Skumdum (Sweden)

Eduardo Taú of Wreck The Place Fantastic reporting in with our International Spotlight. The spotlight features updates and music downloads from bands outside the North American market. This week we're headed to Sweden:

"Take a stand for what you believe in," is what vocalist Pierre screams in this Skumdum song. That's also what this fast and furious partypunk band from Skelleftea, Sweden is all about. Live and enjoy, soon we'll all be dead. That is Skumdum.The band has been playing together with their present line-up since 2002 when Linkan joined, but Chris, Pat and Pierre have been playing together since their early teens. The music is aggressive, the lyrics often political, but this is always compounded with strong songwriting and catchy harmonies. Through blood, sweat and a lot of hard work, Skumdum have become one of the most popular punkbands in Scandinavia. They have done a lot of heavy touring, both national and international. Their unique sound, in-your-face mentality and uncompromising attitude has given Skumdum a well earned reputation for being an extraordinary and mindblowing live act. Combining true passion and devotion for the music together with the aim to make every show even better than the last, it's easy to understand why Skumdums popularity has increased so rapidly during the past three years!

Skumdum - "Take a Stand" (MP3)

Read more

Red Lights Flash (Austria)

Eduardo Taú of Wreck The Place Fantastic reporting in with our International Spotlight. The spotlight features updates and music downloads from bands outside the North American market. This week we're headed to Austria:

Hailing from Graz in Austria these punk rockers inked a deal with AF Records, who recently released their album Free in the US. Red Lights Flash is a band that manages to mix all that punk angst with the energy of rock and roll. I've been following the evolution of the Austrian punk scene and I can say with confidence that it is one of the main cradles for good bands in Europe these days. This band is exhibit A, having recently been featured as the opening act for Anti Flag throughout their latest European tour. "Time The Lights Went Out" is the album's first single.

Red Light Flash - "Time The Lights Went Out" (MP3)

Read more

Death Is Not Glamorous (Norway)

Here's Tim Krysko of Wreck The Place Fantastic reporting in with our International Spotlight. Every week we're featuring updates and music downloads from bands outside the North American market. This week we're headed to Norway for another track from a band that's getting plenty of buzz `round these parts:

State Of Mind Recordings has produced some incredible hardcore these past couple years from bands like This Is Hell, No Roses, and Dead Hearts. One of their new releases is an EP from a band that I think may be their best finding to date: Oslo, Norway's Death Is Not Glamorous. The EP is essentially the band's 5-song demo, which previously went out of print in Europe, remastered. It sounds very Lifetime-inspired. Over in the UK, Dead & Gone Records is announcing a CD/7' to be released this month called "Undercurrents" consisting of new material. The band's currently touring their asses off around Europe.

Death Is Not Glamorous - "Elephants" (MP3)

Read more

The Scare (South Africa)

Here's Tim Krysko of Wreck The Place Fantastic reporting in with our International Spotlight. Every week we're featuring updates and music downloads from bands outside the North American market. This week we're headed to South Africa:

This week I want to take a look at one of South Africa's many up'n-comers, The Scare, who reside in the thriving music town called Cape Town, are comprised of six self-proclaimed metal enthusiasts - that's two vocalists and two guitarists in the band - that have been together since just late 2004. Their first career highlight was winning three categories of a battle of the bands called Bandslam 2005: best band, best vocals, and best drums. The Scare's name since has been popping up at every key event in the South African undergroun scene. Last year they opened for Most Precious Blood when that band visited the country, and so far in 2006 they've played the crucial Witchfest and Knifefight festivals, and next month, Noisefest. The Scare have yet to release any recordings, but they recently signed to South Africa's Murdercall Records owned by Ivan of The Hurt Process and Hanu of The Narrow, so an album is currently in the works.

The Scare - "Broken Chains" (MP3)

Read more

Verses You (Luxembourg)

Here's Tim Krysko of Wreck The Place Fantastic reporting in with our International Spotlight. Every week we're featuring updates and music downloads from bands outside the North American market. This week we're headed to Luxembourg:

It sounds like Chicago in Luxembourg right now. A reader pointed me in the direction of this band from the tiny Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, he said sound a bit like the Lawrence Arms, and they play the style very well. I have to agree with him. Versus You has only been around since 2005, though the individual members have 'ex-member' histories going back seven or so years. Other Chicago punk influences that they cite include Screeching Weasel and the Broadways, plus lots of West Coast staples like Jawbreaker, early Green Day, and Pinhead Gunpowder.

Versus You is a three-piece; guitarist and vocalist Eric also maintains a solo career called Communicaution, while bassist Giordano founded and runs the only punk rock record label and booking agency in Luxembourg called Winged Skull, and drummer Pait plays in a second band, a hardcore band called Eternal Tango. They have one album out so far, titled Like a Bug on a Windshield, and here is one of its tracks, "An Artist with a Self-Portrait Has No Imagination".

Verses You - "An Artist with a Self-Portrait Has No Imagination" (MP3)

Read more

Hollow Jan (South Korea)

Here's Tim Krysko of Wreck The Place Fantastic reporting in with our International Spotlight. Every week we're featuring updates and music downloads from bands outside the North American market. This week we're headed to South Korea:

Hollow Jan hail from South Korea and play melodic, emotive hardcore very much in line with early Envy and other Japanese hardcore bands. They're a five-piece band based out of Seoul with an EP to their name titled Hyacinthus Orientalis of Purple EP. The EP has been released by the Korean label Better Tomorrow Records and will shortly see a US release courtesy of Tennessee's I've Come for Your Children Records. A couple more tracks are available at the band's purevolume page.

Hollow Jan - A Hateful Speech (MP3)

Read more
Advertisement
 

Fugo (Switzerland)

Here's Tim Krysko of Wreck The Place Fantastic reporting in with our International Spotlight. Every week we're featuring updates and music downloads from bands outside the North American market. This week we're headed to Switzerland:

This week we present a little-known band called Fugo, from faraway Aarau, deep within the confines of Aargau (which is in Switzerland, believe it or not). Formed in late 2000, Fugo began as a side project for a couple of its members, and soon evolved into a full-time band. They signed in 2004 with Engineer Records in the US and UK and issued their first album, Aie. Every track on this disc is titled after a letter, a period, and a parenthesis; the track we've selected is the album's opener, "W.)" - sung entirely (to the best that I can discern) in French. Here's how Engineer described it:

"There is definitely a nod in the direction of early Fugazi with the slow deliberate chugging build ups but also the groove of early Quicksand and the general weirdness of Alice Donut or even Dead Kennedys thrown in there too. A tempered record that is so deliberate you worry for the bands sanity. It's hard to explain, so you'll just have to hear it for yourself, it's a kind of "other music"!"

Fugo - W.) (MP3)

Read more

Since Yesterday (Turkey)

Here's Tim Krysko of Wreck The Place Fantastic reporting in with our International Spotlight. Every week we're featuring updates and music downloads from bands outside the North American market. This week we're headed to Turkey:

The Turkish underground scene has been developing steadily for a number of years now. The country has already produced some stellar bands that have come and gone (look up Antisilence, Radical Noise, or Less for starters), but now there's a plethora of young bands positioning themselves to make a name for the Turkish music community. And lately, from what I hear, the buzz is around the country's capital, Ankara, as opposed to its cosmopolitan hub city Istanbul. One of the bands building their name in Ankara and across Turkey is Since Yesterday. Their first recording was a seven-song record called Maybe Tomorrow which appeared in 2002. The following year they shared a split with fellow Turkish band In Between, and in 2004 those two bands joined together with the US's Planes Mistaken For Stars and the UK's Candy Sniper for a 4-way split. Since Yesterday is hard at work on new material, but in the meantime here's one of their tracks called "The Last Message".

Since Yesterday - The Last Message (MP3)

Read more

Subs (China)

Here's Tim Krysko of Wreck The Place Fantastic reporting in with our International Spotlight. Every week we're featuring updates and music downloads from bands outside the North American market. This week we're headed to China:

A few weeks ago, my friend Paul (who's been my 'source' in Beijing since probably 2000 or so) helped us put together a Chinese punk mix for Wreck The Place Fantastic. This sixteen-song digital compilation is a pretty thorough survey of mainland China's booming music scene. By now you're probably aware of Brain Failure. You may know of Reflector. Another one of the city's leading bands is called Subs. The band formed in Beijing in 2002 and has since that time toured China extensively and made a couple trips to Europe. The screamiest band out of China I have heard to date, Subs has one of the region's more unique styles, one that is influenced by the Hives, Fugazi and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Here's a track called "8 o'Clock".

Subs - 8 o'Clock (MP3)

Read more

M.Knox-Music (Brazil)

Here's Eduardo Taú of Wreck The Place Fantastic reporting in with our International Spotlight. Every week we're featuring updates and music downloads from bands outside the North American market. This week we're headed back to Brazil:

The Brazilian post-rock outfit M.Knox-Music came around in 2002, and released the following year their debut EP Music and Confrontation in such an Ugly Time. Last year they were in the studio tracking their first full length, which comes out in 2006 on Enemy One Records. During the recording process, they had already redefined their sound, surpassing the strong American indie music and emo-rock influences of the EP, towards more sonic dynamics and inventive textures, with memorable psychodelic and discopunk influences, and an all around more experimental agenda. Their new album "Espelho" carries the concoction that can be considered the signature identity of theirmusic: the explosive combination of assorted elements of 70's rock and roll with the punk rock sound of the late 80's, something like a mix between Led Zeppelin and say Fugazi. In the heart and soul of each song there's a pulsing groundbreaking feeling, pioneering even, and an outstanding progressive songwriting logic and repertoire assembly. It's not really recycling, but more of a quest for solid references as grounds to create a brand new sound.

M.Knox-Music - Moral Codes (MP3)

Read more

Pericles (Dominican Republic)

Tim Krysko of Wreck The Place Fantastic reporting in with our International Spotlight. Every week (except last week, which we missed due to sasquatch attack) we're featuring updates and music downloads from bands outside the North American market. This week we're headed to the Dominican Republic:

The Caribbean Sea's Dominican Republic is home to Chung Ho Records and a pretty prolific punk scene. Pericles is one of the country's exports, originally from Santo Domingo. They first appeared in 2003 with an EP called Juego de Niños, and resurfaced with their 2006 debut, Fuck Your Etiquette, sung entirely in English. The band's sound is rooted in melodic punk with some inclinations towards ska, in the tradition of the classic Fat/Epitaph sound with some Against All Authority and Link 80 influence. Fuck Your Etiquette is a co-release between Chung Ho Records in the Dominican Republic and Enemy One Records in Brazil, available worldwide through the Interpunk.

Pericles - Guardian Cowboys (MP3)

Read more

Eastern Youth (Japan)

Tim Krysko of Wreck The Place Fantastic reporting in with our International Spotlight. Every week (except last week, which we missed due to sasquatch attack) we're featuring updates and music downloads from bands outside the North American market. This week we're headed to Japan:

The Japanese indie music scene is incredibly huge, but still, and probably largely due to the language barrier, the majority of bands are unknown in the west. That makes the example of Eastern Youth so exceptional. This near two-decade-running indie rock band originally from Sapporo is as revered by North American genremates as those in their home country - and most of us rely on lyric translations to have any idea what they're singinging about. Many on this side of the Pacific were humbled by Eastern Youth in 2002 when they appeared on a split with Cursive released by Better Looking Records. A year later, Five One Inc released What Can You See From Your Place, the first of the band's records to be pushed to the North American audience. Now in 2006, Five One is striking again with Eastern Youth's latest, 365 Step-Blues.

Any hype this band garners is well-deserved; they're called 'legends' for a reason. Not only are Eastern Youth one of Japan's finest musical exports, but they also offer an interpretation of indie rock that's staunchly authentic to Japan. Visit Five One Inc for an ecard, and download the opening track "Make for the Waste Land" below.

Eastern Youth - Make for the Waste Land (MP3)

The band issued 365-Step Blues in March.

Read more

Asguard (Belarus)

Tim Krysko of Wreck The Place Fantastic reporting in with our International Spotlight. Every week we're featuring updates and music downloads from bands outside the North American market. This week we're headed to Belarus:

This past week I watched with interest the presidential election in the Eastern European country of Belarus. This often-forgotten country is said to be the last dictatorship of Europe and thus has a pretty fascinating political scene. While I know for a fact that punk bands exist in Belarus, knowledge of its music scene has always been elusive to me. One band I do know from the area, and enjoy quite a lot, is a metal band called Asguard. They put out an album a few months ago, titled "Dreamslave", on Long Beach, California's This Dark Reign Records.

The band formed in 1996 in the Belarusian town Mogilev. Their first demo was released throughout Eastern Europe on Fatal Ecstasy Productions, also based out of Belarus. 1999 saw their first proper album, "Summis Desiderantess Effectibuson", on Ukrainian metal label Bloodhead Productions. In the years that followed, Asguard's popularity rose and they signed on with This Dark Reign / Devil Doll Records in the US. "Black Fire Land" was their 2004 debut in the West, and that brings us to their current release, "Dreamslave".

Here's the title track "Dreamslave" for all the metal fans out there who appreciate Scandinavian-style black metal.

Asguard - Dreamslave (MP3)

Read more

Scab Level (Greece)

Tim Krysko of Wreck The Place Fantastic reporting in with our International Spotlight. Every week we're featuring updates and music downloads from bands outside the North American market. This week we're headed to Greece:

You may remember a few months back in this very international spotlight seeing a Greek band called Rakias, signed to their country's Run Devil Run Records. If you enjoyed their track to anywhere near the extent that I did, you ought to be excited about this new addition to the label's roster. The band is called Scab Level, and they continue this theme of unique indie rock with a distinctly Mediterranean feel. Other than the strong ska underpinnings and the plentiful guitar pop and vocal hooks, I can't put my finger on this band's sound, because they've got a lot more going on during the course of their album, "Peaches". And there's not much to say about the history of the band either; the label's website simply summarizes their existence as follows:

Scab Level were formed in 1996 by 3 sound engineers, a lights technician and a business man. End of story!

Check out the track "Gutter", and consider this: Interpunk is now carrying the entire Run Devil Run library thus far. Greek indie rock has never been so affordable.

Scab Level - Gutter (MP3)

Read more

Lovesong (Hong Kong)

Tim Krysko of Wreck The Place Fantastic reporting in with our International Spotlight. Every week we're featuring updates and music downloads from bands outside the North American market. This week we're headed to Hong Kong:

A few days ago I was browsing websites and myspace pages belonging to a number of bands from North Point, Hong Kong. One band that stopped me dead in my tracks and forced me to listen to all the material I could find was a group called the Lovesong. The storyline is pretty straightforward. In 1999 a songwriter-slash-guitarist named Ben Tse got together another guitarist, a bassist, and a drummer, and started a band. They've developed a pretty impressive indie rock sound familiar to the midwestern United States and fans of traditional emo. Influences range from Cursive and Q And Not U to Mineral and Sunny Day Real Estate. They have a self-released CD they sell at shows in Hong Kong; the packaging is entirely handmade and individually numbered and dated for each particular show. Check out this track called "Eastern Moments Western Skies".

Lovesong - Eastern Moments Western Skies (MP3)

Read more