******** CLICK ON RECORD COVERS FOR ORDERING/BAND INFO ********
THE VIRUS "SYSTEM FAILURE" 'CD
(Evacuate Records, Released February 2017)
Recent travels brought me through Lancaster, PA... an area known more for its large Amish population rather than its punk rock population. In the downtown section of Lancaster lies a real deal punk rock record store called Angry, Young, and Poor which i have ordered from in the past online. Since I was in the area I figured, hey, why not stop in and check 'em out. The guy who ran the place told me he was in a band called The Virus, gave me a short history of the band (which spans decades) as well as a CD as I headed out the door. As he handed me the CD he did mention that "we play punk rock and were a little political".
"What Do You Want" kicks off this 12 song, 30 plus minute effort with a message of taking control of one’s life. "Paul" is listed as lead vocals with Z. Kolodziejski on lead guitar, Dave Preno on guitar, Tyler Capone on drums, and Josh Howard on bass. The music throughout here on "System Failure" is amazing, well thought out, and well played punk rock that probably would have been considered hardcore if the year was still 1982. Although I am not as well versed in the current punk rock genre as some I do get a Casualties type vibe here as well as "Apocalypse Now" era Final Conflict (minus the vocals). If I still had my time machine and ended up at a show with these guys sharing a stage with bands like Dead Kennedy's, Black Flag, and say Suicidal Tendencies I wouldn't think twice as they'd just fit right in. Modern era hardcore can range from bands sounding practically like death metal to a band sounding like The Virus… and I will pick this sound every single time.
Fast, catchy and with that edge that makes it "hardcore punk" or even "street punk" if you will. Enough of the labels though as "System Failure" has quickly become an early summer favorite. "Breakdown" is track 3 starting off with a sound bite of a girl saying "the outter shell of him came back but everything on the inside was dead" before this furious drum and bass lead in to a blistering fast track that is one of my favorites. The song takes on the topic of soldiers returning from war. This is also not the only song where The Virus use a sound bite to introduce a song and it's a cool and effective way of leading you in to what a song is about. Although the songs are largely rooted in current events they don't necessarily cram their opinions down your throat which is refreshing as aggressive soapbox preaching can easily become a reason to move on to the next band. The topics touched upon here run from government failure in the title track "we need a plague, reset the stage", weapon build ups in "Bombs For Our Children", and class war in "Burn It Down" ("the rich are shitting on the working class, it's a cycle that never ends"). Other favorites here include "No Peace", the slower "Burn It Down" and the closer "Pacifist". For many that cry out for more message in the music this is a good place to look. The Virus may not make you feel all warm and fuzzy after listening to what they have to say but isn't this music genre supposed to ruffle some feathers? With a long history in place long before I found The Virus it is hard to play catch up to what has come before "System Failure". Focusing in on just this release though I am glad I came across this album as it's a nice 30 minute slice of what I grew up with and hopefully there is more to come from these scene vets.
ENZIGURI “UPTOWN BOOGIE DOWN” CD
(Released April, 2017)
Thirteen tracks of anthemic hardcore that is clearly New York in origin, but not 1980’s mosh NY in the vein of Raw Deal or Cro-Mags, but more like “My Life My Way” era Agnostic Front meets “Nothing To Prove” era H20. It’s a style with a lot of potential, but two things hold this back. First, I find the recording to be non-dynamic. I’m reviewing this from the Bandcamp site, so that may be a factor, but it’s just not an energetic recording that makes me want to bounce off walls. There are definitely some sections in here that would sound cool live, a breakdown here and there, and some riffs at times; but it’s just a bit flat and this recording as I’m listening to it. The second thing that holds me back is the vocals, and it’s not that the vocalist doesn’t fit or that he isn’t passionate, I think both those components are there; it’s the style. The singer sings along with the melody of the tracks, on the beats, it’s really a sing along style, and it’s just not my thing. Indecently, I think how the backing vocals were done was one of the better traits of this record. If I had to give any input for future efforts, I would encourage them to spend more on a better recording with maybe 3 or 4 songs for an EP, as the bones are there for something solid.
-Jim Moo Cow
GUTTER GROOVE HARDCORE FANZINE
(Issue #2, Released Spring, 2017)
After a year and change since issue 1 the Gutter Groove team from Denmark return with a nice full sized 32 page effort crammed with some nice work. The intro to this issue starts off with a look at New York Horse Core... and no, that is not a typo... with photos of both Harley (Cro-Mags) and Rick (25 Ta Life) both on horses. The introduction part is a little bit slap stick comedy along with general news about this issue. Also included here are old pics of Roger (Agnostic Front) holding up a machine gun to Vinnie Stigma's neck and Freddy Madball and Crown Of Thornz' Ezec walking down the street with a baseball bat with the subtitle "that's the way we walk in New York". The comedy angle lacks a little in this part but they are still some cool photos that the editors obviously wanted to get included in this issue.
The All Out War interview with lead singer Mike Score which kicks off the interviews here is by far the best read here. The Gutter crew caught up with Mike before a show where they talked for about 40 minutes on a wide range of topics and were cut short eventually by Mike having to go do a sound check. This interview strays away from the typical line of questioning usually given to hardcore bands. Mike talking about being a history teacher, raising his children and his thoughts on religion are highlights here. If they didn't get cut off by that sound check who knows what else they would have touched on. Great job with this one. Florida's Malice At The Palace also give a nice interview joking around about the 2004 NBA brawl that spawned this bands name and other NBA tidbits including what the band would be ready to do to play the opening song at an NBA all star game. Also included are interviews with Foreseen, Weekend Nachos, Lodges, and True Colors as well as a short piece on this guy who took photos of Integrity back in 1990... which is not really an Integrity interview with Integrity but rather an Integrity interview with some guy who took some photos of Integrity. Either way, Integrity is still listed on the cover like they are one of the bands interviewed so that's a 15 yard penalty for unsportsmanlike zine editing. Fanzine reviews and record reviews are also included here as well as a piece called The Mean, The Bad, and The Angry which takes an angry look at Europe's hardest bands. Gutter Groove's layout is DIY, old-school all the way with cut and paste boxes laid over photos of the bands giving this a made at my friend’s house feel. Nice job.
THE LAST STAND "THIS IS REAL" EP
(Irish Voodoo Records, Released June, 2017)
NY's The Last Stand return with some new music after their debut full length came out in early 2013. Next up for them is "This Is Real" which contains 4 new tracks and 2 covers by some legendary bands you may have heard of before but more on that in just a little bit. Leading things off here is the title track which is a nice fast paced jam that shows this band’s true colors delivering some well-played NYHC. I definitely hear some Leeway influences here as well as Sick Of It All which shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone who is already familiar with this band. Although it's been 4 years since "The Time Is Now" was released it is not like it has been a dormant period in this bands history as they make the rounds in the NY area club scene regularly. The vocals on this first track are very clear and when making out the lyrics you can focus in on the message at hand which is their dedication to hardcore music and the scene. "Every time we take the stage, every time we shake your hand, every time we speak our minds, we are The Last Stand". A nice blend of message and music delivered up nice kicks off this thing with a bang and is also a clear cut favorite on this short EP.
Track 2 is "The Ride" which serves up some more of that traditional style NYHC. If you follow this site and read my reviews I sometimes talk about a bands song writing formula. The Last Stand have a very solid formula and these 4 tracks pretty much stay within the guidelines they have created. All 4 tracks are 2 minutes and change with choppy drum beats, a solid and clear vocal delivery often leading to the big payoff which would be a sick breakdown and when I hear it here I can just envision a crowd feeling a track like this and just getting loose.
"Path Of The Righteous" starts off with some guitar feedback, with the drums and then bass joining in as this song builds for about half a minute before a big gang vocal chant of “BRING IT DOWN” hits. This is a serviceable track that I like but at the same time does not hit as hard as the other 3 we are given here. When played live it would be cool to have some mashed up sound bites of Jules Winnfield of Pulp Fiction fame dropping his "the path of the righteous man..." speech as a backdrop early on as the song builds. Have no idea what I am talking about here? Google!
The last of the 4 originals is "Still Bleeding" which starts off with this awesome fuzzy sounding bass intro for about 20 seconds before the drums come in kicking off an all-out thrasher of a jam with an amazing sing-a-long chorus that leads out with a monster of a breakdown and is by far my favorite track here.
"Big Mouth" by Gorilla Biscuits is track 5. Usually I am not impressed with cover songs on studio recordings but TLS deliver a nice version here putting their own stamp of sorts on this old classic. Track 6 is "Choose To Be" originally done by Youth Of Today. This track was recorded back during their "The Time Is Now" sessions and was supposed to be on a compilation that never materialized and now serves as an additional layer as to why you should check this EP out. The vinyl version of this release will have the 4 originals and also comes with a download code to get the cover songs. The CD version will contain all 6 tracks. After a long wait The Last Stand return and do not disappoint us showing why they deserve more attention in a NY scene that is dominated by many all-time greats. Follow the links below to secure your copy now.
THE NEW YORK HARDCORE CHRONICLES FILM
(Released May, 2017)
The highly anticipated and talked about “New York Hardcore Chronicles Film” by Drew Stone is finally out on the streets, some select smaller theatres on specific dates and available for you to get into your grubby little hands via DVD and major online outlets. The 1 hour and 46 minutes on display here starts off by making a clear statement that “this is NOT the history of New York Hardcore” which essentially cleanses Mr. Stone of any wrong doing by leaving specific people, sub-scenes, sub-genres, or time periods out… and with a history that spans decades it is nearly impossible to squeeze everything into a 2 hour feature. What follows here is a short summary of what stood out the most while watching this film.
We start out outside of NYC’s Webster Hall prior to the Black ‘N Blue Bowl where BNB’s “Cuz’n ” Joe and various people attending the show are shown in short interviews about NYHC and what it means to them. Hardcore is rarely documented in such high def quality and right from the get-go you get this overall feel of a quality production which runs right through the final seconds of this film. From here we move just a few blocks away to the corner of Avenue A and 7th Street as they interview both Roger Miret and Vinnie Stigma of Agnostic Front outside the old A7 Club which is now a bar known as Niagra. Old times are reminisced along with old photos and videos painting a picture of the hard times that were endured in the early stages of a new scene that Roger says had 30 people at the most. A more current day clip of Murphy’s Law playing the Niagra club ties the old to the new and closes out the segment nicely.
From there it’s back to the streets to show people the famed NYHC symbol and various people are asked if they know the symbols origin. In one of my favorite chapters here they interview Kevin Crowley, singer of the long defunct and underrated The Abused who is this symbols creator. In a very humble and insightful piece Kevin digs out old sketches and explains how the symbol came to be. When making a film about NYHC there are obvious avenues and channels you have to explore… just because. This was not one of them and its inclusion documents a piece of history most never knew of or have long forgotten. From there we move on down to Florida where they visit old scenester Randal Underwood who shows us his huge collection of candid photos from the early days of NYHC. It seems like his garage is a museum dedicated to old flyers, photos and memorabilia like no other and is another segment that would not be an obvious choice when drawing up blueprints for a film of this magnitude but a great inclusion to say the least.
“Spray Paint The Walls” follows and is a chapter dedicated to graffiti and its impact on the hardcore scene from band logos, the formation of the DMS crew as well as interviews with many of the people in the scene that were not only in the bands, but also making a name for themselves on the streets with fat caps and Pilot markers. Ezec from Skarhead/Crown Of Thornz who is always a great interview steals this segment which shouldn’t be much of a surprise to many.
In the mid to late 1980’s heavy metal influences made their way into the hardcore scene and the term “crossover” was born. Bands like the Crumbsuckers, Bio-Hazard, Leeway, Nuclear Assault, and the Cro-Mags’ Harley Flanagan pop up in this segment along with Howie Abrams (In Effect Records) to break down that time period. Harley is interviewed in a studio and explains that he feels that “The Age Of Quarrel” and not “Best Wishes” was the first real crossover album. Wearing his bass he then starts jamming and showing how “World Peace” has a Motorhead type of vibe, “Malfunction” has more of a Black Sabbath feel, and how no other hardcore bands at the time had an intro similar to the one in “We Gotta Know”. An amazing and insightful chapter (mostly due to Flanagan) to say the least with some good points made by Crumbsucker Gary Meskil made within it.
The chapter titled “Youth Crew” which follows shortly after the crossover segment focuses on interviews with Ray and Porcell from Youth Of Today as well as Walter and Civ from Gorilla Biscuits and Mike Judge. The major players in this chapter tell a story of how they didn’t feel the need to fit in with the crossover style that was becoming so popular and how they wanted to get back to basics with a more pure unfiltered hardcore style. This particular chapter… although important runs closer to 20 minutes in length and is the lone chapter that seems to drag here. Straight Edge and the Youth Crew movement that seemingly go hand in hand is subject matter that has layer upon layer to it and is obviously hard to break down in a short time.
Things start to wind down with “The Journeyman” which is a segment that focuses in first on Sick Of It All bassist Craig “Ahead” Setari and then morphs into a deeper look at Sick Of it All with interviews with his fellow bandmates Lou Koller and Armand Majidi. “The Journeyman” title is due to the long list of bands Craig had played in prior to joining Sick Of It All. What makes this segment stand out is the fact that they travel to upstate NY to visit Craig at his home which just happens to be on a rural farm. They even ask his mom… “Mom Ahead” some questions which she answers in a cute “mom” way as she talks about her memories of Craig’s youth. Pure gold here. Craig is as humble as they come and you can’t help but be happy for the man as he is living out his lifelong dream and providing all of us with great music on his journey through life.
At this point the film starts to close out with the question of “Is Hardcore Dead?” posed to various people with all of them obviously saying no. After watching close to 2 hours of proof that it isn’t it would be foolish for anyone to say that it is. The point being made by some here is that “maybe it is dead for you” if you are a person that chose to walk away from it. Credits start rolling shortly after this and we close things out. “The New York Hardcore Chronicles Film” is a snapshot of various moments in NYHC history and obviously people can sit there after the fact and say “hey they should have put in this guy or that guy” and in some cases they have very valid points but as stated earlier to try and cram decades of history into a 2 hour film is a tall order and maybe sets all of this up for a follow up film. Time will tell but for now sit back and let’s enjoy what we are given here. It is rare to see hardcore and NYHC in particular presented in such a high end way as it is here.
THE NYHC CHRONICLES FILM (Screening) @PhilaMOCA, Philadelphia, PA June 2, 2017
It bears saying that 2 hours of Vinny and Roger from Agnostic Front just telling stories would have been enough for me; one of the best moments in the doc came from them talking about the way the Lower East Side used to be while mocking a flip flop laden dad in cargo shorts...“There goes the neighborhood!”
I was happy to see 30 or so people inside the small arts space of PhilaMOCA already seated and ready for the screening of Drew Stone's NYHC Chronicles Film. The movie seemed to really capture the grit, aggression and realness that most would associate with the New York Hardcore scene of the early– mid 80s. I have to admit I was skeptical that one film could jam 3 decades of hardcore history into a running time that falls just short of 2 hours, but to Drew's credit he did pretty well despite a few omissions (some more obvious than others) and the shoe-horning of Metallica's Kirk Hammet to give his 2 cents. Overall though, the amount of ground covered in this documentary was impressive. Detailing the evolution of a time and place that has influenced a world beyond itself, the NYHC Chronicles documentary was a multi-chapter breakdown of where, what, and who comprised the scene to which so many of us attribute the causation of hardcore as we know it.
JUNE 2ND SCREENING OF THE NYHC CHRONICLES FILM IN PHILADELPHIA. PHOTOS BY: JOSH DERR
Yet there was more to the showing than simply watching the film. The Philly based podcasters of Cinepunx.com had been advertising that they were to lead a Q and A with director Drew Stone and living legend Mike Judge. However when it came time for this portion of the night's events, Mike Judge was nowhere to be found and the Cinepunx guys turned back into a pumpkin, barely getting a word in edgewise while Drew fielded the Q and A on his own. This quick programming adjustment felt a bit scattershot as something more structured had been expected. Fortunately though, Danny Schuler from Biohazard and Rob Nunzio of Antidote both did right by the crowd and showed up to field questions about their experiences in the early days of New York Hardcore since Mr. Judge couldn't make it.
Q & A SESSION: FROM RIGHT: NUNZIO, DANNY SCHULER, DREW STONE & CINEPUNX STAFF
I really enjoyed the film, and I think it showcases the spirit and essence of a scene we all look to as the catalyst for so much of what we think of as “hardcore.” That said, I have to kick down the 4th wall. I don't want to make this negative or take anything away from the film, but I would be a phony to ignore something that really bugged me. There were a few instances in the question and answer portion where things got a little self-aggrandizing. This was most obvious about halfway through the Q and A when Drew sort of stopped the whole thing and called out to the crowd “Isn't anyone going to ask me how I got Kirk Hammet into the movie?!” Nobody said a word. The vibe I felt was that most in attendance had the same feeling I did of “That dude seemed way out of place in the film, but hey, he's in Metallica and to know he gives a shit about the scene is kinda cool.” But when he got no response from the audience, Drew turned to the Cinepunx guys and jokingly told them to ask him the question – which would have been funny had they not been sitting quietly on stage like neglected step children at an event they helped orchestrate. This humble bragging to me was a full role reversal from the scene I had just spent 2 hours watching play out on the screen in front of me; but hey, I don't know anyone in Metallica so maybe I'd be just as stoked to talk about it too – who knows?
The Q and A continued with mention of the Cro-Mags, why Paul from Sheer Terror wasn't in the doc, and how Drew and the guys from Biohazard got away with filming on the Brooklyn Bridge without a permit – all great to hear.
Once things wrapped up, I bought my copy of the film, thanked Drew for his hard work in documenting a time and place that means so much to our scene, and walked out happy to have been there. I recommend checking it out – it's produced well, and while omitting some things, it sheds light on some corners of the scene that may have been forgotten otherwise, and for that you've got to have some respect. Thanks to Drew Stone, PhilaMOCA, Cinepunx, and everyone that showed up to support independent film making and hardcore.
LIONS CAGE “RAW” DEMO 2017 (Released May, 2017)
Dirty, gritty, and a “Raw” recording make this 3 song demo sound like a rehearsal tape. Cymbal crashes dominate and tom tom beats are accompanied by growling guitars and somewhat distant or distorted and snarling vocals. Not much bass audibly present in what sounds like a simple four track mix. There's but one very short, discordant guitar lead on “Breaking Our Backs”. This “demo” makes me feel like I'm actually at their band practice, sitting on a filthy, beer stained couch in their dank, dark rehearsal room....but I’m not, yet I wish I was. Just because Lion's Cage didn't seem to spend a ton of (or any) time on a sleek, proper studio recording or fancy artwork (it's a photocopied cassette cover of their shaved-head, screaming singer -Bobby - who actually looks as if he's caged and poised to attack) doesn't mean this demo isn't completely kickass. This is a total burner that captures the essence of bands like Krackdown, Life's Blood or SFA. For its sound quality it's quite lean, as noted… the strengths are in the songwriting and arrangements, sincerity of lyrical delivery that easily overcomes the shortcomings of sonic purity. All 3 tracks bleed honesty and extreme angst. While many bands may try to impress with ultra-produced, multitrack studio magic Brooklyn's Lion's Cage keep it simple, but pack a knockout punch right from the opener “Pay The Price”. When the drummer (Rob) switches to mid-tempo tribal beats during slam parts on “Your Voice/ Smash ‘Em All” you know the Lion's about to charge out of the cage and into the pit - all teeth and claws. If the simplistic, straight-forward, approach with heavy doses of passion is intended by Lion's Cage then they hit the bullseye. Certainly, future recordings will have to be a bit more sonically mature for their many qualities to really shine through. Awesome effort. Not for those that like “polished”, or pretentious hardcore. This demo is filthy and for real. An awesome 5 minute and 30 second burst of rage. I liked it so much I bought it for $4.00 on Bandcamp.
DOWN FOR LIFE MAGAZINE ISSUE #3
(Released April, 2017)
From the ashes of the sadly defunct punk magazine Big Cheese comes the defiant Down For Life, a new mag that thankfully has hardcore as its main focus with a helping of punk and crossover for good measure. Now on its third issue, the magazine has gone from strength to strength since its introduction onto newsstands last year and has proved to be a lifesaver for hardcore fans when it comes to getting their hardcore print fix.
The two previous editions of Down For Life have featured the mighty Sick Of It All and Suicidal Tendencies as cover stars and the latest edition features New York's finest Madball as the main focus of the issue with an extensive feature, interviews and a live review of their recent show at London’s Wembley Arena. Add to this, extensive and interesting features on the varied likes of Leeway, Scream, Turning Point, 7 Seconds, Sheer Terror and a fascinating interview with Gorilla Biscuits, Quicksand and now Youth Of Today man Walter Schreifels and you have an issue that you can't put down. It's not just classic bands they feature in the magazine though with newer bands like Higher Power, Power Trip and Code Orange all present alongside introductions to bands that you need to check out like Guilt Trip, Arms Race, Mizery, Jesus Piece and Malevolence and I can't forget the extensive coverage of awesome bands from this very website.
As if that wasn't enough, Down For Life is packed full of news, interviews and reviews (both album and live with Life Of Agony and Bloodclot featured in the former and the Persistence Tour and Sound Of Revolution in the latter). Considering that the staff is headed up by the well-respected likes of Ian Glasper, Mark Freebase and James Sherry amongst many other talented writers you know that the quality of the writing is both passionate and real and you know they tell it like it is and from the heart. Down For Life is a must for any hardcore fan across the globe and it covers the whole spectrum of the genre (the feature on European hardcore greats from the likes of Reality Slap and Backfire in particular is immense) and sheds light on bands that wouldn't get much attention in the mainstream which is the way it should be. This is from the underground, for the underground and any fan of hardcore should seek this issue out and every one from then on in. Down For Life is available online as well so don't hesitate and get your copy now.
LET RAGE! “EP 1” (Released March, 2017)
I was contacted by the In Effect mothership and presented with the opportunity to do another hardcore punk rock and roll review for their most excellent web zine . The transmission was kind of distorted and was breaking up. I managed to decipher the phrases "new band", "short EP, up your alley", "Let Rage", and "Timmy Chunks on vocals"..... Whoah, whoah, whoah, whoah, stop the clock Ronnie. Did I hear new band and Tim Chunks on vocals?? Are you fucking kidding me? Will I review it?? You're goddamn right I'll review it. I may marry it. Shit man, I may roll this motherfucker up and smoke it. So yes, I'm in and Tim Chunks is fronting a new project called Let Rage! No that was not a typo, nor was it auto-correct. The band is LET RAGE!, not Let's Rage as I have heard a few times now you uncreative imps. Ponder it for a minute. Let it sink in. Think outside of the box punks. Mr. Chunks fronts a four piece here and the first EP is four songs clocking in around 7 minutes. Defintely up my alleyway.
The EP opens up with "Timmy's Doing Drugs" running a lean 2:18. Lean yes, yet it is the longest song on this release. The tune starts off with a quick drum beat followed by 3 lone guitar notes before a powerslide down the frets kicks into a driving guitar followed by Tim shouting "LET RAGE". With that the song is steaming off into hardcore punk bliss. The song is funny...and then again, not so funny, especially when you are old like me. It's about growing older and medications of one variety or the next that become necessities or at least perceived and pushed as such. It's a ripper of a tune. Shout out to Viagra! The band is tight and Tim sounds great… a bit "gruffer", but he still has that Chunks sound.
The second song is "Soda Pop And Cigarettes" running 1:38 and it is dedicated to Brad, and I'd like to announce here today, so were those last to sentences I wrote. This one starts with a muted harmonic guitar bit and with a quick shout of "pick it up", the song is rockin’. You can see Tim's time with Green Day has left and impression as this song could easily be something they put on a record. It definitely has that Bay Area feel to me as I can hear some Op Ivy tones and Rancid vibes. This one could be a radio summer jam as Tim really croons his way through it. Let’s hope some magic punk dust blew off of Green Day and onto Tim and it blows up because I really dig the tune.
An odd drum beat/tone is met with some chunky fuzzy guitar strums at the start of the third cut, "Teenage Altar Boy" at 1:58. Another fret slide and this one takes off speeding down the road. Holy shit, this one has it all. Did I hear shouts of Oi Oi Oi? Is that a fucking breakdown made to inspire the sick pit moves of tomorrow? Is Tim doing that talky singy thing like in an old school Mike just wants a Pepsi/ Ian is fucking or playing golf way? This is the song of the release for me. It is fast, pissed and quite lyrically sharp. It has all of the elements to get my fat ass up and moving........ around my desk.... snappin’ pencils like mad bro. Seriously though, kick ass song.
The final song is "No Clout" at a blistering 1:48. This is a straight up, fast hardcore tune. The stand out here is the bass intro...and as a matter of fact the bass throughout the song is just sick. I usually don't pay much mind to the bass, but shit man, I was like, listen to this here motherfuking bass! The bass player is one Deana Montoya, so cheers Deana, nice work. While I am at it the whole band is spot on with Byron Miller working those aformentioned frets, and Herman Ibarra beating those skins, to round out the band.
This is a great first release from these guys. I am not sure what their plans are but hopefully they crank out some more stuff because this sounds exciting to me. If you haven't guessed I am a sucker for anything with Chunks in it, be it, Token Entry, Redemption 87, Felix, Green Day videos, my dreams, TMI? Sorry… I digress. On the real though, this release is fast and fun and will appeal to a broad swath of dirty underground dwellers and maybe some clean folk as well. Check this shit out punks, you won't be disappointed. Mothership I am going rogue. Junkie out!
VICE “THANKS FOR NOTHING” EP (Released June, 2017)
Staten Island NY’s VICE announced almost a year ago that they would be breaking up and since then have played only 2 shows with a grand finale send-off set up for July 8th at the Great Kills Knights Of Columbus in their home borough. Kind of fitting for a band that for 7 years lived and breathed the DIY mantra getting into the van to tour non-stop, making their own shirts, and making a bunch of friends and enemies along the way. Anyone who has to endure life via the Staten Island Expressway is sure to end up with an enemy or two but that goes without saying. VICE’s swan song is a 2 song effort and gives us zero surprises as the 2 songs here… “Pressure” and “Lemmings” are done in the typical beat you over the head VICE fashion complete with dark and angry lyrics that paint a picture of little or no hope. “Pressure” (the opener) is an absolute burner of a track with tempo changes and catchy choppy breakdowns, bursts of speed and then back to those choppy parts again with the last minute or so slowing down for a sing-a-long part that would for sure be one of this band’s new anthems if they were to stay the course. “The pressure of life… is crushing me”.
“Lemmings” kicks off with one of those insane 10,000 miles per hour blast bursts that this band always seemed to be in love with before slowing down some to maybe 5,000 miles per hour where the groove to this track starts for me. The last minute of this song absolutely crushes with this almost Slayer meets Indecision like riff set to the lyrics of “You can’t control me, you can’t shut me out, cause I stand by every word I say and everything I believe in, cause that’s just what I’m about”. VICE goes out strong with these 2 powerful tracks that stay true to what they are all about, both musically and lyrically. Angry, pissed off kids, making angry pissed off music.
JESUS PIECE/MALICE AT THE PALACE “SPLIT” EP (Bridge Nine Records, Released May, 2017)
Bridge Nine has been one of the best represented labels in hardcore for a long time and with the decision to release a Jesus Piece/Malice At The Palace split, it's not hard to see why. The choice to put these 2 bands on a record together seems really natural to me; both are younger bands who capture the spirit of hardcore through bomb dropping breakdowns while keeping the fun in what they do! It's a solid fit!
The album art on this one is indicative of what lies within. Several angelic figures are pictured a la St. Peter's Cathedral, however upon closer inspection you notice one is about to lose an arrow into another's head as it looks upward in defiance; one is making out with a dragon/serpent creature, and another lies (presumably) dead while shackled to a wall. So yeah, get ready for some heavy music.
Less than 20 seconds into my first listen of this barn burner I very nearly shoved my computer off the desk to call it a “fake ass mother fucker.” Jesus Piece comes out hammer-in-hand to smash your eardrums with 2 songs in the aggressive beatdown style they've come to be known for; while Malice At The Palace bats clean up, fresh off a full length LP, with 2 of their own breakdown laden tracks.
Both of these bands earned their reputations in the scene hard and fast, turning the heads of young show goers and garnering respect from the older set with brutality on records as well as the stage, and these 4 songs are a continuation in that vein. Jesus Piece has been busy touring their asses off, so to get some new tunes from them is great! It's also rad to see a band like Malice push out 2 additional tracks not long after releasing a full length to show us just how hard they're working – which gets mad respect from me!
Both bands nailed it on this one and Bridge Nine continues their killing spree! Out now… I recommend you pick it up, you fake ass mother fucker.
CHEECH “OLD FRIENDS” 7” EP
(WTF Records, Released April, 2017)
Run, don’t walk, errrr, I mean Google this band; Cheech. You will not be disappointed. Need a good album to start your summer? Pick this up now. Cheech from Boston, Mass…. Seriously, it has been a long time since I started and finished a new album and was ready to run on repeat for a while. Cheech’s “Old Friends” is that one. And check this out…..the EP is the original four songs plus four more hard ass “bonus” cuts. Why have I not listened to these guys before? No fucking excuse.
When I first heard it, I was drawn to the vocals. I started to make my comparisons to Blood for Blood and Sheer Terror. A mix of raw emotion, beatdown and angst that destroys any suckers that would enter the pit unprepared so brace up. The first four songs (“War of 84”, “Outta Time”, “Jumped The Shark”, “Old Friends Die Hard”) are from the original vinyl 7’ version of this release and fucking knock. No stupid ass lyrics or whiny vocals… only hard breakdowns, group vocals and a groove that floats between thrash, Oi!, hardcore punk and some metal. I am a sucker for cover songs and the ode to lost friends, “Old Friends Die Hard” (Bulldog Courage) does not disappoint. Shit, there’s even an instrumental here. Dafuq? Again, I listened to this and knew I was lucky to catch a winner to review. Looking forward to the opportunity to see these guys sometime given the chance. I am kicking myself for not having experienced this band earlier. Don’t make the same mistake. Remember you don’t support the scene if you don’t support your local scene!
HCPP FANZINE ISSUE #1 (Released May 2017)
When you purchase a zine, you don't always know what you're going to get content-wise. There may have been a particular interview or feature that drew you to that issue, but the author's taste and inclusions might not fully corroborate with your own. Not so with HCPP Fanzine #1, where you know exactly what you're in for: an entire zine reflecting on the legacy of Carl The Mosher, told by the people who knew him best, and some of us who only knew him a little bit. This is an ingenious and well researched project, especially for someone not based in the US to have assembled. It's also a good reminder that if you don't do something in hardcore, someone else will. I've been meaning to finish transcribing a Carl interview from 2006 and release a special issue with its contents, but now I'm thinking of incorporating the results into a future Double Rabies instead.
Anyway, it's also important for someone to tell Carl's side of the story. Over the past decade we've witnessed a concerted effort to minimize his contributions on Wikipedia and the like. Many bands have undergone legendary beefs and partings, but I still back the fuck out of all three Twilite Records releases, including the unauthorized Icemen contribution. Sometimes it's up to the younger generation to weigh in on how one's musical output will be remembered: and not just remembered, but imitated and referenced until it imbues a later lexicon, based on the quality of the songs that remain.
HCPP Fanzine #1 opens with an interview with Daniel Derella from Underdog regarding Carl's stint in the band, and is followed by conversations with Justin Flemm, Ed Sherry and Ilko Nechev of Dynamo. If you've ever heard the M13 – “Path Of Perfection” demo, it makes sense that it was recorded in Carl's mom’s kitchen, though that conclusion may be influenced by the poor quality of my MP3's. The second half of the zine contains shorter anecdotes by 40 different people, kicked off by Freddy Alva and featuring everyone from Ray Cappo to Bob Riley. The contents range from general remembrances and descriptions of Carl’s mosh prowess to genuinely humorous vignettes. These quotes are roughly arranged in chronological order, leading off with sources who attended shows with Carl back in the day, and ending with some younger aficionados from the modern era.
My favorite stories are too good to spoil here, but a car related tale is particularly notable, as is the revelation from Craig Setari that Carl played semipro baseball in Puerto Rico. I mentioned something to Carl once about him living in Andy Pettitte's hometown and asked if they were neighbors. He laughed and said that out there, everyone is neighbors, but I wish I’d had the opportunity to talk baseball with him more frequently. And speaking of discerning taste, I was struck by multiple younger people in the zine who mentioned Dynamo. Growing up I haven’t seen a lot of Dynamo enthusiasts in my time, but I’m glad these songs are finally getting their due, along with the more widely renowned Icemen material.
This is a half-size, 32 page zine with a NYC themed layout, including an old style transit map on the back, which is also where each copy is hand numbered. While the layouts are clean and orderly in the first half, my only criticism is that that the background in the second half can be slightly distracting at times, which is ridiculous coming from me, since my own layouts in my own zines often have way too much going on. My only other request is for Edo to produce these in slightly larger print runs. When I started writing this review, the second press was already sold out, and I was unsure if people reading this would be able to procure a copy. Luckily a third batch has recently been produced, plus I believe there are still a few copies being distributed in the New York area.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or Instagram.com/edohcpp