Thursday, May 21, 2015

My favorite post-2000 hardcore recordings

I've been listening to lots of "current" hardcore/punk this past year. Of course to an old bastard like me, "current" implies anything recorded post-2000. In retrospect, there's been an impressive number of great and diverse recordings over the past 15 years, and i'm still discovering stuff on an almost daily basis. Not to say that anyone's really breaking new ground (with certain exceptions), but i've never been too concerned with all that. Good hardcore is good hardcore so who really gives a shit. Especially after the HC drought of the late '90s. Just enjoy it while it lasts. And i have a feeling it's not going to let up anytime soon.

I've included albums and self-compiled collections by many of my fave bands post-2000 for this post. Hopefully you discover something here that really catches your ear, that's always my goal. If something here is still available, please support the bands and buy the music. This post should be used for discovery purposes only.

Aside from a few bands, i've kept this limited to mostly US bands, as i didn't want it to get too out of control. All the collections that include vinyl and/or cassette rips were, as usual, cleaned to the best of my ability, and all the tracks adjusted to the same volume. If there are any bands out there that want any links removed, please just leave a comment or email me. Enjoy.

First up is Coke Bust from Washington DC, a straight edge band who embody everything that interested me about hardcore from the get-go. Great riffs, breakdowns, speed, anger and just great songwriting. The first material i heard by Coke Bust was the "Fuck Bar Culture" 7", which (to me) fused the best classic '80s HC with early '90s West Coast bands, particularly No Comment. I was sold immediately. 

Coke Bust - Hardcore History

This collection compiles material from 2006-2013. Much of it was lifted from the anthology put together by OldschoolMike for his great blog One Track To Hell. Cheers to Mike for putting that together. Coke Bust are still together and playing shows although they haven't released anything that i'm aware of since the "Confined" 12" in 2013. According to their website here, they're working on a split with the legendary Despise You. Can't wait. You can also check out their Bandcamp page, their Facebook page, and they have a store called Flophouse here. Buy all their stuff.

Amazing cover art by the great illustrator/cartoonist Matt Gauck, done for a possible T-shirt design.

Dan over at Old, Fast & Loud has some great Coke Bust live sets you can grab over at his world class blog, where you can grab the Live 2007-2009 download (this one has a 2007 set from the WFMU studio in NJ as well as a couple other great sets from 2008 and 2009), and a set from the This Is Hardcore Fest 2014.

Current members:
Nick Tape – Vocals
James Willett – Guitar
Daniel Jubert- Bass, Vocals
Chris Moore – Drums

Former members
Matt Parsons – Bass
Jeremy Evans – Guitar

There's way too many Coke Bust records to get into all the release dates and other details, so i kept this one pretty short. Members of Coke Bust have also played in Rations, Sick Fix, Magrudergrind, Misled Youth, Collusion, Red Death, Disciples of Christ and many others.

Next up is a band i've been singing praises about for years. The Deathrock/hardcore band Ciril, from Long Beach, California (now defunct), put out an impressive amount of great material for the time they were active. The bulk of their material was released between 2000-2006 (2 full length LPs, one single-sided LP, one split LP and several EPs and comp tracks. Ciril formed in 1995, with vocalist Daren Hall being the only constant member. Most of the band's output was released on Know Records.

Ciril - First Two LPs

Six of the fourteen tracks on the debut album were previously released on the Ciril/Armistice split LP released in 2000. Eight new tracks were recorded for the debut, including a cover of Christian Death's classic "Romeo's Distress". Tracks 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 11 & 14 were recorded at Rusty's Garage 4/99 through 7/99. Tracks 1, 6, 9, 10, 12 & 13 were recorded at The Distillery. It was released in 2001 on Know Records. Artwork by Darrin (vox) and Kyle (guitar). Comes with 4 page lyric insert. Fave tracks for me are the darker Bound and Burned, Injected, Herman and Love Flow. Amazing debut though, and the whole album is great. Along with the deathrock leanings, i also hear a Filth (split w/ Blatz) vibe, especially in some of the faster songs.

Hysteria Driven was recorded and mixed at The Distillery in 2002 and released in November of 2003 on the Know label. Front and Back cover at by Kylie Chew. The front cover is especially great, and brings to mind Blinko's psychotic artwork. This is by far my favorite of the two. Standouts for me are the morbid Bellgrave, the Peni-worship of 7th or Anaheim, Shines on Trash, Death is Gone... and a killer cover of "Rebel Girl" originally written by Bikini Kill in 1992.

Darrin Hall - vocals
Kyle Chew - guitar
Tom  Doyle - guitar
Norman - bass
Dan Gebhard - drums

The tracks on Ciril's final album, Sick Surreal, were recorded between 2006-2008. No info on the recordings that i can find, but i'll say for sure, this is the band at the top of their game. Ciril's swan song album "Sick Surreal" was recorded prior to their break up but not released until 2011. On this album the band shedded most of their Christian Death meets Rudimentary Peni vibe and found their own unique morbid sound. Still, hints of Christian Death remained as part of the band's sound, even so far as having front man and founder Darrin Hall's girlfriend Gitane Demone (Christian Death) providing back-up vocals for songs. Sick Surreal is by far my favorite Ciril material, and one of my single favorite punk/hardcore LPs of the 2000s. While the 2 previous albums, the Self Titled LP from 2001 and the excellent "Hysteria Driven" LP from 2003 were more refined and had superior production, "Sick Surreal" sounds almost like a demo or basement recording, which, for me, just adds to its charm. Not too sure about the lineup on this album. Sick Surreal was never released on CD, but i was able to clean up the recording here to get it as close to CD quality as you'll find. Fave tracks are "Hell Fell Down Again", "Your Lips", and the 2 openers, "Full of Salt" and "Wash of the Hand". If you're going to check out Ciril, this is the one. Definitely less refined than their previous records, but this album has atmosphere to spare, and Darrin's vocals on this one are both unique and morbid. The only was i could possibly describe it would be - imagine Peter Murphy trying to sing like Jello Biafra. I'd also recommend hunting down the band's harder-to-find-releases as well, especially the psychotic "Pink Cave" 7".

 Ciril - Sick Surreal

You can check out a couple of great interviews with Ciril vocalist Darrin Hall here and here. Also check out their bandcamp page, and the Know Records website. Thanks to Gen for turning me onto this amazing album.

The mighty Annihilation Time was a punk rock (strong emphasis on the word rock) band from California who existed from 2001-2009. Along with Inepsy, they were my favorite band of the 2000s. They took influence from bands like Black Flag, Bl'ast (most noticeable on their first record), The Stooges, Black Sabbath, Thin Lizzy, MC5, Deep Purple and even KISS. The result was a '70s hard rock and punk fusion, not just in the music (complete with ripping solos and COWBELL), but in the lyrics, the appearance, the artwork etc. The kind of band that would look more at home on the cover of Creem than MRR. For me they will always be (along with Inepsy as i've mentioned), the best rock band of the past 20+ years.

I've split the band's complete discography into 2 CDs. If you dig it (and you will), go buy all their shit.

Annihilation Time - Discography Part 1

The first Annihilation Time LP (self titled) was recorded at Blood Tracks Studio, Granada Hills, CA, and released in 2002 on It's Alive / Dead Alive Records (now defunct). The debut was pretty much straight up Black Flag / Bl'ast worship, right down to the Raymond Pettibon cover art, and they pull it off perfectly. Fine by me.

The band's follow up, and first EP "Bad Reputation" was recorded on June 9th-10th, 2003 at Expressions! in Berkeley, CA. and released in 2003 on Dead Alive.  The 7" came with lyrics printed inside.By this time the band had a new bass player, and more importantly a new vocalist. This time around the cover artwork was done by underground comic legend and illustrator Jeff Gaither who did the cover art for The Accused seminal crossover album "Martha Splatterhead's Maddest Stories Ever Told". The band's trademark 'classic rock fused with hardcore' sound was already showing on this EP, even so much as including a cover of "Bad Reputation" by Thin Lizzy.

In May and June of 2004, in Motorwolf Studios in The Hague, Holland, Annihilation Time recorded and mixed (for me anyway) their masterpiece. Annihilation Time II. ATII was originally released on CD by Manic Ride Records in 2004. It was released on both CD and vinyl in 2005 on Six Weeks Records, and since then re-released on both Tankcrimes and Annihilate! Records.

On this album all the influences come together perfectly to form THE powerhouse rock n roll hardcore album. Single-handedly both laying waste to most current hardcore/punk and what has been passing for rock for the past 25 years. Favorite tracks are "Too High to Die" which plays like punk version of Sabbath's "Trashed", and "The Worm" with it's catchy destructive chorus.

I lineup 2002:

Fred Hammer - vocals
Graham Clise - guitar
Jamie Sanitate - guitar
Chris Grande (Huevos) - bass
Tony Melino - drums

II lineup 2004:

Jimmy Rose - vocals
Graham Clise - guitar
Shaun Filley - guitar
Chris Grande - bass
Tony Melino - drums

The "Cosmic Unconsciousness" 7" was recorded at Earhammer Studios, Oakland, CA in January 2006 by Greg Wilkinson and mastered by Dan Randall at Mammoth Sound. It was  released on April 20, 2006 on Tankcrimes. Three new recordings and cover art that brings to mind the psychedelic flyers of the mid-'60s.

Annihilation Time - Discography Part 2

Annihilation III - Tales Of The Ancient Age was recorded and mixed at Earhammer Studio, Oakland, CA.  and mastered at Salt Mastering, Brooklyn, NY. Released on Tee Pee Records in the US and Reflections Records in The Netherlands in 2008. Both on LP and CD. This is AT's most straight-forward rock album in their discography. All the Sabbathy Bl'ast-like intros are gone at this point. Most of the tracks rely on repetitious (but for sure infectious) riffs to carry the tunes, along with the abundance of solos the band was known for. Just balls out rock n roll. After many spins i can say this is every bit as good as II. The first 3 tracks are especially rippers, and "About To Snap" is my favorite song they ever recorded. Perfect way for this band to go out.

The live radio show (KCSB 01/19/03) sounds great. All tracks from the first 2 EPs including a cover of State Violence/State Control by Discharge.

III lineup 2008:
Jimmy Rose - vocals
Graham Clise - guitar
Wes Wilson - guitar
Chris Grande - bass
Noel Sullivan - drums

The excellent artwork on Annihilation Time II and III was done by guitarist Shaun Filley.
Visit the band's website here. It's really well done.
"Annihilation Time strongly endorses weed, LSD, mushrooms, hash, beer, booze, vans, and Deep Purple".

Deskonocidos were a Spanish dark punk band from Austin, TX who released a bunch of great material from 2009-2010. They had a similar vibe to '80s Spanish post-punk legends Paralisis Permanente. On their 2010 full length "En La Uscuridad" they even cover Paralisis Permanente's classic track "Unidos" from the band's 1982 "Quiero Ser Santa" 7".

Deskonocidos - discography

The Singles Collection cassette was released on W-tapes in 2010 and compiled the band's three 7"s prior to the "En La Oscuridad" LP. The self titled 7" on 540 Records, the split 7" with Sacred Shock on Desobediencia Records, and the "Problemas" 7" on Lengua Armada Discos. All 3 records were released in 2009. Also on the cassette were the 2 tracks from the "Vicious and Loud" comp. It was released in 2013 on the Japanese label Persona Unknown as a double 7", one translucent blue, the other clear. It also came with a CD of bonus songs and a fold-out insert with info and artwork from all the bands.

Most of the 2009 recordings were in the vein of '80s Spanish punk hardcore. Every track an aggressive ripper. Raw and fast with great discordant guitar work and plenty of sing along choruses. The track "Desaparecer" sounds like it should be on some Spanish version of Only Theatre of Pain, kind of a sign of what was to come on the following LP.

The "En La Oscuridad" LP was recorded on October 5th-7th 2009 at Buzz Or Howl Studios in Portland, OR. Mastered at Mammoth Sound Mastering. It was released on Todo Destruido, Trabuc Records in 2010 in the US and Spain. The Euro press of the record included an insert with lyrics printed on glossy paper.

Eddie Leal - vocals
Victor Gutierez - guitar
Matt Badenhop - bass
Ryan Maloney - drums

This may be the finest Spanish post punk/goth LP since "El Acto", and will certainly be regarded as a classic in years to come. To me it's already an instant classic. The opening track is especially a killer, but the entire album is pretty much perfect. Love the cover too. Members of Deskonocidos have also played in Vaaska, Criaturas, Impalers, Coldera, Sacred Shock, The New Flesh, and more.

Low Threat Profile from Los Angeles, California formed in 2000. These guys are like the Asia of powerviolence. Members of Infest, No Comment, Spazz, and Lack of Interest, and it pretty much sounds like a combo of all those bands. Definitely not as busy and overdone as some of the more current bands doing this style. This is just straight forward fast and powerful hardcore, showing the younger PV bands how it's done. So far they've released two 7"s and one LP, as well as a couple of comp tracks. Hopefully they're not done.

Low Threat Profile - Products

The first LTP 7", known as "Product #1" was recorded before 9/11/2001 and mixed after 9/11/2001. It was released in January of 2010 on Draw Blank Records / Deep Six Records. It included a printed lyric sheet. There was a limited run of 100 on red vinyl. It was repressed in 2014. This is by far my favorite of all the Low Threat Profile output. Eleven scorchers in probably as many minutes, and for me their most memorable material. Andy's vocals fit Matt's riffs perfectly, sometimes coming across like a melding of the best aspects of No Comment with "Mankind" era Infest. How could you ask for more out of a powerviolence record?

The music for the LP (Product #2) was recorded in the fall of 2000, and the vocals recorded in the summer of 2010. It was released in 2010 on Draw Blank / Deep 6. Pressing of 1000 copies. includes a lyrics insert. Fifteen tracks with a lot more breathing room than the 7". The songs are a bit slower and longer (at times), yet as ripping and angry as always. Great stuff once again.

The music for the "Product #3" 7" was recorded the winter of 2010 and vocals recorded the summer of 2011. It was released on Draw Blank / Deep Six in August of 2014. No Andy on this one, and guitarist Matt takes over vocal duties. Nine more tracks of what you'd come to expect, but maybe with a bit of a Manpig vibe.

Andrew Beattie - vocals
Matt Domino - guitar legend (vocals on Product #3)
Bob Kasitz - drums
Chris Dodge - bass (not credited on records)

Facebook page here. If you dig Low Threat Profile, you need to check out the Dead Language LP on Iron Lung Records. One of the most intense records i've heard in years. Andy from No Comment and some of the guys from Iron Lung playing psychotic, and at times experimental powerviolence. Think "Downsided" mixed with the Man is the Bastard side of the Aunt Mary split. Seriously.

Inepsy is a band i've been infatuated with for years. They formed in 1999 in Quebec, and after some lineup changes they found their sound in 2002. As i've mentioned, along with Annihilation Time, i think they're the greatest rock band (in the Sabbath, Stooges, Purple, Stones etc sense of the word rock) in decades. This is pure Motorhead worship, with some Discharge and various '70s rock thrown in. They don't stray much from their formula (at least on the 2 first LPs), but their formula is perfect. Inepsy hits the spot for me every time. I've included everything the band recorded and compiled it in 2 volumes. Play it fucking LOUD.

Inepsy - Rock N Roll Weapons

The two full lengths from 2003-2004 are simply punk rock classics. That's not even an opinion. That's just science. The "Rock 'N' Roll Babylon" LP  was recorded April 26-28 of 2003 in Quebec City. Released in 2003 on Feral Ward, 1000 copies pressed. Killer cover art by guitarist/vocalist Chany Pilote, and easily my fave art from all their records. The debut is song after song of massive Motorhead / Venom fueled d-beat with lyrics about war, drinking, urban decay, death, rock n roll, and more war. The only time the music seems to change tempo is during "Street Kids", which has an almost KISS vibe to certain parts of it.

The band's masterpiece, "City Weapons" was recorded in September of 2004 and released on Feral Ward in 2005. Ten songs about war, destruction, drinking, bikers and wastelands. Fucking Mad Max music! The title track "City Weapons" is the song here. Everything is just perfected on this track, and it gets my blood pumping every time. That fucking riff!! The following track "M.O.A.B." is straight up Discharge. After that it's just all great rockin' hardcore up to the anthemic closer "Last Call".

Chany Pilote - guitar / vocals
Steve Bennett - guitar / backing vocals
J.P. Tasse - bass / backing vocals
Sam Verville - drums

Inepsy - Rock N Roll is the Only Way

"Madness and Overkill" was recorded in 2009 at DCB Studios and released as a 12" picture disk on Feral Ward Records in 2010. Steve Bennett is not listed on this release, and bassist J.P. Tasse is credited as J.P. Hearse (also credited as engineer). Six tracks of the usual greatness.

The "No Speed Limit For Destruction" LP was recorded and mixed March 30-April 2, 2007 and released on Feral Ward / Ineptik Records in 2007. It was also released on both vinyl and cassette on Southamerican Holocaust. This new material mostly veers away from the Motorhead / Discharge vibe and into more '70s rock territory.  I think the bulk of it is just as good as anything they've ever done. It may take a while to warm up to, but these songs are growers for sure. Rhythm guitar on this LP is credited to Bob E.

The "See You in Hell" 7" was recorded in 2001 and released January 1, 2002 on Ineptik / Feral Ward. The debut is studded jacket, bullet belt rock.

Last up they cover the song "Straight to Hell" for "A Tribute to Anti-Cimex" comp LP released on Pelea Records in 2005.

Inepsy facebook here. Check out Chany's other bands, Proxy and Unruled.Other members of Inepsy also played in C.C.S.S., SkullNbones (o few members of Inepsy were in this band), Wisigoth, and Kontempt.

Rampage were a hardcore band from Rhode Island, who were mainly influenced by NY Hardcore in the mid to late '80s. According to bassist Craig, they were mostly inspired by the lesser known and demo-only bands of the time, and would rather be taking cues from bands like Krakdown and Altercation than Cro-Mags or Agnostic Front. Listening to their music, i'd say Straight Ahead and Breakdown were very prominent in their sound.

Based on the strength their "Heads in A Vice" demo (which would later be pressed onto vinyl), Lockin' Out Records (out of Boston) offered to fund the band's debut LP. Keeping true to wanting that vintage '80s NY sound (and like i said, we're talkin' NY Hoods, not Killing Time), the band insisted on recording to analog. No digital. However, unlike the '80s, it's hard these days to find a professional studio that records to tape. After some hunting, Rampage went with Slaughterhouse Recording Studios in North Hampton, MA as it was one of the only studios with the capabilities to record entirely in a retro, analog style. The band's goal was not to intentionally produce bad or rough recordings, but to emulate the sound of an earlier generation.

The "Limit of Destruction" LP was recorded at Slaughterhouse Studios in MA between July and August of 2006 and released on Lockin' Out Records in 2007. I'd say they definitely achieved their goal of producing a hardcore album with an authentic old school sound and attitude. Taking all the best aspects of NYHC circa 1985-88 and injecting frantic rapid fire drumming that sounds like Straight Ahead on adrenalin. This LP is pretty much an anomaly. The kind of hardcore record that comes around maybe once a decade. 

Josh Perrault - vocals
Brian Wilcox - guitar
Zach Silvia - guitar
Craig Arms - bass
Ben Perrault - drums

The "Heads in A Vice" demo tape was self-released in 2004. It had a full color cover of a bear moshing while working out with dumbbells. Combine that with songs about weight lifting and you run the risk of having a novelty record on your hands. Fortunately the music was so good that Lockin' Our Records pressed the demo onto a 7" that same year. And as mentioned before, the label saw so much potential in the band they offered them financing for an album on the spot.

"Heads in A Vice" was released in 2004. The first press was limited to 350 on red transparent vinyl. The demo tracks were lass powerful than the LP, but still exceptional hardcore. Much more of a Straight Ahead influence on the demo 7", so much so that it almost comes off like a tribute at times.

Ending this collection is a full live Rampage set recorded on W.E.R.S. in 2006. The tracks in this set were too close together to properly separate the show, so i left it as one mp3.  Excellent sound and a killer performance. The second track in the set, "Best Enemy" from the LP is CRUSHING in it's original early version. It drags along at a snail's pace scattered with bursts of speed, veering into Crossed Out territory. Easily the heaviest and angriest thing they ever did.  Too bad they changed it for the LP.

Members of Rampage have played in Mind Eraser, Waste Management, Say Goodbye, Meltdown, and The Wrong Side. 

Another band that plays killer hardcore on the late '80s style is World War 4 from Boston and New Jersey. Similar musically and lyrically to Floorpunch (in fact there are 2 members of Floorpunch in the band). This is old school hardcore with a youth crew vibe. Metallic guitar work, divebombs, plenty of breakdowns and lyrics about friendship, shit-talkers, frustration, and of course, edge. Some songs are straight-up heavy mosh groove and others are fast metallic rippers. Kinda like Leeway meets Breakdown (or something like that, you get the idea). 

WW4 released 2 demos so far, both recorded at the Pain Cave in Boston. An 8 song demo released as a single-sided cassette in 2012 and a 6 song demo, also released on cassette. Hopefully they put out a 7" or LP at some point and not just keep WW4 a demo-only band like it's 1987 all over again. Shit, i don't even own a tape-deck.

Mark Porter - vocals
Chris Corry (CC) - guitar
Bill "Punch" Hanily - guitar
Doug "Free" Cho - bass
Justin DeTore - drums

Mark Porter was the vocalist for Floorpunch and Anger Regiment, as well as supplying additional vocals for the No Warning "Ill Blood" LP.

Chris Corry has played in No Tolerance, Prisoner Abuse, Mind Eraser, Step Forward, Righteous Jams, Soul Swallower, Magic Circle, Stop and Think, Put to Death (vocals), and several more. He also does recordings, production, and layout/designs for shitloads of hardcore bands. Does this guy sleep?

Bill Hanily played in Floorpunch and Anger Regiment.

Doug Cho (aka Doug Free) played in Rival Mob, No Tolerance, New Lows and Give.

Justin DeTore played in Boston Strangler, Waste Management, Battle Ruins, Mental, Rival Mob, No Tolerance, R'n'R, Shot Dead, Prisoner Abuse, Mind Eraser, Violent Minds, Taste of Fear (first 3 tracks on anthology CD), Magic Circle and many more. Damn.

Pretty much no other info on this band online. No website, no facebook, no bandcamp... nothing. These guys are more mysterious than those Youth Attack band. Actually there is an interview with Mark on the In Effect site. Check it out here. Fun fact: Floorpunch beat Ensign in a tackle football game (on a regulation field), 7 to 0 (counting by ones). The guys in Floorpunch claimed Ensign never even crossed the 50 yard line. Now if they could just play Ten Yard Fight.

Natural Law are a hardcore band from all over the East Coast (New York, New Jersey, Maine, and New Hampshire). First stuff i heard by them was the Spring Trash demo which just levels everything in it's path. It's rare for a hardcore demo to floor me these days. It's a very short demo and left me wanting more. Tons more. Luckily more stuff was to be found.

The "Find the Flock" 12" was recorded at Dead Air Studios in late 2011 and released on March19, 2012 on Katorga Works / Deranged Records. Ten tracks of pissed off hardcore punk. A bit of an '80s DC vibe at times. Not as urgent or violent as the "Spring Trash" demo, these songs are more refined and fleshed out. Some catchy tracks on here. Standout for me is "Party Trick", just a perfect hardcore track. The kind you wish would never end. The opening track "First Against the Wall" is a killer as well, with some great melodic guitar work. Solid stuff.

The "Spring Trash" demo is the highlight here. It was recorded in the spring of 2010 and self released on cassette the same year. It was  later released as a 7" on Hardware Records out of Germany in 2012. A hundred were released on white vinyl. This is an extremely raw and dirty sounding demo with negative anti-everything lyrics. It's also a very short demo, only 4 songs. 4 short songs even. Still, this is one of my favorite hardcore demos in years. The first track "Cheap Blood" just comes barreling out of the gate. Seriously one of the most pissed off tracks you'll hear. It's over before you can take a breath and then comes the massive "Scholarship" with it's crushing dirge like riffs. While you're wondering how they can possibly top that track, "Cold Comfort" (after it's false start to which the singer says "too slow") takes off like a rocket. Probably the fastest and most vicious song on the tape, with the psychotic sounding chorus of "Drag me out!". The closer "Loss of Freedom" is a mid-paced burst of anger with the Spring Trash theme in the lyrics. After that comes "Cheap Blood" again, because you'll be sure to start the demo over when it's finished. I love everything Natural Law ever did, but they never matched the intensity of this first effort.

The "Slump" 7" was recorded at Dead Air Studios in July of 2010 and released on Katorga Works / Hesitation Wound on November 1, 2010. 500 copies pressed.Six more killer tracks, and much more like a continuation of the "Spring Trash" demo than the LP and second demo. Once again a very short recording. The longest track is roughly one minute.

The "Coming of Age" teaser cassette was self-released in March of 2011. Five four-track demos of songs that would later be re-recorded for their LP. These are killer songs and it's great to hear them in their primitive origins, but the LP versions are a hundred times better.

Bob "Goblin" Cook - vocals
Colman Durkee - guitar
Bob Santucci - bass
Jay Wiggin - drums

Bob Cook also played in Nuclear Spring and Failed States. I've never heard either band (but i plan to fix that soon), and i'm not sure if either are still active. Colman Durkee played in CREEM, Nuclear Spring and several other bands. Bob Santucci played in Sick Fix, Bloodtype, Special Patrol Group and more. Jay Wiggins played in CREEM, Hounds of Hate, Black Kites and more.

Check out the "Natural Law" website here.

Dry-Rot were a hardcore band that formed in Santa Barbara in 2004 from the ashes of 2 bands, Blood Dumpster and Hit The Deck. Their sound is hard to describe, and they definitely hardcore in any straight forward or conventional way. Imagine all the members of Void dropping LSD, playing a session and recording the results. Actually that would sound NOTHING like Dry-Rot, but i have no other way to describe what it is they're doing. Their music is chaotic, discordant, extremely diverse, and they play a wide range of styles, sometimes all in the same song. The goal for the band's approach was summer up by guitarist Jordan in an interview with Swingset magazine:

...we wanted to make music that we imagined might have been made if/when people attempted fast, heavy music in the early ’60s. Look, we all know about the Stooges, Blue Cheer, et al. But there are hundreds, maybe thousands of bands (with ad infinitum ideas) that never made it to a recording studio. I refuse to believe that a ‘hardcore’ beat was first played in the late 1970s. There is nothing new under the sun. So the impetus for the LP came less from imitating a certain band, per se, and more with re-imaging a sound that we were certain existed, but couldn’t prove; and then adding our spin to that.

Included here is the band's discography minus the "Hairless" 7" and the live double flexi 7"s, "Jingle on the Records" which came out in 2011.

The "Philistine" LP was released in 2009 on Parts Unknown Records. The lyrics were printed on the record sleeve and it included a fold out poster and order form. There was an edition of 100 with screen printed sleeves (completely different cover art). This is my favorite Dry-Rot material. The music is all over the place and they always manage to keep it interesting. From frantic, deranged hardcore, to jazzy interludes to just all out madness. Mental patients with instruments.

The "Subordinate" 7" was recorded on March 17th and 18th of 2007 at Rockwell Sounds and released on Painkiller in 2007. Sleeve forms an 8-sided fold-on booklet with lyrics and art. First press was 638 copies, 218 on clear vinyl, 420 on black. Second press was 420 all on black. This is a concept EP based on the true events of a cult leader who imprisoned victims in holes in his backyard, shaving and painting their heads. Dark stuff, but actually ending on a positive note with "Release".

The "This is a Forest / Lumberyard" EP was released on Dear Healer Records in 2006. They abandon hardcore completely here in favor of some weird abstract variation of jazz, electronics and ambient. Like a soundtrack to some surreal movie. In this collection it makes for a nice intermission. I like it.

Dry-Rot's debut 7", "Permission", was released on Cold Vomit Records in 2006. 500 copies pressed. Side A (labeled side D on the vinyl) was 7 songs recorded with Brian Wallace, the tenor sax player for Sublime. The band wanted someone who knew absolutely nothing about hardcore and was completely ignorant of the whole process. On top of that the band hadn't practiced for over a week prior to recording. The session was tracked in one day with no overdubs. The B side (labeled side R) was a jam that guitarist Jordan made up on the spot right there in the studio. They just hit the record button and basically released an improv rehearsal as the flip side. According to Jordan the whole record was a mess. A mess they were shooting for. It definitely has an inept charm. Awesome cover too.

"Permission", "This is a Forest / Lumberyard", and "Subordinate" were all released on a CD ingeniously called "3 Records on 1 CD" released on Parts Unknown Records in 2008. The songs in this collection were taken from the CD versions. The CD also included 2 tracks recorded live on KCPR 93.1 FM in 2007.

Original lineup
DrewWardlaw - vocals
Jordan Darby - guitar
Cameron Squire - bass
Patrick Landfair - drums

2009 lineup
DrewWardlaw - vocals
Jordan Darby - guitar
Adam Jacino - bass
Tony Cicero - drums

Many members of Dry-Rot were also in the bands Constant Fear and Heavy Air,  and Tony Cicero played drums for Saccharine Trust. And be sure to check out Jordan's new experimental band Uranium Orchard.

Vaccine were a powerviolence band from Leverett, Massachusetts who existed from 2009-2013. Although i'm a huge fan of all the post-Infest stuff that came out of the West Coast during the '90s, I've not into the more modern bands that basically just emulate Crossed Out. I do like some of the newer PV bands like To The Point, Dead Language, Gas Chamber, Mind Eraser, The Endless Blockade and Iron Lung, but those bands are far from Crossed Out clones. The one band that followed the Crossed Out formula that blew me away was Vaccine. They took the whole 'faster parts even faster, slower parts even slower' approach and did it in a vicious, raw way. Like Crossed Out, their songs were condensed bursts of anger, but they weren't just trying to copy that sound. I think their stuff stands out. Their records are crushing.

The demo was recorded May 24th, 2009 at Dead Air Studios. It was self-released on cassette, with insert. Clean Plate / Red Room Records released the demo as a one-sided 7" the same year (several pressings), and re-released it in 2012 on green vinyl as the European Tour edition. 

The "Human Hatred" 7" was recorded at Dead Air and released on Painkiller Records in 2010. I love this record. Great minimal (in that MITB kinda way), and extremely pissed off lyrics. Anti-drugs, Christianity, consumerism, patriotism, and humanity in general. "Humans are the worst fucking failures". Family music.

The "Crimes in Blood" 5" was released on January 18, 2011. Once again recorded at Dead Air. Once again released by Painkiller, and once again great angry hardcore. Three pressings. First on gray marble and black. Second on black, and third on pink.

The Vaccine / Coke Bust split 7" was released in July of 2012 on Refuse Records out of Poland. It was repressed on Drugged Conscience Records in 2013 with new cover art. First pressing of 200 copies on yellow vinyl for mail-order and directly from the bands themselves. Came in a two color silk screened cover housed in a resealable poly bag. There was also a limited edition of 40 hand numbered copies with different covers for Damaged City Fest, Washington DC, 04/12/13. And there was some crazy super sized edition (3'x3') given to a fan at the Infest/Vaccine show in Miami FL. The record was housed in a giant cardboard sleeve with artwork pasted on either side. This split is maybe my favorite Vaccine material. It's actually some of my favorite stuff by either band. One of the best splits of the past 10 years. Last Vaccine track has additional vocals by Meghan Minior, vocalist of Relics.

The "Dead Inside" 7" was released on Cut the Cord That... Records out of Germany in 2012. Folded sleeve with lyrics printed inside. 300 copies were pressed of a 2012 European tour edition, handnumbered on dust sleeve. It was also released the same year on Painkiller with limited red vinyl available from Painkiller mail-order. Ten tracks of violence with the most minimal lyrics yet. Each line being one or two words. Bleak stuff.

Vaccine's final record was a split 7" with No Faith, released on Vinyl Rites in December of 2013. 550 on black vinyl and 220 copies on clear vinyl. No Faith is pretty much Vaccine with a different guitar player. Although i haven't heard No Faith yet, from what i've heard, there's no similarity to Vaccine. That would probably be obvious just because they contribute only one song on this split.

Matt McKeown - vocals
Will Killingsworth - bass
Matt Swift - guitar
Joe Shumsky - drums

Members of Vaccine have also played in Think I Care, R'n'R, Orchid, Relics, Close Call, Laceration, Ampere, Failures, Fit For Abuse and plenty more. Quite a resume. I highly recommend every one of those bands.

Check out the Vaccine bandcamp here. And you can still check out their now defunct blog here.

Activator are a crossover thrash metal band from New York City. The band was founded by vocalist Shannon Moore who, after being mentored by Dr. Know of Bad Brains and Mackie of the Cro-Mags, decided to form a band with the hopes of combining '80s hardcore and current metal. In fact, Gary Sullivan, who played drums for the Cro-Mags between 2002-2003, was in the original Activator lineup. Gary split because of other obligations, and Shannon recruited his lineup that would go on to record their debut EP.


Shannon Moore - vocals
Jared Drace - guitar
Willie Paredes - bass
Sunny Leejean - drums

The "Unfortunate Lovely" 5 song EP was recorded by Scott Harding, who worked with Wu Tang, Gravediggaz, Black Sheep and tons more, at his studio in Greenpoint. It was released on October 7, 2009 as a free digital download by Afropunk. The influences on these 5 songs are all over the place. I can hear elements of NY crossover bands like Leeway and mid-period Agnostic Front, Slayer, Bad Brains, Iron Maiden, Bad Brains, Black Sabbath, Candiria, Burn, '70s rock, death metal, rap... which sounds like a big mess on paper, but these songs are perfectly crafted, and not a bit overdone. The EP has a great raw, live in the studio sound that captures the band's intensity perfectly. The opening track "Shackles" is my fave, but the whole thing rips from start to finish. I've also included some great sounding songs recorded live in NYC. They cover "Hybrid Moments" and do the intro to Leeway's "Rise and Fall" as a lead-in to one of their songs. It sounds massive.

Activator released a full length LP a little over a year ago that you can check out on their bandcamp page. The new songs sound great, but as far as the songs that were re-recorded, i prefer the EP versions. I just think the band sounds better with a less polished sound. The LP cover is excellent. It looks like a vintage late '80s crossover thrash LP. Faccebook page here.

Crazy Spirit are a demented punk hardcore band from NYC. Their music is hard to describe. I've read reviews comparing them to Germs, Discharge, GISM, "Pollywog Stew" era Beastie Boys, and Cheetah Chrome Motherfuckers. Their music definitely does have the same vibe as the early CCM demos, but to me it sounds a hell of a lot like a darker version of the New Bomb Turks "Destroy-Oh-Boy" album. Almost all the songs have that same galloping drumbeat like in the Turk's "Born Toulouse-Lautrec". Now just add a bit of a Rudimentary Peni vibe, from the bass playing, to the creepy lyrics, right down to the band artwork (by bassist Sam Ryser and guitarist Eugene Terry), which looks like Nick Blinko trying to draw Jeff Gaither paintings. In other words, the whole thing is awesome.

The Band's self-titled 12" came out on Toxic State Records in 2012, included with poster insert and booklet. The whole thing's loaded with scratchy and meticulous psychotic art. It's also loaded with great punk songs. "Train" and "Baseball Bat" are standouts for me.

The demo was released on cassette by Toxic State in 2009 and then as a 12" in 2011. A 12" version was also released by Quality Control HQ out of the UK in 2011. This version was remastered at Abbey Road studios. 400 normal editions. 50 limited editions. 50 tour editions. This demo is my favorite Crazy Spirit stuff. The raw, lo-fi production and bizarre soundbites all add to the freak show. They also released two 7" records between 2010-2011, both containing re-recorded songs from the demo as well as new tracks. There was also a new demo that came out last year, which i haven't heard yet.

Walker Behl - vocals
Eugene Terry - guitar
Sam Ryser - bass
Henry Wood - drums

Members of Crazy Spirit were/are also in Dawn of Humans and Perdition. Facebook page here.

I'm sure The Repos need no introduction. I have a collection of their earlier work on the blog already. I was psyched when they reformed as The Ropes not too long after their breakup, and they put out some killer stuff under that name. Then of course they changed back to The Repos and eventually put out my favorite recordings of theirs. 

The "Lost Still Losing" cassette album was recorded in Chicago in 2012 and released on Youth Attack Records in 2013. They rip through 17 quick tracks of no-frills hardcore seemingly influenced from some of my all time favorite bands. Infest, Septic Death, Jerry's Kids (especially the tracks from the "This Is Boston Not LA" comp) and early Poison Idea. As a bonus i've loaded this up with lots of tracks from other 7"s and demos, including the 2013 demo "Poison Head", which has the rough tracks from the "Lost Still Losing" release. I like the demo versions much more personally. Much of this stuff was mixed or remastered by Will Killingsworth, the bass player for Vaccine.

Aaron Aspinwall - vocals
Joe Phillips - guitar
Andrew Hinton - Bass
Adam Sharani - bass (Lost Not Losing cassette)
Craig Seeman - drums

Aaron also played in Charles Bronson, Christ Mess, Pretentious Assholes and Das Oath. Joe played in Mushuganas, Andrew played in Vile Gash, Violent End and Mugger.  Adam played in The Killers. Craig played in Chronic Seizure and Mushuganas.

The Repos facebook here.

This next band is not a hardcore band, but i've been listening to it so much i wanted to include it here. The Bellicose Minds are a dark post-punk band that formed in 2009 in Portland, Oregon. To me they sound like The Cure playing '80s anarcho-punk. Addictive stuff, and currently my fave band playing in the goth punk style.

"The Buzz Or Howl Sessions" was recorded at Buzz Or Howl Studios in Portland Oregon in the Fall of 2009 and self-released on cassette in 2010. It was remastered and released as a 10" (black and clear vinyl) in 2013 by A389 Recordings. This is my favorite release by The Bellicose Minds by far. All five tracks are great but the first track "OD" (Oppression Depression) is just perfect. All the elements that are great about this band condensed into three minutes. The 10" record is available here.

"The Spine" LP was recorded at Buzz Or Howl Studios in  June of 2012, released on Black Water Records in 2013. It was also released on Sabotage Records out of Germany.

Nick Bellicose - guitar / vocals / synth
Mira Bellicose - bass
Aj Bellicose - drums
The Bellicose Minds bandcamp here and facebook here.

That's really just a taste of my favorite hardcore post-2000. Many more are hidden throughout this post. 15 Easter Eggs this time. Other favorites:

Pukeoid Demo and 7" of old old school sounding dirty primitive HC. Think the Infest demo with a guitar sound that sounds like The FU's or something. Vigilante Demo and LP of NYHC sounding HC from Australia. Big Altercation influence. They even cover Altercation's "Vigilante Song". The demo is especially great. Nails The "Unsilent Death" LP is massive violent HC with a Celtic Frost vibe. Think I Care Angry shit. Lots of releases. I especially love the self-titled 7" and LP. Cold Sweat The "Severed Ties" 12" is my fave. Crushing and frantic. For fans of Siege. In other words, for everyone reading this. Cult Ritual I dig the LP most. A nice mix of Born Against and Black Flag. Sacred Love I've only heard the first 7" on Youngblood. Bad Brains influence obviously. Quickness era to be precise. Life Trap Two great 7"s of fast HC. Like early Poison Idea. Manpig Matt Domino of infest on guitar and vocals. Davies of "No Man's Slave" era Infest on drums. LP of songs originally written in 1992 and re-recorded sporadically from 2004-2010. Now we just need a Mouthfart LP!! Sex Vid Lots of great releases but i'll take the demo. Sounds like it coulda been recorded in '82. The "Communal Living" LP is great too. Rival Mob Love that Neanderthal bass sound. Mob Justice! Tremors great demo tape. Opening track "Hometown Hatred" is an instant classic. Iron Age HC with an early Metallica vibe (especially on the first LP). The "Saga Demos" is best. Warkrime Like Koro meets The Accused? I'm not that great at descriptions. Iceage I'm only really into the second LP "You're Nothing". Great album. Magic Circle Not HC, but a great Sabbath vibe, which is always HC to me.

Also: all the new Bastard Noise releases, Boston Strangler, Slices, Altered Boys. Career Suicide, Punch In The Face, The Men, Vile Gash, Mind Eraser, Hounds Of Hate, Hope Collapse, Fed Up, Condominium, Nomos, Wild Child, Endless Blockade, Fucked Up, To The Point, Pregnant, Snuff Film, Hoax, Hatred Surge, Extortion, Sucked Dry, Male Nurses, AShtoDUST, Creem, Tear It Up, Prisoner Abuse, Pollution, Knucklescraper, Dawn Of Humans, White Lung, Book Burner, NASA Space Universe, Total Abuse, Dead Language, new stuff by Despise You, Agents of Satan, Infest, Dropdead, Lack Of Interest, Apt 213... probably a hundred more i'm forgetting.

On the more punk side: Marked Men, Lost Sounds, Spits, Shards, FM Knives, Smalltown, The Bomb, Kill The Hippies, The Observers, The Pulses, Moral Hex, Milk Music, Phantom Limbs, Makthaverskan, The Shards, The Girls, Arctic Flowers, Epoxies, Merchandise, the Naked Raygun 7" Series...

I'm always looking for more so if you have suggestions please leave a comment. If you're in a band you think i might like, please drop me a link. I would appreciate it.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Jawbreaker - Rarities 1989-1995 (Revised edition)

There are quite a few collections on this blog that i've been meaning to upgrade since many of them were compiled and posted before i had the technology to improve on the sound. The Jawbreaker rarities collection was always at the top of the list.

There are certain songs/records that have such an impact that you remember where you were when you first heard them. For me it was (keeping strictly to punk/HC) the Bad Brains "Roir Tape", The "EPs of Rudimentary Peni", the Jerry's Kids tracks from TIBNLA, Infest "Slave" LP, the Citizen's Arrest 7", Assuck "Anticapital", Christian Death "Only Theatre..." and countless others. First hearing Jawbreaker was one of those life-changing moments for me. My first exposure to the band was the song Eye-5. It was probably 1990, and as usual i was sitting in my room back in Jersey, recording the Pat Duncan radio show. I had never heard anything like Eye-5 before. It seemed far removed from most of what was being played on WFMU at the time. I knew right off the bat there was something special about this band. This was a couple years before the emo explosion, and the only other band at the time that hit me the same way was Moss Icon. Like usual, when a band i hear on FMU floors me, i waited patiently for Pat to come on and list the bands he just played. After getting my crucial info, I immediately took the trip over to NYC and found copies of the "Whack and Blite" and "Busy" 7"s. Most likely from the basement of Generation Records. I was also able to get my hands on some of those Shredder Records "World in Shreds" comps, one of which had an early version of Jawbreaker's "Shield Your Eyes". Those great comps also turned me on to A Priori and The Parasites. Eventually i picked up Jawbreaker's debut LP "Unfun" which became my holy grail. I played that album all summer long, and everyone i played it for seemed just as enthusiastic as i was about it. As much as i loved all the amazing new hardcore that was coming out in 1990-1991, this album was next level for me, and all these years later it still has the same impact. Everything about it... the discordant guitar work, the samples playing over the music, the raspy vocals, the personal lyrics, and most especially the top notch songwriting. For me it seems to be timeless, but i can still see how it's a "time and place album". If i had heard it now for the first time i doubt it would have such an impact, but in the early '90s Jawbreaker became this larger than life band for myself and a few friends. Bivouac was just as powerful. Tracks like Sleep, Donatello, P.S. NY Is Burning and Like A Secret was some of the band's most layered and expertly crafted songs. They were more experimental for a better way to put it. Kinda like the way side 2 of Buzzcocks' "A Different Kind of Tension" (1979) was different than anything they recorded prior. I kinda felt that way about Naked Raygun's "Jettison" LP, which for some reason i kind of associate with Bivouac. The progression from "All Rise" to "Jettison", in my mind was similar to the Unfun/Bivouac progression. Just a connection that has always stuck with me. Same for both band's next LPs, which both seemed to revert to a more straight forward poppy approach. A regression, as i though "24 Hour Revenge Therapy" (like "Understand"), would expand on the band's new approach, and be their most experimental and epic albums yet, and got the exact opposite. 24 Hour does have some great songs scattered throughout, but as a whole i though it was more of an "instant gratification" album, which hasn't stood the test of time the way Unfun or Bivouac has. I'm probably in the minority with this opinion, as I usually see 24 Hour praised more than all their other efforts. I also notice the same critics who gush over 24 Hour (the bigger publication critics anyway) consider Unfun to be a lackluster debut. Pitchfork dismises the band's early work as Jawbreaker "reveals their younger selves as just another band with a stack of Fugazi records". Critics without a clue basically. 

A few months before 24 Hour was released i got to see Jawbreaker for the first time at ABC No Rio. This was at a time when i was going to ABC just about every weekend, without knowing who was playing, just to be part of the great atmosphere of that place in the early '90s. And although i'd seen dozens of shows there, including pretty 'big in the underground' bands like Assuck, Born Against, Rorschach, Chisel etc, i'd never seen it as packed as that Jawbreaker show. It was wall to wall, elbow to elbow of smiling faces. When they played it was pure magic, and the only time i literally had goosebumps at a punk show. I saw them the very next night at CBGB and they were great of course, but it wasn't the same intimate experience as seeing them in the crowded basement of ABC. One of, if not my favorite shows ever.

I remember racing to the record store the day Dear You came out, racing back home, throwing it on the turntable, only to think 'what the fuck is this?'. Everything i loved about the band was gone. The urgency, the loose guitar work, Blake's raspy vocals, the samples, and especially the raw production. It was like a castrated version of the real thing. Over the years it grew on me, and i still love the song Chemistry, but at this point the album just bores me, and i can't get through more than a few songs. Oh well. They were an amazing band, and it had to end sometime. 

Here's the revised Jawbreaker Rarities comp that was originally posted in February of 2009. Better sound all around on this one, and all tracks adjusted to the same volume. Enjoy.

Jawbreaker Rarities: Demos and Live

Copied (and updated) from the original post from 2009:

The first half of this collection is comprised of 1989 demo tracks. The demos (referred to as Demo #1 and Demo #2) are pretty accessible on the web, but in this collection there are 2 tracks, If I Could and Better Off, that are omitted from all copies i've seen. There is one more rare demo track (omitted from Demo #1) called Good 45, which unfortunately i couldn't locate a decent sounding rip of. I decided not to include certain tracks from Demo #2 (Gutless, Fantastic Planet, and With or Without U2), because those exact versions were released on various comps and splits, including the Etc. CD put out by Blackball. The demo tracks for Rich, Split, Caroline, Better Half, Driven, Imaginary War and Want were later re-recorded and released on various splits and comps. "Rich" was released on the  "Hardcore Breakout USA" comp LP (New Red Archives 1990). "Split" was released on the split 7" with Samiam (No Idea Records 1991). "Caroline" was released on the "Brouhaha" comp 7" (Piggly Wiggly Records 1991). Other bands on the comp: Monsula, Nuisance and Cringer. Re-released on Broken Rekids in 1995. "Better Half" was released on the split 7" with Crimpshrine (Skene Records 1993). Recorded 2/3/89 at The Studio, Santa Monica, CA. "Driven", "Imaginary War" and "Want" were all released on the "Unfun" LP (Shredder Records 1990).

The second half of the collection is all various live songs recorded between 1990-1996. All of them are live versions of unreleased songs except for Eye-5, which i included because it's an incredible version of my all time favorite Jawbreaker song. Chasing the Wild Goose was originally written by Bad Religion, and Just What I Needed was originally written by the Cars (killer cover). Thanks to Imagnry War and Smegma for their help with this. 

As a bonus i've added this live radio sessions comp. 

Jawbreaker: The 1990 Radio Sessions

Next up on the revision list is Warzone, but i have a few posts ready to go before that happens. About a half dozen Easter Eggs in this one. Take care.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Rain On The Parade - 1995-2000

For me, hardcore was consistently great from it's inception (roughly 1980) up until about 1993. It never seemed to lose steam during those years, and was constantly reinventing itself (the 3 key years for me were 1982, 1987 and 1990). After the initial classic bands of the early to mid '80s ended, the hardcore scene on the East Coast blew up in the late '80s. Between 1986 and 1989 the New York hardcore scene was probably the biggest scene there was. Certainly in the US. Unfortunately it seemed to die off just as fast as it flourished, and was pretty much over (aside from a few die-hards who stuck it out) by the close of the '80s. But... before you could say "what happened", along came the New Breed. The early '90s brought in the ABC No Rio scene, with a handful of great bands who made hardcore music sound vital again. During that same time came the "poweviolence" bands that started on the West Coast with a few key crucial bands influenced by Infest, but the sound was quickly adapted all over the States, as well as internationally. Most notably Germany and Japan. Then there was the emo/indie explosion of the early '90s as well. Bands influenced by Rites of Spring, Husker Du and The Hated, as well as Slint (think Moss Icon and Native Nod),  seemed to be coming out of the woodwork. It was an exciting time for underground music. A very varied and experimental time, filled with more great bands than i had time to keep track of. Then of course, sometime in the mid '90s, it all seemed to come to an end, just as NYHC came to an end some years before. Only this time, there was nothing hiding around the corner ready to take it's place. In my opinion, the late '90s was the single worst time for hardcore and punk. There were still a few good bands hanging on, releasing some decent music, but for the most part all the creativity and that overall sense that "something special is happening here" was lost. For a while there seemed to be a revival of the "youthcrew" sound. Instead of heading in yet another new direction, hardcore bands reverted to a more generic and basic approach to their music. Gone were the thought provoking lyrics of bands like Born Against, Burn and Rorschach, the minimal nihilistic lyrics of bands like MITB and Crossed Out, the 'heart on your sleeve' lyrics of bands like Heroin, Jawbreaker and Moss Icon. Instead, bands opted for songs about who has the biggest crew. drugs are bad, and getting stabbed in the back by your friends. There were literally hundreds of songs based on these themes, as if there was simply nothing else anyone wanted to express. It was a sad time, but like all genres, there were some diamonds in the rough. I really liked the music of Floorpunch for instance, aside from the lyrics. 97A were great. His Hero Is Gone, Devoid Of Faith... I'm sure there were tons of kids who were into all the youthcrew and metalcore that took over. Personally i just couldn't take a band called Sportwear or whatever seriously. So i just played my old records, went to the occasional show (mostly reunions, or great bands that hadn't yet thrown in the towel), and bid my time. At some point hardcore did become interesting again. I'm not sure when it happened exactly, but now especially, there are shitloads of kickass bands playing in a wide variety of sounds.

So, with that little rant out of the way (which is sure to piss certain people off), sometime during the hardcore drought of 1997-2000, i discovered a bunch of bands that became a saving grace. Two bands in particular that seemed to come out of nowhere and rise way above everything else in the scene were Life's Halt and Rain On The Parade. Two amazing bands who couldn't have sounded more different, yet both seemed to come at the perfect time, and injected a shot of much needed adrenaline into a stale scene. I'd say Life's Halt's "We Sold Our Souls For Hardcore" and ROTP's "Full Speed Ahead" were two of (if not the) best hardcore records in the US during the late '90s. A few other great hardcore bands/records sprung up during the late '90s as well, and lots of fastcore/powerviolence bands were still going strong right up until the end of the '90s and beyond. Just take a look at the track list for the Bllleeeeaaauuurrrrgghhh! - A Music War comp 7" on Slap A Ham which came out in '98. And as much as a i love most of that stuff, if the music didn't have blast-beats, or on the flipside, was slowed down to a snail's crawl, it seemed to take a backseat. I guess that's why Life's Halt and Rain On The Parade had such an impact. They played hardcore. No outside influences, no "crew" lyrics, and certainly not part of any subgenre. Just hardcore.

I put together a Life's Halt discography a while back and figured it was about time to do the same for Rain On The Parade. I've assembled a discography which i'm pretty sure is complete. 58 songs compiled from 9 different releases, spanning 1995-2000. As usual, all tracks have been adjusted to the same volume, and any recordings taken from vinyl or cassette have been cleaned and the sound quality improved to the best of my abilities. Enjoy!

Rain On The Parade: 1995-2000

Rain On The Parade was based in Philadelphia and formed by vocalist Ronny "Sarge" Little in the summer of 1994. According to vocalist Ronnie "Sarge" Little, the original name for the band was Glue, which was changed in the summer on '95 to Rain On The Parade after a Half Off song from the album "The Truth" from 1987. The band quickly released their first demo in 1995. Usually referred to as the Summer Tour '95 Demo, it contained 6 songs, 3 of them exclusive to the tape. The sound quality on the '95 demo isn't as good as the rest of the discography, but still sounds pretty damn good, and is easily the hardest to find of all the ROTP material.

The "Body Bag" 7" was recorded at Signal Sound in April of '96 and released on Contention Records. It was reissued on It's Alive Records later that same year on red clear vinyl and modifies artwork. The CD version was released on Contention/Soulforce Records (also in '96) and contained 4 tracks from the "Contention Records Demo", which are my favorite tracks on the CD. The CD also has a different track order than the 7" version. The demo tracks are listed as "untitled" on online sourced such as Discogs, but the correct track titles are listed on the CD i have, which i guess could be a later pressing which was updated. I have no idea if those 4 tracks (They Live, Everybody But #1, Do Or Die and Bang!) make up the entire demo. If that's not the case, and anyone has the entire demo, please post in the comments section. The song "Resolution" also appeared on the "Extent Silver Five Inch Collection Vol. 2" compilation CD on Extent Fanzine. Year unknown. Body Bag is a great record, and a hell of a debut. I get the feeling after reading the lyrics to the title track that Sarge and company weren't a a big fan of crossover. Easy to see from listening to their songs, they liked their hardcore "pure". Fave song on the EP (CD version) is They Live. One of my favorite hardcore songs of the late '90s.

Body Bag lineup:
Ronny "Sarge" Little - vocals
Justin Phillips - guitar
Dave Sadawski (DII) - guitar
Don Devore - bass
Bill Perri - drums

After the release of the Body Bag 7":
Matt Smith replaces Don Devore on bass
Chris Ross replaces Bill Perri on drums

With this revised lineup the band released their second 7", the incredible "Full Speed Ahead". Recorded at Signal Sound Studios in early Spring of 1997 and released the same year on My War Records. Bill Perri played drums on "Do Or Die" and "Things Are Bad Enough" (i'm guessing these tracks were already recorded with the former drummer, but who knows?). The band pressed a limited "DC Sleeve" (Bad Brains Roir Tape parody cover) for their show at the Safari Club in Washington, DC on 08/03/97 where they played with Battery and Ten Yard Fight. Only 44 made. Green wax. Even more rare was the super limited "Rain X Crew" sleeve. 15 made. Clear vinyl. "Full Speed Ahead" is my favorite ROTP release. The production is much more raw than the "Body Bag" 7", and the sound is just fuller overall. Plus it helps that this was the first ROTP record i ever heard and it was a breath of fresh air to hear a no-frills hardcore band lost in a sea of subgenres. I played the shit out of this record when i first got it, and putting this collection together, it was great to revisit it. Fave song - the 18 second "Guest List". "Stamp my hand! Stamp my hand!". Also love the updated version of the classic "Do Or Die".

The "Fired Up" 7" has a bit of a story behind it. Apparently things weren't going so great for ROTP for a while there and Ronny and Matt wanted to do a side band a bit more raw sounding. They also tried to keep it a secret from the rest of the band, which didn't work out so well, leading to some animosity between members (most notably Justin and Ronny). For Fired Up, Matt played guitar as opposed to bass and they practiced with Brian Fayhe from Purpose on drums, eventually recorded a demo in 1998. They actually played one show under the name Fired Up. They recruited their friend Steve Sherk to play bass and were booked as a "surprise special guest" at a Floorpunch/Vision show in DC. Brian soon quit Fired Up. Through some friends, it was suggested that a drummer named Tom Patterson fill in. But before Tom could join Fired Up, Justin and Ronny patched things up and reformed ROTP, taking on Tom Patterson as their new drummer (Tom would play with the band until they split up in 2000). The Fired Up demo wound up being distributed under the name Rain On The Parade even though only half the band actually played on it. Youngblood eventually released the "Fired Up" 7" in December of 2000, complete with 3-panel foldout cover with lyrics and pictures. The record release for Fired Up was ROTP's last show. It took place on December 8, 2000 at Wayne Firehouse in Wayne, NJ with Mouthpiece, Time Flies, Striking Distance and Down in Flames.

"The Time Is Now" compilation 7" was released on Tension Records in 1997 and came with Tension Building #4 fanzine. The ROTP track on the comp, "Down In Flames" was later re-recorded for the band's full length in 2000. The other bands on the comp were Floorpunch, Hands Tied, Ten Yard Fight and Rancor.

The "Growing Stronger" (A Positive Hardcore Compilation) 7" was released om Teamwork/In My Blood Records in 1997. The cover folded out into an 11"x17' lyric sheet. Rain On The Parade's contribution was a killer exclusive track called "Class of '89". One of my faves. The other bands were Ensign, Pushed Too Far, Atari, Floorpunch and 97A.

The "It's A Verb" comp 2xCD was released in March of 1999 on Revelation Records. Fastbreak, Voice of Reason, ROTP, Time Will Tell, Up Front and Follow Through, all recorded live on 05/03/98 at the Tune Inn in New Haven CT, 23 tracks total. Rain On The Parade tear through 5 tracks, picking up the pace considerably compared to the studio versions. Excellent sound quality.

"When It Rains It Pours" was the band's only full length as well as their swan song, It was recorded at Signal Sound Studios in Quakertown, PA during July and August of 1999, and released on CD by Siren Electric in 2000. About Face Records/Zine released the very limited "Winter Tour Edition" the same year, Revised cover artwork. 300 pressed. Some with Dischord parody cover.

"When It Rains It Pours" lineup:
Ronny Little - vocals
Dave Sadowski - guitar
Justin Phillips - guitar
Matt Smith - bass
Tom Patterson - drums

tracks 4-5: guitar - Jamie Heine
tracks 13-14: drums - Bill Peri

"Clean The Air" was released on the "Punk Uprisings Vol. 2" comp LP on Go-Kart Records in 1997.
"Piper's Pit" and "Forgiven" were released on "The Rebirth of Hardcore" LP on Ray Cappo's label, Supersoul Recordings in 1999. That comp also featured tracks by Better Than A Thousand, Ten Yard Fight, Battery, Fastbreak... you know, the usual.

"When It Rains..." is a great album. Although it seems more like an anthology than a proper full length.  It's basically a collection of songs that were on the band's EPs, comp tracks, and new songs all thrown together. The sound seems to vary as well, but i think that only adds to it's charm. The 2 opening tracks (both new songs) are mid paced rippers. "Hand Over Your X's" which compares violent SxEx kids to Hitler Youth, and "The First Step" which is a sing-along classic. From there it's just track after track of memorable hardcore punk songs. Along with the opener, my fave has to be "Scorched Earth Tactics", a song about destroying venues. "It's a Veteran's Hall. Not a fucking ghetto wall! Your tags have closed the doors. Won't be no shows here anymore." Awesome.

Six Easter Eggs in this post. Worth the hunt.