Wednesday, February 10, 2016

The Kill Van Kull - Human Bomb


Label: Handi-Kraft
Year: 1998

This is a really good one. I've been meaning to post it for years, but it took me forever to get around to digitizing, and then when I did, I fucked up the tracks, so I did it again and that time I fucked up the levels, and then...you know.
So if this sounds "off" in any way, let me know and in a few years I'll fix it and repost it. Ok? Deal?

This band served as a bridge between New York City's post hardcore world of frenetic grooving heaviness and the city's noise rock world. It's got the intensity and raw power of a band who came up in hardcore, but the scratchy, off-kilter attack of a band who gets uncomfortable playing it straight. So, like, a big fan of Burn playing Drive Like Jehu covers. Right?

The closest comparison sonically would be to JJ Paradise Players Club, which not coincidentally, James Paradise plays drums in The Kill Van Kull. Guitarist Cooper was also in JJ Paradise Players Club, just to add to it. But, the point being, a lot of what The Kill Van Kull was doing; mixing some post hardcore, a little emo (and you know what I mean, the Hoover style), and some straight to the throat hardcore bluster, JJ Paradise Players Club would amplify and make heavier a couple years later.

The personnel that made this record are all top tier dudes, no slouches. You got former and future members of (the aforementioned) JJ Paradise Players Club, Hell No, Citizen's Arrest, The Brought Low, Pigs, Animal Crackers, Manacled, Fresh Kills, Made Out Of Babies, Die 116, and something I'm forgetting. I'll remember it in a minute.

Sweet Diesel! That was it.

File this under "Lost Classics". Essential.

DL

Sunday, February 7, 2016

V/A - Our Voice, Pro-Choice


Label: Hands On
Year: 1993

This was an oddly structured compilation. It has four bands, one song a piece. Nothing weird there. It was a benefit for Utah Pro-Choice Coalition, which, again, isn't inherently odd.
What was weird was that it has a "Utah side" and a "non-Utah side", and I'm sure you can gather what differentiates them. Side A, the Utah side, has two...wait for it...bands from Utah, and you would fully expect a record benefitting a Utah charity would in fact feature artists from The Beehive State. Makes perfect sense. Right? But then then you're left to decipher what constitutes "non-Utah". I mean, shit, that could be pretty much anything, anywhere, ever. The mind boggles at the possibilities...could it be "bands that are left handed"? "bands from the Lesser Antilles"? "bands with STDs"? How would you ever know?!
I'll tell you.
In the case of this record, whoever put it together must have had the bright idea to balance out the Utah (aka "who?") bands with bands that people have actually heard of and seem to really like. Not a bad idea. And as far as curating a couple bands that people had heard of and seemed to like, they did pretty well culling Born Against and Heroin. That's two bands that will get you to shell out your hard earned Taco Bell money (you're welcome Utah Pro-Choice Coalition).
So there you go; four bands, four songs, you've heard of two, you've never heard of the other two. Born Against covers Life's Blood, so that's sort of a double bonus. Heroin does a really great fractured noisy ripper. Anger Overload (you know, from Utah) sound like a hardcore band covering Soundgarden, kind of. It's actually a good song. N.S.C. (you know, from Utah) are pretty forgettable male/female vocal punky hardcore. Nothing offensive, just nothing all that exciting either.

DL

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Enemymine / Vaz - Split 7"


Label: Thin The Herd
Year: 1999

Don't call it a comeback, I've been here for years
Rocking my peers, puttin' suckers in fear
Makin' the tears rain down like a monsoon, listen to the bass go boom

Explosions, overpowerin', and over the competition I'm towerin'
Wrecking shop when I write these lyrics that'll make you call the cops
Don't you dare stare, you better move, don't ever compare
Me to the rest that'll all get sliced and diced, competition's payin' the price
I'm gonna knock you out
Mama said knock you out
(x4)
Don't you call this a regular jam, I'm gonna rock this land
I'm gonna take this itty-bitty world by storm, and I'm just gettin' warm
Just like Muhammed Ali they called him Cassius, Watch me bash this
Beat like a skull, that you know I've beef with, Why do you riff with
Me, the maniac psycho, and when I pull out my jammy
Get ready cause I might go "bla-ow", how you like me now? The rhythm will not allow
You to get with Mr. Swift don't riff, listen to my gears shift
I'm blasting, I'm blasting, kind of like shaft, so you can say I'm shafting
Olde English filled my mind, and I came up with a funky rhyme
I'm gonna knock you out
Mama said knock you out
(x4)
Shadow boxing when I heard you on the ra-di-o, uh, I just don't know
What made you forget that I was raw, but now I gotta new toy
I'm going insane, startin' the hurricane, releasin' pain
Lettin' you know, You can't gain or maintain
Unless you say my name
Rippin', killin', diggin' and drillin' a hole
Pass the Old Gold
I'm gonna knock you out
Mama said knock you out
(x4)
Shotgun blasts are heard, when I rip, and kill at will
The man of the hour, tower of power, I'll devour
I'm gonna tie you up and let you understand that I'm not your average man
When I gotta jammy in my hand...Damn!
Oooooo! Listen to the way I slay, your crew
Damage! Damage! Destruction, terror, and mayhem
Pass me a sissy soul sucker I'll slay him
Farmers (what?!)
Farmers (what?!)
I'm ready (we're ready!)
I think I'm gonna bomb a town, get down
Don't you never, ever pull my lever
Cause I explode, and my nine is easy to load
I gotta thank god, 'cause he gave me the strength to rock hard
Knock you out
Mama said knock you out
(x4)

Wasn't sure if I could dictate the lyrics to "Mama Said Knock You Out" from memory....but then I could. Sort of unexpected, but not.

DL






Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Throes - To Dust


Label: self released.
Year: 2015

Seething stranglehold of overpowering dark menace.
Total bulldozer.
Revenge fantasies and customer complaints run through a busted Rat pedal, a Sunn amp, and two 4x12 cabinets.
Everything rumbles.
Has a sort of Gaza/Cult Leader feel to it. You know? Like, guys who liked Cursed a lot, but also like to slow it to a mid-tempo lurch? Them dudes.

DL
http://throestodust.bandcamp.com/album/to-dust

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Hell Mach Four - Time Elapse Of Human Transformation And Sound Transition


Label: Moodswing
Year: 1996

Haven't posted any Richmond, Virginia post hardcore noisiness lately, and that's pretty dumb, and I thought we prided ourselves on not being dumb. Right?
Added bonus; this record (sometimes referred to as simply the "self titled ep") was released by our buddies here in Atlanta, Moodswing Records.
This four piece (hence the Four portion of their moniker) channeled that abrasive racket Richmond was honing to finely pointed blade round about that time. The bands like Hose.Got.Cable. who were riffing off the more antagonistic D.C. bands (Circus Lupus) and pulling in ghosts of Richmond's past musical hardcore scene (Breadwinner) to craft an angular, arty, attacking brand of bombast. We were big fans then and now.
Hell Mach Four relocated to Atlanta but crapped out after a split 7" with Stinking Lizavetta and an lp (both good records to track down). Come to think of it, there's a little bit of Atlanta band Freemasonry echoing around in Hell Mach Four...which I hadn't thought of before. Huh. You learn something new everyday. See, I told you we aren't dumb!

DL

Monday, February 1, 2016

Drain - Pick Up Heaven


Label: Trance Syndicate
Year: 1992

Hey, look who's still alive?
Blog's been a bit quiet as of late on account of me starting a new j-o-b that doesn't allow as much d-I-c-k-I-n-g-a-r-o-u-n-d as my previous employ. Good for me, bad for blogging.
But, on the other hand, you old buddy Ipecac is rumored to be among the living again, so maybe if you speak his name into the mirror three times, or rub a magic lantern, or get down on your knees and pray real real hard, he might show up and start posting again. Maybe.
In the meantime, here's an album from Drain. It's super fucking weird. The high spots are really high, and the low spots are...super fucking weird.
I also just noticed that this was posted here before, years ago. I'm pretty sure the link is dead, or at least not very healthy, so here it is again.

DL

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Cowslingers - Trucker's Last Dollar 7"


Label - Man's Ruin
Year: 1996

Trucker chic? Ramblin' gamblin' men?
Redneck culture was big business for Man's Ruin Records, and Cowslingers had redneck culture on lock. Rebel flags and twangy rockabilly punk, country and western graphics....all that.
On this record they even go so far as to cover Daniel Dean Darst's "Roll On Big Mama", an ode to the solitude of the road. White line fever and all that. Daniel Dean Darst wrote "Roll On Big Mama" (made famous by the Joe Stampley) in the way early Seventies, and then went on to write for other country singers around Nashville, most notably David Allen Coe, before showing up where you and I would see him for the first time, as one of the police officers in Silence Of The Lambs. You know the one, with the super weird moustache during that scene where Hannibal Lechter escapes that crazy cage in the middle of a large room by gnawing someone's face off and wearing it over his own as he's transported from the crime scene as a "wounded officer". You'd recognize him if you saw him.
That aside.
The real draw here is the title track, which sounds like a coked up Waylon Jennings barnburner as performed by the band Surgery. It's super good.
But I'm from the South, so I'm allowed to like this sort of thing.

DL

Friday, January 22, 2016

NYHC Top 50 7" Of All (My) Time - Part Five: 1-10


Alright, here we are, the top ten of the top fifty...so exciting isn't it?
 


10. Youth Of Today - Disengage                                                                      
Label: Revelation 
Year: 1990
 
For those who had been keeping score with Youth Of Today, this, their final record, came as a (slight) departure from the fiery battery that their earlier records brought. It most certainly was leaning towards Ray Cappo's new Shelter project (which turned out not to be a project at all, but a full fledged job), it had a modified vocal delivery that stretched a few notes here and there to feign some type of "singing", and it was dealing lyrically with less "unity / brotherhood / scene" topics, and more about personal issues (again, a nod to the same Krishna consciousness that was driving Shelter). Musically though it has the same hallmarks of a good Youth Of Today thrash and bash approach, with a few...hold on..."more mature" elements creeping in ("mature elements" were a big thing in 1990).
When it came out, I remember thinking this record sounded super polished and different than what I was used to coming from YOT, which is funny because in retrospect it's very much in their lineage and aside from the previously mentioned points, basically sounds like a really great Youth Of Today record. Which is to say, a really great hardcore record. Youth Of Today caught so much flack for being the straightedge poster children that people overlooked how potent and vital their music was. It really does get you amped up and prepared to face the world with a physically strong, morally straight, positive youth kinda attitude!
Members:
John Porcelly (Slam) – Bold, Project X, Shelter, Ray and Porcell, Never Surrender, Young Republicans, Last Of The Famous, Judge, Youth Of Today
Walter Schreifels - Gorilla Biscuits, Moondog, Supertouch, Project X, Warzone, Youth Of Today, Rival Schools, World’s Fastest Car, Walking Concert, Vanishing Life, Dead Heavens, Pearl Harbor, Quicksand
Sammy Siegler (The Youth) – Youth Of Today, Judge, Project X, Side By Side, Rival Schools, Civ, Glassjaw, Nightmare Of You, Head Automatica, Shelter
Ray Cappo – Violent Children, Reflex From Pain, Youth Of Today, Shelter, Ray and Porcell, Better Than A Thousand

DL



9. Breakdown -The ’87 Demo                                                               
Label: Blackout!                                
Year: 1990
 
I remember getting a letter from Blackout! after pre-ordering this record alerting me to the fact that it had been delayed (again) and would be sent out "soon" and some other something about some other records coming out, which was all well and nice, but I was more amazed that Blackout! Records had fucking stationary! Big time!
We (I've) alluded previously in these entries that Breakdown were pretty heavy hitters, and that their style of hardcore involved a wall of huge noise coming straight at you. Nothing subtle, all crushing all the time. The groove of "Sick People" alone is one of the toughest hardcore stomps in the history of tough hardcore stomping. It's insane. We (I've) also alluded to the fact that demos reissued as 7"s are fair game, and thank Yahweh for that, cause this one here is goddamn essential.
This record seems appreciated, but I never hear it being spoken of in the same conversations as the Revelation bands, or bands like Agnostic Front, Cro-Mags, and Killing Time, and I think it's better than a lot of that
Members: Jeff Perlin (Little Jeffrey) =-Breakdown, Slumlords
Anthony Drago (Drago) – Killing Time, Breakdown, Raw Deal
Carl Porcaro (Carlooch) – Killing Time, Breakdown, Raw Deal, Alone In A Crowd, Kings Destroy, Electric Frankenstein, The Arch Rivals
Rich McLoughlin (Rich Glock) – Killing Time, Breakdown, Raw Deal, Unholy Swill
Don Angellili (Baby Don) - Breakdown

DL



8. Side By Side - You’re Only Young Once                                                
Label: Revelation       
Year: 1988                       
 
Between the guitar harmonics, the feedback, the dark aura of the music, and the lyrics...those fucking lyrics ("You're a disease, and we're the cure. One day, we'll take care of you, for sure"), this record is a beautifully ugly proposition. Jules had a way to make the audacious seem somehow ok, maybe even deserved. I suppose that if you were not of a certain age or persuasion at the time of this record's release, you would most likely find the over-the-top nature of the whole thing a little...uh, much. But damn if it didn't hit a sweet spot with me, and the viciousness by which the music was delivered is scathing.
I would also suppose that the fact Side By Side only had this one record (and the compilation track from "The Way It Is") also boosted their allure. They played a handful of shows, released one of the most intense 7"s of the year (and let's not let it go un-noticed that the year in question is the venerable 1988...a pretty significant vintage for NYHC) in or outside of New York, and then they were out. Nothing more. I think that builds a mythology of un-fuck-with-able-ness that elevates an already fantastic record to classic status. Or possibly it's just that good of a record. There's always that.
Members:
Jules Masse – Alone In A Crowd, Side By Side
Sammy Sielgler (The Youth) – Youth Of Today, Judge, Project X, Side By Side, Rival Schools, Civ, Glassjaw, Nightmare Of You, Head Automatica, Shelter
Eric Fink – Uppercut, Side By Side, Mind’s Eye
Alex Brown (Kid Hard) – Project X, Gorilla Biscuits, Side By Side, Inside Out (NY)

DL



7. Quicksand - Quicksand                                                                     
Label: Revelation                              
Year: 1990

Possibly more "post hardcore" than "hardcore hardcore", but this record was such a game changer when it came out that it is justified in it's placement here.
With an injection of fellow New Yorkers Helmet's stop/start staccato chug into his repertoire (and ostensibly some Absolution), musical juggernaut Walter Schreifels begins to fully realize his potential (which, kudos to Walter, he's still exploring and pushing). Quicksand jettisoned the punky feel good youth crew celebrations of his previous bands (not counting transitional pre-Quicksand project Moondog) and embraces bigger dynamics, chases the alternative music dragon. The hardcore landscape never looked the same after this 7" came out, with a million bands thinking that they were an embroidered gas station jacket away from a major label record contract. And maybe that was ultimately a bad thing, or maybe that was an inevitable thing and Quicksand was simply the first band to emerge from the hardcore underground with a legitimate shot at being played on whichever your local "X" branded alternative radio station was in 1991, but it probably would have happened eventually. Blame that on Nirvana rather than Quicksand.
But those other bands didn't have Walter's songwriting acumen, they didn't have TC3's mystical presence, and they certainly didn't have the powerhouse combination of Sergio Vega and Alan Cage ebbing and flowing into, around, and through the songs. Nobody had that chemistry.
Even with the throw away "Hypno Jam With Dan" tacked onto the end of this ep, it remains a cornerstone in the evolution of hardcore unblemished in any way. Perfect.
Members:
Tom Capone (TC3) – Bold, Shelter, Handsome, Instruction, Crippled Youth, Quicksand
Alan Cage - Beyond, Burn, Seaweed, Quicksand, New Idea Society, Enemy, Gardener, Cardia
Sergio Vega - Collapse, Project Kate, Deftones, Quicksand, Champions Of Sound, Moondog, Absolution
Walter Schreifels - Gorilla Biscuits, Moondog, Supertouch, Project X, Warzone, Youth Of Today, Rival Schools, World’s Fastest Car, Walking Concert, Vanishing Life, Dead Heavens, Pearl Harbor, Quicksand

DL


6. Supertouch - What Did We Learn                                                                       
Label: Combined Effort                    
Year: 1989

The band that ushered in the “mature” strains of post hardcore into the NYHC DNA. There's an extremely short list of bands in this scene as ambitious as Supertouch. To this day I can't pinpoint what exactly they were pulling from that resulted in this 7" (or the subsequent album for that matter), what confluence of inspiration was the wellspring for their sound. Nobody else dared sound like this, nor could they I imagine. Like most of the bands this high up in the rankings, they had such a unique sound, and like some of their peers in the 1989-1990 time frame, they were toying with what could or could not be considered "hardcore". It sure as shit was more challenging and creative than another Sick Of It All clone (I'll always appreciate an actual Sick Of It All though...big ups to the Kollers!), and it prevented the genre from stagnation.
What a weird band, right? On paper it shouldn't work, this weird warped sound, this half speed hardcore slough, but the intangibles of Supertouch not only make it work, they make it compelling and amazing (to be said in Drew Barrymore voice, "aaaaaaamaaaaaaaaazzzzzzzzzing").
Members:
Mark Ryan – Foreign Islands, Supertouch, Death Before Dishonor
Jon Biviano - Windfall, Absolution, Altercation, My Rifle, Running Like Thieves, Supertouch, World Indifference, Iron Lung
Andy Guida – Running Like Thieves, My Rifle, Real, Supertouch, Absolution, Altercation, Still Born Joe Graziano – Real, Supertouch

DL

 

5. Judge – New York Crew                                                                         
Label: Schism
Year: 1988

A two man wrecking crew of righteous straight edge fury. Outside of Project X, I don’t think there has been a band with this total a commitment towards a straightedge agenda (with apologies to Crucial Youth and Grudge). Everything from the crossed hammer logo down to the hammering riffs were scientifically designed to encourage irresponsible moshing from a supposedly responsible fan base.
My thought is that Judge was the genesis for the heavier, breakdown obsessed bands that started showing up in the late 90s and continue on through today…not that they would want that distinction. And to be fair, this 7” is less mosh-tastic than the album that followed it, but it’s still plenty muscular and imposing. Riff machine personified, John Porcell really outdoes himself with this assemblage (and this band). Steamrolling goodness. The hammer hits hard.
Members:
Mike Ferraro (Mike Judge) - Old Smoke, Youth Of Today, Supertouch, Judge
John Porcelly (Slam) – Bold, Project X, Shelter, Ray and Porcell, Never Surrender, Young Republicans, Last Of The Famous, Judge, Youth Of Today

DL

 
4. Absolution - Absolution                                                                      
Label: Combined Effort                    
Year: 1989

Much like our buddy Walter, Gavin Van Vlack shows up multiple times in this countdown, which could just mean that I have some sort of crush on him. Maybe? Or, it could mean that his particular take on reshaping hardcore riffs into something recognizable as his own signature sound is worthy of repeated praise. Either way you want to look at, I don't think it makes too much of a difference.
What's important here though is that we give due respect to the manner in which Gavin's guitar style steers this short lived band into some of the most creative and exhilarating NYHC ever. It's also important to note that just as unique as the guitar style was, Djinji Brown's vocals are equally distinctive in both cadence and timbre and make the record stand apart from their peers. Like them or not.
Another band who's existence was brief but vital, with only this 7" and tracks on three compilations to their name, Absolution created a sound that laid the groundwork for Gavin's next band (which also had a dynamic and unique frontman) Burn, as well as Quicksand, Mind Over Matter, and anyone else who wanted to twist and warp the boundaries of hardcore into something with a pulsing swing, something that roils and undulates.
I would also like to mention that I have always loved the bold simplicity of the cover graphic, which like the music contained inside, was ahead of it's time.
Members:
Greg Johnston - Absolution
Alan Peters - Crawlpappy, Agnostic Front, Absolution
Gavin Van Vlack - Burn, Die 116, Big Collapse, N.Y. Hoods, Pry, Absolution
Djinji Brown - North East Sound System, Absolution

DL

 
 


3. Born Against -Born Against                                                                   
Label: Vermiform  
Year: 1990

Voted (by me) as the band “Most Likely To Be Pissed They Are Included On A ‘NYHC’ Countdown”. I booked Born Against to play a show in my hometown in 1990 (they brought Rorschach with them; bonus), and they took issue with me listing them as “NYHC” on the flyer (hand drawn of course…don’t fuck with no desktop publishing!) and announced prior to playing their feelings on the whole concept of “NYHC” (hint: not favorable). That being said, they were perfect gentlemen before and after the show, and played a blistering set which I used to have on cassette, but have since lost.
This record changed the way a lot of people thought about contemporary hardcore music. Musically it was brutal, which is great, but just as important, the band embodied a philosophical ideal that included everything from DIY to personal politics, to social justice, to provocation, to humor and the ability to laugh at one’s self. They wanted to make the average listener uncomfortable, to think about what the band was saying or doing, and why.
They left a trail of hand screened patches across every corner of this great land (their patch distribution was second only to Avail based on my super scientific research), and as Born Against shifted and refined their approach, countless bands tried to mimic those changes.
Born Against had a pretty flawless discography (not completely flawless mind you), but this debut 7” has to be the cream of the crop. Total annihilation from start to finish, and the template for a new perspective on hardcore and what a band could do by wielding it.
Members:
Sam McPheeters - Men’s Recovery Project, Wrangler Brutes, Born Against
Javier Villegas - Our Gang, Iabhorher, Cattlepress, Kylesa, The Ladybug Transistor, Born Against
Daryl Kahan - Abazagorath, Assuck, Disma, Forced Expression, Gorebitch, Power Of Expression, Voice Of Hate, Born Against, Citizens Arrest, True Colors, Taste Of Fear, This Means War, Funebrarum,
Adam Nathanson - Born Against, (Young) Pioneers, Life’s Blood

DL



2. Burn - Burn                                                                                            
Label: Revelation
Year: 1990

Man, I’m telling you, this one could easily be number one on this list. It was tough relegating it to the runner up spot, cause it’s not only an NYHC favorite, it’s an all-time favorite. I mean, to this day, this record gets the same reaction out of me as it did the day it showed up in the mail (pink vinyl first pressing, no less) in 1990; righteous and reckless abandon.
The term “new school” has been mentioned prior to this entry, but Burn were the epitome of “new school” for me. Sidebar: shout out to Rob-R-Rock who had a cassette compilation in his car at the time entitled “Rad New School 7”s”, with Burn, Quicksand, Inside Out, and….somebody else I’m forgetting. Supertouch, maybe?
Anyway, Burn sounded like they were from another planet when I first heard this. The meshing of big, chunky off-kilter riffs with the groove heavy rhythm section and Chaka’s distinct vocal delivery was unparalleled. It’s still unparalleled! The music was swinging and punching, the lyrics were different and interesting, the whole deal was powerful and consuming.
Burn were one of a kind, and this record left a huge footprint in hardcore and beyond. You can hear a million other bands who tried to take cues from Gavin Van Vlack’s style, or Chaka’s style, but nobody ever came close.
The only thing that bums me out about Burn, well two things actually, is that first off, I never got to see them, and secondly they put out those inferior records in 2000 or so. It would have been great had they followed up this record with the same lineup in the same era, but  the later day material  hanging out there puts an asterisk by their legacy. It's a super small asterisk, but you know, it would have been more special (grammar alert) or something had they walked away after this sterling slab.
Members:
Gavin Van Vlack - Burn, Die 116, Big Collapse, N.Y. Hoods, Pry, Absolution
Alan Cage - Beyond, Burn, Seaweed, Quicksand, New Idea Society, Enemy, Gardener, Cardia
Chaka Malki - Orange 9mm, Burn
Alex Napack - Burn

DL



1. Life’s Blood  - Defiance                                                                                  
Label: Combined Effort          
Year: 1988

Yes, number fucking one! U-S-A! U-S-A!
All hail Adam Nathanson’s guitar, and Life’s Blood’s ability to wrench something so ugly and pure out of this musical form which has died a hundred deaths. Pure hate and contempt channeled through some of the noisiest and gnarliest hardcore ever documented. Scathing to the max.
How does this record end up at the top of the heap you ask? Or had you fallen asleep 37 entries ago? Well, wake up, and I'll tell you.
From the opening screech of feedback, Life's Blood have distilled all the elements of hardcore into a brutal hulk of a record. It's noisy and messy and heavy and fast and biting and invigorating and raw and mean and murky and menacing and fucked and direct and most of all, lacking any and all pretension.
In my opinion (and that's really what counts, am I right?), this record has amalgamated everything about NYHC into a perfect exhibit. There is absolutely nothing about it that you could change to make it better, it is delivered fully formed and unbreakable.
What did you expect? "This is not a game, and it's not for the weak"
Members:
Neil Burke – Clenched Fist, Men’s Recovery Project, Sinking Body, Landed, Krap, Danse Asshole, Life’s Blood, Human Head
Jason O’Toole – My Rifle, Factory, Life’s Blood
John Kriksciun - Collapse, Project Kate, Life’s Blood
Adam Nathanson - Born Against, (Young) Pioneers, Life’s Blood

DL

 

Thursday, January 21, 2016

NYHC Top 50 7" Of All (My) Time - Part Four: 11-20





20. Sick Of It All - Sick Of It All                                                                   
Label: Revelation
Year: 1987                              

If there was a quintessential NYHC band, you could make a compelling case that Sick Of It All are it. Over the years they have been at worst “simply reliable” and at best “simply exhilarating”, but never compromising, never dull, and always a welcome part of whatever music is around at the time. Conviction is never in question.
This opening salvo (not including the ‘It’s Clobberin’ Time’ demo) lays out everything you need to know about the band, musically, lyrically, and philosophically. Thirty years on and they are still hammering on this same template…to no complaint from anybody. Like Warzone, they too reach back into hardcore history and draw from the loud fast rules, but their key has always been incorporating (however subtle) a classic punk rock sing-along undertone. It gives the songs a bounce, and a memorable backbone that most other bands don’t get. Yes, it’s blunt, thrashy hardcore, but it’s better than most everybody else’s blunt thrashy hardcore.
Final note: in the great Born Against v Sick Of It All “sellout debate” broadcast on WNYU in 1990(?), even though I knew that I was supposed to think Born Against “won”, I’ve always felt that Sick Of It All came out on top. True confessions.
Members:
Lou Koller – Sick Of It All, Blood From The Soul
Pete Koller – Sick Of It All
Armand Majidi – Sick Of It All, Straight Ahead, Rest In Pieces
Rich Cipriano – Sick Of It All
 
DL
 


 19.  Raw Deal - Demo                                                                 
Label: Dead Serious   
Year: 2005                       
 
After an exodus from Breakdown, and prior to changing their name (and tweaking their sound) to Killing Time there was Raw Deal (they changed their name to avoid potential hang-ups after receiving a cease and desist letter from another Raw Deal band who had ties to Atlantic Records…and Atlantic Records legal department). They had compilation tracks on both ‘The New Breed’ and ‘New York Hardcore: Where The Wild Things Are' compilations and two demos. The 7” included here is the first demo, recorded in 1988, and containing the signature Raw Deal jam “Wall Of Hate”. Legit. Not that the rest of the tracks aren’t solid, cause they’re big, burly, rough bangers in their own rights, but when someone puts out the ‘Greatest Songs Of NYHC’ compilation, “Wall Of Hate” will be representing Raw Deal.
Nobody got around to an official release of these songs until 2005, presumably because shortly after it came out the band signed to In Effect and transitioned to Killing Time, taking a lot the material with them, but be glad that somebody did. These versions are the superior versions of these songs. They got cleaned up a bit when Killing Time performed them, and that’s all fine and good (the Killing Time ‘Brightside’ album rules too) , but what you want are these distorted, unhinged versions.
Members:
Mike Sentkiewitz (Dwardo Shoho) – Raw Deal, Crawlpappy, Terminal Confusion, Killing Time, Sick Of It All
Anthony Drago (Drago) – Killing Time, Breakdown, Raw Deal
Carl Porcaro (Carlooch) – Killing Time, Breakdown, Raw Deal, Alone In A Crowd, Kings Destroy, Electric Frankenstein, The Arch Rivals
Rich McLoughlin (Rich Glock) – Killing Time, Breakdown, Raw Deal, Unholy Swill
Anthony Comunale – Raw Deal, Token Entry, Killing Time
 
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18. Krakdown - Krakdown                                                                       
Label: Common Cause 
Year: 1989                     

A personal favorite that doesn’t get its due in most conversations about this kind of music (as nerdy and nit picking as those conversations are…and they are). They were raw and pissed like a lot of hardcore bands, that’s sort of granted right? I mean, if you’re not pissed and not playing raw, then it’s not really hardcore I suppose. But, Krakdown sound real pissed and raw, like how Negative Approach sounded pissed and raw. And on top of that, they layer in some atonal damage a la Void that takes otherwise brutal songs and ratchets them up to being “fucking wild”. Fucking wild is how hardcore should be. There can be fun and joy and all that in hardcore, yeah, sure, but at the end of the day, it has to sound manic and crazed as that’s what separates it from everything else.
Krakdown always sounded like a more frenzied version of Sick Of It All to me, and I like that. A lot.
Members:
Jason Surface - Krakdown
Richie Dowling - Krakdown
John Soldo – Krakdown, The Scofflaws
J-Bird – Krakdown
 
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17. Nausea - Lie Cycle                                                                         
Label: Graven Image     
Year: 1992                   

A relative outlier in the NYHC scene sonically, as compared to their more straight forward brethren (and sistren[?]), Nausea added the eerie death rock sludge of Neurosis, and D-beat swing of Discharge into the mix. By the time this 7” came out, which I think is the last new music they released, they were at their weirdest and crustiest. Amy Miret (Roger Miret’s wife) doesn’t appear on this record, which is the only knock against it. Her counterpointing vocal delivery was part of the sound that drew me in to the band after hearing them initially on ‘New York Hardcore: The Way It Is”, but pound for pound I think that even without her these are the strongest tracks the band has.
I also like to think about the bills with Nausea playing alongside Gorilla Biscuits or Murphy’s Law, and how that went over. How the dudes in the Champion hoodies reacted to the lurching filth of Nausea. Seems like it went alright, but I would have loved to have been at one of those shows.
Members:
Al Long (Al Hoon) – Nausea
Victor Dominicis – Nausea, Sacrilege, Reagan Youth
Roy Mayorga – Amebix, Nausea, Crisis, Mass Mental?, Soulfly, Stone Sour, Medication, Thorn, Word Made Flesh, Black President
John Guzman (John John Jesse) – Nausea, Thorn, Morning Glory

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16. Crawlpappy - Temple Body / Minds Eye                                             
Label: Blackout!  
Year: 1991                              

Bordering on being post-hardcore, but since I’m making the rules here and now, I’m counting them. I was super fucking balls deep into hardcore when Crawlpappy emerged, and I fucking loved them, so for that reason they sort of have to be hardcore. I think.
Label semantics aside, Crawlpappy does represent a shift in the NYHC timeline. They were “new school” along with Burn and Quicksand (“new school” being a colloquialism for anything hardcore that was remotely pushing the boundaries of what that sound could be) as far as I was concerned. In retrospect they sound like Tad covering DOA songs, and have as much in common with a New York band like Loudspeaker as much as they did Absolution, but at the time they seemed to fit into the continuum. It’s got big, loud guitars, it’s got roaring mean vocals, it’s got a steamrolling sensibility….that’s basically hardcore, right?
Ultimately what matters is how powerful and mean this record is. It’ll put hair on your chest, and possibly your back as well.
Members:
Rick Roy – Crawlpappy, Gin Mill
Mike Sentkiewitz (Dwardo Shoho) – Raw Deal, Crawlpappy, Terminal Confusion, Killing Time, Sick Of It All
John Stanier – Helmet, Crawlpappy, Tomahawk, The Mark Of Cain, Battles, Cologne Tape
Brian Childers – Beef People, Crawlpappy, School Of Violence, Bomb
 
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15. Trip 6 - No Defeat! No Submission!                                          
Label: Inner Spirit     
Year: 1989                        

Probably considered a dark horse entry this high into the countdown, Trip 6 had a relatively small recorded output, but it’s a clear-cut case of quality over quantity. I first heard the band on the Revelation Records ‘The Way It Is’ compilation, and was floored by their single track ‘Back With A Vengeance’, that to my ears was the second or third best track on the entire record. And mind you, that record has some heavy fucking hitters on it; Youth Of Today, Gorilla Biscuits, Warzone, Bold, Sick Of It All…it’s a near perfect compilation. But Trip 6 stood out because they had a raw intensity that some of the other bands didn’t. Trip 6 sounded mean and nasty, and for hardcore…what else can you ask for? So murky and fucked sounding...I love it!
So if you feel that they aren’t deserving of a number 15 spot on the list, well, suck it nerd!
And you can continue sucking it (nerd) if you take umbrage with the hand drawn cover art of a skinhead straining to break free from the chains of…um…tyranny and shit (?).
Members:
Charlie Scalfani (Charlie Rage) – Warzone, Trip 6, Ultra Violence
Tommy DeRosa (Tommy Rat) – Trip 6, Warzone, Rejuvenate
Larry Saunders (Stu Psycho) – The Psychos, Trip 6
Keith McAdam (Zippy) – Sheer Terror, Trip 6, The Goops, Mentors, Crawlpappy, Intrinsic Action
 
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14. Go! - And The Time Is Now                                                    
Label: Noo Yawk Rehkids
Year: 1990                 

Underrated, but a key record in the ABC No Rio strain of NYHC. GO! came out swinging in their short (initial) existence, releasing a demo, a split 7", four 7" eps, a live 7", and some compilation tracks between 1989 and 1991. Lots of records for a three year stretch. Yes, it helps when you have a few one and two second long jams in the mix, but to say they were prolific would be an understatement. 
Vocalist Mike Bullshit proved one of the sharpest critics of the scene from whence he came, and his pointed critiques paired with the pounding musical discordance made for a potent assault. Whether or not you took them with a grain of salt probably helped or hindered your ability to enjoy them, as sarcasm proved key when you're commentary deals with an uber macho subculture, and you yourself aren't exactly...uber macho. Although it should be pointed out that there is a difference between macho and tough. GO! were tough. GO! stood up for everyone else who had a right to be at the shows, not just the nacho dudes, but anybody.
So, from their long and distinguished discography (searching for the perfect dick joke...), why chose this specific ep? Easy. This one has "Holy Roller", their brutal take down of hardcore icons Bad Brains, which is about as perfect a dis track as there has ever been. In fact, "Holy Roller" is just about as perfect a hardcore song, as there has ever been, period.
The band reactivated in 2006, and has since released more new music, that continues  their legacy of frantic hardcore, and twisted humor, with surprisingly good returns (not unlike 1.6 Band from a few spots back).
Eat shit dreadlock motherfucker.
Members:
Mike Bromberg (Mike BS) - SFA, Ego, No Mistake, Go!
John – Go!
Ronn – SFA, Go!
Aaron – Go!
 
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13. v/a - Murders Among Us                                                       
Label: Vermiform / Combined Effort
Year: 1990

Bands - Life's Blood, Absolution, Nausea, Born Against
True confession: up until compiling this list, I had always pronounced this record as "murderers" among us, as in people who commit murder. In fact I feel like everyone I know who has ever talked about this record has pronounced it the same way (admittedly a fairly small sample size), and I have actually never heard it spoken correctly as "murder" among us, as in the act of killing. Does this make me an idiot? Or strengthen the case for my idiocy?
So, that's finally off my chest.
Initially I wasn't going to include compilations on this list for some reason, it didn't seem "right" or something, but then I thought about it, and figured that it's still a 7", it's still bands from New York, and it's still hardcore, so it should count. I don't know what I was thinking at first, cause this countdown might as well be null and void without these four songs (and...the seven songs of the next entry...spoiler alert). It was this compilation that really cemented the notion of an alternative NYHC scene. An alternative to the Revelation scene, the In Effect scene, straightedge scene, the CBGB scene, all that. Here were four bands that were raging beyond belief, and doing so with a whole different perspective, and a dirtier, raspier, gnarlier sound. Yeah, it all boils down to loud, ugly music, and you would be hard pressed to explain the difference between Born Against and Cro-Mags to 99.9% of the world, but this record was documenting something different (along with a group of similarly minded bands, some of who we have already covered, or will be covering...spoiler alert number two of this entry) and something that changed the way I looked at hardcore. These bands take their leads from nasty bands like C.O.C. and Void and Die Kreuzen. There is no melody or light shining through, these bands are pitch black, and they spit out one of the best four song collections of all time.
Even though they were distancing themselves from the label NYHC at the time, I would argue that this version of the genre is more compelling than most of their peers then, and especially now.

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12. v/a - New York City Hardcore – Together                             
Label: Revelation   
Year: 1987  

Bands - Warzone, Gorilla Biscuits, Bold, Youth Of Today, Sick Of It All, Side By Side, Supertouch
Speaking of not allowing compilations, how's about we go back to back with 'em?
Again, you just could not leave this one off the list, it's entirely too...what's the word I'm looking for...ummm...oh yeah, crucial. It's too fucking crucial!     
I mean, are you looking at this lineup of bands?! It's a goddamn who's who of NYHC, the literal Revelation All Stars! No fucking slouches to be found, and all these bands at their raw best, just going for it so hard. I love every single one of these songs, and you're a fucking bastard if you disagree. A straight up fucking bastard.
Personal favorite? The Supertouch jam, "Searching For The Light". It's the perfect degestif  to quell the onslaught that has preceded it; warped and groovy but heavy and uplifting. So great.
But really, all these songs rule insanely hard. There's a reason that the Batman stamp version of the first press of this record sells routinely for many hundreds of dollars.                 

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11. Gorilla Biscuits - Gorilla Biscuits                                                              
Label: Revelation
Year: 1988                              
 
One could argue that the Gorilla Biscuits lp 'Start Today' is the crown jewel in the Revelation Records catalog, and it's a cogent argument (although I would counter-argue that it's actually the Chain Of Strength 'True Til Death' 7" that rules supreme above them all...but that's neither here nor there [actually it is here, literally here]). On that record Gorilla Biscuits perfected a brand of hardcore that was catchy, memorable, fun, and intense. Truly unique, I can't think of another band who can match that style (most bands skew more pop punk when trying to incorporate catchy harmonies into this kind of music, and pop punk is just...it's terrible. It's not as bad as ska, but it's pretty fucking terrible.). The key to their sound was Walter Schreifel's songwriting, unmatched in this circle of bands. I actually can't think of a better all around songwriter in this entire subculture than Walter Schreifels, for his knack of injecting a pop underpinning within the barrage of hardcore clamor. He should have been knighted by now.
Before they got to that glorious  album, Gorilla Biscuits churned out one demo, and this 7". This really, really, really radical 7". Eleven minutes of buzzing perfection. Each song a classic in its own rite, each one committed to memory within the third or fourth spin, because they are just that good.
Nobody managed to combine the sing-along spirit of English punk (they did tip their hat to the Buzzcocks with their cover of "Sitting Around At Home") with the caustic fury of Agnostic Front like they did. Nobody.
Also, it should be noted, no one else dared rhyme "finish what you started" with "don't be retarded", not then, not sense...pure poetry!
Members:
Walter Schreifels - Gorilla Biscuits, Moondog, Supertouch, Project X, Warzone, Youth Of Today, Rival Schools, World’s Fastest Car, Walking Concert, Vanishing Life, Dead Heavens, Pearl Harbor, Quicksand
Anthony Civarelli (Civ) – Gorilla Biscuits, Civ
Luke Abbey – Warzone, Moondog, Gorilla Biscuits, Judge,
Arthur Smilios – Token Entry, Gorilaa Biscuits, Civ
 
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