John McCowen has made a career of transforming the contrabass clarinet into an instrument all his own. Born in Carbondale and now based in Reykjavik, Iceland, the composer got involved with music as a hardcore vocalist in the mid-2000s, then spent several years playing saxophone and flute with stoner outfit Tweak Bird before turning his […]
Plenty of bands do a lot with compact lineups, but few can match the huge black-hole vortex of sound that Petbrick creates. The London-based duo of British multi-instrumentalist and producer Wayne Adams and legendary Brazilian metal drummer Iggor Cavalera came together a few years ago with a plan to make “horrible noise” without compromise. But […]
Baltimore band Praise have been working within a classic melodic hardcore sound since their 2010 debut seven-inch, and they dig even deeper into that terrain on their newest album, All in a Dream—their first for legendary hardcore label Revelation. While they started out in a more traditional mosh-heavy vein, Praise started diving hard into the […]
Chicago group Meth are known for their big and burly scorched-earth mash-up of mathcore, noise rock, and ambient music, which they execute with surgical precision. At the center of their dissonant sprawl is vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Seb Alvarez, who started Meth as a solo project before developing the current six-piece iteration. The band put out […]
After Chicago political hardcore powerhouse Racetraitor disbanded in 1999, a fog of legend grew in their wake. Motivated by their frustration at the bilious 2016 presidential campaign cycle and the fury and urgency of the burgeoning Black Lives Matter movement, the band reemerged with a fiery reunion a couple weeks before the election, but they […]
Chicago’s Nequient hit the ground running in 2015 with the EP Infinite Regress. By the time of their 2018 full-length debut, Wolves at the Door, they’d solidified into a brutal, versatile metallic-hardcore unit. They’d also established their studio methods and favorite producers (Pete Grossman at Bricktop Recording), and they accumulated some DIY touring experience. The […]
The pandemic hasn’t been easy on anyone, but it’s been especially unkind to those who rely on live music for income or a creative outlet. That said, if there were any local band I had faith was going to pull through, it was La Armada. Formed in the Dominican Republic in 2001, this socially and […]
In the years since Nicky Palermo of Philadephia hardcore band Horror Show released a demo tape under the name Nothing in 2011, it’s become a sort of running joke in the scene that hardcore kids grow up and turn shoegaze. It’s a logical progression: hardcore’s raw, heavy sounds are built to express loss, pain, or […]
Oakland’s Kowloon Walled City formed in 2007 as an intense postmetal outfit who tipped their hat to fellow Oaklanders Neurosis, who’d helped pioneer the fusion of hardcore and sludge. During the 14 years since, the band have slowly pulled back on the aggression and fury, settling into creeping, deliberately paced noise rock. Kowloon Walled City’s […]
Hollering along with Bad Noids’ punk rock is more fun than arguing with COVID deniers—and it’ll probably do more good.
Chicago hardcore five-piece Porcupine use society’s fetid underbelly like a renewable energy source—they must know they’ll never run out of cruelty to drive their outrage. Their new album, The Sibyl (New Morality Zine), opens with “Pederasty,” sung from the point of view of an adult survivor of childhood sexual abuse who’s still haunted by trauma; […]
“I started my zine when I moved to Chicago. . . . I thought, ‘What is something I can do by myself yet still contribute?'”
Bridgeport DIY house Rancho Huevos nurtured an antiauthoritarian community for nearly two decades. Now it stands vacant and slated for demolition.
When Racetraitor formed in Chicago in the mid-90s, their uncompromisingly antiracist politics weren’t always warmly received in the hardcore scene, but after their breakup in 1999 their influence continued to spread (especially once drummer Andy Hurley joined occasional Racetraitor bassist Pete Wentz in Fall Out Boy in 2003). More than a decade later, the burgeoning […]
Santa Cruz hardcore outfit Gulch cover a lot of ground in the brief 16 minutes of their new Impenetrable Cerebral Fortress. The four-piece leave no punk or metal stone unturned; they cram every possible take on dark, heavy, and mean into the album’s eight tracks, which all grind to a halt just as quickly as […]