But there seems a bit of a contradiction in the lyrics, on back to back songs. Nothing major, just one of those things that crossed my mind, around lap 21 of the 25 I was walking. Something I’ve actually thought about for quite awhile when listening to this album. On “Hiding Inside,” Roger sings about keeping feelings bottled up inside, keeping the real person hidden behind a façade. A “character in a hardcore handbook,” as he calls it. And the last line states “we don’t need anymore great American heroes but real people being themselves and not weirdos.” Now, isn’t hardcore and punk meant to be a place for the misfits, the freaks, the “weirdos”? That’s what Dave from MDC said in the “American Hardcore” movie. Of course, I seem to recall a flyer of a NY skinhead grabbing a punk kid wearing an MDC shirt by the nose. By the way, discussing the song itself for a moment, that is one great “Yeeeeeowwww” to kickstart the song. It almost sounds like a tribute to one of those older Warner Bros cartoons.
In any case, after “Hiding Inside,” the next song is “Fascist Attitudes,” which gives a wag of the finger (thanks, Stephen Colbert) for people who are intolerant of others’ style choices. The lyrics go “why should you go around bashing one another? If they look or think different, why let it bother. Everyone’s got their own style, their own thoughts. Don’t let it bother you, don’t let it caught” and also mentions how “we’re all minority and everyone of us counts.” Another plea for unity but if someone wants to be a “weirdo,” shouldn’t that be respected?
Ah yes… a classic case of nitpicking. One of those little things I think about more than I probably should. Idle thoughts to keep my mind off of my thighs getting stiff after all those laps. So if any of those NYHC folks (especially the ones with big muscles) take this the wrong way, please don’t beat me up. In the end, I suppose it doesn’t matter. Well, maybe it does—cliques, divisions, etc remain a fact of life. Scene unity is always a nice ideal, as expressed on “United and Strong,” another track on “Victim In Pain.” Unfortunately, idealism and reality often isn’t the same thing. And what’s a “scene” anyway? Truth be told, I get tired of labels. I have a friend who talks about someone being a crusty or a hardcore person or a peace punk. I can’t keep up with all the sub-groups anymore. Nor do I really want to. I’m getting too old to worry about this stuff. I do love being a weirdo, though.
What a great album, though! No other subsequent AF release has come close to it….
APPALACHIAN TERROR UNIT-Armageddon Won’t Be Brought By The Gods (Profane Existence, 7” EP)
BAYONETTES-We’re Doomed (Deranged, 7” EP)
Brash, tuneful punk without being sappy-sounding. Vocals that go from sweet to piercing and back again. Despite the upbeat-sounding music, there’s some darkness in the title track and “Take This Pill,” while the other two songs deal with affairs of the heart, also from a less-than-cheery outlook. There’s a tough ’77 era spirit, something that’s quite in vogue of late, but bands such as the Bayonettes make it sound fresh all over again. (
BELCHING PENGUIN-Demos 1985/1988 (Burrito, 7” EP)
First off, one complaint. This record has way too much surface noise. Perhaps it’s from the colored vinyl but, in any case, it detracts a bit. Belching Penguin were a
BREATHING FIRE (Painkiller, 7” EP)
BRUTAL KNIGHTS-Feast Of Shame (Deranged, CD)
CAREER SUCIDE-Attempted Suicide (Deranged, CD)
Career Suicide seldom disappoint and this album is no exception. What do you need to know? Snotty, ranting vocals and a high-powered hardcore punk sound that also rocks. Not in that contrived gas station jacket wearing, clichéd devil horn way. Not RAWK, in other words. It’s mixed into the flail and the songs hang onto their catchiness, as well. Having drummer Brandon Ferrell (Direct Control, Government Warning, Municipal Waste) behind the kit makes a big difference, as well—dude can flat out PLAY and he keeps the songs moving like a motherfucker, even when they slow it down a tad for the title track. Bottom line—this is one of the best bands going today. After so many releases, one would think they’d be getting stale but Career Suicide sound positively inspired and inspiring here. (
DOA-Bloodied But Unbowed (Sudden Death, CD)
This compilation originally came out in 1983, when DOA’s “Something Better Change” and “Hardcore 81” albums were out of print. (it also came out in the early 90s on Restless Records, with their “War on 45” EP tacked on). So the songs presented here were gleaned from both albums, plus there was a new version of the Subhumans’ “Fuck You.” Unfortunately, the songs were remixed and had way too much echo. A few of them were edited, as well. Another case of remixing detracting from the material. Too bad because these songs completely stand the test of time—rousing gems such as “The Enemy,” “New Agee” and “Smash The State,” the scurrilous “13” and “001 Loser’s Club,” or the tuneful “2 + 2” and “Whatcha Gonna Do.” Yep, I’m kind of a purist when it comes to retaining the integrity of the original recordings. Fortunately, the two aforementioned albums (“SBC” and “HC81”) are once again available with their original mixes and running order intact. That’s the place to discover the greatness of DOA. (Cascades
I neglected this split for awhile (seems to happen a lot lately). The Goons, from DC, have been around a long time and hammer out two sprightly hardcore punk songs. Serge’s dramatic, over-the-top vocals remain an acquired taste but the songs hit hard. Ohioans Legbone also have a speedy hardcore punk style and are pretty successful at it. In that middle area, where I don’t want to say it’s either great or garbage. That’s the truth about this split. (
RETAINERS-Teenage Regrets (Fashionable Idiots, 7” EP)
Love the packaging here—a cut manila folder with a hand screened cover. As for the EP, it’s OK. Raw, distorted garage and surfy elements and nearly-inaudible vocals under the din. Side one, with “Teenage Regrets” and “Zombie Caliente,” are the best tracks.
SCAPEGOAT (Painkiller, 7” EP)
Lumbering heaviness alternating with blast-thrash mania. A few
WOUND UP-s/t (Painkiller, 7”)
Three songs of angry punk rock bile, done at a medium pace and quite rockin’. The first song is “How To Make Friends and Influence People” and, if anything, Wound Up don’t sound as though they want to be anyone’s friend, in light of the two other songs, “Fuck Fashion” and “You’re All Wrong.” It’s a lame description, but Donald Jeffers’ vocals are murderous sounding and, yes, they do sound wound up. Incidentally, one of the guitar players used to play with late 80s youth crew stalwarts Unit Pride but this is something a lot different. And better. (