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

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Rentamerica/Polestar Split Ep

More North Carolina Hardcore here... a split 7" from two short-lived bands, Renamerica and PolestarRentamerica hailed from a small town in NC and played fast and thrashy hardcore with intense vocals.  As mentioned in the last post, some of these guys went on to play in Uwharria and some actually went on to form FaceDownInShit.  On the flip side is a band I know pretty much nothing about... Polestar was also from North Carolina - I think but I'm not certain as there is no info included in this record.  Polestar plays a more 90's emo or screamo take on hardcore but is nearly as intense.  These appear to be the only two tracks Polestar released while Rentamerica had another split 7" that I never got around to tracking down.  Another cool, little-known 90s hardcore release that deserves a listen...

Rentameria/Polestar split 7" Ep

Sunday, August 16, 2015


OK, it's been a little bit since I posted and honestly, life here has been fairly crazy as of late with some new developments requiring more time and attention than I am accustomed to, cutting in to my time that I can devote to the blog.  I'll try to keep coming up with posts when I am able but I can't promise there will be any regularity to them...  Anyways, with that out of the way, this post compiles most of the discography of North Carolina's eco-thrashers Uwharria.  From my home state and featuring members of Blownapart Bastards (as well as Rentamerica, Divide and Conquer, and even Oi Polloi) Uwharria played a chaotic brand of metallic hardcore that brings to mind late 80's crossover thrash - like later D.R.I. or Animosity-era C.O.C.  Rick from Blownapart's vocals remind me a bit of Blaine from the Accused on these tracks which only adds to the crossover feel...  All the lyrics concern wildlife and environmental issues (hence the "eco-thrash" tag) but with somewhat of a tongue-in-cheek attitude.  Song titles range from bird species like "Ivory-billed Woodpecker" and "Appalachian Skullcap," to the less than majestic like "Dung Beetles" and "Tick Attack."  Short-lived, Uwharria released a full length CD and a split CD with fellow N.C. punks Crimson Spectre.  I remember there also being a live CD that the band self-released but I never got my hands on that.  The link below has the full length as well as their half of the split CD, 24 tracks total.

Uwharria - "Fury in the Foothills" and Split with Crimson Spectre     

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Various - Hope For Us Ep

Here is the Wisconsin HC compilation I referenced last time out... Hope For Us came out on the same label that did the Animal Farm and One Day Away 7"ers and features tracks by both of those bands.  Additionally, two other short-lived bands appear on this disk - Buried and Damitol.  Damitol did a couple of Eps which I thought I had in my collection but apparently I am mistaken or they were lost somewhere along the way.  Buried seems to not have released any other material beyond the track on this comp.  Those familiar with the Eps I already posted know what to expect from Animal Farm and ODA.  Buried's track is in a similar vein with perhaps a bit more straight edge feel, like Verbal Assault perhaps.  Damitol is a bit more melodic with a bit of a Bay Area influence which reminds me heavily of Fuel and Crimpshrine.  Overall a cool document of a scene that seems to have sprung out of nowhere and for a little while in the mid-1990s plugged into the circuit of the DIY HC network that seemed to be growing exponentially at the time.

V/A - Hope For Us Ep  

Saturday, July 18, 2015

One Day Away - s/t Ep

More 1990's obscurity... It probably would have made more sense to post this record a few months back when I did the spate of mid-western U.S. hardcore that included Animal Farm and Hinge but I moved on to other groups fairly quickly.  One Day Away hailed from Wisconsin and this 7" was their sole release and was on the same label that put the Animal Farm Ep.  ODA had a similar sound to those previously mentioned bands - mid-tempo but metallic and featuring a singer that sounded like Sam Mcpheeters gargling glass.  Political lyrics and a cover/packaging that made this 7" look like an Ebullition release rounded out the aesthetic.  Aside from this Ep, One Day Away had one track on a Wisconsin HC compilation that I'll be posting soon - a record that also featured Animal Farm. 

One Day Away - s/t Ep

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Slag & Thaw

Alright, sorry for the slight delay in posts... switching musical gears, this time out I've got some heavy 1990's U.S. hardcore for you from two very short-lived bands.  Slag hailed from Arizona and played the kind of groovy, metallic hardcore that was becoming popular in the early to mid 90's - building on the sound of bands like Amenity or later Verbal Assault and moving into the territory marked out by groups like Citizens Arrest, Rorschach or Downcast.  One of these guys went on to play in Groundwork, a band that Slag's sound definitely fits with.  Thaw was around even more briefly and played a bit more straight-forward style with strained vocals that recalls bands like Half Man or perhaps even Jihad.  Slag only released one 7" Ep and a split Ep with Thaw - Thaw's side of that split seems to be their only recording... both records are included in this post and it hopefully serves to keep more memories of little known U.S. DIY hardcore alive.

Slag/Thaw split Ep and Slag - s/t Ep