Friday, 21 October 2011

Vinegar Strokes

Last week I saw this Leeds based band play on a lineup that included Mexico's ultra forceful Inservibles, the relatively new outfit 'No' (featuring the vocalist from The Shitty Limits on drums) and the somewhat semi-local hardcore band Moat. Vinegar Strokes were my favourite band on the bill, which says a lot considering how young they are as a four piece, and how crushing each of the other bands on the bill sounded within in their own right.

The Vinegar Strokes attack plays as a powerful coagulent of raw black punk anchored by solid noisey riff-making. The vocals are howled, the drumming is on point and almost waltzy at times. The whole thing breeches the ear drums as a lethargic Pissed Jeans slowdancing with Bone Awl. Listen to the track 'TV News' - the final track from their demo - and you should be able pick up on the sharp vocals and skin splitting drum parts being blended with pinches of that familiar ironic jauntiness that Pissed Jeans have thoroughly made their trademark

'Benefit Cuts', rolls in with a playful modern pigfuck type riff, something The Men would have been proud to write. Thirty seconds in and a tirade of raspy vocals flood in to take over the proceedings. There is a definite veneer of SQRM similarity, not a total looting of the Rodeo grave by any means, just a shared taste for mid-tempo, intensely dark hardcore - the type that would strike fear into the heart of any Trapped Under Ice fan.

Track one 'Jason' welcomes in a Grinning Death's Head style mix of aggression, and keeps to the proven template of raw, lo-fi, distressed black metal meets punk. Sharing the same city with Sump has probably resulted in a great deal of influence being worn off on these guys. The similarities are definitely noticeable, although Vinegar Strokes seem to approach the situation from a hardcore background, whereas Sump are much more ingratiated within the realms of black metal.

The whole thing sounds great live. The thrashing of the low end makes the swirling mass of blackened punk feel like it has something weighty to rely on, rather than being totally lost in feedback. I think you'd have to pen these guys as a raw punk band, with noisey inflections. They're predominantly more Youth Attack than Posh Isolation, if you had to stylize them. I'm heavily recommending this band

Demo 2011

- Josh

Monday, 10 October 2011


Photo courtesy of Madison East

Last spring DNF hit my radar when the played The Blvd. in Los Angeles. No, I didn't see the show, but I heard members of Trash Talk and Touche Amore had another band that was heavy and brutal and that I'd probably like em. Fast forward from word of mouth to bass player Sam Bosson sending me some new songs they had recently recorded and......holy shit the songs ruled! A few weeks back they rolled through on a mini-tour they were doing with Deafheaven and I was there. Again, holy shit these songs rule live too! Not to mention their performance was just full throttle.... serious dose of 'I dont give a fuck'. Just a solid pummeling to the senses. One of the few shows I had seen of recent that I continued to think about days later, jonesing to see em again.

DNF hailing from opposite directions of California, aren't a new band. Originally named Duke Nukem Forever, the 4-piece consisting of Kyle Takahashi, Sam Bosson, Chad Kawashima and Elliot Babin began playing in 2006. The band was put on ice in 2008 when Kyle and Sam relocated from Los Angeles to San Fransisco and Chad moved to Portland, OR. It wasn't until recently that Sam and Chad returned to Los Angeles and they reformed as DNF. The sound is heavy, aggressive, ugly music that borders the realms of power violence, doom and Scandanavian d-beat. DNF has recorded a 7" of all brand new material that is scheduled to come out in November 2011 on Chris Colohan's (Cursed/Burning Love) label High Anxiety Records. You can get a taste of what's to come on their band camp page here: DNF - Bandcamp
Go see this band if you have the chance, and buy that sucker when it comes out. You'll be "Hurt".

Photo courtesy of Madison East

Photo of courtesy Of SF Sludge

- Sam

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Bluenose B - Forever Passing Trains

All inflated hyperbole aside, the lonesome 'Forever Passing Trains 12" ' by Bluenose B is one of my favourite releases of all time. Thom, my best friend and third PP writer forced this upon me about six months ago and it's practically changed the way I listen to music. The band were active in the mid 80's, and hailed from an area just north of Liverpool, UK. Post Bluenose B i'm much more attentive to everything that's going on; whether it be melody, structure, dynamic.. whatever. It's peculiar how a record that never made much of a dent in the superstructure can have that dramatic an affect on you. More power to punk and everything it spawned.

As far as my half fruitful background check went I can't find much else other than a series of tracks laid down late in the Bluenose B tenure by varying line ups. These gloriously British melodious post-punk composers released something quintessentially perfect in my eyes, and then took the opportunity for an extended bow out. There were rumblings of later career EP's and rejuvenation after line-up changes, but I'm not clued up on that.

Bluenose B work with a Smith's template of sorts, opener 'Burning Up' is a slowly evolving lament of jangling guitars cresting and falling as everything that was once pure about Indie-pop breaks itself against the rocks. 'Forever Passing Trains' plays an encouraging new wave backdrop as Dave Billows vocal sawtooths sensationally around the upper echelons of total harmony. 'Forever Passing Trains' is the masterpiece for me. To cap it off, 'Maybe,' is a sweet four minute cherry that spills emotion poignantly onto tape. I recommend this, heavily.

Bluenose B - Forever Passing Trains

- Josh

Psychic Blood

We are slow on the uptake with this one. Psychic Blood are from Holyoke, Massachusetts and curdle together this great fucking blow out of frantic Greg Sage meets aggressive 'You're Living All Over Me' guitar thrashes, with a Paul Leary type figure overseeing the proceedings.

That descriptions is failing me already, on the first read back alone. Psychic Blood take point from all my favourite bellwether's in punk history, but unlike others they avoid the tiresome dove-coterie of 'this is garage punk,' 'this is noise.' On the contrary they force feed a palette of noise and gazey vibrations into the mouth of something hungry for an honest garage feel.

The vocals are distant, echoey, but overruling in some blindingly contradictory sense. This cassette is a barefoot trek through a hedge maze of assertive noise, intelligent Sonic Youth patterning and perhaps the most level headed rock rhythms that Scratch Acid ever produced. Soak it up.

Further research reveals that they have another release out which i'll lump in with the demo below.

Psychic Blood - Demo
Psychic Blood - Leaves
(Links from

 - Josh