Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Smalls: The Smalls (1990) rereleased in 1993 with bonus tracks

The Smalls are hard to explain. I guess you could say they were a band based on simple dichotomies. They were from Taber, Alberta, which is more famous for corn than any underground scene. Apparently, they all dug country, but you wouldn’t know it by listening to them (bassist Corb Lund would go on to a solo country thing). They weren’t ones to dominate a stage but you couldn’t help watching them when they were on it. And they weren’t the fastest band, but when they let loose it was incredibly cathartic as the pit became chaos.

The first time I saw them the show’s promoters, in an effort to educate mostly metalheaded morons, gave a little lecture on the proper etiquette for a pit. Such educational tidbits like how a pit is a clockwise circle and you shouldn’t be a jerk were announced to the crowd. The promoters even taped boundaries for the pit so that the boneheads wouldn’t get too out of hand. It was a cool idea, but I don’t think their students were paying attention, being that they were too busy writing notes, whispering and shooting spitballs. It was pretty violent, but then again, slamming to the Smalls was always tough, just like algebra, so who’s to say.

Here's their myspace page, where I lifted the image:

1. Driving through detox
2. Middle of the road
3. True narcissist
4. Ill tide
5. Hay shaker
6. Dan-diddle-a-na
7. Bit by a little
8. Smiles
9. Tight spots (live)
10. Two pigs in a gunny sack
11. Toughest times
12. Controlling Melanie

Download it now: The Smalls

SNFU: 1990 bootleg

SNFU were local boys who'd done good. Without major radio play, they had sold something like 100 000 copies of their three great records and toured immeasurably by the time they broke up in 1989 (they reformed in the early 90s and put out the really cool The One Voted Most Likely To Succeed in 1995). For my friends and I, they ruled and they showed that even people from our loser town could do well. Sadly we had no idea this boot came out when it did because we’d have gotten our grubby hands on it.

The first side comes from their tracks taken from the 1983 comp It Came From Inner Space. This comp was hailed by Maximum Rocknroll for displaying a diverse range of local bands. The Quincy song attacks the crappy treatment given to punks on the lame 1980s TV show and "Grunt, Groan, Rant and Rave" would be redone to death on The Last of the Big Time Suspenders. As a side note, the comp also featured hardcore act Down Syndrome, who released a 7" in 1986 before forming minor cock rock sensations Big House. I took bass lessons in the Big House and remember it fondly. But I digress.

The other two tracks seem to be from around 1983 as well. I think "Life As A Bag Lady" was one of their first songs and "This Is The End" was recorded later as the finishing track on 1984’s And No One Else Wanted To Play. These tracks are cool in that they were the starting point for a great band and they still stand up; at least in my opinion they do. Plus, I still think society’s NFU and that’s cool to me too.

Side 1:
Real Men Don't Watch Quincy / Strip Search / Grunt, Groan, Rant & Rave

Side 2:
Life Of A Bag Lady / This Is The End

Download it here: SNFU

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Anger Means: Not Human Anymore (1991)

Produced by local legend, Kevin army, Anger Means were East Bay punk rock. ‘Withdrawn’ begins when the singer states “I’m withdrawn”, and someone else in the band says "Huh?" and it's quiet for a second, but then the song blasts off, and I imagine a giant pit exploding, as kids skank their way to slam dancing paradise. It's how a record should start: quick, angry and to the point. There are lots of moments like this on “Not Human Anymore” but ‘Withdrawn’ is the best, two and a half minutes of pure punk rock pleasure.

Side 1:

Withdrawn / Ruins / Goodbye

Side 2:

Dirty widows / Scarred by spine / Descend

Get it now: Anger Means

Hgual: Riding On Three Wheels (1990)

Hgual are an anomaly for Skene Records. If the Skene sound is an aggressive melodic attack, then Hgual is Skene’s conscientious objector. They’re the one sitting in the corner of the Skene house party, not talking to anyone. While everyone else slams back blazing melodies, they sip some mid-tempo and, dare I say it, grungy sounds. This doesn’t make “Riding on Three Wheels” a bad record; far from it. It’s just the black sheep of the Skene family.

1. Toby
2. Stroll into
3. Inside of me
4. Treading 90
5. My burning
6. Hometro
7. Erode
8. Hopping rabbit
9. Chime
10. Bound in blood

Download HGUAL now!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Doughboys: Whatever (1987)

I have to thank The Doughboys. They were seers to my ears. Lame, I know, but seriously side one was my ‘lay in bed and procrastinate side’ in high school. A wise, mystical portal to a better understanding, I would know how my day would start just llistening to it, for by the time "The Forecast" came on, I could wisely predict that I would not go to school and instead would continue listening to the wise and sage sounds of Montreal’s finest.

1. Tradition
2. Stranger from within
3. Can’t find the day
4. The forecast
5. No holiday (from living)
6. You’re related
7. I remember
8. Senseless murders
9. You don’t know me
10. I don’t wanna know

Get it HERE

E.B.S.: Cosmetic Society (1991)

This shit is angry. E.B.S. play hardcore played along the lines of Poison Idea: spat vocals, raging guitar and a rhythm section that keeps it on the straight and narrow. It's a bit overwhelming, but in a good, kick in the ass sort of way.

There's always lots of stuff to be pissed about and E.B.S. knows it as well as anyone. They rage against cops, a superficial society and my favorite, The New Kids On The Block. Check out these lyrics from "Service Charge":

Big chain record stores overprice shit/epitome of capitalist shit/Outrageous, ridiclous LP prices/I can't afford a ticket for a show/Won't import hardcore records or tapes/they only sell Top 40 vomit/I think I'll burn this record store down.

All screamed in about two seconds. Awesome!

Side One:
police pricks / my job sucks / draft the new kids / service charge

Side Two:
drown your sorrows / ARSET / RED SCARE/robin hood / cosmetic society

Get it HERE

Zip It Real Good

OK, every file is now zipped and ready for your listening pleasure. I’d like to thank The Lost Shoe Team for pointing this out to me. Again, my apologies.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Detonators: Thousand Points of Punk (1991)

I first saw The Detonators in April, 1991, and I remember them being punk as fuck. They were so punk that they wore chains for guitar straps. I was mass impressed by that.

And they were old too. OK, more like what I thought of as old at the time, which was anyone over 21 but still here were these bona fide old fogies (who were probably in their late twenties, early thirties) playing ferocious hardcore and it was cool. They also rocked harder and played louder and much longer than kids younger than them. We simply couldn’t keep up. Old school indeed.

(image from Kill From The Heart)

1. 1000 Points of Punk
2. 21 Pigs
3. 11:59
4. Bought for a Song
5. The Prison State
6. Bastards
7. 911
8. Suffocation City
9. Twisted
10. No Antidote
11. No Balls By Design

Get it here (now zipped!)

(I finally figured out how to do a link. Gnarly.)

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Vermin: Living Together (1990)

Lifeless pale days under a dying sun and late cold nights, catching the last bus home and fearing for your life because you dress like a bum and missing the friends you were just with, or yearning for that person and having to insulate yourself from harsh stares with ugly headphones that provide you with your only solace from a cold world, punk fucking rock and that’s what this record means to me.

Vermin were from Quebec City. Hence the couple of songs in French. Song themes run the gambit on Living Together: everything from the evils of racism to growing up to greed is explored. Maximum Rock'n’Roll liked it when it first came out, and even noted an East Bay feel. I don’t know about that but if it makes you want to download it, then why not.

1. Let’s try
2. Nursery rhyme time
3. Dream
4. Hey!
5. Living together
6. I am what I am
7. Pourquoi
8. The city and country mouse
9. How low can you go
10. Laugh
11. Hold on
12. Separate tracks

The Wet Spots: Wake Up With the Wet Spots (1989)

Produced by Mickey De Sadist from The Forgotten Rebels, this album leans toward the "rock" side of the punk rock equation. Some of the songs are goofy, like "Mashed Potatoes", which is really an Elvis cover, but others are a bit more serious. "Gotta Go" has an melancholic edge and "Stay 19", though not exactly somber, still has something to say.

Hailing from Hamilton, The Wet spots were also friends with Problem Children. No big surprise given the geography but they also shared a similar sound as well. Problem Children liked them so much that they released Wake Up With the Wet Spots on Problem Children Wrekords.

1. Blitzkrieg polka
2. Gotta go
3. Steroids (King of Seoul)
4. Fightin’ a war
5. Psychedelic bikini
6. Think twice
7. Mashed potatoes
8. Stay 19

Get it here:

Monday, February 16, 2009

Blood Sausage: demo (198?)

I don’t know much about this band, except that they were from Montreal and they were seriously evil. I’m not kidding. Try listening to "XXX-Mas" and not believing the singer absolutely means every hateful note when he screams, "Fuck Christmas, Fuck Santa, Fuck You!" This is definitely one I wouldn’t play for the children.

There’s no date on the tape or information about the band. All the inside of the cassette has is the songs written by hand, an evil hand I might add, and I’ve recopied what it wrote.

1. XXX-Mas (Fuck Christmas, Fuck Santa, Fuck You!)
2. Buried Alive (Venom cover)
3. Don’t Catch Me (When I Fall)
4. The Creep
5. Welfare Warfare
6. I’m So Fucking Drunk! (Recorded At Sausage Studios)

Get it here:

Skin Barn: Love Snack demo (1991?)

Speaking of slap happy bass players, Skin Barn is another example of this trend in punk rock circles in the early 90s, though this guy doesn’t get as funky as the guy from The Peoples Court. Skin Barn were from Calgary and were very popular until they broke up. I can only remember seeing them once, but I’m convinced I saw them more. The only things I recall from that show was that they were very cool and they sold these cool shirts that said "I Fucked Skin Barn" on the back. I really wanted one (actually still do) but didn’t have any coin.

All of the songs from the demo are very good, except the last one which I did not transfer from the tape. Some songs had a funky touch, others leaned toward the rock side. Vocal harmonies abound, as all three members could hold a note.

I don’t know much else about the band, besides them opening for Nirvana on March 4, 1991. There’s no date on the tape, but a friend told me he thought it came out in said mystical year.

1. I Fuck Myself
2. Rock God / All I Can
3. Quone (intro)
4. Quone
5. Playground
6. Black
7. Barney "R" Stomp

Get it here:

The People's Court: s/t (1990)

This ep rocks. The People's Court, from what I know, were from Florida and were a part of a rad late 80s, early 90s scene there. What I really like about this record is the bass playing. That dude is slap happy. Come to think of it, lots of bands from this time liked to get funky on bass. It must be a Chili Pepper influence.

The song "Explain-explanation" knows the score about being bummed out at the end of a weekend with lyrics like In 24 hours, for 5 days, I gotta go back to work again. The singer belts out his pain in a way we can all sadly relate.

This is their only release on vinyl as far as I know. You can get download their demo on this page: http:

Side 1:
A hatchling dies / Explain-explanation / R jam

Side 2:
Nuts and bolts / The subsurface


A Priori: Damn The Past (1988)

I’m back form my conference. Things like my conference are opportunities to grab free goodies and listen to speakers preach about the difference we make each and every day. Being in the city too, I get to be around some folks who consider themselves to be fairly open-minded and concerned about this planet of ours, people who try to really comprehend what the impact of any given action might be, people who some Americans disdainfully would call liberals. It’s funny but you get the feeling that if you asked these do-gooders to give up their gas guzzling ways or 18 holes on Saturday on the pristine surface built on ancient burial grounds they’d suddenly become fiercely Republican, forget about their tree hugging ways like yesterday’s news, swap their latte for a machine gun and scream, "Over my dead body" as they fire indiscriminately into their local Greenpeace office. Or maybe I’m just tired.

One of the great things about going to the conference and driving from my sub Arctic zone to the more temperate tundra is that I get to listen to tunes. Lots of tunes. And that gets me to thinking about this here blog and what I should post next and after mulling it over with a conference call or two with the president, I decide to go with…

A Priori and their 1988 lp "Damn the Past". A Priori play UK influenced hardcore, with an emphasis on melody and strong song structure. They still play fast, but it’s just not blistering. These seven tracks are cool, and they showcase how tight this band was and some well written songs. For example, a couple of these tracks are around five minutes, but they don't feel that long. I mean every time a I hear songs that long I get bored and a little nauseous, but A Priori are able to pull it off quite well.

A Priori played on some comps, including volumes 2 and 4 of The World’s In Shreds series and the Caution comp from Skene records in 1988. I have yet to find these comps. I know A Priori just released a discography that included these tracks, but good luck finding that CD. I just decided to get the record on GEMM instead.

1. Self determination
2. American flag
3. Schoolkids
4. Poison gas
5. Ancient Chinese secret
6. Wannabe
7. Eleven

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Awake!: Beliefs (1989)

I have to thank LUCIFERYELLOW at Prediction-Error Signal for sending out the cry for old Skene! records. I heard his distress call and uploaded some Skene stuff for him right away. Funnily enough, this record is one of those that I keep meaning to listen to more, but never do. I don't know why because it rocks.

Awake! simply are great, great hardcore. Totally tight, strong muscianship and even a guy who can sing are at the forefront of this record. A smoking release for sure. Check it out.

(image from

The tracks are:

1. Shooked
2. Where did we go wrong?
3. By the horns
4. Beliefs


Ok, so I've had a fairly crappy day. One where I yelled more than I spoke and scowled more than smiled. One of those. Let me tell you, I meant business. Good times.

What wasn't so good was deleting my first two posts. That sucked. As I wrote last night in a post with prescient foreshadowing surely in mind (that I of course deleted today), I have no idea what I'm doing. This shit will take time, so please be patient. Soon the blog will look nice, with pretty little links instead of ugly fat addresses and posts won't go the way of the buffalo and yours truly won't have to remember the brilliant writing of the previous night. Stuff like that.


The Front: Man, You Gotta Move (1985)

This summer I noticed that I had some extra money and the question became how I could justify blowing it. It just so happened I had some records that I never listen to due to the sad absence of a turntable. Hmmm...

Not wanting to be entirely stuck in the last century I wanted a record player with a modern twist. That is instead of taping to antiquated cassettes, I'd burn direct to CD. Ah, "How modern!" I said triumphantly. That it was modern eight years ago and that everything now is digital is beside the point. I'm always behind in things like this, so no matter.

The first record I burned, I think, was The Front's Man, You Gotta Move. Regardless, I bought the record with the intention of burning it instead of letting it collect dust. There are lots of things to like about it. Flex says, "Punk from California; melodic West Coast sound meets early The Clash - the singer sounds amazingly like the young Joe Strummer." What more could you want? Plus, the album's graphics remind me Republican Spain's posters encouraging the population to resist tyranny. It must be the red and black.

(image from Kill From The Heart)

The tracks are:

1. Words From the Poster
2. Living in Fear
3. Production Lines
4. End of the Trail
5. Distant Guns
6. Something Else
7. Campaign Train
8. Liberty Sells

Get it here:


Urgent Fury: Demos: 1984 - 86

Argh! I erased my first two posts. Me smart so. Ok, I'll try to remember what I wrote about this fantastic album:

This is New York hardcore before the term "NYHC" came to mean macho metallic crap. This is political and fast, with a keen ear for melancholy. I defy you not to feel Urgent Fury the sadness of Tet's "I'm a stranger in my country" as the somber tune rages on. They also have haunting backing vocals that really make Urgent Fury's antagonism toward society and the loneliness it entails visceral. Seriously, I can't say enough good things about this record.

As far as I know, their demos were reissued on vinyl by Broken Rekids, but it is now out of print. Apparently a CD of live stuff and rarities is in the works. You can read about it here:

(image from Kill From The Heart)

The tracks are:

1. 58 000 Dead
2. Tet
3. Injustic Down
4. American Nazis
5. Justic Is For The Rich
6. Just A Cog In The Corporate World
7. Body Count
8. Wated Youth
9. Biggest Boy On The Block
10. From The Office Of The President

This one is for M at Salmagundi Syncopation for sending out the call for this great record and for telling me the link doesn't work. Read her zine. It's rad.

Download it now! Urgent Fury