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.
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

 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.
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

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.
Jason Surface - Krakdown
Richie Dowling - Krakdown
John Soldo – Krakdown, The Scofflaws
J-Bird – Krakdown

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.
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

DL (fixed)

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.
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

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 (?).
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

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.
Mike Bromberg (Mike BS) - SFA, Ego, No Mistake, Go!
John – Go!
Ronn – SFA, Go!
Aaron – Go!

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.


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.                 


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'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!
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






Anonymous said...

jesus christ this list....bleh

Tore Nielsen said...

Awesome. :)

(The Nausea link goes to Krakdown).

Gray said...

I'll fix that link, thanks for letting me know.

And to my Anonymous bro, don't worry fella, one more post and then I'll get back to tailoring the blog just to you!

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