As a youngster, two frontmen stuck out to me, one being HR of the Bad Brains and the other Ian MacKaye of Minor Threat. I never got to see either of them live during the 80′s because I was a dumb fuck and I would go to a lame show the week before, then when it came time for them to play L.A. I would be on punishment, and if tried to leave the house my mother said don’t come back home, and she wasn’t bluffing. Even though I didn’t see them live, Bad Brains & Minor Threat still hold a special place in my memory bank. Check out these pictures of both HR and Ian when they were young!
Ian MacKaye of Minor Threat
As a kid and burgeoning adolescent I spent almost every weekend for a period of years longer than I’m willing to admit at the local shopping centre. When you start to measure the passage of time by shopping mall additions and renovations you know you’re in trouble. It wasn’t just that I was dragged along every week by my shopaholic mother and enabling father, although that was certainly a key factor, but that I genuinely found some comfort in that palace of commerce and all its sterile, air-conned glory. It wasn’t even for any semblance of a family outing; apart from the obligatory lunch together during which I would dread being spotted by anyone I knew, it was the parting of the ways. My father would get a newspaper, plant himself somewhere and usually fall asleep until my mother was ready to go; my mother, a small unassuming woman who came into her own each week in that maze of products and price reductions. This was her element, and in it she became a woman on a mission, disappearing into a few hours of blissful, driven consumerism. As a budding consumer and capitalist flag bearer myself I would disappear into my own day of spending, or rather, a few minutes of spending, preceded by a day of anxious decision making. At that age I was dead in the midst of a self-induction into the wider world of music, graduating from what my older brother and friends turned me on to to what I discovered for myself via the internet, and each week my pocket money went straight into a new CD fraught with possibility and risk. Risk, because in those days of low bandwidth dial-up internet and my father’s fear that the smallest flaunting of anti-piracy laws would result in the Feds breaking down our front door within minutes, I could read about a ton of new music but I couldn’t listen to it, and so the weekly expedition to pick up a new album by somebody I’d never actually heard was loaded with anxiety and excitement, and you can believe the choice between two or more different CDs was not a light one. I would spend all day staring at album covers, track listings and spine labels, trying to imagine what was inside those mystical plastic-sealed jewel cases.
I’d heard word that they put on punk shows at a few different places around town. This news blindsided me because I didn’t think anything worth mentioning ever went down in my boring little slice of suburbia. Punk was something I thought would never hit my world at large, outside of the internet and occasional schoolyard whisper, or in hand scrawled logos on skate decks at the local park and on the ratty shirts of the older kids who rode them. These ghostly encounters were just the occasional here and there, and mostly I had to go to my room and slip my headphones on to get to this world.
I definitely didn’t think there were enough of these secret elite to warrant an actual show in these parts, let alone the existence of one – if not more – bands. My magazines told me punk existed only in California, Boston, New York, anywhere but here. And even in those places it didn’t. Punk was dead. Punk blew up and burned out decades before my belated arrival on this planet, and all the original punks were dead, shit-kickers and folksingers now.
Straight up, 90′s DEPRESSOR rock my motherfucking world! Every release I have from them is a classic, because they created music without boundaries. DEPRESSOR always had messages in their music I could relate to, and they still ring true today! Check this out – you can download DEPRESSOR’s War Whores +4 & Some Hit Back releases right here and now!
We’ve talked about this release abundantly here, and it would be superfluous and redundant to keep bragging on about how insanely awesome this release by the young trio from Pisa is. A debut album that represents the crowning achievement in Italian underground metal in 2013, by far, without the barest shadow of a doubt. Buioingola have made an incredible statement in the world of dark and atmospheric metal with this debut album of theirs, and anyone who is in love with the more apocalyptic, gloomy and depressed sides of crust and doom should put Dopo L’Apnea on their year’s end top albums lists. For all fans of Planks, Altar of Plagues, Fall of Efrafa, Year of No Light and the such. Let the shadows spill in.
For many different reasons, the first DANZIG album is my favorite of their work. If you are a fan of this band, then DANZIG – VHS is a must-see for you. This film captures the band on stage and behind the scenes…This is when they still had punks in the group and is definitely their best line-up!
New York punk band Ivy rip through seven songs in just under ten minutes on this demo cassette of messy, belligerent hardcore. These songs are rough, sloppily recorded, for the most part indecipherable and catchy as hell. The vocals for most of this release are barely distinguishable from the rest of the band, a distant, drowning, antagonistic presence – and good luck discerning even a single word of lyrics. That being said, these guys actually have some real hooks. While I have no idea what’s being sung, the vague, wavering, snotty, out-of-tune chorus line of ‘Antsy’ is seriously so catchy and will be stuck in your head for days.
There’s not really much else to be said here. You could listen to this album a few times over in the time it takes to read a review, and your time would be much better served. Get on it.
Label: Dischord Records
Growing up in an era that pre-dated the internet meant that sometimes the closest we could get to seeing bands were washed out xerox photos. Me and all my homies had mad love for the DC scene – it didn’t make a difference that it was 3000 miles away from us. One band that never toured out West was VOID and since hearing them on Flex Your Head I was a fan. I enjoyed the FAITH, but it was the other side of the record that I kept on constant rotation. VOID knew how to blend metal and punk better than most bands at the time. Today CVLT Nation celebrates one of the raddest bands to do it during the 80′s: VOID. Peep this full set of them killing shit in Philly…the year was 1983…
’84 Rollins/Kira/Ginn/Stevenson – this is the lineup of BLACK FLAG I saw the most and I never got bored of seeing them! In my book, this is the era that went on to really influence sludge, doom and even grunge. This is also the time when Henry started to come into his own as a performer. Watching them back then was almost like checking out a jazz band because they would totally go off on these tagents. In 1984, BLACK FLAG changed what a hardcore band had to sound like and were expanding minds everywhere. Now peep this intense performance of them wrecking shop in Amherst, Mass in 1984…BLACK FLAG was the shit!
Alright, besides the 70′s era Z-Boys, I would have to say the the Alva Posse days were pretty fun for me. I dropped out of the tenth grade and started silkscreening skate boards for Alva in 1985. All I can say is every day was an adventure and that time is a part of my life that I will never forget. A couple years later, I moved back to Venice and got real close with Jef Hartsel and John Thomas, who took me ramp skating on the daily. The Alva Posse had a major influence on skate culture in the 80′s and beyond…Check out this retrospective of the bad boys of skating!