Blackhole is a very interesting hardcore band from Missouri. One of the screaming voices of today's youth and heralding the DIY ethic of their forefathers, their 2011 release "Keep Out" is sure to satisfy veteran fans of the genre. To this band's credit though, they don't stick to straight hardcore in their songs; there are some interludes of thrash influenced breakdowns and bass solos. An example would be "Homospirituality" which is more metal than punk musically. The track starts out with this amazing clear rumbling bass that took me off-guard when I first heard it. That was the last thing that I expected from a hardcore band and the song is the longest on the demo to boot, coming in at three minutes and some change.
On the other hand though, there are some songs that are definitely straight hardcore like "Cornered" which is short, aggressive, simple, and straight to the point. Lyrically, it's a little hard to explain so I'll just post the lyrics for "Homospirituality" for you to get an idea of the kind of topics this five song demo covers.
Pray for yourself in these trying times. Pray to your sudafed, oxi's and prescription meds. Maybe they'll help you ease the pain inside. From being born into suppression, of spiritual impression. The callus building machine they call church. Full of generalizing terms, for generalizing people. Faith is no longer for the individual. Your religious conventions can't explain how I feel inside.
Sucking at the river of life, through this broken straw.
Just as the laws of the pharisees were created, so are these boxes they have instated. This relationship was never personal. When every step is forever planned I can't get out of this box you've put me in. Sit on the top with your chain, padlocked shut.
I won't be your fish to catch. Won't be your sheep to heard.
Keep your line and crook away from me, save your breath I don't need your words.
I am the product of your systematic spirituality, that failed troubleshoot flowchart. Take me off your rosters, I'm not coming back. You always claimed this was about compassion and understanding. This was really only about turning me into something you can understand. There are no words you can say to describe how I'm feeling. None of these conventions can place the state of my soul.
You can buy their stuff here.
Blackhole - Cornored Link source
Blackhole - Homospirituality Link source
Fucking hardcore punk is alive and kicking. Spotlight is Jungle Juice, a band from Arkansas aka the middle of fucking nowhere, bringing hardcore with some of the most scum laden sleazy bass riffs that I’ve heard in awhile. For a perfect example, check out the fifth track, “Salvation” featuring CT from Rwake doing vocals on their upcoming album “Bastard Sessions.” Expect angst and anger lyrically with the perfect vocal style to express it raw and unfiltered. “Riverside Blues,” the last track, is where the vocals shine the most with the ferocity of a banshee in heat.
I live amongst the scavengers
who’d pick apart the bones of their brothers.
with no sense of value for a human life.
They’ll suck you in,
Pull you down, rip apart your ‘soul’.
Left with sense of being saved,
But deprived of your common sense.
This album is short, fleeting and powerful. Enjoy the ride when it’s finally let loose for all to behold.
Jungle Juice - One Hitter Quitter Link source
Jungle Juice - Salvation ft. CT from Rwake Link source
Before the all girl grunge acts and riot grrrl, there was one particularly memorable band from London that was known for their misanthropic female vocalist and raw music. Daisy Chainsaw was composed of Katie Jane Garside, guitarist Crispin Gray (real name John Orion), bassist Richard Adams and Canadian drummer Vince Johnson. Their live performances were the talk of journalists who cited Garside as quite the mental case due to her antics on stage which included, but was not limited to, drinking juice from baby bottles and drilling doll heads. Today I will be highlighting their debut album, “Eleventeen,” which was released in 1992.
As someone who was first a fan of Queen Adreena, Garside and Gray's reunion project after Daisy Chainsaw dissolved, the differences in sound and vocal style is quite jarring. First, there aren't any sweet vocals to contrast with the harsher style in this album; she still has great range using various intonations to accentuate the prevailing emotion in the songs. An example of this is the first song on the album titled, “I Feel Insane,” where it starts out with her laughing like a mentally disturbed person and in-between lyrics she makes indiscernible noises to stress that notion. Lyrics are screamed or sung softly with a violent undercurrent waiting to break free during the next verse. That's basically how every song is done with obvious differences based on each one's atmosphere.
The instrumentals are a mixture between noise and punk rock. Very chaotic and aggressive guitar work, solid rock drumming, and audible bass the holds them all together. Though most of the tracks sound more punk than noise, there are four songs that do break that mold. First being, “Natural Man,” which is sung by a male band member and it has only a very bluegrass acoustic guitar playing to accompany the vocals. Second is “Use Me Use You,” which is close to an eerily abstract, but beautiful, noise track. The last two, “Waiting For The Wolves” and “Everything is Weird,” are very relaxed, bordering on serene, and whimsical rock songs. There is an unidentifiable quirky sense of humor that shines through in every aspect of those two and I'm very much in-love with it.
Despite that, there is one song that is the star of the album for me. “Hope Your Dreams Come True” starts out as a very slow and sexy song. It builds up at a luxurious pace to a very anti-climatically peaceful segment that ends abruptly in short lived chaos and release at the song's end.
There is no set lyrical theme to this album, but if I were categorize it, I would say that it is very introspective with references to human interaction on a social level. Nothing political or especially gruesome, but the perspective they provide is definitely insightful. With that said, you're just going to have to give this a listen yourself to see what I mean!
Daisy Chainsaw – I Feel Insane Link source
Daisy Chainsaw – Hope Your Dreams Come True Link source
Daisy Chainsaw – Natural Man Link source
Daisy Chainsaw – Use Me Use You Link source
We all have that one special band that reminds us of our angsty teenage years. That band for me is Jack Off Jill. During that time, I used to skip college classes a lot with one of my closest friends, Aleia. Before you ask for clarification, I started attending college at 16 so I was still socially eligible for the teen angst card. Leia owns this awesome purple hunk of metal that sang to me the spirit of liberation. She used to take me for rides in it, sometimes all night, not buying anything with no real destination and the only thing to keep us company in the stillness was Jack Off Jill's “Clear Hearts Grey Flowers” and our then unperfected story-telling techniques.
I must admit that at the very beginning, I didn't enjoy the harsher vocal work in a good deal of the songs so the one that I truly enjoyed was “Vivica” for it's harmoniously depressive nature. In addition to that, I disliked love songs immensely. Their The Cure cover at the end of the album was usually skipped, but I would humor Leia when she wanted to hear it. As time passed, I started to appreciate the angry vocals a lot more and “Lovesong” didn't seem so bad afterall.
This album single-handily made me much more receptive to metal, punk and so much more as I got older. You see, the thing is that most music that I was raised listening to ranged from traditional Egyptian dance music to Egypt's version of Western classical music (it's basically music that keeps the integrity of the Egyptian folk sound while refining it using Western instruments). That type of music usually had one of two effects on you, it either made you want to dance or it made you incredibly sad. There was no chaotic angry sounding music. That being said, the versatile vocal work and bass pervasive music was a great segue way into harsher stuff later on.
One of the most interesting things about Jack Off Jill is it's genre label. Fans are very confused as to what it should be classified as. Some would classify them as riot grrrl, but I highly disagree with that. As covered in another review, riot grrrl was a cultural movement as much as it was a musical one. The inception of Jack Off Jill had nothing to do with that scene. Jessicka, the heart of the band, was discovered by Marilyn Manson during the time that his gig, The Spooky Kids, could have been considered as noise/gothic rock. The main inspiration for the Jack Off Jill's lyrics and music style was The Cure, teenage feminine issues, and Jessicka's brainstorming sessions with Manson. In light of all this, I feel that it is safe to say that this band belongs under the broad label that is gothic rock.
Jessicka's vocals still amaze me and reminds me quite a bit of Katie Garside. She goes from cloyingly sweet to homicidal with some build-up, but a lot of the time the transformation is instantaneous. Instrumentally, the ride is smooth with solid rock drums melodic keyboards, and strong audible basslines that are the highlights in many songs. The guitar doesn't take center stage and, refreshingly enough, there are no guitar solos. Musically and lyrically, this band is one of the least pretentious outfits that I have ever come across. For that, I am very glad because they have helped me push through many tough times. I suppose my ex was partially right when he used to say: “What did I do? You only listen to them when you're pissed.”
Jack Off Jill – Author Unknown Link source
Jack Off Jill – Vivica Link source
Jack Off Jill – Star no Star Link source
Jack Off Jill – Lovesong Link source
The cut against the grain and the rebellion that sparked in the US in the form of hardcore punk was revolutionary. It also changed the face of metal and gave birth to a plethora of new subcultures within urban and suburban America. It's presence and influence is still felt today in the music world even amongst all the chaos, often brilliance, that the mixing of sub-genres tends to create. But there was always one missing element. One thing that has alienated an entire demographic to a large extent.
There were no female bands. The feminine perspective in general was just missing. Angry young women needed an outlet too and so riot grrrl was born in the early 90's. Feeding off of the energy of the few all female grunge bands (Babes In Toyland, L7, and 7 Year Bitch) and bands like The Runaways, riot grrrl is to women what hardcore is to men. The music was often crude and simple in the beginning because, like their male predecessors, a lot of these girls just started picking up instruments during that time. They tackled cultural feminine issues along with political activism and, so, they have come to be viewed as an underground feminist movement.
The most notable band that helped create this sub-culture is Bikini Kill. They carried over the brutal honesty and D.I.Y. ethic of hardcore which helped unite most of the bands under a common mentality. Self-promotion took the form of local zines, meetings between bands and fans, and the formation of riot grrrl chapters around the US.
The band's debut album “Pussy Whipped” is still one of my favorite punk CDs out there. The vocals on this baby are as diverse and interesting as L7's. “Lil Red”, “Sugar”, “Star Bellied Boy” and “Hamster Baby” stand out for me in that regard. Instrumentally, it's just as diverse ranging from very aggressive to very tranquil. “For Tammy Rae” is the most harmonious and longest song of the bunch clocking in at 3:33 minutes. Although “Rebel Girl” is the song that this band is known for, I really do enjoy “Alien She” the best on this album. It just screams hardcore punk, i.e. the same chord playing over and over until the end where there is some progression and an almost abrupt finish.
So dear reader, I can only hope that you enjoy their music and passion as much as I do.
Bikini Kill – Alien She Link source
Bikini Kill – Lil Red Link source
Bikini Kill – Sugar Link source
Bikini Kill – Star Bellied Boy Link source
Bikini Kill – Hamster Baby Link source
You can find tons of Bikini Kill LP's, CD's and 7"'s @ GEMM