maybe i’m disillusioned, but it seems to me that US punk/hardcore has received a fresh “bill of health” in recent years. there seems to be a lot of ‘fresh-blood’ being infused to the scene, revitalizing old and young punx alike! in the not-too-distant past i was noticing that well established acts, or reunions were garnering the most interest of showgoers. more recently though, young bands (both in age and existence) have come to the fore and piqued interest in the going-ons of underground music/culture. like many an aging rocker, i’d cursed the advent of the interwebs in relation to it’s ability to offer instantaneous “cool” the millennial generation. you’ve all heard the argument…”they didn’t have to work for it. obscure records/un-heralded (yet quintessential) bands, that were once discovered through a slow trickle-down from sibling to younger sibling then to schoolyard friends, are now discovered through a google search in 0.54 seconds.” yadda yadda blah blah.
well, now i’m beginning to think that the instantaneous access to information and [sub]culture may be honing the output of current generations for the better. individuals seem to be expounding upon tried-and-true reference points when forming their bands. no longer required is a $65+ purchase of long out-of-print NECROS or THE STALIN lp…instead there’s a download available from some collectors blog (not to mention a resurgence in vinyl reissues!). meaning that the new crop of bands aren’t limited, from a financial standpoint, as to what they hear that serves to inspire/influence them. if the quality of bands playing The Know in the month of March is any indication than perhaps this ‘information age’ is a good thing afterall!?!
anywho, there’s something for everyone this month at The Know (we’ve got 25 shows in 31 days!!!). per usual, however, i’ve restricted my focus to the ‘backbone’ of our makeup…PUNK in its many variations! so definitely take the time to peruse our calendar for a full-scope of events we’ve got coming up, as these are just a few of the highlights:
03.09.14 – WARCRY, RITUAL CONTROL (CA) + MONGOLOID [event page]
this is an absolute hardcore rager, and sees a veteran cast of characters paired up with a youthful contingent of pot-stirrers. the bay area’s RITUAL CONTROL employ a unique cross-section of generations; their rhythm section featuring Robert Collins, who cut his teeth as early as 1998 with Prank Record’s ARTIMUS PYLE (and continues to play in HC staples NO STATIK and CONQUEST FOR DEATH), and also Jeremy Meier who has more recently burst into the fray with bands like EFFLUXUS and CØNDITIØN. needless to say, the combined experience of the comprising members makes for an immediately-honed output that typically takes bands years to dial-in.
opening act, MONGOLOID, represent (to me) a great case-in-point of ‘fresh blood’ infusing itself into the scene. not a single moment of metallic-riffage, d-beat or crust ever infiltrate their songs (previously synonymous with pdx/hc), and boy is it refreshing to hear!!! these youthful gents are instead channeling the primitive and scuzzy hardcore of bands like SIEGE, and the early DC scene (TEEN IDLES, YOUTH BRIGADE, GOVERNMENT ISSUE). not to mention that they put on a wildly nihilistic live show…MONGOLOID is the future!
03.11.14 – NERVOSAS (OH), DEFECT DEFECT, OLD CITY + RECESSIONS [event page]
who knew that Ohio was producing one of the finest melodic post-punk bands in recent memory?!?! NERVOSAS have an irrepressible knack for song writing, blending essential early-american punk influences of X and Wipers with comparable/current sounds of Sweden’s heralded Umeå-scene (a la MASSHYSTERI + VÅNNA INGET). their singable/danceable end-product is too good to be true…alas it is!!!
lets also take a second to discuss one of portland’s hidden-gems…OLD CITY. this 3-piece’s recent EP will resonate with fans of NO HOPE FOR THE KIDS. bleak political punk with rip-roaring leads and anthemic choruses that add up to incredible listenability. these songs will get stuck in your head. fact.
03.12.14 – SPITTING IMAGE (Reno), SHADOWHOUSE + LUNCH [event page]
last spring the 4 fresh-faced members of SPITTING IMAGE rolled through The Know and performed their hearts out. saying they left a strong impression would be a vast understatement. they immediately secured themselves as staff/crowd favorites and did so without pretense, relying on fantastic songs that are not easily quantified. self proclaimed as “a punk band from a basement in the high desert,” SPITTING IMAGE actually embody that description (despite how vague it may seem). tortured melodies with a hint of desperation, all indicative of the relative isolation they experience in their desert town (both geographically and culturally). this isn’t paint-by-the-numbers punk, and their influences are hard to pin-down…equal parts post-punk to post-hardcore (a la RITES OF SPRING, not that whack ‘new’ definition of post hardcore)? whatever it is, it’s fucking working!
This bill also features two local-acts who are ‘buzzing’ super hard at present, and rightfully so! after a slew of lineup changes SHADOWHOUSE have struck the right combination of parts, marking their cohesion with the release of the ‘Haunted’ single, which delivers a pair of swelling, gothic, dark-wave hits. LUNCH also come out swinging on the heels of their well-received ‘Johnny Pineapple’ 7″ that drags pop-sensibility through a sludge-mired and discordant haze…end result being an EP of fantastically unique songs.
[MIDWEEK RUMBLE Pts. 1 + 2]
03.19.14 – THE SECRET PROSTITUTES (TX), TRANSIENT, TURBOKRIEG (TX) + WOUNDS [event page]
03.20.14 – LA MISMA (NY), VIVID SEKT, REACTOR + BONE SPELLS [event page]
in the middle of the week (and month) we’re fortunate enough to have 2 consecutive days of amazing, albeit varied, punk bands from across the US. punk-grind-punk-grind is the order of the evening on 03/19 when we host an untamable touring-couplet from Houston, Texas. the indisputably fun (and well researched) throwback/KBD-punk of THE SECRET PROSTITUTES will have showgoers a pogo’n, while tourmates TURBOKRIEG‘s long lineage of playing savage-grind aims to please those with the ‘need for speed.’ show’s gunna fuggin’ RULE!
the following night (03/20) we host an eagerly awaited performance from New York City’s LA MISMA, whose all-female lineup play charging, noisy hardcore-punk with enough hooks cutting through the fuzz to get an audience slamming! locals span the gamut of punk sound(s); with VIVID SEKT contributing their distinctive brand of peace punk, REACTOR raging through a midwestern-tinged d-beat assault, and BONE SPELLS’ starting things off with some rollicking post-punk.
be sure to come to both nights of the “midweek rumble” and no call/no show to your job on friday!
03.23.14 – IRON CHIC (NY), DIVERS, MURMURS (WA) + CANCERS (WA) [event page]
if ever there were a show to make-out with your significant other at (and it be remotely acceptable), this would be it. heart-on-the-sleeve, melodic pop-punk from start to finish! New York’s IRON CHIC are a supergroup of monumental proportions for those predisposed to venture to Florida annually for “The Fest.” featuring formering members of LATTERMAN and SMALL ARMS DEALER, one can expect many a sweaty sing-a-longs when IRON CHIC hit the stage!
Local support comes from the absolutely faultless DIVERS, who transcend “pop-punk” genre-constraints by simply playing some of the most soulful music imaginable. comparisons to The Boss abound, but i think looking to (more) contemporary reference points like THE CONSTANTINES or THE CLASH are equally as relevant. ultimately these boys have piecemealed-together the best elements of the vast rock&roll landscape for a phenomenal/undeniable final product. props!
03.25.14 – DIRTY FENCES (NY), THE CRY! + RAT PARTY [event page]
power-pop/garage-punk that’ll have toes-a-tappin! New York’s DIRTY FENCES are absolute masters of songcraft. like a punk’er Nick Lowe, or an all-american/twangier version of the Buzzcocks!!! it’s no mystery (given their location) that they also draw comparison to the stylings of NYC proto-punks like Johnny Thunders. flawless vocal harmonies and rock&roll riffage that’s so fucking good! these guys put all the jangly Black Lips-wannabes to shame for restricting their influences to 60’s garage…apparently more bands should be looking to the late 70’s for inspiration
horrifically underrated local opener, RAT PARTY, has quietly been recording a slew of blown-out, raucous, snot-nosed, snarling, wild garage-hardcore jams that will hopefully get some recognition with the release of their forthcoming album (proudly recorded by The Know’s sound-wizard, Maus, @ Red Lantern Studios). for fans of the MC5, Stooges, Radio Birdman etc…etc. get with it!
thanks as always for reading/attending/supporting,