I put together an Assfactor 4 collection many years ago, but after recently listening to it i realized it needed a massive upgrade (it was crap). I worked on this new collection over the past few months and can easily say it was the most time i've ever put into anything on this blog. I worked on each and every track until i was satisfied that the entire discography was uniform in sound quality and volume. I'm especially proud of this one. Hopefully an official Assfactor 4 discography sees the light of day in the future, it's long overdue. Assorted Porkchops, get on that shit!
Assfactor 4 Discography
Assfactor 4 from South Carolina formed in 1992 by two members of Tonka (Jay and Alex) and two members of Unherd (Eric and Kevin). I discovered this great band by reading a review of the "Smoked Out" 7" in the pages of MRR back in '94. I had never even heard of Assfactor 4 at the time, but the review said something about AF4 taking the best parts of Rorschach and condensing them into short songs, filling a 7" EP with 9 memorable tracks. Obviously i was curious as Rorscach was one of my favorite hardcore bands of the '90s. I'm pretty sure i ordered "Smoked Out" through Vacuum mailorder (i think i spent just about every penny i made on Vacuum during the early '90s). Anyway, the record floored me. Sure, there were some Rorchach influence, but this was something more, The music was fast, frantic and disjointed yet still melodic. The whole thing sounded like it could collapse at any second. The lyrics were as personal as i'd heard on a HC record, screamed like an adolescent version of Charles Maggio. It was like some unpopular high school kid's diary set to manic music. Just read the lyrics to the first track.
I'm too skinny, don't bother crushing me like meat between your "wisdom"
and your "peace." Your boots have outrun my shoes and i don't know what
to do so i lose. This is highschool, i never knew what to do - i just
had to get that shit through.
And the second song starts - I am so tired i want to sleep and cry and dream of punk rock...
I had never heard anything quite like Assfactor 4 at the time. There were definite elements of bands like Merel and Heroin, but AF4 had their own unique sound. Their will never be another band that sounds like that. And even though they get lumped into the whole emo or "screamo" scene or whatever else, they're a hardcore band. Plain and simple.
Kevin (Evil Dean) - guitar / vocals
Eric (Cool Breeze) - guitar / vocals
Jay (Earth Boy) - bass / vocals
Alex (Commander Fun) - drums / vocals
The "Sports" LP was recorded in 1997 and released by Old Glory Records in 2000. This was the last Assfactor 4 album i heard, actually years after it came out. It was also the only one of their releases that didn't hit me immediately, probably due to the 10 year hiatus since first hearing the band. Now it's my favorite AF4 record, and maybe the best HC record released in 2000. Absolutely timeless, and a perfect swansong. Serious heartfelt punk hardcore that kicks you in the ass while retaining a great sense of humor. Song titles include "White House Is Alright If You Like Saxophones", "Forty'd Out And Feeling Gay", "Free Tibet And Pussy" and "Crank Up The 2short". Let's not forget the amazing Huey Lewis and the News parody cover, with band members and cats pasted on the actual 1983 Huey Lewis LP (also titled Sports), turning what looks like a scene from Cheers into a bizarre random collage. This is an excellent rip that you'd never believe was transferred from vinyl. Pretty much flawless, and i don't throw that word around casually.
The "Nothing's Quiet on The Eastern Front" comp was released on both LP and CD in 1996 on Reservoir Records. The LP came with a 16 page booklet. This is one of my favorite comps of the mid-'90s and is packed with killer East Coast hardcore bands active at the time. Mostly exclusive tracks from C.R. Devoid of Faith, Eucharist, Halfman, Coercion, Disassociate, AF4, Dropdead, Black Army Jacket, Brutal Truth, Judas Iscariot, Monster X and Suppression. The Assfactor 4 tracks are great. "Bonkee Number Three" is my fave track on the comp. "Cleenkee" is great as well, but it kind of pales in comparison. The Disassociate tracks are great as well. They contribute a batch of lo-fi demented songs (heavily influenced by MITB), that sound like they recorded the whole thing free-form in a pot smoke filled basement. It's awesome, and my fave thing they ever did. The Superfly (one of my all time fave movies) soundbite at the beginning of the Devoid of Faith song rules. Great cover art by Miguel Heredia. Concept by Andrew Orlando of Black Army Jacket and Reservoir Records. This was pretty much one of the last great comps of the '90s. About a year later the East Coast scene (and pretty much every other scene) was pretty much dead. It took a long time to recover.
The "Yo Hablo" comp 7" came out in 1996 on Lenguna Armada Discos, run by Martin of Los Crudos. Bands on the comp are Copout, Animal Farm, Arma Contra Arma, Haymarket, Jara, AF4 and Spitboy. As with most politically-minded Lenguna Armada releases, most lyrics deal with racism, sexism and other social problems. As with the "Nothing's Quiet on The Eastern Front" comp, the Assfactor 4 track is the best thing on the comp. To me anyway. "Boy Cult Seavers" is a ripper. I love the artwork and layout as well.
The Assfactor 4 self-titled LP was released in 1995 on Old Glory Records. It was recorded and mixed in 36 hours at Sweetwood Sounds in New Jersey. Unlike "Smoked Out", this album clicked on first listen. It's just an amazing collection of songs that still sounds great after 20 years. From the opening track "Hey Stinky" (with vocals by Charles of Rorschach) to the closer "Assfactor 4", it's just perfect, I listened to this album during the '90s more times than i can count, and i still listen to it today. Fave tracks are "I Reckon", "Fuck Hate Breeders", "Dorothy", and the killer cover of "Attempted Control" by Code of Honor from the great split LP with Sick Pleasure from 1982. I'm usually not big on covers, but not only is this an exceptional cover, it's also one of the highlights of the LP. Once again the record is filled with personal, sometimes humorous lyrics, and most of all, a shitload of memorable songs. A classic.
The "We've Lost Beauty: A Compilation For Christopher" comp LP was released in 1995 on File 13 Records. The comp was a tribute to Christopher Horne (1978-1994), the drummer of the band William Martyr 17 who was killed in a car accident in '94. The inserts include a memorial essay and a hand-assembled lyric book. The comp leans on the emo side of punk, even the cover and layout is in typical emo style. There are some great bands though, like Franklin and Current, but the Assfactor 4 track "Nemo" definitely stands out.
The "All The President's Men" comp LP was released in 1994 on Old Glory. The LP came with a 12 page booklet with info, and in some cases lyrics, for each band. The AF4 page reminds me of Ebullition for some reason. Once again this is a mostly emo punk comp, with a couple oddities thrown in, and once again Assfactor 4 steals the show with one of their best tracks ever, "Close Captioning For The Blind". This song opens the comp, and sets the bar too high for anything that follows. It's a pretty good comp though, and i remember spinning it quite a bit in the '90s. I really like the Hoover and Acme tracks.
The "Smoked Out" 7" was recorded in 2 days in March of '94. It was released in 1994 on Old Glory. The record contains a lyric and art sheet, and is housed in a fold-over cover, that when opened reveals the entire cover image. This is the best of their 7" EPs.
The "Sometimes I Suck" 7" was recorded at Jan Room Studio and released in 1993 on Repercussion Records. The songs "Is Love Just Jive Turkey?" and "Don't Fall In Love With..." were recorded in the winter of 1993. All other tracks were recorded in the summer of 1993. Lyric sheet included. Two different covers exist on Repercussion. There was also a pressing on Auricle Records, this version is a single sheet of 7" x 7" photocopied white paper printed on both sides. Lyrics/info included.
The Assfactor 4 / Rights Reserved split 7", also known as the "Underwater and Hatin' It" EP was released in 1993 on Fallen Squirrel Records. Two tracks by each band.
The song "Assfactor 4" was also on a compilation LP called "400 Day Headache" on Unite & Fight Records in 1993. Unfortunately that version is not in this collection. Also on that comp were tracks by pre-Assfactor bands Tonka and Unherd, as well as a great collection of pop-punk, hardcore and crust bands. The comp was a benefit for Rainforest Action Network. If anyone has a rip of that album, please hook me up.
Also not in the collection is the track "12 Years Of Living Hell" from the "Big Pants Waste Precious Fabric" comp CD released in 1995 on No Idea Records. It came with issue 11 of No Idea Fanzine. A slightly faster version of the song is on the self-titled LP, re-titled "Dear Grampa". I didn't include the original version as it would have put the collection just over 80 minutes. However, the "Big Pants..." comp is somewhere in this post for download. Just gotta hunt.
According to online sources, there's also an Assfactor 4 demo from '93. Good luck finding that.
Assfactor 4 - Live on WFMU 5/27/93
This is a great sounding set from one of the 2 times AF4 played live on Pat Duncan's show on WFMU. All tracks from the "Sometimes I Suck" 7" and split with Rights Reserved, plus the self-titled track from the "400 Day Headache" comp. The other WFMU set was recorded 1/07/93 and has a bunch of songs not on any releases. I'd love to hear that.
Nearly ten years after the break up, guitarist Evil Dean of AF4 and drummer Cuz got together with bassist Curly from the metal band Necrocide to continue in the tradition of Assfactor 4 (especially on the great "Parasitic Host" LP). The music is a bit heavier and less loose and chaotic than their '90s stuff, but that Assfactor 4 spirit is still there. On the heavier stuff, it kinda sounds to me like AF4 mixed with Ringworm.
The Sled demo was recorded in March of 2007 at The Jam Room in Columbia SC. It was self-released on CDR in '07. Most of the tracks are mid-paced and metallic, but a few songs, like "Whale" and "Metal Boy Band" stand out as a sign of what would be coming by 2011. The Sled self-titled LP was released on Lunchbox Records in 2010. Half the album was re-recordings of demo tracks. This is my least favorite Sled release. It's not bad really. I guess, based on the members, i was expecting more frantic, melodic hardcore and less Integrity crunch.
Sled's newest album, "Parasitic Host" is another animal completely. It was released in 2011 on Lunchbox, but i'm not sure if any actual vinyl or CD exists. You can download the album from the band's bandcamp page here. This one kills. Twelve tracks of fast melodic hardcore with screamed vocals. That old Assfactor vibe is definitely there this time, and the songs are as memorable as anything these guys ever did. Just perfect from beginning to end. Highest recommendation.
Unherd started in the fall of 1992 with AF4 members Eric and Kevin. Their 1993 self-titled LP on Assorted Porkchops is excellent. The LP is half straight-forward melodic hardcore rippers and half indie/emo/punk. Like a mix of Garden Variety, Chisel, Fugazi and even a bit of Moss Icon on some tracks. Unlike those bands, Unherd remained mostly unknown, as great as they were.
Unherd LP (1993)
Kevin - bass / vocals
Eric - guitar
Ryan - drums
Aside from the album, Unherd had tracks on a bunch of other (not so easy to find) releases.
The Straight Up / Unherd split 7" was released on Young Funky Records in 1991. I've never heard this record, or any Straight Up for that matter. They had a track called "Walklin' Around" on the "Stupid By The Grace Of God" comp 7" (Assorted Porkchops 1992), along with Bedlam Hour, Toast and Unherd. They had a track called "Nosebleed" on the great "Stereonucleosis Comes To You House" comp 7" (Stereonucleosis 1991), with tracks by Antischism, Buzz Oven, and Tolerance. Their song "Peel" was on the "400 Day Headache" comp LP (Unite & Fight 1993), along with tracks by Assfactor 4, Tonka, J Church, Rights Reserved, Youth Gone Mad and many more. Lastly, they had a track called "Saturday" on the "Please No Profanity" comp LP. Other bands on that comp included Tonks, Bedlam Hour, In/Humanity and even Hootie and the Fucking Blowfish. The CD was a benefit for South Carolina college radio. Released by WUSC (Columbia) and WSBF (Clemson.
I'd love to see some kind of Unherd discography one day, but that seems extremely unlikely. If i can ever locate all the tracks, i'd for sure put something together for the blog.
Tonka was formed at the start of the '90s by Jay and Alex (future bass player and drummer for Assfactor 4 respectively) prior to Unherd and AF4. They played pop infused hardcore punk with an obvious DC post-hardcore influence. I also hear elements of Hated in there, as well as the first Sleeper EP, and a touch of early Jawbreaker (maybe the 7" cover is a tribute of sorts?). The song "Take It Back" from the "400 Day Headache" comp is my fave, as it's a bit more on the fast discordant HC side, pretty similar to tracks on the "Sometimes I Suck" 7".
Tonka - Anthology 1992-1993
The "Calling Waffle House Home" 7" was released on Assorted Porkchops in 1992. Four great poppy HC tracks that brings to mind early Chisel material, in both the music and production. In fact Chisel has a song called "Waffle House", although the Tonka EP may have come out first. Anyway, who gives a shit?
I won't go into detail over all the compilations that Tonka contributed to, as most of them were already discussed throughout this post. Track 10 is a short studio pisstake on "Smells Like Teen Spirit". The vocals are hysterical. The last 2 tracks are unreleased songs and are both killer tracks. Far from filler. The sound quality on "Over" is not too hot, but everything else sounds great.
13 Easter Eggs.