Sunday, September 13, 2015


Yet another North Carolina band here... Hellbender were from the Chapel Hill/Carrboro area and were active in the mid-1990's.  They played a rockin' version of punk that would probably fall somewhere within the orbit of the whole 90's "pop-punk" scene, though that description doesn't really do them justice.  Their sound fits better somewhere in the region of Jawbreaker, Avail or Garden Variety, I think - melodic and well crafted songs but still punk with some palpable aggression.  They were a three-piece with two members trading songwriting and vocal duties.  The members included Al Burian, formerly of Celibate Commandos who went on to form Milemarker and later Canadian Rifle (though he left after their first couple of Eps) and their drummer went on to play for Les Savy Fav after Hellbender's demise.  Anyways, the band did a few singles and three full-lengths.  Collected here are the 3 LPs: a self-titled CD, then the Footprint of the American Chicken and Con Limón LPs.  Picking a favorite is difficult - the first is clearly a record where their sound is still developing but the second finds them fully-formed and has some great tunes, probably their best individual tracks.  I've always been partial to the third though, as a complete album where the songs transition well and each one seems to build on the other...  Regardless, their whole catalog is great and they remain one of my favorites from the 1990s NC scene I grew up with.

Hellbender - Self-Titled, Footprint of the American Chicken and Con Limón

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Inept - Straight Outta Tha Dumpster Ep

I'm keeping with the North Carolina punk theme for a bit... Inept hailed from Raleigh and played a relatively sloppy version of 90's D-beat influenced peace punk, a sound that was ascending at the time with the popularity of bands like Aus Rotten, Final Warning and The Pist.  Inept featured dual male/female vocals which brings to mind contemporaries like Mankind?  or older groups like Dirt and Nausea.  Despite the horrible title and ludicrous cover, the Ep features five rather bouncing tracks in this style with vaguely political lyrics and lots of heart.  The sixth and final track is a Doom cover (Life Lock, one of their best tracks to my mind) which ends up the 7" on a high note.  Inept existed for around a year and this was their only release - if I recall they'd broken up by the time it came out - but in that time they opened for quite a few great bands who played Raleigh at the time, from Aus Rotten to Damad to the Varukers.

Inept - Straight Outta Tha Dumpster Ep