Friday, March 30, 2012

Sunburster - Two Songs

Sunburster are a brand new band out of Philadelphia, PA who will certainly make your head bang.  These guys are big fans of heavy riffs and hittin' spliffs and the music on Two Songs shows that.  Both of the songs "And Those Where The Horrors" and "Institutionalized" lock into a solid groove you can feel.

Location:  Philadelphia, PA
Genre:  Metal/Rock
For Fans Of:  Cavity, Kylesa, EHG and Coalesce
Year Released:  2012

Track List:
01. And Those Were The Horrors
02. Institutionalized

Tom Servo - Demo

Tom Servo are a Philadelphia based noise/rock band.  Musically, they play mellow guitar effect based rock in the vein of Sonic Youth with multi-layered vocals.  A few of the songs pick up the pace like the songs "Five" and "Four" for more of a driving/punk feel.

Location:  Philadelphia, PA
Genre:  Rock N Roll
Purchase:  Free hard copies here
For Fans Of:  Sonic Youth
Year Released:  2011

Track List:
01.  One
02.  Three
03.  Five
04.  Two
05.  Four

Discourse - Demo 2011

Discourse are a Columbia, SC based hardcore band.  Musically, they play a very '90s inspired brand of hardcore with a few dissonant Turmoil style riffs and even a blast beat here and there.  The vocals are the perfect mix of yelling/talking/screaming which provides great clarity to the vocals.

Location:  Columbia, SC
Genre:  Hardcore
For Fans Of:  Foundation, Turmoil, Earth Crisis
Year Released:  2011

Track List:
01. Condemn
02. Carved In Stone
03. Follow
04. No Heroes

Friday, March 23, 2012

Scuzbot - Shapes And Trends

Scuzbot are a pop-punk band from Bensalem, PA.  When I say pop-punk, I am not referring to the whinny garbage with wanna be mosh parts that is passing for pop-punk these days.  Scuzbot could easily have been on Lookout! Records fifteen or so years ago if it were not for the fact that all the members are only twenty years old.  The music on Shapes And Trends is melodic and the vocals are a perfect fit to accentuate the mood of the songs.  The second song "Send In The Clowns" has a lot of Weezeresqe guitar melodies.  The dual vocals in the chorus of "Washed Up" weave in and out of each other in solid harmony.

Location:  Bensalem, PA
Genre:  Punk/Pop Punk
For Fans Of:  Plow United, Fugazi, Husker Du, Weezer
Year Released:  2011

Track List:
01. Shapes and Trends
02. Send in the Clowns
03. Washed Up
04. In Space

The Storm - Born To Survive Demo 2011

The Storm are a new heavy hardcore band coming out of Syracuse, NY.  I hear a strong Trapped Under Ice, Madball, Terror and even Ringworm vibe in the music.  For those so inclined, there are plenty opportunities to bring the mosh.  Born To Survive starts out with a brutal intro which goes right into the title track which will have you pittin' in no time.

Location:  Syracuse, NY
Genre:  Hardcore
Purchase:  Demo CD
For Fans Of:  Trapped Under Ice, Madball
Year Released:  2011

Track List:
01. Intro
02. Born To Survive
03. Warrior
04. Ratcage

Monday, March 19, 2012

Chain Of Strength - True Til Death

First press
Chain Of Strength - True Tili Death
Download:  Original mix here
Purchase:  CD or LP here
Released: 1989

Story by Tim McMahhon, singer of Mouthpiece, Triple Threat, Hands Tied and co-founder of Double Cross Webzine.

In the very near future, Double Cross Webzine will be re-launching their website on a new server. Expect a few minor changes that will help make the site more user friendly.  Their new url has not gone live yet, but you should bookmark for when it does.

Starting back in 1987 and on through 1989, my friends and I would skate on down to the West Trenton train station and catch a train into Philadelphia. Once we got to Philly, we'd skate, hit up South Street, go to all the record stores like Chaos, Philly Record Exchange, 3rd Street Jazz, shop at Spike's Skates, Skinz, Zipperhead and round the day off with some pizza. For us, Philly was our version of NYC. We'd hear all about everything going on in NYC, Some Records, Venus, Bleecker Bob's, CBGB's, the Brooklyn Banks, etc., but for whatever reason, at that time, NYC just seemed so much further away and a bit overwhelming to us. So the much smaller and condensed Philly did the trick for us.

When new records were released and more specifically, new Revelation records, there really weren't a lot of options as to where I could pick them up. I could obviously order from Rev, but at that time, ordering anything from them was a total crap shoot and it could end up taking 6 months to receive your order. I did have a couple local record stores that carried Rev releases, but they were inconsistent and didn't always get the releases on the anticipated release dates. Also, with the local shops, I'd have to rely on my parents to drive me out and that wasn't always a sure shot deal.

In 1989, at the time that the Chain Of Strength "True Till Death" 7" was released, it came in the wake of some pretty epic releases from Revelation, so the bar was set high and I was excited to say the least. My first memories of Chain Of Strength probably revolve around an ad that Revelation Records put in Maximum Rock N Roll for the "True Till Death" 7" and a MRR Southern California scene report that they were mentioned in. There was definitely some hype, I knew some of the members played in Justice League, I somewhat knew there resume and the bottom line was that I knew I had to get my hands on the record.

Tim wearing a Chain Of Strength
shirt in his high school I.D. photo
So my friend Scott and I skated on down to the West Trenton train station and caught a train to Philly like we had done in the past. I was focused, I knew Chaos Records always got the latest Revelation releases and usually even colored vinyl, which was an added bonus. Chaos seemed to be the equivalent to what I was always hearing about with the shops in NYC. Chaos always had the most recent releases, a wall of rare records, demos, fanzines, the owner was punk, it just seemed perfect.

Once we got into Philly and skated on over to Chaos, we both walked in and started thumbing through the box of 7"s. There was no question about it, between me and Scott, I was definitely the guy that had the "True Till Death" 7" in my cross hairs. Scott undoubtedly wanted the record as well, but just not with the same eagerness and enthusiasm that I had. Then it happened, Scott found it first, but my initial nervousness quickly turned to optimism that Chaos would naturally have another copy, so I continued to dig. The 7" that Scott found, was of course the coveted green vinyl, which made me slightly worried that his copy might have been the only green vinyl, but I continued to dig. Maybe another copy got misplaced, maybe they had more copies behind the counter. I asked the guy at the register, "Do you happen to have another copy of this Chain Of Strength" 7"?", to which he quickly respond, "Nope, sorry man, that's the LAST ONE". Boom, I was devastated. I turned to Scott and asked if he'd let me buy the one he found, but he refused. All of the sudden, Scott became the biggest Chain Of Strength fan and had the biggest smile on his face.

We left Chaos and headed out to the other record stores, all of which left me empty handed. Chaos was the only record store in Philadelphia that had the Chain Of Strength "True Till Death" 7", how could that be? I was beyond bummed and beyond jealous that Scott virtually stumbled upon his copy. I tried once again to rationalize with Scott and beg him to sell me his copy, but he wasn't having it. I offered to order him a copy, but again, it wasn't an option. It looked like if I was going to get myself a copy, I'd have to order one and play the waiting game.

When we got back to my house, Scott did sympathize enough to let me throw his Chain record on my record player and at least make myself a cassette copy. I guess a taped copy was better than nothing, plus I'd be able to listen to the record and study the lyric sheet while it taped.

I remember hearing those drums ring in "Just How Much?" and I remember hearing Curtis yell, "Hey listen up, yeah, I just got one thing to say, I wanna talk about… something that means a fucking lot to me" and I was sold. Everything just came together so perfectly. Yeah, Curt's vocals were a little understated and low in the mix, but it didn't take me long to completely accept it and embrace it. Chain Of Strength were just the band I needed at that time. They were fast, tight, the mosh parts made you want to kick through walls, the lyrics spoke to me and felt like something I could have written myself. I thoroughly connected with Chain Of Strength and that "True Till Death" 7". at the time, I could sense things starting to slightly shift and change in the hardcore scene and some bands weren't being as vocal about straight edge as they had in the past. Some bands were going metal, some were going rock and slowing down, but Chain Of Strength were an onslaught of first-rate straight edge hardcore. Aestheticly, Chain Of Strength also hit the nail on the head. While many were criticizing Chain for being too "surfer" looking, that was something that never bothered me. All the BOLD shirts, X's, bleached heads, X Swatches, etc., were things I was down with and again, felt a connection to.

Really, every single song on the "True Till Death" 7" is perfect, both musically and lyrically. The song "True Till Death" is about as much of an anthem as you can get, "Let Down", "Never Understand", pure betrayal, pissed, to the point and in your face, "Best Of Times", a virtual word for word summary of the experiences of me and my friends, growing up. Twenty three years later, this record is still one of my favorites and still hits home, just as hard as it did way back then.

In the end, I did order the record directly from Revelation and I did have to wait longer than I wanted to, but still, I got my own copy. My mail ordered copy came in black vinyl, so I had to hunt down a green one, but at least I got one and still have that copy to this day. Scott on the other hand, I'm not sure if he still has his, probably not if I had to guess. I will say though, at least that taped copy from his record, got me through until I got my own.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Chumps - Chumps

Chumps are a Brooklyn, NY based band who play a noisy and distorted hybrid of rock and punk.  Their music has a unique vibe to it, as if Sonic Youth were to have recorded Dirty in the same studio Black Flag recorded My War with an only slightly intoxicated David Yow on vocals if that makes any sense.  "Shivist" and "Dirt" are great examples of Chumps heavier, more grooving side where as "Swamp Rats" and "1-800-267-7468" pick up the tempo for a faster punk feel.  I hear a lot of musical influences on this record ranging from The Jesus Lizard to Failure which make this a solid album from start to finish.

Location:  New York City
Genre:  Rock/Alt Rock
Purchase:  LP or CD here
For Fans Of:  Jesus Lizard, Fugazi, Quicksand, Donnie & Marie
Year Released:  2011

Track List:
04.  LUPO
05.  DIRT
06.  1-800-267-7468
07.  BLACK
08.  HLLWN

Poison Planet - Boycott Everything

Poison Planet are a politicaly/socially aware Hardcore Punk band from Chicago, IL. Boycott Everything sounds like it could be a an early Discharge album with a few blast beats thrown in here and there.  The title track "Boycott Everything" is a classic sing along anthem with the chorus "We can fight, we can win.  We can fight, we can win.  Boycott everything."  Poison Planet also have three other releases available through their Bandcamp and Big Cartel websites.

Location:  Chicago, IL
Genre:  Hardcore/Punk
Purchase: LP available in April here
For Fans Of:  Minor Threat, Cro-Mags, Discharge, Dead Kennedys, Void
Year Released:  2011

Track List:
01. Liquor Flesh Trade
02. Boycott Everything
03. I Hope You Choke
04. Border Fences
05. Tidal Leveling

Monday, March 12, 2012

We Jam Econo - The Story of The Minutemen

Unfortunately, I do not have a story to post today.  To make it up to everyone, I am posting the We Jam Econo - The Story of The Minutemen documentary.  I recently read the Minutemen chapter in Our Band Could Be Your Life: Scenes from the American Indie Underground, 1981-1991 written by Michael Azerrad.  I was previously unfamiliar with the bands music before reading about them.  To be honest, after reading about them, they are probably the most inspirational punk band on the planet.  Their DIY work ethic and "econo" mindset is pure punk rock in its finest and most basic form.  I highly recommend anyone who plays in a band or wants to play in a band to watch this video.

We Jam Econo - The Story of the Minutemen is a full-length documentary about the influential 1980s punk rock band The Minutemen, created by director Tim Irwin and producer Keith Schieron in association with Rocket Fuel Films. The film premiered on February 25, 2005 at the historic Warner Grand Theatre in San Pedro, California, after two years in production.

Poignant recent interviews with the band's two surviving members Mike Watt and George Hurley, as well as first-person anecdotes from notable musicians including Flea, Henry Rollins and Thurston Moore, complement the archival concert and interview footage of the band, creating an informative and moving film for those interested in the band or punk rock in general.

The title is a lyric from their song "The Politics of Time." It's also referred to in a comment made near the end of the film by Mike Watt, in a 1985 interview, when the band is asked if they have anything else to say. He answers for them: "We jam econo." Econo was local slang for economic and described the band's dedication to low-cost record production and touring. It also describes the band's (and burgeoning underground independent music scene's) do-it-yourself attitude and philosophy.

Please Support the filmmakers, the band and everyone involved if you enjoy this!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Ugly Parts - Demo Tape

Ugly Parts hail from New Brunswick, NJ and play hardcore punk with a strong '80s Boston feel to it.  I hear a strong Henry Rollins/Black Flag influence on the vocals which is a nice touch.  Musically, the over distorted bass blends nicely with the cleaner buzz saw guitar tone.  On a weird side note, I just finished the first chapter of Our Band Could Be Your Life by Michael Azerrad today.  That chapter just so happened to be the Black Flag chapter, so I am in a good mindset for checking out Ugly Parts.

Location:  New Brunswick, NJ
Genre:  Hardcore/Punk
For Fans Of:  SSD / Black Flag / Poison Idea / Pizza
Year Released:  2012

Track List:
01.  Drain
02.  Closing In
03.  Good Job
04.  Waste
05.  Big Man

Monday, March 5, 2012

Floorpunch - Fast Times At The Jersey Shore

Floorpunch - Fast Times At The Jersey Shore
Download -
Purchase -  2xLP here
Released - 1998

Story by Donny Mutt, head nacho of Pizza Friends and bassist for Quiet Arcs and Cop Problem.

In 1999, I was 20 years old and had a solid-core group of friends I would travel to out-of-town shows with.  This rag-tag group of show-goers consisted of John Sharkey, Vikki Agovino, Keith Reed and Sean Bruton.  We usually piled into either my car or Sharkey's minivan to hit the road, stoping at the closest Wawa en route to whatever show we were going to.  On the fateful day of Saturday, January 16th, 1999, Sharkey, Vikki, Keith, this random dude named Paul (who insisted we called him Seven) and myself were on our way to Washington, DC for a Floorpunch show.  It was Sharkey's turn to drive, so we all jumped into his minivan for the trip.

Flyer courtesy of Banned In DC
Keep in mind, at this time, going to shows meant you either had to call the promoter for directions or use MapQuest, which would always give you a wrong turn in the directions.  We eventually arrived in DC and are driving around town following the directions MapQuest gave us.  We were driving on a four-lane road with a cement dividing barrier when we came to a stop at a red light.  Sharkey realized that that is the road we need to turn left on even though we clearly can not do so.  When can you ever make a left-hand turn on a divided highway?  Needless to say, we turned left.  I was laying on the bench seat in the rear of the van when I hear tires screeching.  I got up and looked out the back window to see a sports car of some sort rocking back and forth on two wheels, which almost crashes into the barrier.  It eventually straightened out and continued driving.  We went a block or two down the street, parked and got out of the van to get ready to head to the show.  All the while, we collectively said things like, "Oh my god," "Holy shit," and "We almost died... thanks Sharkey."

Not two seconds after we start heading towards the show, a cabbie comes flying down the street screaming at us that he is going to call the cops.   At this point, Sharkey is freaking out, repeatedly yelling at the cabbie, "Why do you care?  Leave us alone," all while being on the verge of tears.  Eventually, the cabbie leaves, but then a cop car appears in the distance.  Sharkey really starts to freak out at this point.  Did the cabbie really call the cops?  Keith, our level-headed friend, decides he is going to head over to talk to the cops about our illegal left turn on a divided highway.  Luckily for us, the cops had no idea what he was talking about so we went into the show.

We arrived at the show right as Time Flies were playing their last song, which was the banger "High Fives And Stage Dives."  This show was the first time I had ever seen or heard of Time Flies.  Kids were going absolutely bananas for them, which made me think that song was a cover at first.  Later, when I bought the Can't Change The Past seven-inch, I realized that was not the case.  In later years, I noticed that some of the pictures from their On Our Way LP, released on Indecision Records, were from this same show.  Anyway, I am starting to get a bit off-topic now.  After all this story is about Floorpunch and not Time Flies, so I digress.

A few minutes after Time Flies' set, Sharkey and Vikki come up and shows me the cool alternative cover Floorpunch record he had just bought.  What record was it you might ask?  None other than the Floorpunch New Jersey Crew version of the Division One Champs seven-inch on In My Blood Records.  By the time it took me to literally run over to their table, they were all sold out.  Needless to say, the young record collector inside me was very sad that day indeed.  For years, I repeatedly tried to get that record off of Sharkey, but to no avail.

In all honesty, the only bands I clearly remember from this show are Time Flies, Vision and Floorpunch.  We missed Fast Times.  I vaguely remember Where Fear And Weapons Meet and for all I know, I probably didn't even bother watching One Sided War because they were ex-members of BOLD.  I know that last statement might sound a little weird to anyone reading this, but if you know me, you know my irrational hatred of all things BOLD.

Fast forward to Floorpunch's set that night... from what I remember, this was their first show back after their one and only U.S. tour.  Matt Summers, who later sang for Shark Attack, filled in on bass for their tour and also played this show with them.  They played all the classics that night from "Clear," "Changes," "No Exceptions" and "Always" to new songs from the Fast Times... LP like "Washed Up At 18," "Change Of Heart," "True Colors" and "Turn Away."  At the end of their set, they busted out "Life Of My Own" by the Cro-Mags, which was the perfect way to end the show.  Before leaving, we all bought more merch and then hit the road.  The drive home was nowhere near as exciting as the drive there, with the exception of stopping at a Taco Bell for some food.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Warm Hands - split w/ Blackheath

Warm Hands are a thrashy hardcore punk band from Jacksonville, FL.  The guitar and bass tones are absolutely perfect for this style of hardcore.  Not too clean and not too distorted for the perfect clarity and cut through while remaining "heavy" sounding.  The only things I do not like are that there are no lyrics provided for the Warm Hands songs and I can not find the Blackheath side of the split on Bandcamp.  Otherwise, Warm Hands rip it up on this split.

Location:  Jacksonville, FL
Genre:  Hardcore/Punk
For Fans Of:  Los Crudos, Paint It Black
Year Released:  2012

Track List:
01.  I/II
02.  III

Kicking Spit - Reality Dropout

Kicking Spit are a three-piece noise/grunge/rock band with elements of atlernative, melodic hardcore and punk all mix together from New Brunswick, NJ.  Their newest release Reality Dropout is a two-song cassette single released through Tankcrimes Records.  In the following months, Kicking Spit will be releasing their LP titled Negative Feedback through Tankcrimes Records as well.

Location:  New Brunswick, NJ
Genre:  Punk/Alternative/Grunge/Noise
For Fans Of:  Mudhoney, Sonic Youth, Seaweed, Samiam, Husker Du
Year Released:  2011

Track List:
01. Reality Dropout/Gone

Trenchfoot - Trenchfoot

Trenchfoot play fast/chaotic down tuned hardcore from New York.  This self-titled ten song seven-inch absolutely rages from start to finish.  The longest song "Dead As Always" clocks in at a whopping minute and twenty three seconds.  The recording sounds absolutely phenomenal, which doesn't surprise me considering Trenchfoot recorded at God City with Kurt Ballou.

Location:  Rockland County, NY
Genre:  Hardcore
Purchase:  7" (mixed color)  Here
For Fans Of:  Converge, Trap Them
Year Released:  2011

Track List:
01. Depleted Mind
02. Amygdala Haunt
03. Days Like These
04. Mr. Cellophane
05. Choking Scent
06. Say No
07. John Knowles
08. Treading Molasses
09. Dead as Always
10. Worthless