What a way to start the year - three shows, all with bands you want to see and can be sure as towards the quality of. FUCKED UP, PISSED JEANS, THE CONVERSIONS and CLOCKCLEANER all performed at a club in Chinatown, NYC. FUCKED UP tried out new and old songs, PISSED JEANS were playing the album that we had all downloaded and were waiting on the vinyl for, CLOCKCLEANER set out to annoy and THE CONVERSIONS started the show as a band nobody knew outside of Boston, but finished as a band everybody wanted to see more of from that day forward. After a relaxing evening at the Paddy Bullocks family brownstone, I was off through the wilds of New Jersey and Pennsylvania public transit on my way down to Philly for the HARD SKIN shows.

Four hours and a newfound dislike for Pennsylvanians and Jerseyites later, I had made it to the show. HARD SKIN, DILLINGER FOUR and more FUCKED UP. After that show, we were off to an even harder rager at a sports bar with $4 pitchers, tons of punks and a Frogger machine. I had nothing to complain about other than having to ride the train home the next morning stuck for two hours beside the 45-year old male equivalent of a twelve-year-old girl talking on the phone.

Spring came quickly between crappy opening bands and worthless record releases. The main thing to look forward to on my calendar was the last Horizontal Action Blackout. Surely, it wouldn't top experiences like the CARBONAS packed on a bar stage, the Ice Factory gig and REIGNING SOUND from the year before, but this wasn't for lack of trying. Maybe I had burnt myself out on the experience in my first few days for it to get any better than it did; FORWARD and WARHEAD from Japan were in town the day before the Blackout. If FORWARD'S set was the perfect way to start the weekend, then the porkchop sandwich from the hand of Mitch Cardwell the next morning was merely savory, greasy icing on the cake of the weekend. Before I knew it, the weekend was over and only a few memories remained; three sausages at Hot Doug's followed by getting hot dog tattoos with Icki, seeing the Persuaders in a full-on attack, going to a Cubs game and seeing an amazing band for the first and last time. At about the same time as the Blackout, CARBONAS' new LP was released on Raw Deluxe. It is one of my favorite records of 2006.

As summer and the inevitable wave of touring bands approached, hardcore was kicked into gear and some truly amazing records were released. For my area of expertise and musical tastes, CAREER SUICIDE, GOVERNMENT WARNING and RZLDZL were the only new releases I needed to hear that summer. Knowing that I'd soon be moving to Japan may have made shows seem more bittersweet or more exciting, but I can never tell which one it was. All I know is that it was fun. Every house party/kegger/show at the 666 House in Washington, DC, every backyard BBQ I hoisted upon my friends and especially the CAREER SUICIDE/GOVERNMENT WARNING/86 MENTALITY show at Alfishawy Cafe in DC made the summer for me. Some other real essential listening was released before my tape deck was ripped off, leaving me unable to fully enjoy such earthly delights as: BEAT BEAT BEAT's "Living in the Future", HJERTESTOP's 7", and the JACK OBLIVIAN & BUSY SIGNALS 7"s. If I never need to feel some warmth in the winter, I think those releases will help a lot.

Before I knew it, my going away party was over. I was just out of my apartment and back at my parents' house, and on September 6th, I got on a jet that took me here, to Osaka, Japan. the rest of the fall and winter had shown me only a peek at the good times that are in store for me here. Now, seeing my favorite bands is no longer a once-a-year treat - it happens at least once a month: FRAMTID, FORWARD, KRUW and others live have been amazing experiences. As was seeing TETSU AREI, the godfathers of my favorite kind of punk. When I'm not at a gig and out carousing at a Maid Cafe or some kind of temple/shrine, I can enjoy some of the great new tunes that have been out since I moved here: WORLD BURNS TO DEATH "Totalitarian Sodomy", MIDNIGHT RESURRECTOR "Life and Definition", KING KHAN & BBQ SHOW "What's for Dinner?", AZARASHI "Azarashism" and EVE's "Kyozou".

2006 was a big year for me and as usual, I'm really glad that it came supplied with great friends, food and the perfect soundtrack to it all.

Personal best releases of 2006:


CAREER SUICIDE "Attempted Suicide" (Deranged) - amazing leads, catchy melodies, nonstop drumming, it all comes together to make a true 10-year record.

FUCKED UP "Hidden World" 2XLP (Jade Tree) - like the EXPLODING HEARTS brought a generation of power pop to punks, FUCKED UP did the same thing with pop music to the hardcores. Lyrical imagery aside, you get great music that sticks with you for years. Lyrical imagery included, you get an amazing package.

GOVERNMENT WARNING "No Moderation" 12" (Feral Ward) - as the band morphed into a superband, the live shows got crazier and the sound of the experienced was really captured here.

AZARASHI "Azarashim" MCD (Self released) - a niche piece, greatly appreciated by the people it is intended for. Full of atmosphere and emotion. Also full of the singer's hair stuffed into the CD case. Yuck.

KING KHAN & BBQ SHOW "What's For Dinner?" (In the Red) - a worthy follow-up to the first album. Even though recycled CHUCK BERRY licks are played out, if it sounds good, it stays on my turntable.

CROW "Bloody Tear" LP (Prank) - officially released in 2005 on CD, a real scorcher. Re-recorded old tunes and newly written tracks from this prolific metallic japcore outfit.

PISSED JEANS "Shallow" LP (Parts Unknown) - officially released in 2005 on CD, a real mover. A great release by a band seemingly loved by all - a true feat.

WORLD BURNS TO DEATH "Totalitarian Sodomy" LP (Hardcore Holocaust) - a late comer, but well worth the wait. After the tour with CROW in 2005, there was no way this could go wrong, despite what you and your friends may think about the cover art.

RZL DZL "Both" CD (Lockin' Out) - partied.

CARONAS s/t (Raw Deluxe) - as featured above.

BEAT BEAT BEAT "Living in the Future" CD (Dirtnap) - like a bonus CARBONAS album! What a treat.

MIDNIGHT RESSURECTOR "Life and Resurrection" CD (HG Fact) - just making it in under the cut, released on 12/29. CRO-MAGS, Master of Puppets & INTEGRITY come together as one to make this intensely hard and catchy album. Too good, very overlooked.


BRAIN HANDLE - both 7"s - finally, a great band from Pittsburgh releases records and the rest of the country hears about them. Finally!

THE CONVERSIONS s/t (Namennayo) - not only did I think it was so good I put it out, I would have bought it anyway. Jazzy drumming, off-kilter guitars and pissed off punx!

HJERTESTOP "rh, fuck... det er Hjertestop!" (Kick N Punch) - while the rest of the Danish bands went the LA Punk route, HJERTESTOP carried on in the bootsteps of AMDI PETERSEN's ARME.

JACK OBLIVIAN "Big Black Boots" (Shattered) - I could listen to the title track of this single all day. Especially with that guitar tone.

EVE "Kyozou" MCD (Bloodsucker) - finally, after two bloodsucking demos, a great new japcore band gets a legit release. Great new Discrete-Records styled hyper stuff. Great live show from only three people.

BUSY SIGNALS "Can't Feel A Thing" (Shit Sandwich) - the first one was great, but the B-side of this single really kills it. Everybody knows this.

STOICS "Stoic Romance" (Statement) - LAST SURVIVORS live on in a more rock than punk vein. Copies of this will be around for a few years more, then reach horror prices.

KORO "700 Club" reissue (Sorry State) - thanks Daniel! More people should be like you.

Please send hot dogs and any best of 2006 releases you think I missed to:
Jesse Conway
OSAKA, 556-0014