Thursday, May 6, 2010

Through Hard Times

Through Hard Times was a youth crew band from Iowa City. Taking influence from early hardcore bands like Minor Threat and late 80s style youth crew bands such as 7 Seconds and Youth of Today, Through Hard Times formed in the fall of 2005. Singer Aaron Bos-Wahl got the word out around the local scene that he was looking for members to start an old style hardcore band. Soon after Chad Ferguson joined on guitar, Dan Sewinksi jumped in on bass, and Jordan Josephsen filled the lineup on the drums.

In the one and a half years of its existence, Through Hard Times played a large amount of memorable shows all across Iowa and did a tour around the midwest with Des Moines street punk band Suburban Scum. The first show ever at Clover Tattoo in Cedar Rapids saw them playing with In Defence, which jump started In Defence's close relationship with Iowa, as it was their first time playing in the state. On St. Patrick's Day in Des Moines, Through Hard Times played with NYHC band Murphy's Law at Hairy Mary's, even though Murhpy's Law didn't show up to the show until well passed midnight.

In the winter of 2005, soon after they formed, Through Hard Times got to work on recording a demo. Setting up all their equipment in Chad and Aaron's basement, a demo was recorded using a single room mic. This demo included a cover of Uniform Choice's "Screaming for Change".

1. Privileged
2. Through Hard Times
3. Moving On
4. Brighter Days
5. Make It Count
6. Screaming For Change
7. Stand Up

Click to download.

A few months after this basement demo was recorded, Through Hard Times headed to Cedar Falls to record with Chris Brown of the Beat Strings in his recording studio. These recordings, which are much better sounding re-recordigns of the demo, came to be known as the Moving On EP. The track "Through Hard Times" was featured on the second of the Under the Mic compilations, a compilation series showcasing the best music from Iowa.

1. Brighter Days
2. Moving On
3. Privileged
4. Make It Count
5. Through Hard Times
6. Stand Up

Click to download.

Although the original line up remained consistent through both the recording of the demo and the Moving On EP, Through Hard Times went through many different bass players. Spenser Ford filled in numerous times for Iowa City shows, and Bryce Secor from Cedar Falls filled in once.

After playing shows all over Iowa, including numerous incredible shows at the Hall Mall in Iowa City, things would start to slow down for Through Hard Times. Aaron moved to Central America to study abroad for a semester, and with the question of who would be a permanent bass player when he returned, the future of the band was uncertain. Aaron moving to St Louis on his return to the United States and Jordan moving to Des Moines cemented the end of the band. April 13th, 2007 would end up being Through Hard Times' last show. It was played at the Yacht Club in Iowa City with Lipstick Homicide and the Creepy Kids (which ended being their second to last show).

Jordan was the only member still involved in music after Through Hard Times. He went on to play drums in the Des Moines bands Circlepit Assholes and Knuckled Down, and bass in Die Mutts. A reunion show is being planned for this summer in Iowa City. More news on that will be posted when it becomes more official. We can all hope Iowa City will be more ready this time around.

Thanks to Jordan for all the information.
Thanks to Chad for the EP scans.

Supersonic Piss

Supersonic Piss is a noisy and spastic punk band that calls Iowa City home. Taking influence from bands like Melt Banana, AIDS Wolf, and the all important de-tuned and hardly distinguishable melodies and riffage of Flipper, Supersonic Piss play a blown out and somewhat sludge influenced style of hardcore punk that is very unique and ironically distinguished when compared with the rest of the state. After ending an earlier project called Gussy Down, the original incarnation of the band came together as Colin Samek on guitar, Jason Miller on drums, and Josh Hoffman on microkorg, later switching to playing bass.

Supersonic piss began to play shows after their first performance at the Glory Hole in March of 2008. They found the city of Iowa City to be completely welcoming to their sound by playing venues such as the before mentioned Glory Hole, the Picador, and the Cave of Spirits. These were the spots that Supersonic Piss began to develop the intensity of their live show, usually involving Colin throwing down his guitar, grabbing the mic and rushing into show attendees. Audience participation is key as well, as smoke bombs and beer spraying onto Jason is usually commonplace at their shows.

After experimenting with their sound a little more, Josh made the move to bass and Supersonic Piss geared up to record. In the basement of the Glory Hole and with the help of Brendan O'Keefe, Supersonic Piss laid down three tracks to be used on a split cassette with now defunct Iowa City metal outfit Coronation. After recording, this split was released by the Detrivore label in the Summer/Fall season of 2008.

Supersonic Piss side:
1. Fuck You Too
2. Stopfuck
3. Sludge
Coronation side:
1. Mr. Six

Click to download.

After roughly 8 months of being a band, the band felt that they needed a front person that would, well, push people around. Soon enough, Paige Harwell joined as the new front woman of Supersonic Piss, and their already unpredictable live show became just that much more intense with her going off during live sets, screaming and thrashing around. With new member Paige in tow, Supersonic Piss was ready to record some new songs.

In the Fall of 2009, after cramming all their gear into the space known as the Possum Dick, the band enlisted the help of Brad Highnam to help them record the cassette that would come to be called Meat. After finishing up the recording, Meat would be released on Jason's own label. This can definitely be seen as the release where Supersonic Piss really begins to develop their sound.

1. #ing#$et
2. Rapefarm
3. Breaking Glass
4. Girlbag
5. STU
6. Cushion Fuck

Click to download.

There have been some very memorable shows so far in Supersonic Piss' fucked up existence. The one show that all members of the band can agree on as being the most memorable as Valentine's Day, 2009 at the Glory Hole. Supersonic Piss was to play last, and by the time they went on, alcohol had done its dirty deed. About 3 songs into the set, Josh slipped on a beer bottle, fell, and dislocated his shoulder. The next morning the basement was covered with beer, blood and polaroids of this guy named Greg's dick. Another very memorable show for the band has to be Bitchpork fest 2009 in Chicago.

Future plans for Supersonic Piss are probably to get fucked up and play more shows. They seem to be developing an even more spastic and trashy style as of late, so make sure to check that out soon. Near future plans for the band include an east coast tour with hardcore punk Iowa City brothers These Needles and hopefully recording more tracks to go on a split with that band.

Check Supersonic Piss out, go to a show, just don't wear anything you don't want to be stained, to be sticky, or to be smelly, and don't touch Colin unless you want a guitar to fly at your head.

Thanks to Josh for the information.
Check out the bands website: Supersonic Piss.

You can pick up Meat at shows or at the Record Collector in Iowa City.



Ooookay. Supersonic Piss, here's a band that's done some stuff since I first put up their page. We last saw Supersonic Piss getting ready to go on tour to the east coast with my old band These Needles in late May and early June of 2010. In order to have some shit to slang on this tour, Supersonic Piss and These Needles recorded a split tape. This tape was released as Brendan Records 02 and the art was done by Joe Heuermann.

Supersonic Piss Side
1. Toilet Death
2. Father Bother
3. Buck Angel of Death
4. Rape Farm
5. Skate
6. Oh, the Nut Sack

These Needles Side
1. Six Pack
2. I Have the Power... To Change the Channel
3. Protoculture Ooze
4. Old & Die Phase
5. When Consumption Assumes Disposition
6. Gutted
7. Indeed I Am My Brother's Keeper
8. Overripe
9. Sleepwalk

Click to download.

This was a great tour. I had a lot of fun and played some fun shows. I really started to appreciate Supersonic Piss at this point in time. Not that I didn't like them before, but seeing them play every night was a treat for sure. The kick off show at 109 N. Dodge in Iowa City, known as the Mold Nugget at the point in time, was a fun time (Cruciform played as well), and Jason Salek of the Old Scratch Revival Singers and Iowa City hardcore band Los Voltage recorded the show on tape player. Jason Miller, drummer of Supersonic Piss, took this recording and released the Supersonic Piss set as a live tape. I didn't bother to split the tracks up as it's sort of all a blurry, warbly mess, but I'm of the belief that any and all physical releases need to be electronically documented in one way or another, so, here you go, in all it's shittily dubbed glory:

1. Live at Mold Nugget Side A
2. Live at Mold Nugget Side B

Click to download.

So, Jason released this live tape when we got back from the tour, and then eventually left the band itself to move back to Lincoln, Nebraska. Joe Ross, then guitar player of These Needles, took over as the drummer. They wrote an entirely new set (though later adding the "fan favorite" Rape Farm back into the fold) and this lineup first played with AIDS Wold and These Needles at the White Lightning Warehouse in Iowa City. After polishing the new songs off, the band traveled to the Quad Cities to record with Ray Malone of Meth and Goats at Sound and Vision Studios in Rock Island. I remember coming home from my first trip to India in February and going to this recording session. Brendan Wells and I got a guest vocal spot at the end of the song "Spit in Your Face" (seriously, let me sing in your hardcore band) and I play drums on "Joe Milik 2010". It was fun. This self titled (it is NOT called "Umbilical Noose" no matter what the internet says) record was released on wax by Rotted Tooth Recordings in April of 2011.

1. Go Home Dad, You're Drunk Pt. 1
2. Go Home Dad, You're Drunk Pt. 2
3. P-U-N-K-S-I-C-K
4. Factory
5. Baby Doll
6. Time To Leave the Party
7. Girls' Night Out
8. Not Today
9. Say It Ain't So
10. Less of Me
11. Spit In Your Face
12. Joe Milik 2010

Click to download.

The band did a few tours on this record, including an entire (well, almost) one month US tour called the Spread Eagle tour, and numerous tours out to the coasts and back. The LP was eventually repressed. The new songs written after this LP were kinda cool to watch develop. Joe Ross had really gotten into death metal at that point in time, so the new songs, at least as far as drumming goes, were a weird hybrid of fucked up heavy hardcore drumming and technical and blasty death metal drumming. Me likey. Soon enough, in October of 2011, Supersonic Piss hooked up with Minneapolis plodding heavy punk psychers The Liz (of whose guitar player Eddie Kijowski used to play all the time with the "old" Supersonic Piss in his punk band Permanent Vacation) and released a split tape that both bands toured on out to the east coast and back in November. Supersonic Piss' side was titled "Garbage Life" and The Liz went with "Flowers From the North". Art by Donnie Bandy, recording done by Ray Malone and Sound and Vision.

Supersonic Piss side.
1. Chicks With Dicks
2. Secret Hideaway
3. Choke Yourself Awake
4. Took Pills
5. Pitchin
6. Piece of Meat
7. Rape Farm
8. Untitled

The Liz side.
1. Untitled
2. Untitled
3. Untitled
4. Untitled

Click to download.

Supersonic Piss has recorded for a 7" to be released sometime in the near future, within the next few months. I can't wait.



Supersonic Piss, still killing it live, still disturbed, still down with the sickness.  The band has been playing mostly local shows only lately with a few out of town dates here and there, but that didn't stop them from releasing a new 7" in the meantime.  Recorded in the basement of 109 N. Dodge in Iowa City by John Hopkins (the sound guy for Corrosion of Conformity or something?) at the end of February 2012, this self titled EP was released on Youth Camp Records in September of the same year.  It's a mean and foul piece of wax, totally crushing trashcore, the best the band has sounded recorded as far as I'm concerned.  The drums sound awesome and you can hear every hit when those nasty hammer blasts kick in.  There's a lot of weird shit going on here, like the goofy backup singing on the second track, New Bruises.  Paige was responsible for the awesome cootie catcher insert that comes with the record.  Download it below but make sure to pick up a copy from the Youth Camp website.
1. Choke Yourself Awake
2. New Bruises
3. Slather Me Up
4. Bag of Apologies
5. Good Housewife

Click to download.

As far as future touring plans for the band go, I personally could not say.  They should tour a bit on this new 7" since it is sick, but don't ask me.



Agress is a sludge and crust influenced hardcore punk band from Cedar Falls. Forming in the later part of 2008 with Thomas Van Gent on the guitar, Johnathan Dexter on the drums, Nick Patten on the bass, and Jacob Statsny rounding out the group on vocals, this lineup would soon start tearing up shows around Cedar Falls and start to etch the intensity of what you can expect from an Agress show in stone.

Agress takes influence from pacific northwest crust groups like Tragedy and From Ashes Rise, as well as Converge from Boston and the all important Metallica. Cursed from Canada is also a major influence. While not exactly a full fledged crust punk band themselves, you can absolutely hear the crust influence in Agress' music when the drums rip into a dbeat with a downtuned guitar and bass layered on top as Jacob spews out totally low, harsh, and abrasive yells and shouts.

After writing a few songs, Agress took the the time to record a three song demo in October of 2008. These songs were all recorded at Chris Brown's studio Cedar Falls. In December of 2008, this demo was released at local shows.

1. I
2. II
3. III

Click to download.

In March of 2009, Agress parted ways with Nick and Eric Ocheltree stepped up to the plate to fill in on bass duties. With this newly rounded lineup, Agress again stepped into Chris Brown's studio to record in April. This time they emerged with a new seven song demo that was released at the beginning of the Summer.

5. Daywalker
6. Traitor

Click to download.

Some of the more memorable shows for the members of Agress have been the solo Summer tour they did with their brand new 7 song demo, the weekend tour they played with other midwest hardcore bands Nothing to Nothing and Rattletooth. Of course, fellow Cedar Falls hardcore band Take Control's last show was also up on the list of most memorable shows they have played. A most memorable show for me would have to have been the time Agress played at the Haunted Basement in Des Moines and instead of moshing, show attendees practiced power wrestling moves the entire time. May a stone-cold stunner was pulled off that night.

Future plans for Agress include releasing a 7" and then writing for a full length and, of course, tour more. The 7" has been recorded by Nate Buck and Chris Brown, and should be available come June. Make sure to get to a show Agress is playing. They put on an amazing show and the energy is always flowing, whether it's coming from Jacob stomping and flailing around or from the reaction of the crowd itself.

Also, Johnathan lettered in dance team in high school.

Check out Agress' site here.

Thanks to Thomas for all the information.



Unfortunately, Agress has disbanded since I first published their write-up on this blog. They were definitely a sick band and left us with some pretty sick tunes before their demise. Their self titled 7" came out in October of 2010. I remember I was driving to Minneapolis with These Needles to either play a show or record or something the day of the record release show for the 7" at the 1108 House in Cedar Falls (with Nails and Bent Life, if you must know), so we stopped at the show to grab the 7". Below is the record release cover, but Tom Parkinson of Lord Green designed the normal cover. It was released by Volatile Recordings.

1. Conversion Therapy
2. Tongue Blood
3. Touched By A Demon
4. Kingdom
5. Traitor

Click to download.

In a little over a year after this 7" was released, Agress was no more. They did go on a few tours inbetween this time, like an August 2011 tour with Homewrecker to the east coast, but the most important thing they did before breaking up was record the "Darksided" record. I don't know the personnel involved in making this record happen outside of the band members themselves, but I do know that it's such a shame, criminal even, that this record never made it on to wax as it is Agress at their best. So nasty, so moshy, so dark, such a headbanger. I love the catchy metallic licks thrown in, the franticness of the vocals. The s/t 7" was good, but this demolishes that record in every way imaginable. "Darksided" is a fantastic, crushing swansong.

1. The Storm
2. Personal Poison
3. Gone
4. Goodbye
5. Dying Breed
6. Knowing Death

Click to download.

After the demise of Agress, members went on to form the even tougher Black Ice and the poppy Lover's Speed. Check them both out if you can. I haven't caught Black Ice yet, but have played a show with Lover's Speed in Cedar Falls at The Space. Good shit. Black Ice has a demo out and is on tour now.


Druids is a sludgey doom metal duo based out of Pella. Rising from the ashes of his previous band Swarms, Luke Rauch came together with Keith Rich in the September of 2008, Luke on bass and Keith on drums, to continue the sound that Swarms had come to be known for, but with more of a lean towards the sludge and doom side of metal than ever before.

Soon after forming, Druids began to play numerous shows around Iowa and the rest of the midwest, and also began trying out bass players as Luke moved to play guitar for the group. Kyle Walsh of the hardcore band Monstro stepped up to bat as Druids' new bass player, but parted ways after only a single show. It seems that Druids works best as a two piece. Luke continues on in Druids playing guitar.

In July of 2009, Druids walked into the studio to record their debut album, Pray For Water. They recorded with their good friend Brooks Edwards in his home. What came of this recording session was 7 tracks in 23 crushing minutes. Pray For Water was released on September 17th, 2009 on limited edition CD on Ruleogy Records, and later that year on cassete by Ea, Lord of the Tapes.

1. The Beginning of Fire
2. The Wold
3. Horus: Part One
4. Horus: Part Two
5. Salvation The Destructor
6. Noise Forest Ablaze
7. Soresophagus

Click to download.

Druids have several plans for the future. Pray For Water is being re-released on CD by Austrian label PsychDOOMelic Records, and then reissued on LP by Don't Shoot Records. Both should be available soon. Druids is heading out on the road soon for a midwest mini tour with Iowa City/Dubuque droney doom crushers Aseethe. Also this summer Druids will be recording the followup to Pray For Water.

If you are down with the heavy at all, definitely keep an eye on Druids.

Check their website out: Druids.