Wednesday, January 20, 2016

NYHC Top 50 7"s Of All (My) Time - Part Three: 21-30

30. Citizen’s Arrest - A Light In The Darkness                                                
Label: Wardance  
Year: 1990                            

Here we go. Here’s a good a nasty one. Ten minutes of grinding, ugly, violence. When you name your band after a Negative FX song, you are expected to come with malevolent thunder, you know?
On this 7” the band still pays homage to their roots in the traditional NYHC scene but are beginning to incorporate elements of a more manic style, informed by Extreme Noise Terror, Infest, Siege, and early Napalm Death…real nasty shit. They weren’t the only ones pushing hardcore into a crustier, more brutal direction, they had kindred spirits in fellow ABC No Rio regulars Rorschach and Nausea, and across the country with Pissed Happy Children, Crossed Out, and Neanderthal, bands like that. And once their full length came out they were stepping further from hardcore and into a more metallic direction (it’s a good direction, lots of good shit live in that direction), so for me this record hits the sweet spot.
I don’t recall where I saw it, or who said it even, but I remember a quote saying “Citizen’s Arrest were like Sheer Terror for the kids”. That pretty much rules.
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
Janis Cakars – Citizens Arrest, Hell No, The Manacled, Animal Crackers
Patrick Winter – Our Gang, True Colors, Taste Of Fear, Citizens Arrest, One Sided War, Antiem, Go!
Joe Martin – Citizens Arrest, Hell No


29. Antidote - Thou Shalt Not Kill                                                         
Label: Antidote   
Year: 1983                              

Back to the first wave, another early NYHC band that came and went like their music; fast. This ep was enough to solidify the band’s legacy as heavy hitters, and you can hear their influence on later bands like Cro-Mags and Agnostic Front. Stripped down and straight power.
Like many other straight edge practitioners of the late 80s- early 90s (and…beyond), this particular record was a curiosity for us, as it was rare, it was cited by the bands we liked as being influential, and it had the pro-animal rights title and Krishna graphic thing. The total package for a kid looking to complete his/her record collection. But it would be awhile before I even heard the thing, you couldn’t find it anywhere, and nobody I knew circa 1990 was looking to shell out $30-$50 bucks for a copy of the original pressing (big money back then…inflation and shit).
Fast forward to a couple years ago, and I was talking to a friend of mine who plays bass, and she was mentioning meeting this old hardcore dude here in Atlanta and there was (very) vague talk of maybe playing some bare bones hardcore music with this guy singing, me playing guitar, her on bass and her husband on drums. Playing hardcore is always a great idea, so I was only "interested" until I figured out that “this old hardcore dude” was Louie Rivera of Antidote (and O.G. Bad Brains roadie), then I was "wildly interested", but that quickly turned to "altogether not interested" when I then saw a local news story of the very same Louis Rivera on film threatening a woman and her kids in a park because the woman had requested Mr. Rivera please leash up his two pit bulls, and…well….he got pissed and tried to start a fist fight. With a lady. And kids. Cool. Now he’s booking shows and running the Taaang! Records store/lounge thing in Atlanta, but I haven’t been, and still haven’t met the guy. Not real sure I want to at this point. Sometimes the legend it better than the real thing.
Historical sidenote: Tommy Victor of Prong/Danzig was in the original lineup of Antidote.
Louie Rivera – Antidote
Robert Oritiz (Nunz) – Antidote
Arthur McGuckin (Bliss, Googy) – Antidote, Misfits
Brian Cauffield – Antidote


28. Half Man - No Choice But To Learn                                                 
Label: Chicken Farm    
Year: 1993                     

I expect to get some push back on including Half Man here, not only because they were from Long Island outside the city limits, but because they are more associated with Ebullition styled hardcore than NYHC. But…let’s take a closer look. They did record with Don Fury. They did wind up on a fair amount of ABC No Rio bills. And they did follow in the footsteps of early Born Against, taking stripped down hardcore and reinvigorating it with caustic vocals and slashing, feedback laden angular riffs.
So yeah, chalk this record up as another technicality of the list, but fuck it, it fucking rips super fucking hard. It’s got that same fury and heft as contemporaries John Henry West and Econochrist that appeals to someone raised in traditional hardcore, but it also had what was at the time, a fresh lyrical viewpoint and enough “something” to give it a modern (again, at the time) sound. Half Man would have fit in perfectly on the “Murders Among Us” compilation with Life’s Blood, Absolution, Nausea, and Born Against. Perfectly. I fucking love this record, and often (maybe “often” is a strong word) wonder how Half Man came and went without more fanfare. Why nobody now jocks their old records as “important” or anything. I wonder. I’m curious, like a cat. And I’m counting this as NYHC, even if they wouldn’t have, or you don’t, or Jimmy Gestapo doesn’t.
Listen to this and explain please.
Will Levatino – Half Man, Matt Pond PA
Dan Crowell – Half Man, Matt Pond PA, Black Army Jacket, Violent Bullshit, Hail Mary, Celebrity Murders, Ideal Forms
Chris Jensen – Half Man, Campaign, Your Adversary, Countdown To Putsch, The State Secedes
John Mahnken – Half Man, Ethnic
Cliff Allen – Half Man, Ethnic


27. The Mob - Step Forward                                                               
Label: Mob-Style     
Year: 1983                         

So if the Half Man inclusion bummed you out (and if it did, your vagina  no doubt smells horrible of must and abandonment), then The Mob will give you a quick slap back into classic NYHC madness. Like the Antidote record from a few spots up, this 7” is frenzied and raw, it’s straight to the point, and does not let up for its duration (albeit a short, 4 minute duration). Something about the guitar tone has always reminded me of Septic Death, which in turn makes me think this record has a vaguely Japanese hardcore sound to it (my mind works in strange, nonlinear and generally nonsensical ways), In reality though, it really sounds more like the earliest D.C. hardcore bands, Faith, Red C, Untouchables, Black Market Babies. Razor sharp attacking, quintessential hardcore bludgeoning. Easy.
They had an ep recorded with Bad Brains associate Jay Dublee that was never released, and a 7” before this one, but for my money (and that’s around $23.60 at present) these three songs are the cream of the crop. Essential.  
Jose Gonzalez – The Mob, Zion Train
Jamie Shanahan – The Mob
Jack Flanagan – Heart Attack, The Mob, Murphy’s Law
Ralph Gebbia – The Mob


26. Altercation - Altercation                                                                    
Label: Lush Life   
Year: 2013                              

Another demo rescued from the ravages of time to be re-released on 7” just in time for kids who weren’t even born when it originally came out to finally hear it (recorded in 1987). Perfect! Another Don Fury recording from his Demo Demo Studio. Another group of teenagers ripping through a dark and fucked set of hardcore ragers. Another New York band here to proclaim America as the greatest country in the history of great countries. Another band that came and went too soon (supposedly Schism was preparing to release an Altercation lp, but the band couldn’t hold it together long enough to record it…I mean shit, they only played 4 shows!)
Altercation had the makings of a classic NYHC band, and had they stuck around longer and gotten a proper 7” out, I think they would be up there with Judge, Warzone, and Breakdown as one of the scene’s heavy hitters. Their sound was really mean and gritty. They had some metal influence (complete with guitar squeals!). They had the skinhead scary factor. They had the right name. They had everybody in the scene at the time hyped on them. They had it all going for them, then…peace out.
Maybe it’s that very reason that this demo has the status it does, the mystique and all that. But, more than their fly by night existence, Altercation came correct with some of the heaviest hardcore of the era, and they offered balance to the squeaky clean Youth Crew scene perfectly. It’s a perfect record.
Eddie Coen – Altercation, Both Worlds, Sick Of It All
Andy Guida – Running Like Thieves, My Rifle, Real, Supertouch, Absolution, Altercation, Still Born
Myles Reiff – Altercation
Paul Canade – Warzone, Altercation
Jay Vento (Crazy Jay Skin) – Warzone, Altercation


25. 1.6 Band - Pimpin’ Ain’t Easy                                                          
Label: Wardance                              
Year: 1993

Post-Beyond and Kevin Egan brings some weird to the D.C. influenced skew of Mike Yannicelli’s fractured hardcore riffs. The band weren’t playing it straight NYHC, but the urgency and energy in the songs keep this ep grounded and eligible for inclusion here. The influence from 1.6 Band can be heard in Mike Yannicelli’s next project Die 116 and the Wardance/Wreck-Age bands circa 1994, with its bouncing groove and skittering riffs. I’d also be willing to bet the guitarists in Snapcase were 1.6 Band fans as well.
The band broke up shortly after this was released, but got back together and surprised most dudes over the age of 35 when they managed in 2009 to put out a 7” of new music that was as good as anything they had done prior. That’s a tough one, but a testament to how musically dynamic they had always been.
Kevin Egan – Beyond, 1.6 Band, The Last Crime
Lance Jaeger – 1.6 Band
Mike Yannicelli – 1.6 Band, Die 116
Vincent Novara – The Crownhate Ruin, 1.6 Band, Alarms and Controls, Him, Canyon, The Sorts, The Gena Rowlands Band


24. Urban Waste -Police Brutality                                                              
Label: Mob-Style                              
Year: 1983

Reaching back to the end of the first wave of the NYHC bands, and a real doozy to boot. To call these blasts “raw” would be an understatement, and quite possibly an insult to the word “raw”. It’s more visceral than that. It sounds like this is the only way physically possible for these guys to play these songs. It had to be super fucking fast, super fucking pissed, and super fucking harsh.  Not a lot of band (in New York or elsewhere) achieved this level of confrontational rage. There are times when the veins in your own neck start to strain at the intensity of Kenny Ahern’s vocal delivery. Eye popping style.
Had they managed to stick it out a couple more years, or for another record I would think Urban Waste would have been lauded alongside not only the other NYHC players of the time (Reagan Youth, Kraut), but alongside any working hardcore bands of that era. You can put this 7” up against almost anything in 1983…it slays. It’s a fucking reckless piece of music.
Andrew Bryan (Andy Apathy) – Urban Waste, Reagan Youth
John Dancy – Urban Waste, Major Conflict
Johnny Waste – Urban Waste, Armed Citizens, Major Conflict
Kenny Ahrens – Urban Waste


23. Collapse - Failure                                                                            
Label: HLH                                        
Year: 1993

Another unheralded classic that is harder and heavier and meaner than most. How this wasn’t considered a major milestone of the genre is beyond me. It takes the grimy lurch of Life’s Blood, the gut punch swing of Absolution, and the brute force of Breakdown, then layers in the vocal style of Slipknot (the Revelation Records one…naturally...don't be stupid) to create a full on bulldozer assault. Absolute gnarl and burly heft with power to spare. So much power.
This was unfortunately their only official release, and it didn’t come out until well after they had broken up. It has two songs recorded at Demo Demo with Don Fury (as all NYHC bands were contractually bound to do) in 1989, and two songs recorded by Jay Dublee (Jerry Williams) at their final show, also in 1989. Beyond crucial. Essential!
Camillus Peluso (Dead Guy) - Collapse
John Kriksciun - Collapse, Project Kate, Life’s Blood
Sean Murphy - Collapse
Sergio Vega - Collapse, Project Kate, Deftones, Quicksand, Champions Of Sound, Moondog, Absolution


22. Warzone - Lower East Side Crew                             
Label: Revelation                              
Year: 1987

Seminal release here. A full-fledged and universally loved classic. I don’t know anyone who can’t recite the words to all these songs, or at the very least two-finger-point to the choruses. It’s one of those records that’s just sort of ingrained in the back of your memory.
To me, Warzone were picking up where Agnostic Front were (seemingly) leaving off. They had that same very direct musical style, the same working class skinhead sort of vibe, and the same “unity” message (nobody did “unity” as well as Raybeez). They were also a little scary sounding to me, much like Agnostic Front was the first time I heard them. They elicited imagery of this seedy, dangerous version of New York City and the Lower East Side that was in my head (thank you ‘Taxi Driver’ and ‘Warriors’), and probably wasn’t altogether very accurate, but, it made me like Warzone. They seemed like the real deal. They embodied something bigger than they were, and to an outsider that was really cool. They managed to reach back a few years and harness the spirit and sound of the original no frills hardcore bands, but inject an infectious energy. They bridged the generations and brought a lot of younger kids up to speed.
The first two albums are cool and all, but for me this 7” is the best Warzone there was. The best lineup, the best songs, and the best delivery. Straight up NYHC epitomized.
Raymond Barbieri (Raybeez) – Warzone, Agnostic Front
Brad Davis (Batmite) – Warzone
Todd Schofield (Todd Youth) – Warzone, Murphey’s Law, Homewreckers, Chrome Locust, D Generation, The Chelsea Smiles, Son Of Sam, Larva, Skinnerbox NYC, (zilch), Capricorn, Danzig
Tommy Carroll – Warzone, Straight Ahead, NYC Mayhem, Youth Of Today
Charlie Scalfani (Charlie Rage) – Warzone, Trip 6, Ultra Violence
Sebastian Perez (Tito) – Warzone


21. Project X - Straight Edge Revenge                                                  
Label: Schism   
Year: 1988                                

Was this a joke? Does Porcell simply have a lot of energy, time, and riffs? Does that even matter? People seemed to take it plenty serious regardless of intent.
The project was put together to record a few songs to release with Schism Fanzine when it became apparent to Porcell and Alex Brown that their original idea to release a compilation of unreleased old hardcore wasn’t going to happen. I’ve always figured that the Project X riffs were destined to be Judge riffs, but this idea came up and those were the songs Porcell had handy at the time so they used them. I’ve heard that “Straight Edge Revenge” was supposed to be a Youth Of Today song but Ray Cappo thought it was too militant sounding and rejected it. I don’t know, but to me this was always a tongue-in-cheek thing, and therefore it was enjoyable. If I thought it was seriously serious (are you serious?) then I’m not sure I could have ever gotten past the ridiculousness of it all. Although, musically this was right up my alley, a raucous and dirty blend of creepy crawl mosh and hardcore blitzkrieg, so maybe the overblown rhetoric wasn't as big a deal. As I’ve gotten older this record sounds better and better (I’m also wildly immature, in case you hadn’t figured that out yet), and I find myself listening to it more than ever. Weird.
I was also in a band that recorded a cover of “Where It Ends” for a Project X covers compilation that never came out (or did it? If it did, then 1124 Records owes me tens of dollars in royalties!), and I recall having a hard time with the cadence of the song for some reason. Like it was deceptively easy, or maybe just super easy and I was trying to overcomplicate it. Took way longer than it should have to record is all.
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 Sielgler (The Youth) – Youth Of Today, Judge, Project X, Side By Side, Rival Schools, Civ, Glassjaw, Nightmare Of You, Head Automatica, Shelter
Alex Brown (Kid Hard) – Project X, Gorilla Biscuits, Side By Side, Inside Out (NY)



Tore Nielsen said...

Thanks again, Gray.

andrew tikkanese said...

these are great posts! really makes me nostalgic for CBs and abc matinees. i haven't heard the warzone ep in a really long time.

Anonymous said...

awww man i loved half man and also scapegrace! gonna have to dig those out. love phil.

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