Sunday, September 29, 2013

HEAVY TIMES LP

HEAVY TIMES - FIX IT ALONE LP (HoZac)
This is the third full album in four years by Chicago based four-piece Heavy Times. They've matured their songwriting step by step from release to release. "Fix It Alone" is probably their best effort so far. The record is filled with 18 dense and centered songs, the majority of them is shorter than two minutes. Heavy Times' music is both rough and poppy. Their songs are first of all rooted in the sound of classic and current punk groups like The Wipers, Hüsker Dü, Hex Dispensers or Mind Spiders and it's all delivered with rawness and intensity. In contrast to that they also bring a melodic brand of 90s-inspired indie- and grunge-pop with simularities to Guided By Voices and Superchunk. Everything is covered in a fantastic guitar-work, that's characterized by plenty of melodic guitar leads. The harmonic wall of vocals underline the poppy sound of their compositions. From the very first to the last second "Fix It Alone" is really an impressive piece of indie-punk. A total banger! (Listen to it here)

Friday, September 27, 2013

GAPHALS LPs

ANGERS CURSE - S/T 12" (Gaphals)
Could a band, whose frontcover pictures a fighting viking on a white horse suck? Of course not! The sound of sirens is really not a that innovative intro and also the musical performance uses proven concepts. Angers Curse play old school hardcore, that mixes blast parts with rythmical mosh riffs, groovy midtempo parts and a few hints of metal. The focus is on the barking throaty vocals. Angers Curse find a good balance between sounding "pissed off" and "dark". The "pissed off" elements show simularities to newer Boston hardcore groups like American Nightmare or Panic and also the lyrics about personal disappointments seem to be Wesley Eisold influenced. The "darkness" is made with influences taken from Modern Life Is Ware. Fans of fast modern hardcore won't be dissapointed here. (Listen to it here)

DAMAGE - WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION 12" (Gaphals)
Damage are a current Swedish hardcore four-piece, but if I didn't know it better I would think this record has been recorded in the USA during the mid 80s. "Weapons Of Mass Destruction" offers fast, catchy hardcore. The foundation is blistering '80s inspired hardcore, but they add some melodies and catchier structures: There are some hints of straight edge hardcore shimmering through. Their tunes capture a positive vibe with an undercurrent of melodies and the fast drum-breats are heavily youth crew influenced. Think of something between Youth Of Today, 7 Seconds and mid 80s nardcore bands like Stalag 13 and Ill Repute. Ten songs are ticking by in about fourteen minutes, so it should be clear, that Damage keep their straight on 80s hardcore to the point. Very nice! (Listen to it here)

NOCTURNAL - S/T LP (Gaphals)
Nocturnal are a Linköping based rock four-piece. This selftitled debut album follows two 7"s also released on the Swedish Gaphals label. Nocturnal take the best moments of rock music from the late 60s to the mid 70s and merge them to their own fresh and independet style. No matter if psychedelic-, progressive-, blues- or straight on hardrock, it's all here. The eight tracks are rooted in the sound of Pink Floyd, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin and Neil Young. The musical performance is overall tight and precise. The top notch guitar-work is one of the main secrets of Nocturals tunes. It fuses rythmical blues riffage with extented solos ranging from psychedelic wah-wah effects to the sound of tough as nails proto-metal. The rythm-section adds addictive killer grooves and the high hard-rock vocals sound highly distinctive. The production sounds modern, clean and energetic. This record as a whole is first of all a wild piece of classic rock, but it's too unique and too characteristic to be reduced on a retro-style. (Listen to it here)

REVENGE - S/T 12" (Gaphals)
Hailing from Malmö Revenge feature members of Venerea, Satanic Surfers, Intensity, Sista Sekunden and other Swedish punk and hardcore groups. This 12" sounds like a 21st century version of 80s US Hardcore. Some tunes are slower, most are faster-paced, but all are straightforward and rooted in the sound of classic hardcore. The record features eleven hardcore-punk cuts delivered with rawness, aggression and intensity. The midtempo songs are based on well done Black Flag riffage. "You're a fool" and "Pressure" sound like they've been taken from Uniform Choice's "Screaming For Change" album. At the same time the compositions are varied enough, to maintain a fresh sound and some elements are rather atypical: The lead vocals are very melodic, the rocking refrains are true anthems and the production sounds modern and powerful. This is a throughly well done piece of hardcore. (Listen to it here)

Thursday, September 26, 2013

ALL GONE RELEASES PART 2

QUILT BOY -  VENOM HATE MALICE THE 119 SOULS TAPE (All Gone)
Quilt Boy sound broken in most possible ways. The four songs merge folk with a little pop and some hints of avant postpunk. Things are based on a moody accoustic guitar, that develops hopeless, dissonant sounds. It uses sick, imprecise signature changes and a few briefly melodies. The vocalisations have a jaded twang with a few exceptions of manic crying. In the background you can hear a few drum sounds, but no real beats, just some snare rolls, that miss most appointments. The production adds the certain charm of a lo-fi home recording. Think of a drugged, stripped down mixture of The Bilders and Simon Finn. Great weirdo music! (Listen to it here)

SICK LLAMA - RESH TAPE (All Gone)
Heath Moerland is the guy behind Sick Llama. He also plays in Roachclip and runs Fag Tapes. With his Sick Lllam moniker he has released countless of tapes and CDrs during the last couple of years. "Resh" features two cuts of his disturbing electronic sounds. This is the total rejection of normal musical rules. There's no melody, harmony, rhythm, just scary experimental noise. I'm not really sure what's the source of his sounds, but it reminds me of "musique concrete" artists mixing the sounds of synthesizers with sounds recorded in the nature and modified sounds of instruments. This claustrophobic horror trip leaves the feeling of beeing surrounded by a possible threat. Fans of American Tapes and Aryan Asshole releases won't be dissappointed here. (Listen to it here)

SIOBHAN - GIVE UP IN DESPAIR TAPE (All Gone)
Siobhan is heavily influenced by the sound of 80s industrial music, Einstürzende Neubauten, Throbbing Grsitle and SPK come to mind while listening to this tape. Alienated effects of electronics are paired with pungent noise. The DIY production is primitve made with synthesizer sounds and a cheap drum machine. Buried spoken vocals transmit undescipherably throughout "Give Up In Despair". Siobhan uses repetitive structures. The songs get along with an unsetting synth-melodies and a basic beat. There are some hints of minimal wave, but "Give Up In Despair" is first of all a raw and grotesque piece of electronics.  (Listen to it here)


SIOBHAN - CURRENT AFFAIRS TAPE (Nustilevo)
Yes this is not a All Gone release, but I thought it would be useful to include both Siobhan tapes in one post. "Current Affairs" is Siobhan's latest release. The psychedlic industrial noise is still foremost here, but the eight songs are a little more varied. They balance between pounding beats and pumping 80s techno and minimal wave influences on the one hand and cosmic, spaced out sounds on the other. Some tunes are comparable with a weird, lo-fi version of current Not Not Fun related bands, others are way more noisy and experimental. The spoken vocals are distorted and sound even more zombified and terrifying. Without exaggeration, this is some of today's best electronic music. (Listen to it here)

TARPIT - OLD NEWS TAPE (All Gone)
Tarpit is the moniker of Sam Hooker, who's also jamming in other Detroit bands like Public Urination or Orphanage Rats. With Tarpit he has created something really unique and it's hard to describe what's going on here. The six tracks are characterized by long and slow instrumental jams, modified instrumental sounds, bizarre guitar lines and mysterious spoken vocals. The recording captures a cold, industrial feel made with thundering noisy sounds. The repetive long song structures sound more dangerous and captivating with every new second ticking by. "Old News" is a musical horror trip, that will make you want to crawl under your bedspread. Think of a lo-fi mixture of Dead C and Throbbing Gristle. Highly Recommended! (Listen to it here)

VA - WORKERS TAPE (All Gone) 
Each band on this compilation is worth it and there's not a single filler track. If you like other All Gone releases you won't be dissapointed here. And if you don't own a single All Gone release, this one might be a good starting point. Roachclip kick off the compilation with their mixture of 90s Siltbreeze influences and 80s UK DIY postpunk. "Not Enough" is driven by gloomy psychedelic organ sounds. Mean Bikini are a new (or at least new to me) UK based 60s garage group. "Animal" shows simularities to the Thee Headcoatees, but it's filled with more poppy melodies. Next come The Lake Erie Psycho Surfers and the term "Pycho Surfers" is more than true. Think of dirty version of The Cramps. The K-9 Sniffies track has also been included on their "Dehydration" tape. Groovy garage-psych munge at it's best. "Pure Evil" is first of all a typical The Bibs song. Their weird folk is underlayed here with a cheap drum-computer beat. The b-side begins with Greymouth. "Fake Beard" fuses postpunk with garage buried under a mush of guitar noise. Melbourne based trio Mole House crank out another bummer folk-pop gem. The Offset Spectacles from Beijing, China complete the compilation with an extended trip in deep psych space, that will make you want to lie down and hallucinate slowly. (Listen to it here)

WILLIAM CORRIGAN - GRANDMA'S HOUSE TAPE (All Gone)
This is the solo release by William Corrigan, who's also playing organ in Roachclip. "Grandma's House" features two compositions with extented song structures all based on Corrigans brilliant piano-playing. Both tunes are fast, dissonant improvisations. Corrigian is really comfortable with his instrument and his music is very complex and profound. I haven't listened before to a piano only recording. In this case it's been a impressing experience. It's really hard to put this music in any categories. It's definitely influenced by free jazz pianists, but it also reminds me of music from the 1920s. Above all is Corrigan's weird approach. "Fire Sale" is the best example. It's underlayed with some of the most bizzare vocals. It's really difficult to understand a single word acoustically. "Trapped Again" on the b-side is in contrary entirely instrumental. (Listen to it here)

Monday, September 23, 2013

ALL GONE RELEASES PART 1

THE BIBS -  EVERYDAY I NAP TAPE (All Gone)
The Bips' "Every Day I Nap" session is recorded in a two-piece line-up consisting of drums and guitar only. Consequentially the four tracks are pretty much stripped down to the essentials. The songs capture a discreet, but highly distinctive pop feel, that stands out within the 60s folk influences. The gently singing from all two is a core part of the Bibs' appeal. Things are based on basic drum beats and a brilliant jangle folk guitar, both resulting in unique, sophisticated, yet broken ballads. The Bibs take the essence of Velvet Underground's poppy side and fuse it with a more weird and unpolished approach. The rough and ready four-track recording is the perfect match to The Bibs' music. Also fans of 80s Flying Nun pop simular to early The Clean and The Bats won't be dissapointed here. (Listen to it here)

THE BIBS - WAITING FOR ALEX TAPE (All Gone)
The previously reviewed The Bibs tape featured drums and guitar. Here, things are based on a acoustic guitar and bass smearing each other's tendrils across the night sky. They add 12 string leads, restrained double vocals and undertones of organ and harmonica melodies. But the focus is clearly on the interplay of the strings. It's driven by a fat ugly droning bass sound. The folk influences are still apparent, even if the songs also recall Spacemen 3 with it's slow psychedelic gesticulations. Most of them are pretty short and only a few turn into extented trips in a deep psych space. The sound is raunchy and dense  with an experimental approach, that brings to mind New Zealand artists like Dead C or Pumice. Again the fantastic lo-fi four track production is one of this tape's main secrets. The Bibs recently toured with Mad Nanna. This should have been a hot and fitting package. (Listen to it here)

HLEP - ZHAN TAPE (All Gone) 
Hailing from Ann Arbor Hlep are a postpunk group consinsting of members of the K-9 Sniffies. Their sound has classic UK postpunk hellmarks. You can hear influences of Televsion Personalities, Swell Maps and Wire, but Hlep keep their brand of postpunk interesting and varied enough to be more than a complete imitation. They find a perfect balance between catchy song structures and vocal harmonies on the one hand and a straight blasting punk attitude on the other. The whole musical performance is well done and it goes far beyond the typical postpunk spectrum including hints of space- and psychrock. Most songs are based on a slight dissonant, but highly addictive groove. You get five tracks, of which the titletrack "Zhan" is probably the most memorable stomper. But the whole tape is a winner and it could be a lovely lost Rough Trade release. (Listen to it here)

K-9 SNIFFIES - DEHYDRATION GUYS TAPE (All Gone)
This is the latest release by the K-9 Sniffies following their smashing "Rawsonville" 7" on Urinal Cake. The six tracks on "Dehydration Guys" are rooted in the sound of US garage and rock'n'roll groups. At the same time the recording is raunchy and destructive driven by a unique kind of weirdness. The tape kicks of with a disturbing sound collage intro. Next comes "Full Of Bust", a destructive punk tune made with heavy feedbacks, a super noisy guitar and sick high speed vocals. Things become more melodic with "Doctor's Orders" sounding like a rawer version of the Swell Maps. "Tar Heel-Blues" on the b-side is a groovy garage-psych munge filled with blown out guitar-solos and catchy organ melodies. "Mr Willie" captures a straight on garagepunk vibe. The final track "2012" is an amazing cover version of The Stooges' classic "1969" and it's really the best evidence of The K-9 Sniffies' genius. Very nice. (Listen to it here)

MOLE HOUSE - BE AROUND 7" (All Gone)
This is the second vinyl single by this Melbourne based trio. The band is made up by people involved in Mad Nanna and White Woods. The broken, sloppy, slowed down and inadequate approach shows simularities to Mad Nanna, while the melodies and jangle could be taken from a White Woods record. The songs are in the first moment minimal, stripped down and centered. But after a few spins you'll realize, that they develop something complex and addictive within their monotony. The titletrack is a poppy indie-folk banger with Carla's bizarre heartbreaking vocals in the forefront.  "At My Cuffs" on the flipside is a lazy. more dissonant number with melodies arising and disappear. The home recorded four-track sound forms the perfect complement for Mole House's compositions. Fantastic! (Listen to it here)

PUBLIC URINATION - S/T TAPE (All Gone) 
Public Urination are a new band emerging from the hot current Detroit scene and I think this tape is their first release so far. Their bandname is at least as dirty as their music. You get six short and frantic slaps of ugly noise-punk. Public Urination play music in the most primitive and destructive way. A distorted squeaking guitar is paired with manic screamed vocals, brilliant lyrcis and hammering drums sounding cheap and unconventional like they were not made with an usual drum kit. Most tunes consist of rough hateful midtempo parts with a banging groove. Then all of the sudden they turn into sick high speed hardcore assaults, that are truely genuine, authentic and crude. This is great primitive music. (Listen to it here)

Interview with THE INSTIGATION

Hailing from east Asia The Instigation are an international band, that combines early 80s US hardcore in the vein of Black Flag, Angry Samoans, Middle Class or Teen Idles with some hints of garage. They've released a ripping demo tape and a selfreleased vinyl 7". Both releases are totally worth to check out. Toshi (bass), Simon (vocals) and Tyler (drums) answered my questions.


Let's start with some standard questions: How long have you been playing together? Names and roles? What's the idea behind your bandname?
Toshi: Our current line-up( for japan tour for new year of 2014) is as below:Simon cochrane on vocal,Tyler bowa on Drums,Toshi on Bass and Tommy Fever on Guitar (from Thee Mighty Fevers). Tthe band was formed in June of 2010 in shanghai.oh, or maybe in May of 2010. We had our first gig in June 2010. It was the first and the last gig with original vocalist Dave since he ve had to move back to US. Then Simon has joined the band in July,2010. Our original drummer Papa has moved to Beijing in March 201. Then our current drummer Tyler has joined the band right after Papa've left the band. In Sept 2011 our original guitarist Misuzu've quit the band and Sasha joined the band after him. Until Simon moved back to UK in the beginning of Oct 2011,we've played constantly.After Simon've moved back,we have tried to find a new vocalist,but it didnt work well at all,so I've decided to stop playing.but after Simon've moved back to UK,he've visited shanghai for his vacation on June 2012 and we had a gig in Shanghai at that moment.Now during new year holiday of 2014, Simon Jand Tyler are coming to Japan for their holiday and since I'm in japan, I arranged a Japan tour for The Instigation. The guitarist for the tour is our friend Tommy fever from Thee Mighty Fevers who mixed/mastered our songs. If we say the exact period that we've been playing constantly, it should be about 1 year. About the bandname:I've been pretty bored of shanghai music scene since there was nothing for what i exactly like as garage punk (of course there were some cool band as well thought). And I've wanted to change something there as I've started bringing garage punk bands from japan to arrange monthly garage punk live series with few guys in Shanghai. I also wanted to have a band name that sounds like blahblah-gathion. haha, so Instigation was the perfect word for what I wanted to say.

You're an international bands with members coming from all over the world? What have been your reasons to leave your homelands?  
Simon: err, I know we all have different answers to this question but mine is/was relatively straight forward: I studied Chinese at university and moving to Shanghai to get a job seemed like a good idea. Guess that's one of the cool things about the city is that there are a lot of different people there for different reasons - not just the usual expat guff.
Tyler:I originally moved to Shanghai in 2009 to work as an Architect, but since then have opened up my own shop here making and selling custom bicycles.
Toshi: I've attended university in Shanghai then after graduation, since Japanese economy was so fucked up so I've stayed in Shanghai.

You've recently moved from Shanhai to Tokyo. Why? Have you moved as a whole band? 
Toshi: I've been in Shanghai too long and wanted something new. Also missed my Japanese fresh foods like real sushi and sashimi, haha. About the band, all of us are in different place as Simon is in London,Tyler is in Shanghai and I'm in Tokyo. Where Instigation is is where we gather up in.
Tyler: Nope! Still kicking drums in Shangahi, playing in 3 other bands now ...

A question for those, who aren't native Asians: What's the difference betwenn the punk/ underground scene in Europe/North America and  China/Japan? Or isn't there a difference at all?
Simon: This one is a little tough to answer as I can't ever say I was fully involved in any specific scene back home despite going to a lot of shows growing up, so i'l just have to draw for a cliched response and say that scenes in euro/us are more stratified and specific, with longer histories and jaded dudes who've seen and done it all already. In China there is no punk scene to speak of really but I suppose you could say there is a growing indie/DIY scene which kinda unites lots of different bands and people interested in music there. the striking thing I picked up about Japan when it comes to punk and hardcore bands is that they don't do the whole, demo 7"-national tour-LP-international tour-break-up model which a lot of euro/US bands do in their early to mid-twenties. bands get together and stick at it for years and years, playing for the same people and releasing more and more shit. if you have a lot of dudes around in bands like that that's surely the strongest kind of scene you can have, no?
Tyler: I think that the biggest difference is the scene in China is all relatively new. Everything with the punk / hardcore scene has been developed in the last 6-7 years. The positive side is that almost everything is accepted and the community is tight and respects each other. The downside is that because it is so small you end up seeing the same local acts all the time, and it's difficult to pull in larger ones without such big support. In Japan, from my understanding, this is quite the opposite ~ there are hundreds of good bands supporting a local scene - so much so that touring bands aren't even needed to fill out small to large size venues. In North America I feel that though the scene has the longest history, it's the most divided. Everyone gets caught up about what genre they should label a band, rather than just going to shows and having fun.

What is your song "Foreign Moron" about?
Simon: It was basically about all the stereotypical expat douchebags you meet pretty regularly in China and many parts of Asia. nothing new there, if you've been to places like China you'll have seen them. guys with an over inflated sense of self and entitlement just because they're "western". 

Your 7" is selfreleased. Will you keep on putting out your releases on your own? What are the advantages? 
Toshi: Originally I've sent the demo to a few labels but none of them replied. So i've just decided to release it by ourselves. I regard the music as a vehicle that brings to you unique and interesting memories for your life. So the process for self-release is sometimes pretty annoying since there are a lot of thing you have to manage by your own, but it can become pretty unique experiences. You can learn a lot and its pretty direct. And because of you are putting a lot of effort on every process of making the release ,it can be something more than a release that you just send your songs to label then wait for while to get the copies in your hand. Also there is nothing about how to deal about physical copies and digital release blah blah.Everything you can manage as you want.so i like it. We still have 5songs that already done with mixing and mastering. Also have 12tracks without vocals. I would love to release it by ourselves one day or maybe make a name for own label to release those songs. 

You'll release a split LP with The Sprouts. What can we expect? And how did you get in contact with them?
Toshi: Actually Now its not really sure when it would be happened since the Sprouts need to take pretty long time. And now we are considering to release 7'' for upcoming Japan tour in new year 2014 by those 4-5songs we already have that originally I wanted to use for the split. So Not really sure if its happen. I found them on myspace accidentally in 2010 and since they sounded pretty cool so I left a comment on their wall. Now im playing bass for them.

Your music reminds of the German band Dean Dirg. Do you know them? And do you know more German bands? 
Toshi: Of course I know them! They are my most favorite band and I can say they brought me to hardcore punk from garage punk. They are like a bridge between garage punk to hardcore punk. I've also arranged their East Asia tour (Japan and China) this year. I of course know more german bands! Sniffin Glue, Press Gang, Surf Nazis Must Die, The Toyotas, The Blankpages, Hidden Charms, Modern Pets, NXD or The Mokkers as I saw them in Berlin or SS20 and Nothing since they ve toured in China. 
Tyler: I don't know too many German bands, actually . . 

Your demo came out on German label Yakuzzi. How did you get in contact with them?
Toshi: They found us on myspace and massaged us! Originally we are supposed to release split cassette tape with the Sprouts that i wanted to release as 10inch as well from Yakuzzi tapes. But its still not happen since end of 2010...haha. Then we just had a few demo cdr and Yakuzzi tapes asked us if we would be interested in releasing demo tape cassette. I was not supposed to release it so we of course said yes to Yakuzzi!

The freedom of opinion and human rights are major issues in China. Did you ever have trouble with the Chinese state? How does the Chinese state deal with punk?
Simon: In short, no. Foreign press loves this question and it's the reason why I think some people outside China interested in this kind of thing might get a very skewed sense of the actual reality of what constitutes "punk" in China - in reality there is no scene. Of the few bands there are, there's probably only two or three that can even fill a small venue. From what I've heard and experienced every now and then police will run a few skirmishes and close down bars and events which does affect bands but to be honest, I really doubt "punk" or just music feel like big threats to government control.
Tyler: It's kind of a double edged sword situation. As long as you don't publicly boast your opinions, then it's usually ok - but it's really hard to define that boundaries that entails. For example, if a punk band wants to play a show or a festival, they should submit all their lyrics and song information before hand - though most bands just submit something totally different, and on the day of they will sing the real lyrics. What's funny is that the organizers and the government know that these things they are signing about go against what they try to enforce, but they also know that people will show up to support these bands which means more money for them . . Makes me laugh in many ways.
Toshi: There are a lot of historical and political issues between Japanese government and Chinese government. Personally I havent had big trouble by it so much, but once I've brought a Japanese punk band to China, originally they would go to Beijing to play a show after the gig in Shanghai, but when they came to China, the island issue between Japan and China was exploded and there were so much hate comments against them on the event page of douban (its like Chinese facebook/myspace) or on the Beijing gig organizer's weibo (chinese twitter). Of course there were some comment that encouraging them to come and dont support those hatespeechs too. Since it was getting pretty violence as some Japanese citizens who lives in Shanghai and Beijing were beaten up by some Chinese so we canceled the gig in Beijing in the end. I heard Chinese government censors all lyrics that released by rock/punk bands. Also sometimes cops come to live venue to cancel punk shows. But personally I've never had these experiences. 

Tell us about the punk community in China. Are there many people involved? I have the impression, that the Chinese underground scene has been steadily growing during the last couple of years? Do you aggree?
Simon: I guess my last answer alluded to this a bit but in terms of the last couple of years it's difficult for me to say as I haven't lived in China for a while now. There are definitely people doing stuff, there's Genjing, a DIY record label run by a great guy called Nevin, which is the first all vinyl label in China. Also, Shanghai has Uptown Records, the first dedicated record store. From what I've heard it sounds like the scenes in Beijing and Shanghai aren't necessarily growing but the same faces are keeping them ticking along. However, I wouldnt be surprised if there's more activity going on in the South of China these days.
Tyler: Agree full force. When I moved here in 2009 it was almost impossible to find a show with more than 10-15 kids attending. Now, on a good month, punk shows can pull out 200+ kids, even on a week night. Just a few weeks ago was the Shanghai Punk Fest (second annual), spread across two days, and both days saw easily 1000+ people at the venue. Truly amazing, and bands from all over China were involved. The one thing that has stayed true are the people who organize these shows and have supported the scene all along ~ they're still doing their thing and it's finally paying off for them - they get to see great live bands and help lead the scene in China to it's full potential.
Toshi: There were not so much punk bands in Shanghai. Beijing has had pretty big punk scene, but i guess its not so popular as before. Now those post punk/new wave/indie rock style should be the major style I guess. So I don't know if its growing, but in this couple of years,much more Chinese punk bands are touring Europe and US than before. So maybe in this couple of years those Chinese punk bands are more visible than before in west and its why seems like its growing?

Which Chinese bands are worth to check out?
Simon: Again, I'm a bit out the loop with what's going on these days but here goes:
Spill Your Guts: Our drummer's other band. White guys of various nationalities playing Suicide File/Gallows-y influenced RNR hardcore with more than enough mosh parts
Pairs: We made one song called Foreign Moron but Rhys has pretty much written three records worth dealing with the same subject albeit with much better lyrical content. Can't really tell you what they sound like anymore as it changes from record to record but the first handful of releases were all made up largely two-piece noisey pop songs.
Fanzui Xiangfa: the best hardcore punk band in China, in my opinion. Not sure if they're still kicking around but basically fast, angry, thrashy hardcore in the vein of Vitamin-X and DS-13, from which they share the same drummer. Gutted we never got to play with these guys.
SMZB: China's first punk band. Wu Wei the singer, and only original remaining member I think, is a super nice guy and runs a bar called Prison in Wuhan. This guy basically introduced punk to most kids in China. I can't say I've listened to them extensively but the earlier stuff was definitely more 77 influenced and then they got into a sort of Dropkick Murphys/Real Mckenzies vibe with bagpipes and stuff.
Tyler: haha, other than my own . . . xLost In Painx, Spill Your Guts . . haha . . Actually, I really like Mi San Dao (Chinese skinhead band), Hell City from Beijing is really good, 45 from Wuhan is an awesome deathcore band, Saving Molly from Beijing is a good rock and roll hardcore band, and those would probably be my favorites.
Toshi:Fanzui xiangfa is definitely a band that worth to check out! 

You've got strong 80s US hardcore influence. What are your favourite bands from that period?
Simon: Yeh that was the idea. I like a lot of the early west coast bands like Angry Samoans, Adolscents, Circle Jerks but also some of the harder, early NYHC bands like Antidote. also, who doesn't love themselves some Deep Wound.
Tyler: For me I'm not really influence by drumming from the 80s - and it probably shows. I hit everything as hard as I can, and like to play things as technical and tight as possible - so my style is a bit different from bands playing back then. Though i think it's a good mix for The Instigation!
Toshi: I say Koro for my favorite. Koro is the best band in 80s I think. Is fuckin blasting! Actually my original main musical influences are Garage punk/proto punk/punk and R'n'R. Then dean dirg ve brought me those hardcore punk influence. And after simon joined the instigation,he brought REAL early 80s US hardcore punk to the band and me.No doubt Koro is the most favorite 80s US hardcore punk band for me, but i also like Maggot Sandwich, Agent Orange,Poison Idea, Deep Wound, Gang Green, Jerry's Kids, Zero Boys, Angry Samoans and Bad Brains from that era. Its not released in 80s but i pretty like Black Flag's first 7 "Nervous Breakdown" too.

Do you have something to add?
Toshi:We will have Japan tour during new year 2014 and we are supposed to release a 7'' for upcoming tour too. We all are so exited for it! Also I would love to release 1 or 2 7''s since we recorded 12 songs. Personally i really want to tour in Germany oneday,so if any of you are interested in our music and would like to try to bring us,please contact us! And Thank you so much for interview us Patrick! Really appreciated for your hard works!

Friday, September 6, 2013

GAPHALS 7"s

DALAPLAN - REDAN DÖD 7" (Gaphals)
This is already the fourth 7" release by Dalaplan from Malmö, Sweden. Their music is rooted in different genres from the 60s and 70s ranging from garage to rock'n'roll, protopunk and some hints of power-pop. But your wrong, if you think this is pure retro-music. Dalaplan give their tunes a fresh, special note. Their "Trillar I" 7" reminded me of Radio Birdman, but the two songs on this 7" are way poppier. Especially the titletrack "Redan Död" is first of all a sunny, immediate pop-tune with fantastic multi-voiced vocals you will have a hard time getting them out of your head. They slow things down on the b-side. "Siste Kvar" is characterized by a moody feel and slugging structures. One of the main secrets of Dalaplans sound are the fantastic sugar-sweet organ harmonies. They take the best moments of Murder City Devils, MC5, The Sonics and Radio Birdman to merge it with their own pop vibe. As usual the urban photography-artwork looks fantastic. There's a first full Dalaplan album coming out soon. I definitely won't miss it!  (Listen to it here

KNIFVEN - AV!/ DEN SISTA JÄVELN 7" (Gaphals)
This is already the third single by Sweden's Knifven. It's hard to put their music in any categories. They don't really sound like something completely new, but Knifven have definitely devolped their own, unique brand of punkrock. Highly distinctive double-voiced vocals are paired with a crunching guitar, a fat loud bass and pounding drums. Within the roughness and the straightness of their compositions, they don't forget to add superb melodies and catchy refrains. "Av!" is a faster-paced straight on hardcorepunk tune. "Den Sista Jäveln" sounds at the beginning like some dissonant postpunk, then the song turns into melodic punkrock with plenty of variation and amazing bass lines. For my taste Knifven sound a bit like a rougher and straighter version of Bäddat För Trubbel, which means they fuckin' rule. And I have to point out the fantastic look of the comic artwork. (Listen to it here)

NIGHT - GUNPOWDER TREASON 7" (Gaphals)
I sometimes visit recordstores just to flip through records of all different kind of genres. When it comes to metal, I'm everytime shocked about the horrible look of 80s metal groups. Swedish metal act Night look the same without a sense of shame and also their music is nothing but a tribute to the time, when hardrock turned into heavy metal. Night are first of all influenced by British heavy metal with Judas Priest influenced riffs, a Kiss inspired groove and melodies simular to Iron Maiden. Of course they also use the obvious high eunuch-vocals, extended guitar-solos and singalong refrains. "Gunpoweder Treason" is a five-minute midtempo anthem based on infectious hooks and ripping guitars. "Into The Night" is a faster tough as nails tune, that includes one of the most cheesy metal solos ever. Both songs are brilliant and Night are at least as good as their musical idols. The strange thing is: I actually don't like metal, but I love Night. (Listen to it here)

TYRED EYES - GHOSTS 7" (Gaphals)
Tyred Eyes are a garage group from Gothenburg, Sweden. This 7" follows their "The Piercing Stare, The Thousand Lies" full lenght and their fantastic "Too Late To Make It Right" debut 7" on Kenrock. Compared with their previous releases "Ghosts" is characterized by a softer and more cuddly sound. The four tracks are still rooted in the classic sound of 60s garage, but instead of cranking out fuzzy, blown-out music, they've pushed plenty of sugar-sweet guitar melodies into the forefront. The dueling male-female double-vocals are highly distinctive and well-done. This is really a nice garage-pop single for the sunny sides of life. And if you dig  Alicja-Pop!, you'll probably also be digging this 7". (Listen to it here)

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

DRUNKEN SAILOR 7"s

BABY GHOSTS - GHOST IN A VACUUM 7" (Drunken Sailor / Lost Cat)
Do you know the moment, when you play a new record and three seconds later you're blown away by it's genius? That is exactly what happend when I've listened to this 7" for the first time. Hailing from the mormon capital Salt Lake City Baby Ghosts are equally influenced by punk, indie-pop and garage. Imagine a mix of The Avengers, Vivian Girls, The Raveonettes and Bridge And Tunnel and you'll get a rough idea how Baby Ghosts sound like. The four tracks on "Ghost In A Vacuum" pair harmonic multi-voiced vocals with plenty of catchy-as-hell melodies and crunchy, yet poppy guitars. Within the cuteness and poppy twang of their compositions, there's a straight on punk feel. That's how Baby Ghosts give their numbers a highly addictive charm, that distinguishs from most other stereotype retro-punk and garage groups. I really can't recommend this 7" highly enough! (Listen to it here)

FIST CITY / PISS TEST - SPLIT 7" (Drunken Sailor)
Canada is on fire. At least when it comes to punkrock and Fist City are yet another great example. They are named after the country song by Loretta Lynn and their brand of punkrock combines a wide variety of different influences including dark surf-riffage with heavy delay effects, straigh blasting rock'n'roll and snotty punkrock. Their two tracks are both, poppy and raw with some really brilliant vocals in the forefront. Piss Test are a new Portland based allstar group including members of Red Dons, Therapists, Soda Pop Kids and others. They nail down three cuts of no frills killed by death punkrock. This is dump, primitive and offensive music in it's very best way. The three Piss Test tracks show simularities to both late 70s punk from Southern California and early UK bands like for example Chelsea. Add some hints of early New Bomb Turks, and you'll probably know you shouldn't miss this split 7". (Listen to it here)

GOOD GRIEF / BUZZORHOWL - SPLIT 7" (Drunken Sailor / Boss Tuneage)
This split 7" is the vinyl debut by two new bands from the UK each contributing two tracks. Good Grief from Liverpool play a poppy style of indie-punk characterized by beautiful, sugar-sweet melodies and the same shimmering songcraft J Church have been best known for. That beeing said their second song is a brilliant cover version of J Church's "The Track" from their "One Mississippi" masterpiece. Buzzorwhole are the follow-up band of Jailcell Recipes, who released some highly-recommended records in the late 80s and early 90s. Also these two tracks sound like they've been recorded 20 years ago. The great guitar-work is heavily influenced by Dinousaur Jr. and the poppy moments of Hüsker Dü, even if it doesn't use their destructive effect-loaded sound. Fans of Southport, early Snuff recordings and classic UK poppunk in general won't be dissapointed here. (Listen to it here)

IRON CHIC - SPOOKY ACTION 7" (Drunken Sailor / Yo-Yo)
Iron Chic are a poppunk band hailing from Long Island, NY featuring former members of Latterman. I do not know why, but I've missed their prior releases including a full lenght and two 7"s. Their new album will be out in November on Bridge Nine, but even if this label sucks, Iron Chic are worth to check out. They play hard-hitting poppunk loaded with simple melodies, that one cannot forget. The focus is on the fantastic singalongs and the varied guitar-work. They take the best moments of US poppunk and fuse influences ranging from Hot Water Music, Jawbreaker and All to make it their own independent mixture. This single features two own pieces and one well done cover version of "Goofy's Concern" by the Butthole Surfes. It's very likeable, that Iron Chic cover a song, that ignores the poppunk genre boundaries. (Listen to it here)

TOYS THAT KILL / FUTURE VIRGINS - SPLIT 7" (Drunken Sailor)
I like F.Y.P, I also own and like the first Toys That Kill records, but since about ten years I somehow haven't purchased any of their releases. After listening to this split 7", I'm pretty sure, that I've missed countless of great records. Toys That Kill have developed their own unique brand of punkrock based on a heavy crunching guitars, catchy melodies and a kind of primitivy, that brings to mind The Ramones. "Maybe This Cult Is Way Off" is the best example. The guitar-lead melody and the chorus get more memorable with every new repeat. It's a four minute pop-punk anthem, that's not boring for a single second. Future Virgins from Chattanooga, Tennessee crank out two tracks of high-energy harmonic-voiced pop-punk. They add some garage and raw rock'n'roll to keep it their own fresh style, that's a lot more interesting than all those No Idea wannabe-bands try to sound like. (Listen to it here)

STAY CLEAN JOLENE - S/T 7" (Drunken Sailor/ Eager Beaver/ Rad Girlfriend/ Just Say No To Government)
Back in the late 80s and early 90s a new wave of UK bands have created their own unique brand of melodic punkrock. Their music is charactererized by a guitar-driven style showing similuarities to Hüsker Dü. At the same time they find a perfect balance between melancholic melodies and rougher elements. Bands like Leatherface, Snuff, Southport, HDQ, Broccoli or The Jones are the most descriptive examples for this style of punkrock. Why do I write all this? Stay Clean Jolene sound like a complete worship to this era of UK punk and they are really as good as the originals. The band is made up by former members of The Leif Ericssons and The Great St. Louis. Their debut single features three high-energy songs with a focus on John Dagger's gruff vocals. "Green" opens with a Hüsker Dü like guitar, powerful bass lines and catchy singalong moments. "Old Song" and "Record" on the b-side sound like "Mush" era Leatherface made with the same typical guitar-work and tons of fantastic melodies. If you're a fan of this style of punkrock, this one's for you. (Listen to it here)

Sunday, September 1, 2013

NEGATIVE FUN 7"s

ALPHA COP / CARTON - SPLIT 7" (Negative Fun)
The two owner's of the Negative Fun pursue the idea of putting out split 7"s by bands coming from the regions they live in: North Carolina and New Hampshire. This 7" is the first part of this split-series. The side of Alpha Cop, who represent North Carolina, is at the beginning 90s emo influenced, but just when you think, they go over in a catchy chorus, the song turns into instrumental hypnotic realms. It ends with experimental post-rock flowing together with a central violin melody. Their five minute track has not a single moment that feels wasted. It's equipped with many different sounds and ideas, but Alpha Cop remain a clear idea, where their brilliance lies. Carton from Vermont seem to combine two contradictory influences. On the one hand their music shows a melodic Dinosaur Jr. SST indie-rock vibe, on the other they sound dissonant and heavy povided with feedbacks, noisy guitars and pounding drums. Just like Alpha Cop they are really comfortable with their instruments and they write varied songs without losing the focus. (Listen to it here)

RED HEX - SHOULDA KNOWN 7"(Negative Fun)
Red Hex are a trio hailing from Tacoma, the hometown of The Sonics. Their music traces the historical development of the garage genre with influences ranging from classic 60s groups to DMZ, Mudhoney, The Oblivians and Ty Segall. At the same time Red Hex don't forget to give their music a fresh feel with their own unique modernized sound garment. Typical for their tunes is their clear preference for a loud, noisy and highly destructive sound made with fuzzy guitar crunches, furious distorted vocals and bashing drums. The titletrack is first of all a straight blasting tune based on a simple, but brilliant 70s punk riff and a catchy-as-hell chorus. They slow things down a bit on the flipside. "Down In The Dirt" pushes the noisy stunning guitar into the forefront and fuses garage with early 90s grunge in the vein of Mudhoney or Nirvana. You really shouldn't miss this 7"! (Listen to it here)

SHE RIDES / DRIPPING SLITS - CRUCIAL FIX SPLIT 7" (Negative Fun)
Both bands on this split 7" add a heavy dose of tough as nails rock to their hardcore roots. She Rides feature a member of Dropdead. They merge blown out 70s rock with catchy refrains, metallic clanging guitars and melodic solos sounding like a tribute to Iron Maiden. The whole performance is tight as hell including superb high (but not too high) screaming vocals. She Rides crank out two killer tracks and I slighty prefer their side of this split, even if Dripping Slits are als worth it. Their two numbers are of a simular nature, but they skip the melodies and are a lot more focused on cranking out full-on dirty and heavy hardrock. In conformity with their bandname the lyrics are offensive and sexual. Think of a straight 70s rock version of Eyehategod. If you dig other current bands with a simular approach like for example Doomriders, you'll probably also be digging this split 7". (Listen to it here)

WORMBURNER - TODAY MIGHT BE OUR DAY 7" (Negative Fun)
Negative Fun doesn't seem to care about genre boundaries. At least each of their first four 7" releases covers a different style of music. Wormburner are a five-piece from New York City, that takes influences from rock, indie, folk and poppunk. The focus is on frontman Steve Henry's narrative lyrics, his spoken style of singing and his voice sounding a bit like Hutch Harris of The Thermals. "Today Might Be Our Day" is the single's stand-out track. It's a catchy anthem rooted in the classic sound of Bruce Springsteen and The Pogues, even if it's poppier with an undercurrent of fantastic melodies. The bleating lyrical folk songs of The Mountain Goats are another obvious reference. "Parliaments on Sunday" on the flipside sounds different with a indie-pop vibe in the central focus and it features Sean Eden of Luna as a guest-guitarist. (Listen to it here)