Showing posts with label hardcore. Show all posts
Showing posts with label hardcore. Show all posts

Aug 17, 2018

The No Sleep Roundup w/Paul Cauthen, SeeYouSpaceCowboy, Angela Perley, etc.

by Robert Dean

Howdy jerks, 

Down here in lovely Austin, Texas, it’s hot as hell. It’s so hot that my AC doesn’t feel like it exists. Instead, it feels like someone with an ice cube in their mouth is breathing in your face. It was 104 today. 

Yesterday was my 37th birthday. We went to a snake farm. It was pretty great. I’m going to see Ben Nichols tonight. I’m gonna get REALLY drunk. 

Robert making Ben Nichols feel some kind of way...


So, a bunch of rad music has crossed my desk. I’m way late to the party, but Paul Cauthen’s new record, Have Mercy is bangin’. If you’re looking for a Waylon + Cash throwback that feels like evil with a splash of snake handling, you need to give that dude a spin. 

The always wonderful Angela Perley and The Howlin’ Moons have some new stuff out. They’ve recently released The Stereogram Sessions, which captures the band in their purest form: live. When you write about music, you’re always reminded that a lot of solid artists aren’t as well know as they deserve. Angela Perley is one of those acts. 

And now for something completely different: 

If you’re into hardcore, the stuff that’s dropping lately is off the rails. Whatever sea change happened, it’s appreciated because hardcore’s newest evolution is exciting, brutal, and a lot of fun. 

SeeYouSpaceCowboy is a perfect example of challenging the norms of the scene and genre can be. While I’m not crazy about the name, the band murders. Playing 2-minute grind songs in the vein of Daughters, The Locust, or Pig Destroyer, SeeYouSpaceCowboy is vicious. The fury they pack into such a short amount of time is impressive and feels vital. If you’re a NAILS kinda person, these kids are in your wheelhouse. Don’t judge them on the name. 

Jesus Piece has a new record dropping soon. They’ve been teasing songs on Spotify and YouTube, and my god. Jesus Piece is like a comfortable pair of boots, they play fast, pissed off hardcore that anyone who’s ever given a dime to Scott Vogel can appreciate. The songs are fast, violent, and unrelenting. If you love a good pit band, Jesus Piece delivers. 

Sanction is a band that my friend, Brian Martinez of The Classics Pomade is obsessed with. Because we trade music regularly, he’s suggested them to me, no less than three times. If you’re searching for a band in that mid-to-late 90’s style via Trustkill or Solid State, Sanction is worth a listen. There’s no mystery, this is a band to dance and finger point. Meat and potatoes. 

That’s all I got. Hope your universe is kicking ass. 

Mar 7, 2018

San Antonio Hardcore + Some New Blood From Baltimore's Queensway

by Robert Dean

Last night, I cruised down to San Antonio to catch the Harm’s Way and Ringworm show at Jack’s Bar and was pleasantly surprised. Being only my second time seeing a show in San Antonio, I gotta give it up: San Antonio’s hardcore scene is world class. Those kids are passionate, fun and foster a sense of community I haven’t seen since my Chicago days.

I grew up in Hardcore, attending shows around 16 years old at Off The Alley, VFW’s, the Arlington Heights Knights of Columbus, the Darien Sportsplex, and the much-lauded Fireside Bowl just to name a few venues. Living in New Orleans and later Austin, the scenes are unique, and each offers something different, but in comparison to San Antonino, it’s not even close. I tip my cap to the excitement, interaction, and fever of those kids. Definitely made my heart happy to see the positivity and everyone hanging out talking vs. Austin’s scene where everyone immediately splits for the bar. Creeping 37 years old, I’ve been going to shows as long as some of those kids have been alive. I made me unbelievably happy to see that the scene still holds strong.

Harm’s Way never ceases to impress. For 30 minutes, they slammed through tracks off their various e.p.’s and their two latest records, Rust and Subhuman. Energy throbbed throughout the room and kept the spirit of the show moving. For my money, the highlight of the night was Baltimore’s Queensway. Initially, my friend and I were planning on ducking out for a bit to grab some food, considering we’d just driven an hour and a half to make the show. We were walking through the venue when we caught the first song of Queensway and immediately stopped, both recognizing these dudes were going OFF. 

Nothing is better than a tight hardcore band, 100% engaged with the crowd, giving their all to the crowd and doing more than just playing outward to the room. Queensway was engaged, poised and destroyed. Jack’s Bar’s reception and throbbed in support and it was clear they’d won the majority of the attendees over by the end of the first song. Having never heard of Queensway, I was taken aback by not only their tightness but their constant energy. 

They made a new fan last night and from here on out, I’ll do my best to champion their music to my friends looking for straight ahead hardcore. If San Antonio was any litmus of what these boys are capable of, watch the fuck out. And a word to San Antonio, I’ll be back to dance alongside y’all. 

Feb 26, 2018

Chicago's Harm's Way Rips Out Hearts and Souls on Their Newest, Posthuman

by Robert Dean

I’m just gonna make this review as easy as possible: The newest Harm's Way record is like a chainsaw to the face. Evolving beyond their fast, straight ahead hardcore roots, Harm’s Way is forging into water explicitly held by tried and true metal bands and ripping the seams off the baseball every step of the way. Despite its early release this year, Posthuman will be a hard record to top for its sheer violence, riffs, and brutality. 

While their prior release Rust was a step toward the direction of full-on “metalcore” Posthuman straddles both the lines of a band that can hold their own with Sick of It All, but also wreck shop opening for Max Cavalera. Harm’s Way has found a way to take the best Roadrunner riffs of the late 90s and early 00’s and package them together, but without abandoning credibility to tread new artistic waters.

The songs on Posthuman aren’t formulaic and instead try out a lot of different time signatures and thematic styles. It’s a formidable mixture of violence mixed with the history of Chicago’s tougher than leather hardcore style. Having grown up in Chicago’s hardcore scene, I couldn’t be more proud of Harm’s Way carrying the battle flag for my hometown. (I saw them open for Soulfly playing the Nailbomb record and after finding out they were from Chicago, I immediately walked over to their table and gushed. I know I looked like an asshole. I don’t care.)

Posthuman is a complex, yet a beautiful mixture of ideas that should not work. Somehow Harm’s Way pulls Posthuman off. One minute, there’s a clear Godflesh or Nailbomb influence and just went you think the band will do something lame, they go harder than the previous track. Harm’s Way isn’t a one trick pony, if anything they’re capable of releasing crushing metal records, but also maybe dropping some straight industrial EP’s a la what Trent Reznor has been doing with Nine Inch Nails as of late.

"Dissect Me" is a perfect of example of crushing riffage but at the same time shows a clear influence by bands like Ministry or Skinny Puppy. Chicago’s industrial history with Wax Trax is present in the DNA of Harm’s Way, even if the band doesn’t realize it. While the metal featured on display is ridiculous, there’s so much going on throughout Posthuman, that it’s a tease for different looks into the band’s bright future. 

"Human Carrying Capacity" is the best hardcore song of the last ten years, hands down. Sorry Code Orange, sorry Knocked Loose. Harm’s Way has released a record that’s worthy of headliner status and should bring plenty of asses into the club to swing on posers. Get ready world, these dudes have arrived.


Posthuman is available on Bandcamp, Amazon, etc.

Feb 19, 2018

Album Review / The Kreutzer Sonata / The Gutters of Paradise

by Jahshie P

About 17 years ago, I joined a band called Failed Resistance. We were a hardcore/punk band out of Chicago, completely out of place with the other local punk bands, who mainly played pop punk music. Yet we managed to get our own crowd locally and had a respectable draw throughout the country. I bring this up because I have always had an obsession with street punk/hardcore music, and frankly, in the past decade, I have only found a handful of new bands performing this type of music. And, none of them were from Chicago.

With the release of The Gutters of Paradise, The Kreutzer Sonata totally gave me new faith in local music. This album is a no-nonsense, relentless, brutal attack from beginning to end. Opening with the catchy “Ten Yard Stare”, a song that really sets the tone for the entire record, this album just doesn’t let up. “Nobody” follows nicely with some great guitar work and painfully great vocals. A lot of people don’t get it with the screaming vocals, but, it is truly an art that takes years to perfect. Adam of The Kreutzer Sonata has found his niche and that really makes the vocals the forefront of the entire album. And, that is not taking away from the rest of the band at all. They are a very tight and experienced group. Without a great band, great vocals do no good. 

The fourth track “Pulse” almost tricks you into thinking it may be a little more poppy with it’s opening riff, but, as the vocals come in, the aggression quickly returns and this makes for one of the finer tracks on the album. Almost every song includes gang vocals that make the songs all that more memorable and easy to scream along with when you see them live. It’s not easy making hardcore songs with hooks, but, these guys do it with ease. 

On what is perhaps the best track on the album, “Old Glory,” the band digs a bit deeper in political views. Complete with a bass breakdown and a shredding guitar solo, plus the gang vocals repeating “World Coming Down,” this one will get stuck in your head for days. 

The Gutters of Paradise features fifteen tracks in all, and it never slows down or becomes stale and repetitive. With so many cliche punk bands out there these days, TKS really know how to separate themselves from their peers.  Even though the band has been around for a few years now, I believe that this album finally gives the band a proper recording, capturing all the elements they have to offer and giving people something to connect with. The future is bright for this group of youngsters, and with proper booking and touring, I believe that TKS will begin to start making major waves, not just in Chicago, but around the world. 

The Gutters of Paradise is streaming now at and will be released in the near future on vinyl through Don’t Panic Records and Distro out of Chicago. Do yourself a favor and get your hands on this stellar record. 


May 16, 2017

Snapping Necks with New York's Incendiary

by Robert Dean

The world needs more honest hardcore bands. There's too much fluff and mixing of genres these days. When you say “hardcore band” it shouldn’t include happy riffs, any ironic country shit or singing these monolithic, pop punk inspired hooks – hardcore should be a fast, chugging band with a social message. That’s the essential DNA of the genre: the music needs to be fast and pissed.

I ain’t saying there’s not room for bands with all of the stuff I mentioned. I love Candiria or Poison The Well as much as the next guy. But, when it comes strict hardcore, let’s respect the blueprint, and save the other bands for some sub-genre label.

Incendiary is a New York band who are keeping the flame lit and doing it right. On their new record, Thousand Mile Stare, Incendiary don’t hold back on providing that early to mid 90’s hardcore sound so prevalent in New York. Fast, under three minutes and crushing – the exact mix of elements what we want. (Side note: I want to say hardcore kids because it’s the genre term. But, I’m 35, and I have children. I still relate to the term, but it feels slightly odd. Maybe kid at heart? I dunno. Please comment.)

Think Snapcase meets Vision of Disorder. Earth Crisis meets Sick of It All. You get the picture. Thousand Mile Stare is a straight ahead hardcore record that will hopefully turn some heads and get kids at shows and reignite those fires from back in my day. Hardcore used to be about community, a sense of purpose, and finding a voice. As long as bands like Incendiary keep putting out records like Thousand Mile Stare, it brings all of that pre-internet cultural reliance back.

Hardcore was built on idealism. As bands realize the music is about a tactile, community-driven experience, the music should replenish itself with the ethos of the feeling of a flyer in hand mentality again. If you’re a student of hardcore’s history, a lot of the anger stems of the political machine’s gears chewing up the population, and now with the Cheeto in office, we’re going to get a lot of politically-driven records.

If Incendiary is any indication of the precise quality and craftsmanship of the next wave of bands, my old ass cannot wait to be pit boss again.

Stand out tracks on Thousand Mile Stare:
The Product is You
Fact or Fiction

Dec 30, 2016

Reigniting Turmoil: The Process Of revisited

By Robert Dean

When it comes to the history of hardcore music, there are a few periods that matter: the first wave of the 1980’s with bands like Black Flag paving the way for CroMags, Madball, Sick of It All, Leeway, etc. Then, there’s a second wave of bands from the late 90’s, early 00’s who took the presence of mind from the first wave bands and reinvented the genre but only with a lot more metal influence.

While yes, there are a lot of bands in the gray area (Burn, Converge, Trial, Unbroken) of timeframe - there are a few from the East Coast who were on fire during this later period: Indecision, Cave In, Snapcase, to name a few. But, one band managed to write an all time, headbanging, freak out mosh classic that a lot of people don’t know about: The Process Of and that band was Turmoil.

Honestly, I can’t give you an in-depth history of Turmoil. They’re one of the few bands who aren’t steeped in nostalgia, hocking their shirts, stickers and whatever represses of their records that are available. You can’t find much about them online. The Facebook is barely managed, and none of the members seem all too keen on living by the history of their younger selves. All I know about Turmoil is they were from Philly, and they killed.

The Process Of is twelve tracks that slit throats and offer no solace of reason or rectitude. For any angry kid of my generation, it serves as a fantastic album that encapsulated a time when you had to tour to get kids to know your music, and you had to sell cd’s to get the next show. The record sounds mad. It sounds desperate, and it sounds hungry. It’s a considerable shame Turmoil never managed to get the mix right with their ability to land big tours and get the band in a financially fortunate position because if you put on The Process Of in your car and don’t want to murder everyone when the opening of Playing Dead hits, you’re not human. And you’re certainly not metal.

The Process Of stands the test of time because it doesn’t feel churned out. Instead, it feels birthed – like it was a parting gift to the world, a final statement. The band wasn’t big; they were lucky to get VFW halls or gym’s in whatever town they played, but goddamn if the record doesn’t feel like a statement of absolution. The guitar work is airtight, the drums are intricate, but the perfect blend of fast punk sensibilities married with metal progressions. The vocals, though. The frantic, angry sound of Jon Gula’s tenor is what brings this record home - the viciousness is palpable and compelling because of its genuineness.

If you’re a metal dude, or someone with a history with hardcore music and this one slipped past you, hunt it down. The CDs should be easy to find online, and the vinyl was repressed a few years back (I’m still trying to find one. You got one, holler at ya boi.) The Process Of is an incredible statement of what hardcore felt like when it was a music that bubbled up from the streets. We didn’t have the Internet to rely on. We had to go to shows or read zines to get our gossip. The Process Of sounds like a band living hand to mouth and writing a record that had to carry their good fortunes or else.

Now get off my lawn and buy everything you can with Turmoil’s name on it. They deserve to be in the greater conversation with bands who defined that era of hardcore music. It’s frankly fucking criminal they aren’t.


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