The hardcore punk scene in New Jersey, specifically North Jersey which is where i lived up until ten years ago, was much different in the mid to late '80s than it was in New York. Like night and day. The town i grew up in, North Bergen, hardly had any skinheads, or gutter punks, or straight edge or "youth crew" scene. It was a town of long haired kids in denim jackets, most with band logos painted on the back, drinking beer and smoking pot on train tracks or under bridges. Everyone was starting bands in their garages. It was basically like that movie "Over The Edge". We were stuck in some weird '70s vibe.
By the time i got into hardcore in late 1986 the big thing was Crossover. I'm pretty sure it was sophomore year in high school that a friend of mine made me a couple of cassettes with DRI's "Dealing With It", Suicidal Tendencies s/t, and a couple other records. That was my introduction. After that i was turned onto Pat Duncan's show on WFMU in '87, were i discovered all the classic Jersey bands as well as all the NYHC bands at that time, and pretty much hardcore and punk from all over the world. Hearing so much new shit at once like that is like discovering a new planet you never knew existed. It was overwhelming. By the end of 1987 i was already playing drums in my first band and had multiple crates of 7" records and LPs.
One of the things i loved about the scene in North Jersey was the absence of elitist bullshit. When me and my friends got into hardcore, we didn't sell off our metal and rock records. At parties it was common to hear Bad Brains, along with Metallica and Led Zeppelin. We just loved music. And drugs. More than half my friends never made it out of the madness alive. It all came crumbling down sometime in mid '90s. The ten year party was over.
So for this post i'm sharing all my favorite New Jersey Hardcore. For the stuff that was posted before, like Dirge, Sticks and Stones, Mental Abuse etc, i went back to the original source files (some as old as 20 years old) and started from scratch to get the best sound quality possible. So even if you have this stuff, i'd recommend downloading these files as an upgrade. I'm not putting this stuff in any kind of order (like by year or genre), just kind of by how much i like the band i guess.
If any bands want their stuff removed from this post, please email me or leave a comment and i'll delete the link immediately.
Dirge Anthology: 1986-1990
I'll start off this post with my all-time favorite NJ Crossover band, the mighty Dirge from Holmdel. In my opinion the "Soulstorm" LP is up their with any of the crossover greats. They should have been huge. I think their first album just arrived onto the scene a bit too late. Plus they never re-pressed any of their records. Vocalist Jack Monahan also sang for the great NJ band Fatal Rage.
Sticks and Stones - Inner Revolt
This is the band's cassette-only release from 1988 and for me their greatest recording. This was originally supposed to be an LP on Kevin Seconds' label Positive Force, but that fell through for whatever reason. Maybe the greatest punk "almost-album" of all time. Unfortunately only a few of these tracks made it onto the band's 2xCD "discography", but i'm hoping this gets reissued by Chunksaah Records at some point.
Cyanamid were a demented punk/noise band from Bound Brook who formed in 1981 and basically played grindcore before it had a name. Way ahead of their time. I can't think of anything that sounds remotely like their "I Love NJ" demo prior to 1983. Punk riffs, Flipper like dirges and bursts of psychotic noise. An obvious influence on bands like Cripple Bastards, Agathocles, Patareni etc. This comp collects (i'm pretty sure) at least one version of every song they ever recorded. Amazing sound quality. So highly recommended.
Stetz - Live And Rare 22 Song Demo
22 tracks of hardcore, punk and rock with a sense of humor. They also released a great album in 1986 called "Songs of Experience", but i like this demo better. "East Coast Slamming" is such a killer song. There's also a studio version of that song on the "Hardcore Takes Over" comp LP from 1983, also in this post.
THE classic New Jersey Hardcore album. Recorded in 1984 in Whippany, NJ and released in 1985 on Urinal Records. I ripped this from a very clean copy of the LP sometime in the mid '90s when the whole CDR technology first started. Sounds great. I also tacked on their track from the "Message From America" comp LP, also released in 1985, and the only other Urinal Records release.
Mental Abuse - Live at CBGB 1985
Excellent recording of this 1985 gig where they just nail every fucking song. I like this better than the LP. Sid Sludge is a madman here. Much better rip than the one posted way back.
Adrenalin O.D. - Sittin' Pretty
This is the comp released by Grand Theft Audio that has the band's first EP "Let's Barbeque" from 1983, with extra session tracks, plus the "Wacky Hi-Jinks" LP from '84 and a live set. Mandatory.
Lethal Aggression - Lethal Anthology 1985-1990
Thrashy hardcore from Brick, NJ. This has all their best stuff, remastered by the band some years back. I added on the rehearsals which has a ripping version of "I'll Fight" that destroys the LP version. Jersey Shore Core at it's best. RIP John “Saltz” Saltarelli.
Monster Madness: NJ Horror Punk
A comp of my favorite songs by these 3 punk legends. This starts off with the Mourning Noise set recorded live of WFMU in 1982. They blast through 11 rippers with so much energy that none of their studio recordings can compare. My fave WFMU set ever. A few of these tracks wound up on the split 7" with The Parasites. Next up is The Undead featuring ex-Misfit Bobby Steele. This is pretty much everything they recorded before they broke up. Steele reformed the band in 1989 and recorded the "Act Your Rage" LP. Last is the most famous punk band to come out of NJ, The Misfits. The amazing "12 Hits From Hell" session recorded in 1980 and 4 bonus tracks just to fill up space. Tracks from all 3 bands were ripped from various CDs.
Sand In The Face - Music Made To Riot
Hardcore punk from Towaco. This is a collection of comp tracks and demos recorded between 1982 and 1983 that was released in 2015 on Mad At The World Records. Sand In The Face also put out a killer LP that was recorded in 1984 and released in '86. Like most great NJHC albums, it was never repressed.
Sacred Denial - Extra-Strength Anyone?
Sacred Denial from Clifton was one of my favorite NJHC bands of the '80s. Their later stuff especially hit the spot for me. This was their second album from 1986, released on Forefront Records. I prefer the first album over this one but don't have a good quality rip to share unfortunately. "Easter Sunday" was a ripper.
Sacred Denial - North Of The Order
This is my favorite Sacred Denial album. "North Of The Order" was released in 1987 on Forefront. It was also released a year later on Nuclear Blast, with some different songs, and what sounds like a different mix. I prefer this one, the original '87 version. This was kind of their transition album from their early straight forward hardcore to the crossover thrash of "Sifting Through Remains". Every track is just perfect, and the piano outro at the end of the LP is amazing. Brings me back to 1987 every time i hear it. This was never released on CD, but this doesn't sound like it was ripped from vinyl. I forget where i got this rip, i've had it forever.
Here's the CD version of the band's thrash album from '88. It still has the great emotional vibe of "North Of The Order" but it's heavier and more metallic. You can hear the Slayer influence on songs like "Brother's Inventions". My fave track is "Root Of All Evil", but the whole record rips from beginning to end. Plus they do a cover of Cheap Trick's "Surrender" and pull it off. I had this on CD, vinyl and cassette when it came out. Sacred D were kind of an infatuation band for me. RIP Ant.
Social Decay - Anthology 1985-1990
Great hardcore band from the Jersey Shore that formed in 1984. They had elements of crossover and thrash metal with guitar solos and slow dirges all over the place. They were pretty much the epitome of what NJ crossover thrash looked and sounded like. They sounded like New Jersey the way Agnostic Front sounded like NYC. This comp has a lot of my fave material, but they recorded a lot more. They put out a CDR collection of all their demos in 2011. If anyone has a rip of that, please hook me up.
More great thrashy hardcore punk with a sense of humor, like lots of NJ bands at the time. This has the band's LP from 1984 and their 12" EP from '86. They also released a split 7" with AOD. All their stuff was put out on Buy Our Records, a label that released a shitload of NJHC. Politically incorrect, dopey and fucking awesome. I miss bands like this.
More politically incorrect, obnoxious NJ hardcore punk. Also one of the earliest. Tons of great riffs and lyrics to be taken with a huge grain of salt. This is everything they recorded. The 2 EPs on Muthu Records, and a rehearsal tape that kills.
New Jersey's Finest - 1982 Demo
There's not much info on this band. They were from New Brunswick, they were pre-Niblick Henbane, and this was their only recording. I've never even seen the cover of the demo. So i just grabbed a pic of NJ that i liked and threw a logo over it. It's good sloppy, fast punk. Thanks to Dan from Old, Fast and Loud for the sound work on this one. I wish he would start up his blog again.
American Standard - Wonderland
Originally released in 1989 on Power House Records, this is a melodic hardcore classic. They released a bunch of records into the '90s, but in my opinion they never topped this LP. And i hate to be that "the demos were better" guy, but the demos were better.
Chemical Waste - Life's A Bitch demo 1987
More Jersey crossover thrash. Chemical Waste were the first hardcore band i ever saw live. It was in 1987, and they played on a boat for this girl Joan's birthday party. They played the demo tracks and a bunch of D.R.I. covers. It was awesome. Social Decay also played but i got there late and missed them. Bass player John Monte also played in M.O.D. and at least 2 of the members went on to form Mind Funk.
Genocide - Submit To Genocide
The ultimate punk / street metal band. "Submit To Genocide" came out in 1987 on LP and cassette. Like some drunken mix of Motorhead and Motley Crue, only a thousand times better than that or any other dopey comparison. I had the song "Die Wasted" on some mixed tapes i made back in '87 and would hear that song just about every day. Listening to this stuff now it sounds better than ever. This was never released on CD, but this rip is excellent quality.
A Priori - Damn The Past
A Priori were a melodic, super-talented punk band from Morristown. I was so blown away when i first heard the song "Self Determination" on WFMU that i immediately went on a mad hunt for the LP, which actually took over a year to finally get a hold of. Luckily i had a couple of tracks from some Shredder comps to hold me over. This is the complete discography. The "Damn The Past" LP plus the 2 comp tracks and 2 demo tracks.
Sadistic Sex - The 1988 Demos
Sadistic Sex started out as Negative Youth, who put out a couple of punk demos in 1986-1987. When they changed their name to Sadistic Sex in '88 the music got much heavier and more sinister sounding. They were also full on porn-core at this point. The "What A Waste Of A Beautiful Day" demo is especially crushing. That tape was on constant rotation when i was in art school in Dover around '89 or '90, until i lent it to a friend who had it stolen out of his car. I didn't get to hear this demo again until last year. Sixteen years later and i'm loving it again. The Punk Police would probably cry about the lyrics. Fuck 'em.
Children In Adult Jails - Man Overcome By Waffle Iron
This album rules. It was put out on Buy Our Records in 1985, and has some of the typical NJHC traits. Fast songs and silly lyrics. But this one has some real power behind it. They also have a great track on the "New Jersey's Got It" comp, and released an EP in 1991 which i haven't heard.
The Out Group - Out Completely
Out Group was pre-Mental Abuse. This is all the band's demos and some live stuff. The Bleeker Street Demos with Sid Sludge are best. There are lots of riffs that went on to later become Mental Abuse songs, and there's even an early version of "Do You Mind?" Sid was the fucking Hardcore Caesar! "I hate Mike, he's a mother, I hate Mike, he's my brother...". Awesome. Pat Duncan played "Get Away" on WFMU pretty much every Thursday night for years.
Detention were an awesome catchy punk band that formed in the early '80s. Their song "Dead Rock 'N' Rollers" was constantly on the punk radio stations back then. Kinda like Bedlam's "MTV", it's just a great simple punk song that can get stuck in your head quick. This CD put out by Brian of Grand Theft Audio has the "Dead Rock 'N' Roller" EP, their LP from '85 and at least an album's worth of unreleased tracks.
Bands Only A Muthu Could Love
Killer comp CD of all Muthu Records bands. Mostly staple NJ stuff, with great tracks by Dirge, Stisism, The Parasites, Sticks and Stones, Stetz, The Worst etc. My fave track is the metallic ripper "BBQ Freak" by Infamous Basturds from Canada.
Chronic Fear - Discrimination Demo 1986
Fast raw hardcore. Even though there's humor in the lyrics, it call comes off pretty dark sounding. When they get those fast repetitious riffs going it kinda sounds like black metal punk at times, like Von or Ildjarn, or even some primitive death metal. By their second demo a year later they sounded like a completely different band. I'll never understand the infatuation with The Flinstones in NJ.
The Worst - The Worst Of The Worst
Link deleted by request of label.
One of the most underrated bands i can think of in any genre. Ripping fast rock 'n' roll punk. The first EP sounds like The Stooges on speed and the 1983 LP sounds like a frantic mix of The Circle Jerks and Black Sabbath. This just flat out kicks ass.
Somethin' Else 1986 Demo
Fast hardcore from Belmar that sounds more influenced by NYHC than most other NJ bands. The artwork i used for the cover was actually going to be used for a CD that never happened. I'm pretty sure this demo is all the band released.
A New Jersey favorite. Their 1988 demo is just everything i love about hardcore jammed into 8 tracks. This set recorded live on WNYU in '91 has songs from all their releases. I originally posted this set years ago, but this one sounds better. If you haven't already, check out my tribute to the late Skip Candelori here.
AB were a hardcore punk band from my home town of North Bergen, and they were one of the most amazing live bands i've ever seen. Just great hardcore riffs with elements of ska on some songs. I think they started sometime in the early '90s, and by the time the mid '90s hit, they had so many members it was like a traveling circus. Depending on who was available for any given gig, their would sometimes be upward of 10 or 12 people on stage. I've seen them with 2 guitarists, 3 vocalist, 3 horn players, bass player and drummer, and a big guy named Goofy who would wind up naked playing kazoo. The last band i was in, Spaul (late '90s powerviolence), used to play with these guys all the time. We even used to cover their song "Wheels". By their last year i wound up playing drums for them, and the band was whittled down to the bare minimum. My good friend Brian on vocals, twin bothers Vin and Joe on guitar and bass, and me on drums. No more horn section or big naked people. It saw fun, and we played a bunch of great shows, including ABC No Rio, but it wasn't the same and it wound up fading sometime in the early 2000s. During their existence, AB put out a really good 4-song 7" in 1994, a split 7" with Essoasso in '95, and they had one track on the "Education" comp in '95 with bands like Devoid of Faith, Horace Pinker and Policy of Three. This is the CD they recorded right before i joined. It was recorded at Pearl Studios in Jersey City in 1998, and though it can't compare to the sound of their live shows, it's an excellent CD of pretty much all the amazing songs they would play live with their classic lineup. Just download it.
Enuf 1988 Demo
Here's the new rip of the classic Enuf 1988 demo. All the info on the band and a write-up by bassist Pete Sanchez is still on the blog here.
Hardcore Takes Over compilation 1983
Here's a great rip of my favorite NJ compilation LP, "Hardcore Takes Over" released on the short-lived Dirt Records in 1983. This one has some real heavy-hitters. Mourning Noise does two of their most hardcore sounding songs, Stetz kills it with a great studio version of their best song "East Coast Slamming", plus tracks by Sand In The Face, Genocide, TMA who had a great LP in '84, and a couple of really obscure bands who never really released anything other that what's on this comp.
Pleased Youth - Sure We're Pleased 1984 demo
Great (i know i keep saying that, but i just love all this NJ stuff) demo from 1984. Thrashy hardcore punk with members of AOD, New Jersey's Finest, and Niblick Henbane. Guitarist Paul Decolator later went on to play in Loose, one of my fave indie bands of the early '90s. Thanks again to Dan from Old, Fast and Loud for the great sound on this.
No Refund - Cross Core demo 1989
Silly, but really well-played crossover from Glen Ridge, NJ. Sounds like these guys were really into the "USA For MOD" album and the first Mucky Pup album. I like it OK, but i'd imagine the humor can grow old after a while for some. Just check it out. They also released a pretty short CD in 1992 and a cassette-only full-length called "3 Dead Dicks" in '95. Oh look, here it is:
No Refund - 3 Dead Dicks 1995 cassette
Very similar to the demo, just slightly better production. Excellent sound quality on both rips.
Vision - Early Vision 1988-1990
Classic melodic NJ hardcore band with indie/emo influences. All the info for these recordings are on the blog here. Same sound as before, this is just a comp of all my favorite Vision stuff on one disc for my own convenience. Figured i'd share it to keep all the NJ stuff in one post.
Crossover thrash from Lodi, NJ. This is the band's CD from 1989. It's more on the thrash metal side than hardcore but it rules. Slaughtered Grace also released a 7" in 1989 called "Terror Unleashed", which has the song "Disability" from this CD as well as the EP title track. Guitarist Ron Paci and vocalist Sal Bee went on to form the hardcore band Sardonica in the early '90s.
The Underachievers - Skip The Salad demo
One-sided demo cassette from 1986 of pretty basic 4-chord hardcore punk songs. Has kind of a Ramones vibe in the riffing. This sounds like something that would have came out much earlier than '86, but it's refreshing to hear such straight-forward punk coming out of NJ at that time. Oh, and they cover the most covered song in the history of hardcore, "Stepping Stone".
Bloated - Confused Collection
I wasn't sure which of my own bands to post here. I've played drums in about a half-dozen bands from '87 up to about 2004. The first band was a crossover hardcore band called S.M.O. that started in '87 and lasted a few years. We recorded 3 or 4 demos, and played a bunch of shows, usually at Studio One, and a bunch of outdoor gigs in parks and barbecues. The other band members, Steve, Mark, and Jay, played in most of all the bands i was in. After S.M.O. was a side-project called Waiting Room, which was just acoustic versions of S.M.O. songs. We did one demo. After that was Bloated in the early '90s. Bloated was me and my old vocalist Steve, trading off vocals with our good friend Chantelle, S.M.O. bassist Jay, and our buddy Neil on guitar. We recorded a batch of hardcore songs at some rehearsal room in Jersey City. It's all posted above. After Bloated came Gargantuana, once again with Steve on vox and his crazy roommate Tommy on guitar. We recorded 2 demos of doomy hardcore, very influenced by Black Sabbath, as well as early '90s HC bands like Rorschach. Then i played drums in '90s powerviolence band Spaul with the old S.M.O. lineup. We made a couple demos and had a track on some Slap A Ham compilation. Then it was a short stint in Abnormal Behavior before moving to Florida with my wife and kids.
Well, that's it. There's 14 Easter Eggs this time around, about half of them related to this post. The Blogged and Quartered Record Store is still open and there's still lots of records available for big discounts. Til next time.