Wednesday, September 30, 2020

V/A - New Breed - The Tape Compilation

Year: 2011
Label: Wardance / Lush Life

Originally released in 1989 by Freddy Alva (Wardance Records) and Chaka Malik (Burn) as a cassette compilation (hence the name), as the inaugural release for their Urban Styles imprint and as a compliment to issue three of Freddy's Urban Styles fanzine, this record has since been re released as an 8-track (timely), a CD, and as a double lp, which is what I have. More recently (2016) a documentary was released on the compilation, and more specifically the sub-scene it covered upon its release. Pretty sure you can find it on Youtube. It's worth your time if you've ever been a fan of NYHC.
This particular compilation filled a similar niche as the "NY Hardcore Where The Wild Things Are", and the "Look At All The Children Now" compilations did, which is to shine a light on the NYHC bands that weren't on Revelation Records, and maybe weren't getting much play outside of Lismar Lounge. And while, yeah, Sick Of It All and Judge and all those bands were incredible, for my money Absolution, Collapse, and Life's Blood are just as good. A bit more raw, a bit more ferocious, a bit darker, and every bit as vital.

The bands:
Absolution - A band that's tough to beat, and that for my money was the transition from classic stomping NYHC to grooving Quicksand post-hardcore. There's a slight skip on the song...sorry, but it's part of the record.
Life's Blood - If Absolution are tough to beat, Life's Blood are the one band here that does it. They are the pinnacle of what makes this style of music so vital. You get live versions of some of their gnarliest here, including the bonus tracks at the end of the album. But for some reason, there's an extra track listed ('Stick To It') that isn't actually on the record.
Outburst - Their 7" is one of my all time favorites, and on this compilation you get earlier, more raw versions of a couple of those songs, plus a live rendition of 'Controlled'. 
Our Gang - Super to-the-point scratchy attack. Had dudes that went on to Go!, Hell No, Born Against, Serpico, Citizen's Arrest, and a million more bands.
Collapse - This band should have been the biggest ever. Total punishment, that fits really well right in between the fractured pulse of Absolution (two members were in both bands) and the scum fuck attack of Life's Blood. Plus, the dude who plays bass in the damn Deftones plays bass in Collapse. Weird world.
Pressure Release - The closest thing to Youth Crew that you'll find on this compilation, but appropriately more feral and unhinged than Bold ever was. 
Breakdown - Steamroller hardcore that if you squint hard enough you'd swear is where Infest got their ideas from. 
True Colors - This was two of the dudes from Our Gang, and I believe this is the only song they ever released. Drayl Kahan, later of Citizen's Arrest is in the mix too. Frenzied shit.
Show Of Force - This band was Outburst and Breakdown guys with a couple of friends knocking out a couple demos worth of moshy grime, and managing one track for this album. 
Direct Approach - No frills, meat and potatoes NYHC. Never the headliners, always the opener.
Raw Deal - Legends. Before changing their name to Killing Time, they were demolishing audiences with some of the most brutal, metal-tinged, gut punches. Top tier shit. 
ABomb-A-Nation - Imagine a more primitive 7 Seconds mixed with Token Entry, and that's kinda these guys. But not as good as either.
Beyond - Underrated nutters who were doing their best to give hardcore a kick in the pants, only to find "success" once they split and got into bigger bands (Bold, Burn, Quicksand, 108, Inside Out, and 1.6 Band [well...maybe not that much bigger]).
Direct - Pretty certain these two songs on here are all they ever released, and they are live and raw as fuck. One of the guys was in Beyond, and one went on to play drums in Orange 9MM. These are good songs though...would love to have heard a 7" by this band.
Uppercut - Raging assault that rubs shoulders with Breakdown, Raw Deal, Sheer Terror, and Maximum Penalty. Mean shit. Members from Side By Side, Gorilla Biscuits, Bloodline(!), Judge, Alone In A Crowd, and Electric Frankenstein, among others. Professional types.
Fit Of Anger - Standard issue gruff dude style hardcore. Surprising? Should not be.
Discipline - Between this song and their track on Voice Of The Voiceless, this band came and went. But, for the hardcore archeologists out there, this band marks the first appearance of Danny Diablo, and features Gus SxE, who would next put out one 7" with his band Ocean Of Mercy that I, frankly, love. So there.
Bad Trip -I'm a big Bad Trip fan, and dig their bouncy style that never devolved any sort of funk or funk adjacent bullshit. It was just charging good hardcore. 
Under Pressure - Another band that just a a couple cassette demos and then disappeared. But the track they have here is a solid bruiser that may not be breaking any new ground, but they certainly sound like they would enjoy breaking your jaw.
Stand Proud - See above, but maybe scratch the part about them wanting to punch you in the face, and instead maybe they would ask, "hey, are we in tune?", to which you would say, "No, no you are not.".
All For One - I used to have this band's 7", but I cannot find it, which means I sold it (doubtful, as I am more of a hoarder than a wheeler dealer), lost it (also doubtful), or someone grabbed it (more likely). The vocals are the make or break proposition with this band, they are the proverbial "acquired taste".

Monday, September 21, 2020

Gob - Hogatha's Space Pal

Label: Satan's Pimp
Year: 1994 

How much can handle? Gob would honestly like to know. Cause they are willing to pound your ears until you feel that you've achieved saturation. Or satisfaction. Or whichever is your intended endpoint (shout out to Rob Pennington).
As always, it has to be stated, this is the Reno, Nevada version of Gob, not the Canadian pop punkers. This is the version who plays completely blown out overdrive hell-rock that bores through your face and out your backside (butthole). The superior version.

Thursday, September 17, 2020

V/A - Squirrel

Label: Level
Year: 1995

I think Level records meant to do a whole series based on rodents of North America, but they only got so far as this, the Squirrel, and the previous compilation Hamster. Both feature D.C. and D.C. adjacent bands, spanning the gamut of...a pretty narrow gamut. Although, on this release, the difference between where Tuscadero were coming from and where Bloodnation were coming from is pretty stark. So, I guess they did cover some ground.


Tuscadero - twee pop that does it for some and not others. The whole Teen Beat roster was kinda a bust for me, know, I'm super masculine, basically a fucking beefcake, so... When the song kicks in, it's actually fun, but it drags along for most of its duration.

Chisel - super weird that Ted Leo went from Citizen's Arrest to this, but, here we are. More "twee" that has a sorta mod take on Beat Happening or Vaselines. Not my cup of tea, but, again, blame it on the two gigantic, bulbous, hairy balls that dictate my wants and desires. It's evolution, baby.

Frodus - ok, now we're getting somewhere. Early era Frodus bringing the twitchy, DC heat that you want. 

Bloodnation- let's be clear, the only reason I bought this record was on the promise of this band. Bloodnation was a one-off collaboration between the members Bloodlet and Damnation AD, and this was the only song they released. Two vocalists (Mike DC and Scott from Bloodlet), one guitarist from Damnation (Ken Olden) and one from Bloodlet (Matt Easley), one bassist from Damnation (Alex Merchlindsky) and one from Bloodlet (Art Legere), and the drummer of Bloodlet (Charles King). If I was a betting man, I'd bet Ken Olden wrote the majority of this song, and then had the Bloodlet dudes come in and add some of their descending chord progressions over it to "swamp it up" a bit. Don't know if that's true, but since I just took the time to write it, then I suppose it's as true as you want it to be.

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Communion - AnythingForYou

Label: self released
Year: 2016

As a much more innocent, sweet, and handsome young man, my youth was spent searching and consuming anything even tangentially related to skateboarding. Which, in the free-wheelin' 1980s, was a full time job. Now, in my advanced age, I am more likely to stare wistfully at the halfpipe in my backyard than I am to actually mount the ole girl and give her a thrill. The decline is real.

Back in those days, I was turned on to a lot a great music via some of the skateboard videos that were coming out. SST Records, in their infinite wisdom, was smart enough to partner with NHS and some of the other distributors to license their music into those video parts. So all the rad Santa Cruz videos, the weird Ohio Skateout, and Streetstyle in Tempe type videos, had killer soundtracks of Black Flag, B'last!, fIREHOSE, Dinosaur Jr, Sonic Youth, Angst, Minutemen....all that. There was some Eric Grisham video that I think Sure Grip put out, that was essentially the TSOL 'Change Today' album in its entirety. It was awesome! Point being, those videos got me hip to some great music. And I'm certain that young skateboard enthusiasts of every generation are turned on to new tunes and bands via the videos they watch. 

Sadly, I still watch skate videos online, with an alarming frequency. But, it's fewer and further between that one will have a song that gets my attention and makes me seek out the artist. Just yesterday though, I was checking out the new Fancy Lad 'Secrets Of The Clown Box' video (find it on Thrasher if you're so inclined), and wouldn't you know it, but the first part of the video comes straight out of the gate with a tune that grabbed me by my lapel (it was after 6:00pm, so naturally I was wearing a purple velvet smoking jacket), and made me forward to the end of the video to see who was responsible for such a glorious racket!

Turns out, the band was Communion, and the song was "Anything For You", off their self-released cassette (100 pressed...ugh) 'AnythingForYou' (or 'Anything 4 U'). The song was like an an acid fried slow motion freakout. Like, if Butthole Surfers were tasked with covering a Jimi Hendrix song, and they never quite figured out the main riff, but were basically, "fuck it, this works", and then go on to make a squall of overdrive and noise over what is essentially a "feel good" tune. It obviously got me going, cause here we are.

I tried to do some research into who or what exactly the band Communion are (were?), but beyond a Bandcamp there isn't much to go on. They are (were?) from Chicago. They appear to be (have been?) a four piece. And they have four releases you can listen to. Nothing after 2017, so maybe they are gone? 

Some of the other records are a little more straight forward, kinda shouty/punky, but they are all "weird". I like the one linked here the best, as it is the loudest and meanest. But by all means, rifle through them all. And if you have any info on the band, please pass it along.

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

V/A - A Compilation For Atonement

Label: Dog Collar
Year: 1996

Dwid and his buddies were nothing if not prolific in the middle if the 1990s. All the Dark Empire, Blood Book, Holy Terror, the splits...there was a lt coming out of Cleveland from a relatively small group of friends(?). Most of it was fascinated with serial killers, Francis Bacon, and Japanese hardcore, and trying to forget about the whole Youth Crew "thing" they had been into.
This compilation is no different. And that's cool.

Integrity - a Humanity Is The Devil era quick hitter. It's got the Melnick's involved, so you're dealing with gold standard Integrity lineup material. Metallic crusty hardcore par excellence.

State Of Conviction - very "Cleveland" sounding, in that it has a distinct Integrity feel, but it also has a lot of Necros-on-half-speed vibes. One of the dudes went on to that weird Mushroomhead band. 

Psywarfare - you get two tracks of manipulated noise from this Dwid offshoot. I can recall when a lot of the hardcore universe was enamored by Merzbow...Dwid REALLY was.

Rape Whistle - surprise; it's another Dwid project! This time he joins up with one of the guys from State Of Conviction to play what could be fairly described as "a State Of Conviction song with Psywarfare playing on top of it". I guess it's technically three songs...but you would never know that.

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