Iron Lung: Interview by Juan Espinosa and Daryl Gussin
“Powerviolence is seldom a genre associated with quality. Quality is also a word seldom used to describe any band these days, whether it’s related to the actual music, the recording process, or even the packaging that envelopes the music. Iron Lung produces nothing but quality. From their humble beginnings in dank Reno basements (having since relocated to Seattle and San Francisco) to several headlining tours throughout the years that have taken them across Europe, Japan, Australia, and Southeast Asia, the band strives for excellence with each new record or tour. They also started their own label of the same name in 2007 and have released nearly 150 records and tapes by bands who also meet the duo’s standard of quality including Total Control, Gag, Diät, Dreamdecay, Lebenden Toten, and many others. The label’s output reflects their impeccable taste, but they’re not trying to impress anyone (their motto being, ‘We know what we like and what we don’t like’). We sat down with Jensen and Jon on an unseasonably cold afternoon in October to discuss where twenty years as a band has taken them.” –Juan Espinosa
Gross Polluter: Interview by Todd Taylor and Sean Carswell
“Southern California’s history is propped up on beautiful lies and seduction. There are powerful industries based on the promise of shiny things and the delivery of something much more rotted out and bloodstained. Quaint beach communities—to the touristic eye—are sunshine, palm trees, tans, and carefree living. Like a tooth rotting with cavities but veneered by an unscrupulous dentist, real trouble isn’t immediately noticeable. It takes awhile to notice the core damage taking root, infecting the bloodstream.
The sun is cancer. Almost every palm tree is an invasive species that provides no shade. Hundreds of thousands of homes were precariously financed on adjustable rate mortgages. Slum mansions. Racially restrictive covenants. Hep C-infected waves. An ominous black ball flapping on a tattered yellow flag planted on a white, sandy beach.
I discovered Smogtown in 1996, shortly after moving to Los Angeles. They were as conspicuous as a surfer wearing a gasmask, even amongst their punk peers in the New Beach Alliance. Their first full length—a true punk classic—Führers of the New Wave, is a prophesy, a blazing, uncompromising concept album that served as my own personal sunglasses to see the skinless-alien They Live version of Southern California. Lead singer, Ray Chavez, Nostradamus’ed the next twenty-plus years. Shit’s fucked in suburbia. Kids are casualties. Adults struggle under incredible invisible weights of “security” and “comfort.” Façades overpower infrastructure. Domesticviolenceland. In other words, Smogtown’s predictions have come to pass. As a society, we’re far worse off for them being right. But for music fans—well—the music’s as potent as ever.
Then Smogtown dissolved—that’s covered in this interview—and through the exhaust haze of unspent fuel, Gross Polluter crept around the corner.
What happens when you look in a mirror and it no longer shows a drug-accelerated, youthful punk kid hell-bent on destroying suburbia, but a parent who sees the value in stability and a well-paying job? What happens when you’re the adult who got up early to take your kid to motocross on Saturday? What happens when your neighbor casually mentions today’s win is he didn’t blow his head off? What happens when you live in a neighborhood that’s so apolitical, when they talk of presidents, they’re talking of CEOs? What happens when a young fan of your old band with its logo painted on their leather jacket flips your SUV off? What happens when you see an alternative future in your best friend, when you drop him off at a homeless encampment? Those questions are all answered by Gross Polluter, a different beast of a band and an unexpected, welcome return to a landscape that looks so beautiful it hurts.” –Todd Taylor
Dialer: Interview by Rick V.
“Sometimes you hear a group of your peers get very excited about a new band. You decide to take a step onto their wagon only to realize the band sounds like every other thing your peers already liked. It’s fine, but you step off the wagon and attempt to hitch a ride on something that will actually send you on a new path of undiscovered territory.
Dialer from Philadelphia did that me. It’s a wild mix of hardcore, electronic music, and industrial with a tinge of something that should be on Crass Records. It doesn’t sound like anything I had heard in a while and knowing about the members’ past projects, it’s nothing they have ever done before. Their side of their split with Chronic Anxiety is twelve minutes of fast, angry, sample-filled, synth-fueled punk.
Dialer is something refreshing for jaded punks. But I also had the pleasure of seeing them play for several dozen teenagers who had their minds ripped out and moshed on. It maybe not for everybody, but something you can dip your toe in and see if it comes out the same as it was.” –Rick V.
Apostasis:Interviewby Daisy Noemi
“South East L.A. punk band, Apostasis, played their first show after a three-year hiatus at The Smell for a Chicas Rockeras SELA fundraiser. This show also served as a farewell to their drummer, Noel, as they prepared for their move to the windy city, Chicago. I met three of the four band members while volunteering for Chicas Rockeras several summers ago. Since then, I’ve found myself inspired by their unwavering dedication to the SELA youth. For one week in the summer, they provide a safe space for young brown girls to immerse themselves in music, community, and workshops. We met up at South Gate Park on a beautiful Los Angeles day to chat about gender constructs in the music scene and the importance of community organizing.” –Daisy Noemi
Bad Breeding: Interview by Daryl Gussin and Juan Espinosa
“Give me the beasts of the game. The monsters. The ruthless and artistically depraved. Give me the bands whose albums make you grind your teeth and whose live shows make you shake your fist and curse the night air. Bad Breeding is one of these bands. They first ripped my face off with their Exiled full-length released in the States on Iron Lung Records. It draws from the classic anarcho sound, but with an updated hardcore execution in a way that doesn’t feel premeditated. It’s just natural and punk, and challenging the rules we’ve been made to think we’re supposed to obey.
Hailing from the working class London suburb of Stevenage, they’ve found themselves coming of age in a time of confusion and overall disappointment. Rather than admitting defeat and submitting to the fact that this world is not for them, they’ve created some truly challenging music and taken it to international audiences. Everything is not alright. And everything will not be alright anytime soon. In the words of Bad Breeding, ‘keep your hate pure.’” –Daryl Gussin
Donna Ramone and Jimmy Carter are building houses. (instagram)
Jim Ruland’s hearingnow goes up to 11. (instagram, website, twitter)
Sophia Zarders is picking the flesh off another corporate corpse. (instagram, website)
Sean Carswell went up shit’s creek with a Peavey. (instagram)
Rev. Nørb ponders the confectionary delights of the camel toe. Wait. Did you mean bear claw? (instagram, website)
Designated Dale gets diagnosed with early onset hilarity.
Jamaica Dyer stares into the abyss and sees cat’s eyes reflecting back. (website)
Puro Pinche Poetry: Gritos Del Barrio (Edited by Ever Velasquez (instagram) and Eugenia Nicole (instagram)
Reminiscence of the Years
(For Angel Almaraz)
“from ages 2 to 7
I thought my life was hell
now that I reminisce
I think my life was truly heaven
I hated when my brothers would pick on me
but I’d give anything to go back for a day
back when my family felt complete
I’d give anything for my brothers to beat on me
I’d be the happiest punching bag
From 8 to 13…”
This is part three of a three-part in memory of series for Efren Almaraz and Nipsey Hussle in collaboration with the Watts Poets and Puro Pinche Poetry.
Special thanks to guest editor hermana Maria Carmier.
Roque Torres remembers those who are no longer with us. (instagram)
Ben Snakepit says adieu to Beerland and the memories of an honest venue. (instagram)
Rhythm Chicken may not turn water into wine, but he can turn condiment packets and fish assholes into soup. (instagram)
Art Fuentes is a salty voter. (instagram)
Biance relearns how revitalizing a live performance can be with Alice Bag.
And photos from the lovely and talented:
Dan Monick (instagram, website, twitter)
Chris Boarts Larson (instagram,facebook, website)
Rachel Murray Framingheddu (instagram, website)
This issue is dedicated to Designated Dale turning fifty! Fuck you, Dale! <3
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