Showing posts with label Toxic State. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Toxic State. Show all posts

Apr 19, 2018


Before we even get started here can we all just come to the conclusion that Hank Wood and the Hammerheads are one of the greatest punk rock bands of the 21st century?

Wheezy blurts from what sounds like an organ that was moonlight requisitioned from the most obnoxious teen beat band on the block, guitars that seem to be an aural equivalent of bare skin sluing across battered on concrete and a voice that makes a person think of an angry dog with Tourette's, the band has made three frenetic full-lengths that that are of their own monster.

Are they some sort of mutated garage punk? It is old school hardcore getting mauled by woodland creatures with rabies? Is this some an art grunge prank that actually works? It's really up to the ear of the beholder of where they wanna lump the band as. The melancholy piano figures "I Can't Stay" may confound fans from any faction as it opens the album. Once the frustration rises to the top though, the fuse is lit and the first powderkeg of sound takes flight in an explosive lift off of twisted notes, all will yell in unison "YES! HAMMERHEADS!"

The cacophony that band makes has always seemed to be fueled by frustration and cemented in a disharmonic outlook of what surrounds them. Despondency looms and lingers has always loomed large in their bag of tricks as songs like "It's Lonely In This World All Alone" and "How'm I  Supposed To Wake Up In The Morning" can attest. While in other hands such titles would most likely stick the earholes into someplace like Morrissey land, the former here seems to have made a stop at a really weird disco to leave with space funk dust in its pockets. The latter decides to soundtrack goth go-go bar.

A particular rage has always been part of Hank Wood and the Hammerheads template and there's plenty of that with the wild explosions that are songs like "You Wanna Die" and "It Must Be Nice" to a point where if the album just went for doing something it for the rest of the record, it would still be something exiciting and would take ages to get sick of.

The thing is though amidst such internal fires also curveballs like thrown in such things like the almost bongriptastic "Love Is A Cold Wild Tile" and they way"Nothing But A Man" answers the question what happens if you lived on a diet of Wire's Pink Flag while practicing fracturing dance moves that will confound while continuing to pummel.

It seems with a lot of great punk bands, hell even great rock-n-roll bands, is that once they get something that is a sound all of their own, it seems they then lock it tight and hermitically seal it. It eventually becomes a biproduct of stale air. There's enough cracks and wormholes with Hank Wood and the Hammerheads clatter that invites odd smells, strange mildews and weird bugs to come in and make it different each time.
Do your nailing at Toxic State records

Feb 11, 2016

CRAZY SPIRIT "Whisper" 7inch EP

Photo via HumanDoubleFace
     Though Crazy Spirit has been laying low for a bit (the last thing they released since their full length album in 2012 was a cassette of demos in 2014) it doesn't seem they were lazing about or letting their fighting weight turn to flab.
     If the idea of deeply thought about chaos is a concept to be pondered, this blackguard of mangled whatever-core have written a syllabus for it. The drums don't just gallop here. They veer towards some intricate plan of winning a torturous obstacle course. Bass-Distorto-Massive buzz like a swarm napalm making bees. Blown out guitars twist into the skin. The fuzz and feedback burns white hot quickly bringing on sick blistering almost instantly. When the far from quietly titled "Whisper" starts out this record all those things coalesce into a rampageous force of nature. Out jumps an imp from the garbage disposal. He's blood red in color and gleaming from the slimy goo of all the spoiled dairy products and rotten produce. He leaps onto your shoulder and, in a demonic whine, does impersonations of what you will hear in a violent death.
     Six art/spazz/thrash detonations and in less than eight minutes later, all you can do is assess the scorched earth and open grave devastation the band intends on completely achieving some day.

Dec 13, 2012


     Whenever I hear about someone around this town looking to put to a punk rock band together my ears pick up. "Maybe there will be a band in town worth getting in to again." I wish.
     So far that wish never happens. It's always cats looking to find others that dig Teenage Bottlerocket, NOFX or bald fat guy with a goatee palm mute rock. And, really, people (even "the kids") still listen to NOFX and want to form bands that sound like them?
     For real? They have the whole world at their fingertips-not just what the mall has in stock-AND they don't even have to take the risk of purchasing something that might stink because they can hear it all first yet they're still listening to things that are 10th generation Ramones as told by a history book that it's assumed Green Day wrote or novelty bands with members as old as their dad? UGH! How can such "kids" even consider themselves punk rock.
     Ok, that concludes my "These damn kids today" rant for this post.
     Yeah, I am out of touch and probably don't know what punk rock even is anyway but guys (be them "kids" or "oldsters"), Hank Wood & the Hammerheads, are to these ears the way punk rock SHOULD sound on most days.
     The pent up pizza faced paroxysm of prime 60's trash (including the nastiest blown out organ sounds in almost ever), the hit you in the face with a brick ugliness of the Stooges, the "Damn, this is catchy" thing that was buried under the guitar blasts of the best of the 70's punk gunk, the contempt for most everything of early hardcore (Y'know before all the metal dudes took it down some total asshole streets that jocks live on) and the top end of the 90's garage rock mash up of blues, noise, distortion and hip shakin'/beer swillin' snot and swagger all find themselves in this thick stew.
     The singer yelps like he is jumping around with his underpants on fire while ranting about being broke and the assholes he has to deal with every day while trying to get by in the big city. The band sound like their hands are made of sledge hammers and the bludgeon and pummel the sound into a thick, pounding mass of guts and mud.
      This IS one of the record of this year that if wasn't on my turntable it was always close by so it could be again and again. 

Sep 12, 2012


     With the phrase "Hardcore" being used to on reality based TV show all over cable to describing Hip-Hop artists who are hawking a clothing line available at K-Mart people sometimes forget it was used to describe the nastier side of skin flicks and the most pissed off forms of American punk rock.
     This is probably for the best.
     Porn many times more extreme can be found with a click or two of a mouse. Hardcore punk, which was once the sound of bored and disenchanted kids screaming in defiance of all the bullshit around them, somewhere took a hard turn and became a bunch of shaved headed goatee sporting fat ass tough guys armed with palm mutes and a Dimebag Darrell instruction video. Recklessness replaced with uniform syncopation like a bunch of humorless asshole gym class leaders if they formed a band in the locker room.
     Hailing from New York City Crazy Spirit play HARDCORE (but not NYHC as that all seem to have degenerated into the meathead music I was bitching about above) the way it should sound.
     The singer gurgles, grunts and brays like he eats fiberglass insulation for lunch then wraps a bare electrical chord around his neck while spewing almost unintelligible words.  The guitars splatter feedback and going off the rails power chords blur the lines between simple blind drunk rage and absolute criminally insane behavior. Mucho distorted bass rumbles as if it's an avalanche of mud and bowling balls barreling down a mountain while the drummer sounds like he was kicked out of a martial marching band for worshiping the altar of Animal from the Muppets. Whether it's taking your basic Germs thrash (which seems to be the jumping off point most of this band leaps off) on tunes like "Little Boots" and "I'm Dead" or sounding like hicks gone hardcore channeling murder blues made by serial killers on tracks like "Troll" and "I Become A Man"-Crazy Spirit are reclaiming the noise back for the misfits, malcontents and rejects.