choice selections all while bullshitting with the starstruck locals. And if you’ve ever read the second volume of the fantastic RE/Search Incredibly Strange Music books, you’d know exactly how hardcore a vinyl hound he is. So it should come as no surprise that this area of expertise has resulted in some of the more interesting documents of “punk” music from his Alternative Tentacles label, resulting in absolute classics from the Butthole Surfers, Flipper, The Crucifucks, Alice Donut, Victim’s Family, Phantom Limbs, and many more. Yet among all those well-known groups lurk some overlooked monsters. I found this CD reissue of this Hungarian band’s 1988 and 1990 LPs for a measly dollar in a cutout bin years ago and it’s easily one of my favorite records from the entire AT catalog. With over an hour of wild, tranced-out heavy psych glazed with shamanistic howls echoing at High Rise/Mainliner levels in the blissed out format of krautrock disciples like Wooden Shjips, this disc continues to get better—and weirder—with age. Although the Neurot label had the good sense to put out Dancing with the Sun in 2000, these early records have yet to garner the praise they deserve and have remained out of print for quite some time.

Galloping Coroners – Jumping Out The World+ CD (94.1MB Zip file)

Galloping Coroners website
Galloping Coroners on MySpace
Galloping Coroners page at Neurot Recordings


Wednesday, March 24th, 2010

My Pal / Jackwoman Nunhammer 7″
Au Go Go Records, 1987

While this late-80s Aussie band doesn’t quite live up to their cheeky moniker, God did manage to have a few decent tracks spread across an album and a couple singles that made their way into the import bins of fine record stores worldwide. The A-side is fairly unremarkable proto-grunge, along the lines of weaker tracks by peers like Green RiverThe Fluid or early Screaming Trees, but the B-side has some of the best Stooges-worship you’ll ever hear, with detached-cool vocals and a searing riff as massive as Ayers Rock. Along with other Aussie bands under-appreciated in these United States, like the Celibate Rifles or Grong Grong, God deserves at least little respect, if not outright worship.


God – “My Pal”
God – “Jackwoman Nunhammer”

Não Wave

Monday, November 30th, 2009

Brazilian Post-Punk 1982-1988
Man Recordings, 2005

This excellent compilation came out a few years back when Brazilian rock was hot stuff in the indie world, as evidenced by the resurrection of legendary rockers Mercenarias and Os Mutantes, and top-notch collections from the Soul-Jazz label like Tropicalia: A Brazilian Revoluton in Sound and The Sexual Life of the Savages: Underground Post-Punk from Sao Paula Brasil. While the tracks on this CD definitely feel dated with synths galore and vocal styles clearly inspired by their UK counterparts (Joy Division, The Cure, Killing Joke, Public Image Limited, etc) you can also hear an era when the possibilities were wide open and passionate bands weren’t afraid to take new ideas a run with ’em. There’s a freshness and originality captured here that breathes new life into what your ideas of what “post-punk” and “new wave” sound like. There’s a real charm in these bands and period of time, where synthesizers are treated like something new to experiment with and not as an ironic, empty gesture. Check out the Killing Joke-style percussive drive in Musak’s “Ilha Urbana” or the hypercool atmosphere of Chance that’s something like Tangerine Dream covering Suicide, or the intensity of Vzyodaq Moe‘s Tragic Figures-era Savage Republic sound. It’s one of the best comps to come out in the last 5 years, and if you like what you find here, you can find more on the also great Soul-Jazz comp mentioned above, with plenty more choice cuts and only a couple duplicate songs.


Muzak – “Ilha Urbana”
Chance – “Samba Do Morro”
Vzydaq Moe – “Redencão”


More info at the Man Recordings website
Buy CD at Forced Exposure


Monday, June 15th, 2009

Loser / Cooking With Gas 7″
Sub-Pop, 1989

Talking with a friend this weekend, we recalled a time when the term “grunge” didn’t conjure up images of ridiculous designer flannel and lame ’90s-style hard rock, before the gnarlier aspects of the term were sanitized and rationalized for mass consumption. For us, Seattle’s Tad embodied what grunge was really about: loud, burly, heavy dirtpunk for weirdos — in short, ugly music for ugly people. Long before every mall in America was teeming with teenagers sporting Doc Martens and flannel shirts, flipping their locks and blathering about Pearl Jam, Tad was punishing eardrums with gut-rumbling dirges that mainlined the colossal buzz of the Melvins and late-period Black Flag (they released a single featuring covers of Flag’s “Damaged I” and “Damaged II”) into a backwoods freakshow that made grunge scary. Their God’s Balls and Salt Lick 12-inchers are essential noise rock classics and this, one of many classic Tad singles on Sub-Pop, showcases the true grit of grunge.


Tad – “Loser”
Tad – “Cooking With Gas”

Les Thugs

Wednesday, May 13th, 2009

Electric Troubles LP
Vinyl Solution/Sub Pop, 1987

Anytime I play this, or Les Thugs’ other smoker, I.A.B.F. (International Anti-Boredom Front), someone inevitably asks “who is this?” At their prime, this French band’s sound contained the full-on speed and energy of hardcore punk blown out to form a massive wall of sound that could be mistaken for My Bloody Valentine‘s Loveless sped up to 45 rpm, contrasting an huge blur of guitar with catchy, echoey, harmonized vocals. Just check out the shocking intro track “Dead Dreams” that starts with a quasi-Native American chant and snaps into a tidal wave of roaring guitar that doesn’t let up until the end of the A-side. And even though they toured the U.S. a number of times, sung in English, had good distribution through reputable labels over the course of 15 years, they never got the recognition or fanbase they deserved. Les Thugs’ later albums are decent, and although they’re driven by a huge guitar sound, they don’t quite have the fullness and instantly memorable early albums, which are absolutely essential.


Les Thugs – Electric Troubles LP (42.3mb Zip)


Official Les Thugs website
Les Thugs on Sub Pop


Monday, March 23rd, 2009

Silverfish EP
Wiija Records, 1989

My last post about PRE reminded me of another brash British band fronted by a ferocious foreign female: the almighty obscenity-laced, tinnitus-enducing Silverfish. Legend has is that the UK-based band found their American screamer Lesley Rankine kicking the shit out of someone backstage at a punk show and knew instantly they’d found someone fierce enough to wail over their massively overamped racket. Released at the dawn of what would soon be known as the “grunge” era, alongside other noisy, thick-necked punk from Seattle from the likes of Mudhoney, Tad, and the Melvins, Silverfish approached music as a volume war with guitars hopelessly fuzzed out and distorted, with a rhythm section that added to the din, just barely forming the mess into songs. This debut 4-song EP kicks off with one of the most hilarious/righteously punk lead ins you’ll ever hear, as a sample of Dolly Parton singing “Jolene” gets interrupted by Rankine screeching “MOTHER FUCKER!” It’s a totally amazing and appropriate way to start this beast of a record. And it still makes me smile any time I hear it. Russ Meyer‘s Faster Pussycat, Kill Kill! even gets sampled, so you really know what wild ass angle they’re coming from. Touch and Go Records saw the light and reissued this record with 4 more songs as the Cockeye LP in 1990. I don’t know if I have a bad pressing or if the T&G version was remastered, but I’ve always preferred the mix on this EP as it’s so grotesquely trebly and in the red — a sound that’s become rather commonplace nowadays, but in 1989 it was unconventionally harsh, even for a band wading around the grunge pool.


Silverfish – “Dolly Parton”
Silverfish – “On The Motorway”
Silverfish – “Dont Fuck”
Silverfish – “Weird Shit”


Silverfish on Touch & Go Records