All photos Jason House
Dance-A-Tron (last show)
All photos Jason House
Dance-A-Tron (last show)
During a recent visit to old favorite Sorry State Records. I found myself gobbling up cassette demos to re-enforce my vinyl order. Upon receiving and listening to these outdated modems of music sharing. I found myself being introduced to some pretty awesome bands I had never before heard of. As I listened, I found myself jotting down thoughts and impressions on what I was hearing. The experience immediately brought me back to my fanzine days when I collected and traded tapes with people around the world. As cassettes and in particular, demo cassettes continue to make a comeback. I’ve decided to dedicate some time to sharing my thoughts while possibly connecting people to some new, under the radar bands you may or may not have heard of. So here we go. JD
To sample or purchase any of the following. Just click here.
Enamel – 2016 Demo Philly’s female fronted Enamel deliver eight songs of powerful, well structured songs that show off the bands sense for musicianship, as well as an ability to perfectly execute the nihilism and stripped down approach of Hardcore. Great production and packaging to boot. With each song failing to make the two-minute mark. I was impressed with how these songs made such a lasting impression.
S-21 – Demo Wow, talk about a departure. S-21 manage to make a lot of dirty noise with this four song thrasher. Gnarly blasts of filth and fury that scared the bejesus out of me. While Philadelphia’s S-21 also feature a female vocalist. All comparisons, resemblance and likeness end there. This is about as raw and forceful as they come. Coming in at 1:17. the demo’s fourth and final track, ‘Prisoner’ is by far my personal favorite.
Heavy Hands – 2016 Demo While I’m not quite sure why this Portland band reminds me of thrashier NYHC bands of the mid 80’s. I find myself stuck in that comparison. While I find the sped up sounding high pitch vocal screams to be a bit irritating. I find myself drawn to the Heavy Hands revved guitar assault and rapid fire percussion. In listening to these six songs. I found myself gaining a sense of respect and appreciation for Heavy Hands. However, I see a lot of room and hopefully time for improvement.
SWEATS – Demo ’16 “Hey Portland, what’s going on? Have you heard of this cool new band called SWEATS?” The bands heavy-handed and straightforward barked vocals immediately have me thinking of John Brannon’s Negative Approach and Choke’s short-lived, pre-Slapshot endeavour Negative FX. (Two classic early 80’s HXC bands I admittedly took years to appreciate.) Whether or not the members of SWEATs’ have any inkling of those aforementioned bands existence. It clearly shows itself on this demo.
Pure Pressure – Demo 2016 Fast, furious and loud as fuck. On this seven song leave little to the imagination. And while some might find similarities in early NYHC and thrash. I found this Toronto band to be a bit hard to digest. If you’re in to speedy, rough around the edges thrash or speed core. I’d recommend a listen. As for me. I found nothing redeeming about this one.
The Brood – October Dreams 2016 Demo Forgive my age for a second or two while I feel myself transcended to ‘Power of Expression‘ era BLAST. On their latest offering Philly’s The Brood have recorded an eight song banger that remind me more of a classic BLAST, Necros, Christ on Parade album than any stop gate cassette release. Bold, frenetic and essential. I would love nothing more than to hear more from The Brood and ultimately, see this pressed on a heavy slab of vinyl. Essential and absolutely necessary.
Rabid Minds – Demo 2016 When you open your set with a bass line as good as that on ‘Intro‘. You’re surely going to get people interested in what you have to offer.Featuring members of Permanent Ruin, Busted Outlook and Death First. The bi-coastal Rabid Minds let both their influences and experience loose on this five song banger. Powerful and impressive bass lines meet jagged guitar riffage and growled, yet easily digestible vocals to make what comes together as a rather impressive release. Get a hold on this and let it grab a hold of you.
Trash Knife – Trash Life While I haven’t been to an event in Philly since attending a house show at The Terror Dome many years ago. There seems to be a lot of good and diverse things happening in the city of brotherly love these days. Trash Knife may very well be the band that inspire another drive south on the Garden State. And while Trash Knife might comfortably find themselves on the bill as the likes of Enamel and S-21. Trash Knife might be better compared to acts such as Bikini Kill than any local Hardcore acts. Each of the five songs on ‘Trash Life‘ merit countless listens as well as praise. Stick that one in your hamstring buddy.
Shimmers features six new songs from the Denville four piece Scary Stories. Recorded in April 2016 at Backroom studios and mixed by Scott Moriarity. Scary Stories sound is both vicious and savage. Featuring elements of hardcore, punk and screamo with an added metallic guitar sound the gives the bands overall sound the depth it otherwise lacks. A characteristic which gives them the EP some much-needed credence musically. With most of the songs sounding marginally similar. It was the sixth and final track ‘Diorama’ that left the best impression. Decent stuff, but nothing special or groundbreaking that would set it apart from the pack. ‘Shimmers’ is currently available for download on bandcamp Here and will soon be made available in cassette format from Forced Abandonment Records Here . JD
Drawn to the cover and the simple fact that is the lone vinyl record amongst a sea of Cd’s, cassette tapes and shirts. I picked up a copy of Remo Drive to through a few extra bucks to one of the touring bands. “Here’s you two slices of pizza and a fountain drink” I thought as I dropped my Lincoln on the merch. table.
Side A’s “Breathe In” is a real attention getter with its quirky guitar leads and shouted vocals. The song as a whole winds and twists its way too your heart. Punk rock with an emotional vibe that feels as Midwest as the band’s Minnesota routes. Side B’s “Perfume”, takes a more poppy approach to introduce itself. Though not overwhelming. There’s a bit of a Promise Ring feel to it. Overall, a good sampling of what Remo Drive have to offer. Each song having a different effect on me. While good, these two songs didn’t do much to solicit further listening. The record itself comes on [blue swirl vinyl.) Which for me personally, was a nice surprise. For more information on the band and any of their previous work. Check out the links below. JD
Having started Document Fanzine less than a year ago. We really haven’t gotten to the point where we’re getting a whole lot of submissions for reviews. (Something I sincerely hope changes in the near future.) Interesting how the ones we’ve received have either come from publicists peddling music we, or at least I, have no interest or intention of taking the time to review. Or, as in this case. Bands from far away with something more up our alley . On what I believe is the band’s debut 7 inch. Power Face get right to the point and up in your grill with a fast paced, raw Hardcore sound that’s sprinkled with elements of Speed Metal. (Most evident in the bands potent guitar assault.) With six of the seven songs coming in at under two minutes. There’s really little room for any break downs or mosh parts, which is fine. Not bad for what it is. Still, nothing that would really inspire more than a casual listen. On the down side. Power Face have some of the worst vocals I’ve seen in quite a while. Something I would have most likely missed if the actual lyrics weren’t included. “Come with me if you want to live. Walk the road of fire and sin.” Lead me to think this band is either in middle school or just don’t have a lot to really talk, or in this case, sing about. Not that I’m saying a Hardcore bands lyrics should change the world. Personally, I just prefer a little less role-playing in my Hardcore music. Not bad, but nothing special either. Proceed with caution. Power Face don’t really offer much in the information department on their social media pages. Regardless, I’m leaving a link to the bands music. This way, you can form your own opinions. JD
In the several times I’ve seen them live. The Massachusetts band Shakusky have managed to become one of my current favorites. Impassioned vocals sung over intricate rythms and leads. A potent mix that reads like emotional hardcore meets the eccentricities of math rock. I often catch myself saying “If I started a record label. Shakusky would be one of the two first bands I’d reach out to. Thursday nights set was by far, the best one yet. JD
My third time seeing New Jersey’s Basement Beers. Two of those times headlining a Meatlocker show. While I might have a hard time pigeonholing their sound. Their live sets are hard to match. Fun, engaging and all inclusive. Sometimes you can judge a band by the people standing around you in the pit. If that’s the case. I guess the middle picture below tells a pretty good story. JD