Sunday, July 31, 2011

Arctic Flowers/Spectres split 7" (2010)

I don't listen to much anarchopunk these days. I like the politics, I like the music, but I fucking hate the scene. Living in Portland on and off for two years, being surrounded by black-clad trolls whose politics didn't really extend beyond yelling at people for eating meat, was almost enough to shift me to the Special Duties end of the Crass/Special Duties split(almost).

So I'm pretty out of the loop on the Northwest anarky scene that spawned this 7". Both bands have been around for awhile, though, and this is an enjoyable two-song split. Arctic Flowers goes in for bass-driven punk with somber, lecture-style vocals; Spectres moves more toward the glam rock end of the glam-rock/post-punk hybrid they've been mining every time I hear them. Crank it up and hum along and feel self-righteous if your Sunday is as grey as mine has been. not what she seems!  Charged/Distorted Rex only pressed 500 copies, so the split's disappeared into the hands of EBay trolls by now, I'm sure. Neither band gets out of the Northwest much, I think, but peeps 'em if you're in my neck 'o' the woods!

*EDIT, 1.6.14: I re-up'd the file, get it HERE.*

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Grazhdanskaya Oborona-Poganaya Molodej LP (1985)

Only Soviet-era Siberia, home of the gulag, could have produced a sound this odd and eccentrically endearing. This isn't uniformly glum (musically, dunno about lyrically), but while NATO-zone bands were aping Black Flag in comparative comfort, GrOb were on the run from the KGB and recording into 4-tracks around Novosibirsk. I love American hardcore, but much of it rings false compared to GrOb-there's a warmth and humanity here that's very rare in punk.

 GrOb made massive strides compositionally between Poganaya Molodej and Optimizm. The stand out tracks are "zoopark" and "mama mama..." For want of a better lazy phrase, this is gulag dub: a lilting beat, contrapuntal guitar notes, and Igor intoning somewhere behind the amp, no doubt more interested in swigging from that brown bag at his hip. Oh, and the last track is one of the GrOb folks going to the bathroom. F'real. 

Oh God save history.  [//DOWNLOAD]
I'm sure Vladimir Putin would be happy to sell you a copy of this for twenty bajillion rubles on EBay. Instead, you should buy Shit in the Garden, Pink Reason's recent, and hrow some money Kevin Failure's way.  (Or paypal email at 
He's on tour now and doing research for a book on Siberian punk. People like Yanka Dyagileva and Igor Letov, and the Soviet punk scene generally, deserve a book  far more than most of their peers in the British and American scenes (Henry Rollins, Uk '82, fuck you!), so SUPPORT DUDE!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Women in Prison-demo CS (2011)

This is Kickboy Face music. Women in Prison sound nothing like Catholic Discipline, but every syllable, every note this band produces has an all-knowing sneer in it-they might be kinda retarded, but somehow the joke's always on you. "Reaction" has the best punk drumming I've heard in recent years, bludgeoning you into acquiescence.

These guys totally woulda loved Women in Prison, if only they weren't listening to cockrock Aerosmith trash. Women in Prison is so fucking awesome, I'd totally buy 'em a 12-pack of Milwaukee's Best and not even ask for one!

God save your mad parade. Dudes have a facebook page. There's a 7" out, too-check out the masturbatory writeup, then buy it, here. Rock out, Wayne. Ups to Robert at Terminal Escape, from whom I think I got this thing.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Meat Joy-Self-Titled LP (1984)

No, this isn't another Tesco Vee sideproject. This is the anti-Meat Men. If they made a career out of aping the Dead Boys tune "Caught with the Meat in your Mouth," Meat Joy were the rebel girls Bikini Kill would later idolize. 
Meat Joy's a lot more interesting than Bikini Kill. Instead of relentlessly repetitive 1-chord bang-bam and screaming, this album mixes mid-tempo noise numbers, lullaby-style a cappella, acoustic ditties, and an amazing tune about breasts. This isn't your typical sour-faced political punk, either. Gretchen Phillips is certainly angry, but is laughing as much as she's hectoring.
 I'm pretty sure that Kimya Dawson stumbled across this thing when "moldy peaches" were still just something fungal, and owes her entire subsequent livelihood to these pioneering Texans.

Lord God have mercy. If you only visit Drug Punk for the hardcore vinyl I post, you will FUCKING HATE this album (that's the point). Big ups to Phoenix Hairpins blog, from which I stole this version of the album with the sweet inserts-my copy had only the vinyl itself. Gretchen Phillips, Meat Joy's mastermind, sounds like a radical lady in all regards, peeps her steez!

*Edit, 1.6.14: I re-upped the file and you can now download the LP HERE. *


Sunday, July 24, 2011

86 Mentality-self-titled EP (2004)

I was having a pretty good Sunday evening, watching paint dry as I always do when on vacation, when I read this. Now I sorta feel like dustin' off these "maniacs on pedestals," as Warcry put it. Barring a Reign of Terror, blasting 86 Mentality is a good outlet for impotent rage.

The opener is one of the best hardcore punk tunes of the '00s. The intro is perfect for slamming from one of the room to the other, and the singer's first bark is actually startling. "Life Trap" is how I'm feeling these days about the future for the States: "they fucked you, they fucked me/no way out..." From there on in 86 Mentality delivers blazing Oi based around a razor-wire guitar and sharp drumming.

All crimes are paid! It looks like this is out of print, but you can still pick up the "Final Exit" 7" over at Grave Mistake Records.

*EDIT, 11.22.12: Re'up'd the file. Get it HERE. *

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Raw Nerve-Nervous Habits Cassingle (2011)

Northwest Indiana, aka the (other) Mistake by the Lake, is a wretched post-industrial sinkhole full of trash, industrial refuse, and decaying factories. No wonder, then, that it's produced some of the most interesting and/or psychotic bands in the Chicago area-Duress and Raw Nerve, especially.

The boys haven't lost a step since last I heard them on the 2010 Youth Attack! LP. The first track is the usual blur of squealing rage, but the other two slow things down a bit and frankly, this is my favorite RN material to date. The guitar lead on "Strychnine" is in lockstep with a relentless drumbeat-dare I say it, Raw Nerve is venturing off into the realm of droning drugpunk first charted by the Stooges on that song about dogs.
    When there's no future, how can there be sin? Raw Nerve tour dates include the NYC gig on the flyer, TOMORROW JULY 24th. GO! They'll be selling copies of the new "Midnight" 7" on tour and, given that it's a YA! release, it'll be gone before they get to your town.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Teens-S/T LP (2011)

In my June Alright Alreadies review, I griped  about how fuzzed out so many neo-garage/surf pop records are these days. Perhaps it's the halflife of that whole shitgaze thing-drenching your record in feedback and distortion until all the melodies and guitar lines are somewhere up the producer's ass.

Boise, Idaho's Teens don't make that mistake, and it goes a long way towards making their debut(?) something I'll be spinning into September. It's not exactly the most original thing to grace my speakers, but if you're looking for that on a blog called "Drug Punk," frankly that's your problem, not mine. The first half of "Teens" is mostly the sort of monotone clunk that made these guys so awesome, played on slightly better equipment. The singer has the incoherent, 60s garage-singer mumble down pat, making the lyrics blur into the tuneful fuzz. The Standells they ain't, but then, who is, deeze days?
   We're the flowers in the dustbin. Support Teens here. Not too much info on them, but hopefully they'll be makin' more noise soonish.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Rational Animals-Bock Rock Parade LP (2011)

Ok kiddies, dis is deh real deal, y'dig? Ya gotcher Sabbaths, black or otherwise, and yer Bloo Oister Kults, but me, I prefer a bit of punk with my metal stonerfests. Rational Animals, Katorga Works' newest spawn, delivers the goods in short order. Not too fast, not too slow, these Animals straddle the delicate border between weirdo hardcore freakouts and heavy metal wankery.

   The singer sounds a lot like the dood from  Loose Dudes, and while Rat'l Animals' freaked out riffin' ain't close to the Dudes' Ramones-clone tunes, they conjure up the same vibe perfectly: it's July, you're already high, the liquor store doesn't open yet, so what do you do? Smoke more weed in your parents' basement. Duh. So do that, then hop on your skateboard with this bangin' in your walkman, and FREAK. OUT.

We're the poison in your human machine. Hop on over to Katorga Works and getcher hands on it. The Animals also have a facebook page. Is that enough hand-holding for ya?

Monday, July 18, 2011

Grass Widow-Grass Widow EP (2009)

This Bay Area trio got real hip real quick couple two-tree years ago, but I'm always behind on this sorta thing-I think I had an important date with Mickey's or summin'. If you ask me they well withstand the hype.
   A lot of people compare them to the Raincoats, but this is true mostly in the limited sense that no instrument dominates; I don't think it's possible to "sound like" the Raincoats. The guitar is usually surfin', but in a charmingly understated way. But the real center of Grass Widow, as many reviews have noted, is the vocal interplay: especially on "Thirsty Again," the instruments simply frame the understated majesty of the voices. "Tattoo," with its attention-grabbing opening drum roll, is probably my favorite.

We're the future. This should still be available from Captured Tracks. Check out Grass Widow's site for news and their new EP. The lastfm page tells me that they're playing Detroit in September, with two of my favorite bands: Pink Reason(!) and The Raincoats(!) This is probably the only thing that could ever get me to that godforsaken town, and I hope to see you there too.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Pink Reason-Winona 7" (2008)

    The songs on "Winona" are crude even by PR standards-"Winona" is a few strummed guitar chords accompanied by  a drummer playing only the snare and hi-hat. I don't want to make this comparison, but it evokes the same mood as "Something in the Way:"the melancholy of twilight on a crisp November day. "Letting Go," is sort of a meeting point between "Winona" and the static flurry of "Give Yourself Away:" a single keyboard note punctuating agonizingly slow guitar-drums clatter. Kevin Failure's voice is inert, simply "watching it happen," as Bardo Pond said.
    Kevin Failure's songs resonate with me on several levels, but it's their fundamental, at times embarrassing, honesty that I most respect: the music on this 7" is about as animated as a heroin overdose, but you get the sense that this, and only this, is what Kevin and Shaun Failure were capable of expressing at this particular point. Honesty of that sort is pretty fuckin' rare in music these days.

Your future.  Woodsist Records doesn't include "Winona" in its roster, so I'm guessing it's out of print, but you can probably dig up a copy via ebay. Check Pink Reason's tour dates and come out on the 20th, 21st and 22nd if you're in Germany or the Czech Republic. And pick up the new LP,  Shit in the Garden! I won't be posting the LPs because they're still readily available, and this dude really deserves some support (he's doing research for a book on Siberian punk, f'chrissakes!

*Edit, 1.21.13: Reup'd the file, get it here.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Y*nka Dy*leva-Styd i Sram LP (1991)

"At that time, in that country, life was cheap. That's about all I can really say about it."-Kevin Failure on life in Siberia, ca. 1992

Dead musicians, especially suicides, invite bad, romanticizing writing. When said suicide was also from a place as remote and oppressive as Soviet-era Siberia, and the writer doesn't speak Russian and hence can conveniently ignore the dead on her own terms, it's hard to stop the purple prose from irrupting outta yer bowels.

   So I'll keep to the basics with Yanka Dyagileva. She played in Grazhdanskaya Oborona and, as a member of the fledgling Russian underground music scene, led a marginalized, itinerant life. She recorded it in 1991, shortly before her death, which was probably a suicide.

The album alternates between plaintive, slower dirges and tunes dominated by Dyagileva's urgent guitar strumming; the final 9-minute epic ends with 3 minutes of chaotic clamor akin to GrOb at their best. What stands out about Shame and Reproach is how defiantly, passionately alive Dyagileva was: After all, shame and reproach both require some sort of community to have any meaning at all. Not knowing Russian, my final impression is that these songs are melancholy not fatalistic, angry not despairing.

We're the flowers in the dustbin. I don't think this was ever released commercially, but this site has downloads and info, if you read Russian. Also peeps this for a good, English-language bio. Big ups to Substix blog for puttin' me on to Dyagileva.

p.s.-The first song was cut off and I haven't been able to find a full version of Styd i Sram online. If anyone has a full copy, please let me know!

*Edit, 7.19.12: Re-upped the file. Unless you're a member of the Dyagileva family and don't want this circulating, fuck you to whoever reported this file as copyright infringement to Mediafire. This album never even received commercial release in the USA!*

Friday, July 15, 2011

Pigeon Religion-Scorpion Milk 7" EP (2009)

You meet all sortsa folk in Florence's Piazza Sant'Ambrogio on a Friday night-Tunisian refugees, Eritrean winos, day laborers....last night my drinking companions on the steps consisted of three punks in town on their way to Bologna. Between a couple-five Peronis apiece, my bad Italian, and their bad English, we had quite the night. Part of this night consisted of hearing about one of these kids' (i'll refer to him as Paolo) first 'shroom trip. It went something like this:

Paolo and some friends were on the slow train from Florence to Rome (4 hours on a rickety, battered rail car that hasn't been cleaned or refurbished since the '80s, usually). The plan was for the crew to pop 'em when they got to Rome, but after an hour-long, unexplained delay somewhere outside Arezzo, they decided to get the party started. Everyone else was having a decent time watching the rolling hills and nature stuff, but Paolo started freaking out somewhere around Orvieto with an hour or so still left on the train. He started thinking he was in prison (narrow corridor, bare metal, ugly, mean looking people all around-makes sense) so he hit on the great idea of locking himself in the bathroom for the rest of the trip.
Needless to say, cuz had to be carried off the train by his friends when the train got to Termini, and spent the next two days at some scuzzy squat in my old neighborhood recovering from this trip to the void.
"Scorpion Milk" is what I imagine that hour and a half trapped in a cigarette butt-littered, piss-stained train toilet were, psycho-aurally: horrible shrieking noises, waves of churning dissonance, and maniacal cackling somewhere in the background. Oh, there's an organ, too.

We're the poison in the human machine. This is long out of print. Read this amusing, laconic interview and start planning your next bad trip.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Weird TV-demo CS (2010)

Boyhowdy, readers, it's been a helluva week here at Drug Punk headquarters, which temporarily resided at a decaying 17th-century convent.
 So to celebrate our return to the modern world, I present you with Weird TV's demo. The last time I was in Olympia, we spent most of the time sitting around on my friend's couch doing whatever shitty drugs a steady trickle of visitors brought over, complaining about the rain. There were vague plans to go to a party at some place called the Funny Farm, but the cops busted it up right quick. By the time the sun came out, we were such paralyzed putzes that all we could do was drink more Rolling Rock and watch "Class of '84" until we passed out.

  It's too bad I didn't have this demo with me, as it's the perfect accompaniment to doing bad drugs on a rainy Olympia day. The singer's petulant, bograt bawl barely rises above the muddy, mucky mix but it has a snidely endearing quality to it when audible. The music ambles along at a drudgy tempo, with sweet guitar leads that never really go anywhere, and 1-2 1-2-3-4 bass lines worthy of Dee Dee. These are excellent jams for numbly nodding along in a seasonal affective disorder- and bad whiskey-induced haze...and in that state, you won't even realize that they covered a Them song!
   Get into it. I'm guessing this thing's long gone, but they have a 7" EP on M'Lady Records. Hype 'em before Vice Magazine does!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Repos-Hearts and Heads Explode LP (2006)

"Failure takes a lot of effort so I'm digging half a hole"-The Repos, "Half a Hole"

The Repos were one of the first bands I saw when I got into DIY hardcore in 2002/03. Even as a charming and precocious young lad with bad acne and X'd hands, I was quite impressed by their blitzkrieg bop-they never played a set longer than 11 minutes or so. Their last show in Madison, with Punch in the Face and way too many other awesome bands, was the social event of the year for midwestern lumpen like micelf.
Almost a decade later, I'm still listening to them as a morose grad student who watches paint dry when not reading medieval court records. The Repos are perfect for all sorts of drunken oblivion, but especially the slamdancing-around-your-bedroom-in-joy and drunken-nihilistic-torpor types. Nuts to yer "mysterious guy"/YouthAttack fetishism, The Repos were a special sort of smartdumb awesome that only the Midwest is capable of producing. So sit back, crack a six pack, and wait for the punch in the face that is The Repos in all their glory.

Goddam that rotten prison moon. Shit's madmuch outta print (it's a YouthAttack release, whaddayathink?), but the boys are in a new band. Called The Ropes. Sometimes playing Repos songs. If you haven't seen them yet and live in Chicago, you're either in a coma or a fool. While waiting for the next show, check out an interview with The Repos (not the Ropes, mind you).

*EDIT, 9.20.12: REUP is HERE.*

*Edit, 1.9.14: Reup'd it again, HERE.* 

Monday, July 4, 2011

Tragedy-Can We Call This Life? 7" EP (2001

I think it's Independence Day back home by now. The last time I was Stateside for the 4th, I got falling-down drunk and saw Tragedy for the first and only time, at a scuzzy, horribly over-crowded house show in Portland. Easily the best punk show I've been to in the past five years. So it's only right that I celebrate by posting this gem.
  Greil Marcus once said of The Clash's "Complete Control" that, after listening to it, you couldn't understand how anything could be the same in its wake. Well, I'd say the same about Tragedy's first three releases, but especially this one. The three songs here are a cumulative, crushing release of all the brooding, anguished violence that the first LP accumulated. This is the tipping point at which despair becomes all-annihilating action, and the agonized, dissonant torpor of the first album shifts onto the road leading to the remarkably melodic second LP, "Vengeance."
   Tragedy never sounded tighter, Todd and Paul never angrier or clearer on what is at stake, than here. The first two songs slowly build into the coruscating majesty of "The Ending Fight," with its truly ominous (the most over-used adjective in punk music writing of the '00s) drum-guitar build up to the transcendent catharsis of the bridge and finale.
   If I haven't scared you away with all those superlatives and polysyllabic adjectives, this EP is essential listening for anyone as disgusted as you should be, living in the USA in 2011, with the impoverished fight for survival we're forced to engage in every day. Ten years later, these songs haven't aged a day, and it's depressing that so few of us have heeded Tragedy's clarion call and, as Kevin Seconds put it thirty years ago, "Fuck your America, fight!"

When the beating of hearts has ceased. This went out of print almost immediately after hitting shelves. The three LPs are still in print, however-try Ebullition if you're a weirdo and don't already own at least one Tragedy record. 

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Billy Bao-May '08 LP (2009)

Yes, dear readers, I'm still here. I've just been spending most of my days lately reading stuff that looks like this so I ain't got much time for dis heer punk rock,  nawmean?                                              Anyhoo, tonite's 3rd of July special is none other than the Basque Country's most terrifying thing besides the ETA, Billy Bao. I gave up long ago on determining whether Billy Bao's story is true or false-given how clear their debt to The Society of the Spectacle is, I doubt "true" and "false" are   useful categories here.                                                                             But you kiddies iz here for dee moosick, ya? Here's whatcha got: five pieces (NOT "songs") of very intelligently assembled, shrieking, horrifying noise that includes a Fela Kuti sample somewhere on Side A (how could I make this up?). Everyone's been screaming "Whitehouse this" and "Brain Bombs that" since these cats started dropping sonic napalm, but fuck that. Billy Bao's music is clearly and violently its own thing altogether, even when they thank Whitehouse in the text of that indecipherable cover. This is a terrifying, twitching manifestation of the social disease known as capitalism...or the demons dancing in your head after mixing speed and valium. I'll let the eggheads amongst you figure out if that's a false distinction or not.
I have to warn you that you will ABSOLUTELY HATE THIS THING if you're expecting standard punk music based on rock formulae. This is a sonic atrocity, not rock 'n' roll.                            
Fuck May '68, Fight Now! After detourning your own private spectacle, mosy over to Mattin's page and see if May '08 or any of Billy Bao's blunt objects are still in print. Big ups to DX at Distort 'zine for turning me onto these terrorists. Find some hilarious reviews here.

p.s.-sorry this post looks like shit. Blogger is being about as helpful as the Italian public transit system tonight.

*9.14.11-Ok. I'm the idiot. "Billy Bao." "Bilbao." Say the two words, then decide if there's actually a Nigerian dude in this band...yeah, didn't think so. Hahaha, joke's on us.*