Monday, February 28, 2011

ZERO BOYS
Vicious Circle - (1982)

When he walked into Keystone Recording in Indianapolis on August 18, 1981, Zero Boys singer Paul Mahern told producer/engineer John Helms he wanted his band's debut LP to "sound like the Germs' GI," released two years prior. "He really nailed it!" laughed Mahern recently. Much agreed: Few records have ever sounded this whizbang buzzing. And whereas GI transformed an appallingly shambolic L.A. band into a shocking powerhouse, Vicious Circle merely snared a smokin' Indiana band that'd been rehearsing five hours a day -- so tight they spun this corker out in just two days, by recording live together. It still bursts out of your speaker on CD as it did off a needle when released on Nimrod records 19 years ago. Terry Hollywood's razor-zinging guitar and Tufty Clough's Speedy Gonzalez' bing-bing-bing bass playing (fastest fingers in the Midwest) burn like blowtorches, and drummer Mark Cutsinger plays like he IV'ed amphetamines. Mahern sings like a hurrying rabbit, rapid-firing words about assassinations/celebrity-shootings, anti-nostalgia, having a "high time," and, well, doing speed. Whereas other records of the new hardcore scene tried to sound tough, this was like Johnny Thunders, Sex Pistols, Ramones, Dictators, and S.L.F. on 45, smiling like dopes. Reissued with two bonus tracks from the same session, Vicious Circle remains a vicious pleasure of frenzied attitude, chops, speed, tight playing, and rocket-launching zeal. (allmusic.com)

http://www.mediafire.com/?mo26hxz5tw85py0



YOUTH BRIGADE
Sink With Kalifornija - (1984)

One of the lesser-known bands to come out of the early-'80s West Coast punk rock explosion, Youth Brigade was formed by a trio of brothers (Shawn, Mark, and Adam Stern) at the end of summer 1980 in Los Angeles. Originally supplemented with other members, the group went back to a trio in early 1982, the same year they founded their own independent record label, BYO (Better Youth Organization). Later that year, the group issued their very first release, the three-track EP Someone Got Their Head Kicked In, before recording their full-length debut, Sound and Fury. Their debut hit a snag, however -- shortly after its initial release, the group halted further pressings when they realized they weren't entirely satisfied with how it came out, resulting in the release of a reworked version in June 1983. Another three-song EP, What Price?, hit the racks in the spring of 1984, resulting in Youth Brigade's first tour of Europe. Despite being able to obtain success entirely on their own terms, Adam Stern decided to leave the band in 1985 in order to return to art school. Adam's final show was scheduled in June of the same year at Fenders Ballroom in Long Beach, CA, which was recorded and issued as the Sink with Kalifornija album, and Shawn and Mark opted to carry on without Adam. Eventually Adam returned to Youth Brigade, as the trio toured both North America and Europe. In 1991, the group took a break as its members concentrated on other projects (Mark and Adam with the swing revival band Royal Crown Revue, and Shawn with the pop-punk outfit That's It!). Youth Brigade would pick up where they left off shortly thereafter, as they issued several albums throughout the remainder of the decade: 1994's Happy Hour, 1996's To Sell the Truth, and 1998's Out of Print. BYO Records also continued to operate strong through the years, releasing albums from bands like Pinhead Circus, the Unseen, the Business, and many more; the label also began a well-received series of split releases (Leatherface and Hot Water Music being the first), which Youth Brigade took part in on a 1999 split with San Francisco's Swingin' Utters. (allmusic.com)

http://www.mediafire.com/?j6upkmd669tnu3g



Sunday, February 27, 2011

X
Los Angeles - (1980)

By the late '70s, punk rock and hardcore were infiltrating the Los Angeles music scene. Such bands as Black Flag, the Germs, and, especially, X were the leaders of the pack, prompting an avalanche of copycat bands and eventually signing record contracts themselves. X's debut, Los Angeles, is considered by many to be one of punk's all-time finest recordings, and with good reason. Most punk bands used their musical inability to create their own style, but X actually consisted of some truly gifted musicians, including rockabilly guitarist Billy Zoom, bassist John Doe, and frontwoman Exene Cervenka, who, with Doe, penned poetic lyrics and perfected sweet yet biting vocal harmonies. Los Angeles is prime X, offering such all-time classics as the venomous "Your Phone's Off the Hook, but You're Not," a tale of date rape called "Johnny Hit and Run Paulene," and two of their best anthems (and enduring concert favorites), "Nausea" and the title track. While they were tagged as a punk rock act from the get-go (many felt that this eventually proved a hindrance), X are not easily categorized. Although they utilize elements of punk's frenzy and electricity, they also add country, ballads, and rockabilly to the mix.

http://www.mediafire.com/?lq01uk276axddda



WIRE
Pink Flag - (1977)

Perhaps the most original debut album to come out of the first wave of British punk, Wire's Pink Flag plays like The Ramones Go to Art School -- song after song careens past in a glorious, stripped-down rush. However, unlike the Ramones, Wire ultimately made their mark through unpredictability. Very few of the songs followed traditional verse/chorus structures -- if one or two riffs sufficed, no more were added; if a musical hook or lyric didn't need to be repeated, Wire immediately stopped playing, accounting for the album's brevity (21 songs in under 36 minutes on the original version). The sometimes dissonant, minimalist arrangements allow for space and interplay between the instruments; Colin Newman isn't always the most comprehensible singer, but he displays an acerbic wit and balances the occasional lyrical abstraction with plenty of bile in his delivery. Many punk bands aimed to strip rock & roll of its excess, but Wire took the concept a step further, cutting punk itself down to its essence and achieving an even more concentrated impact. Some of the tracks may seem at first like underdeveloped sketches or fragments, but further listening demonstrates that in most cases, the music is memorable even without the repetition and structure most ears have come to expect -- it simply requires a bit more concentration. And Wire are full of ideas; for such a fiercely minimalist band, they display quite a musical range, spanning slow, haunting texture exercises, warped power pop, punk anthems, and proto-hardcore rants -- it's recognizable, yet simultaneously quite unlike anything that preceded it. Pink Flag's enduring influence pops up in hardcore, post-punk, alternative rock, and even Britpop, and it still remains a fresh, invigorating listen today: a fascinating, highly inventive rethinking of punk rock and its freedom to make up your own rules. (allmusic.com)

http://www.mediafire.com/?dme1916apzrjedp



Thursday, February 24, 2011

THE VANDALS
When In Rome Do As The Vandals - (1984)

As snotty punk albums go, When in Rome seems unexceptional on the surface. There are the tasteless joke songs ("Viking Suite," about a man disturbingly fond of little boys in costumes, presented as a mock prog-style rock opera). There's the requisite cheesy cover ("Hocus Pocus" by Focus, renamed "It's Not Unusual," complete with tuneless howls and shrieks that are even more painful than the original's yodeling). One key difference is that the band is quirky enough to experiment with different sounds (rather than just three-chord punk) and flexible enough to be successful at it. From the mock Western "Mohawk Town" to the Caribbean lilt of "Rico," the Vandals display a surprising musical versatility. Lyrically, the band is still rather one-dimensional, relying too much on jokes and schtick (such as the cheap shots at RV dwellers on "Airstream"), although "Slap of Luv," told from the point of view of a domestic abuser, is a surprisingly astute character piece. Still, the Vandals definitely display some real originality and talent on When in Rome, making it a notch above most indie punk albums. (allmusic.com)

http://www.mediafire.com/?dad9z2smnbbai07



U.K. SUBS
Another Kind Of Blues - (1979)

The U.K. Subs' debut can easily stand alongside any other punk classics released during its heyday. Musically, the Subs are similar to the early Clash, but where the Clash spit out balls of fiery rage, the Subs leaven their bile with sardonic humor. "Tomorrow's Girls" imagines a futuristic Venus who "will be pre-programmed," and the music spits out a hilarious series of mock computer beeps. "Crash Course" promises staid executives that, just by listening to the Subs' music and buying up the right clothes, they, too, can "learn" punk rock. Only the sneeringly sexist "All I Wanna Know" hits a sour note. The music is rooted in the typical punk influences: the New York Dolls, the Velvet Underground, and early Who, but the band adds a twist of classic '60s British R&B groups like the Yardbirds. It's melodic, punchy, and fast, delivering the necessary bite without ever becoming too abrasive or sugary. Another Kind of Blues is an impressive debut from the classic punk era.

http://www.mediafire.com/?46b3o9ok5oz1vc7



Wednesday, February 23, 2011

TELEVISION
Marquee Moon - (1977)

Marquee Moon is a revolutionary album, but it's a subtle, understated revolution. Without question, it is a guitar rock album -- it's astonishing to hear the interplay between Tom Verlaine and Richard Lloyd -- but it is a guitar rock album unlike any other. Where their predecessors in the New York punk scene, most notably the Velvet Underground, had fused blues structures with avant-garde flourishes, Television completely strip away any sense of swing or groove, even when they are playing standard three-chord changes. Marquee Moon is comprised entirely of tense garage rockers that spiral into heady intellectual territory, which is achieved through the group's long, interweaving instrumental sections, not through Verlaine's words. That alone made Marquee Moon a trailblazing album -- it's impossible to imagine post-punk soundscapes without it. Of course, it wouldn't have had such an impact if Verlaine hadn't written an excellent set of songs that conveyed a fractured urban mythology unlike any of his contemporaries. From the nervy opener, "See No Evil," to the majestic title track, there is simply not a bad song on the entire record. And what has kept Marquee Moon fresh over the years is how Television flesh out Verlaine's poetry into sweeping sonic epics.

http://www.mediafire.com/?62ezfznjiyt59zt



SOCIAL DISTORTION
Mommy's Little Monster - (1983)

Seminal Orange County punk band Social Distortion's first full-length album Mommy's Little Monster is the epitome of early-'80s suburban California punk and provided inspiration for many future Californians, including the Offspring and Rancid. Mommy's Little Monster finds the band supplying plenty of attitude and aggression as they rip through nine tracks worth of hard, fast, power chord-filled tracks loaded with snarling anti-establishment lyrics and themes. Songs like "The Creeps (I Just Want to Give You") and "Telling Them" show a young punk group that is very angry, and they were going to let society know it whether they wanted to hear it or not. The title track, "Mommy's Little Monster," with its descriptions of the girl with blue hair and the unemployed young punk who loves to drink and fight, gives you a good idea of the characters Social Distortion was surrounded by in the scene of the day. Although the low budget production gives the album a genuine early genre feel, it tends to hinder some of the potential power of most of the tracks presented here. As frontman Mike Ness matured as a songwriter the band went on to record stronger albums later in their career, but Mommy's Little Monster is a fine document of the raw early stages of a great influential American punk band that would go on to influence countless others in the future. (allmusic.com)

http://www.mediafire.com/?poyvqjs19e47sog




THE SEX PISTOLS
Never Mind The Bollocks Here's The Sex Pistols - (1977)

While mostly accurate, dismissing Never Mind the Bollocks as merely a series of loud, ragged midtempo rockers with a harsh, grating vocalist and not much melody would be a terrible error. Already anthemic songs are rendered positively transcendent by Johnny Rotten's rabid, foaming delivery. His bitterly sarcastic attacks on pretentious affectation and the very foundations of British society were all carried out in the most confrontational, impolite manner possible. Most imitators of the Pistols' angry nihilism missed the point: underneath the shock tactics and theatrical negativity were social critiques carefully designed for maximum impact. Never Mind the Bollocks perfectly articulated the frustration, rage, and dissatisfaction of the British working class with the establishment, a spirit quick to translate itself to strictly rock & roll terms. The Pistols paved the way for countless other bands to make similarly rebellious statements, but arguably none were as daring or effective. It's easy to see how the band's roaring energy, overwhelmingly snotty attitude, and Rotten's furious ranting sparked a musical revolution, and those qualities haven't diminished one bit over time. Never Mind the Bollocks is simply one of the greatest, most inspiring rock records of all time. (allmusic.com)

http://www.mediafire.com/?wyf88bbcbhpmbkb



Monday, February 21, 2011

THE RAMONES
Ramones - (1976)

With the three-chord assault of "Blitzkrieg Bop," The Ramones begins at a blinding speed and never once over the course of its 14 songs does it let up. The Ramones is all about speed, hooks, stupidity, and simplicity. The songs are imaginative reductions of early rock & roll, girl group pop, and surf rock. Not only is the music boiled down to its essentials, but the Ramones offer a twisted, comical take on pop culture with their lyrics, whether it's the horror schlock of "I Don't Wanna Go Down to the Basement," the drug deals of "53rd and 3rd," the gleeful violence of "Beat on the Brat," or the maniacal stupidity of "Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue." And the cover of Chris Montez's "Let's Dance" isn't a throwaway -- with its single-minded beat and lyrics, it encapsulates everything the group loves about pre-Beatles rock & roll. They don't alter the structure, or the intent, of the song, they simply make it louder and faster. And that's the key to all of the Ramones' music -- it's simple rock & roll, played simply, loud, and very, very fast. None of the songs clock in at any longer than two and half minutes, and most are considerably shorter. In comparison to some of the music the album inspired, The Ramones sounds a little tame -- it's a little too clean, and compared to their insanely fast live albums, it even sounds a little slow -- but there's no denying that it still sounds brilliantly fresh and intoxicatingly fun. (allmusic.com)

http://www.mediafire.com/?x31yvvs8c5iqmki



RANCID
Rancid - (1993)

This is where it all starts. Without any reminiscing about their former band, Operation Ivy, Matt Freeman (bass) and Tim Armstrong (guitar/vocals) blast through their debut without any hints of ska or blatant Clash plagiarizing. On the contrary, this album rips through 15 tracks of high-energy punk that's accompanied by heavy bass leads and Armstrong's permanently slurred vocals. And to top it all off, the lyrical content deals with urban blight and the lifestyle of being a public nuisance. With this trademark sound, Rancid provide the perfect soundtrack for any car chase that includes massive property damage; is it a wonder MTV wouldn't touch this? (allmusic.com)

http://www.mediafire.com/?gr6eqbm773926wz

Saturday, February 19, 2011

THE QUEERS
Don't Back Down - (1996)

It doesn't get any better than this. On Don't Back Down the rip-roaring punk songs with no melody ("No Tit," for instance) are more than counterbalanced by the many mind-blowingly catchy songs ("Punk Rock Girls," "Number One," "Janelle, Janelle," ad nauseam). Some of the songs, dare it be said, even surpass many of Brian Wilson's perfect pop songs. Whereas the Ben Weasel-fronted group the Riverdales aspire to be nothing more than Ramones imitators, the Queers successfully use the musical vocabularies developed by the Ramones (as well as Brian Wilson and others) and take their songs to new levels.

http://www.mediafire.com/?tq4uc4xha55mcbm



PETER AND THE TEST TUBE BABIES
The Punk Singles Collection - (1996)

Chasing the Brighton-based punks from their "Banned from the Pubs" debut in 1982 through to the "Keys to the City" 45 three years later, The Punk Singles Collection is a reminder that, for all the on-stage hijinks and the complaints that they were essentially a novelty band, Peter & the Test Tube Babies were actually responsible for some of the hardest-hitting singles of the early '80s Oi! heyday. As usual with the series, 23 tracks round up both A- and B-sides, so a big hurrah for the resurrection of some genuinely classic flips -- "Moped Lads," "Up Yer Bum," "Trapper Ain't Got a Bird" -- and the frenetic live blitz that rounded up "Spirit of Keith Moon" and "Vicars Wank Too" at the very end of the original band's career. "Rotting in the Fart Sack," too, marks out the Test Tubes as a genuinely inspired assault on all that the polite music critic held dear -- and, if The Punk Singles Collection doesn't quite contradict the notion that everything this band did was intended as a joke, at least it has a good laugh trying. (allmusic.com)

http://www.mediafire.com/?74j33eqefdwrawd



Thursday, February 17, 2011

OFF!
First Four EP's - (2010)

Keith Morris, one of the pioneers of the Los Angeles hardcore punk scene as lead singer with the first lineup of Black Flag and founder of the Circle Jerks, returns to his roots in fast, loud, confrontational music with the group Off! Off!'s story began when Keith Morris and guitarist Greg Hetson began mapping out plans to make a new Circle Jerks album, and Dimitri Coats of the Burning Brides was brought in to produce the sessions. Neither Morris nor Coats were happy with the material that had been proposed for the album, and the two began writing a fresh batch of songs. Hetson didn't see eye to eye with Coats as producer, so Morris and Coats decided to use their songs for a project of their own, and formed Off! as a vehicle for their material. With Morris on vocals on Coats on guitar, the new group's lineup became complete when Steven McDonald (of Redd Kross) agreed to play bass and Mario Rubalcaba (ex-Hot Snakes and Rocket from the Crypt) signed on as drummer. Off! made their live debut at the 2010 South by Southwest Music Conference in Austin, TX, and received enthusiastic reviews for their urgent, energetic songs, which more than one reporter compared to early Black Flag. The band made their recording debut in 2010 with the four 7" vinyl box set, First Four EPs, which also saw a CD release in early 2011 on Vice. (allmusic.com)

http://www.mediafire.com/?5r1xvx4dr71kmkb



NOFX
Punk In Drublic - (1994)

With their 1994 album Punk in Drublic, NOFX truly hit their stride. The quartet didn't change their approach at all -- at their core, they remain a heavy, speed-addled, hook-conscious post-hardcore punk group -- but their songwriting has improved, as has their attack. Prior to this record, they merely showed promise, but with Punk in Drublic they fulfilled their potential.

http://www.mediafire.com/?c9yopwpny1pbpsc




Wednesday, February 16, 2011

MINUTEMEN
Ballot Result - (1987)

Before they had even released 3-Way Tie for Last in the fall of 1985, the Minutemen had blocked out plans for their next album, which was to be a sprawling three-LP set featuring three sides of studio material and three sides of live recordings. Initial pressings of 3-Way Tie included a ballot so fans could vote for the songs to be included on the live half of the upcoming album; the tragic death of D. Boon meant the Minutemen would never make another studio album, but Mike Watt and George Hurley compiled the ballots sent in by fans and used the results as the basis for this album, which uses radio broadcasts, studio outtakes, rehearsal tapes, and audience recordings to assemble a final tribute to their fallen comrade. As you might expect, the quality of the sound varies quite a bit from track to track (though there's nothing as awful as the stuff on side two of The Politics of Time), and there are a few items here that were outtakes for a good reason (like the overlong version of "Mr. Robot's Holy Orders" or the spontaneous soundtrack improvisation "Hell"). But for the most part, Ballot Result is a fitting memorial that makes clear the Minutemen were just as strong onstage as they were in the studio and that their songs were smart, provocative, adventurous, and stand up well to the test of time. The fiery first side of material from the WREK-FM broadcast previously bootlegged on Just a Minute, Men alone makes this album well worth owning, and there are plenty of other gems scattered through the rest of the set. Ballot Result is hardly the ideal Minutemen live album, but it offers tangible evidence that they were one of the greatest American bands of their time, and that's not an accomplishment to be sneezed at. (allmusic.com)

http://www.mediafire.com/?u0rffhnt3ump4ei



MISFITS
Earth A.D. - (1983)

With their second album, the incredibly short Earth A.D., Misfits speed up the tempo even more, which combined with their amateur musicianship to produce a wall of thrashy sonic murk. Additionally, Earth A.D. doesn't have the same catchy melodies that made previous Misfits records so exciting; however, the cassette and CD reissues append the three-song Die, Die My Darling single, which injects a burst of melodicism that makes the set more listenable. Dedicated fans will certainly want this album; others might be more inclined to hear it broken up over the two-CD compilations, which contain all of its tracks.

http://www.mediafire.com/?sqsg1ut35c85pzj



LEATHERFACE
Mush - (1992)

Recorded at the Greenhouse in London in May 1991, Mush captures the original Leatherface lineup of Frankie Stubbs (vocals/guitar), Steve Charlton (bass), Andrew Laing (drums), and Richie 'Dickie' Hammond (guitar, backing vocals). Originally released in Britain on the Fire subsidiary Roughneck, the album was licensed by Seed Records (an offshoot of Atlantic) in an attempt to pick up on some of that Nirvana action. Sadly, the label never bothered to promote it, and Mush -- one of the most intense records of the '90s, with some of the fiercest playing and song dynamics -- was passed over. Ever since, however, word of mouth has kept interest in the record alive -- so much so that, nearly ten years later, it's considered one of the best albums of the decade. Furthermore, in "I Want the Moon" Leatherface had written at least one bona fide punk-rock classic. The fact that it's one of only a handful of easily obtainable Leatherface releases makes Mush the obvious starting point for anyone wishing to check out this cult outfit.

http://www.mediafire.com/?mv5j557tycou0jt



Tuesday, February 15, 2011

KILLING JOKE
Killing Joke - (1980)

Since 1980, there have been a hundred bands who sound like this; but before Steve Albini and Al Jourgensen made it hip, the cold metallic throb of Killing Joke was exciting and fresh. The harshly sung vocals riding over the pulsating synth lines of the opener "Requiem" have a vigor and passion that few imitators have managed to match. The precise riffs and tight rhythms found in songs like "Wardance" would influence a generation of hardcore musicians; yet "The Wait," with its thrashing guitars and angry vocals, would find itself covered on a Metallica album only six years later. That such a bleak and furious album could have such a widespread influence is a testament to its importance. Certain parts of the album have not dated well; the vocals and drums are mixed in such a way that they lose some of their effectiveness, and the fact that so many other bands have used this same formula does take some of the visceral feeling away. But this is an underground classic and deserves better than its relative unknown status. Fans of most kinds of heavy music will probably find something they like about this band, and this is a good a place as any to start the collection.(allmusic.com)

http://www.mediafire.com/?plfwh5vlvc97j0y



JERRY'S KIDS
Is This My World? - (1983)

Boston hardcore/punk's Jerry's Kids (named after a long-running fund-raising organization that comedian Jerry Lewis formed for children with cerebral palsy) formed originally in 1981, rising out of a local scene that included such bands as SS Decontrol, the F.U.'s, Freeze, Negative FX, and Gang Green (the latter of which would often swap members with Jerry's Kids off and on). Jerry's Kids caught their first break in 1982, when they were featured on a compilation of local talent (This Is Boston, Not L.A.), which created a buzz for the band beyond just Boston. 1983 saw the release of their debut album for X-Claim Records, Is This My World. The group spilt from the label shortly thereafter, leading to the album being shortly out of print, before the Taang! label reissued it. 1989 saw the release of their second and final release, Kill Kill Kill, before splitting up. Although there were plenty of switches in the Jerry's Kids lineup, the best-known included members Rick Jones on vocals and bass, Rockin' Bob Cenci on lead guitar, Dave Aronson on rhythm guitar, and Jack Clark on drums.

http://www.mediafire.com/?clp0i34jtj5d4jf



Thursday, February 10, 2011

IGGY AND THE STOOGES
Raw Power - (1973)

In 1972, the Stooges were near the point of collapse when David Bowie's management team, MainMan, took a chance on the band at Bowie's behest. By this point, guitarist Ron Asheton and bassist Dave Alexander had been edged out of the picture, and James Williamson had signed on as Iggy's new guitar mangler; Asheton rejoined the band shortly before recording commenced on Raw Power, but was forced to play second fiddle to Williamson as bassist. By most accounts, tensions were high during the recording of Raw Power, and the album sounds like the work of a band on its last legs -- though rather than grinding to a halt, Iggy & the Stooges appeared ready to explode like an ammunition dump. From a technical standpoint, Williamson was a more gifted guitar player than Asheton (not that that was ever the point), but his sheets of metallic fuzz were still more basic (and punishing) than what anyone was used to in 1973, while Ron Asheton played his bass like a weapon of revenge, and his brother Scott Asheton remained a powerhouse behind the drums. But the most remarkable change came from the singer; Raw Power revealed Iggy as a howling, smirking, lunatic genius. Whether quietly brooding ("Gimme Danger") or inviting the apocalypse ("Search and Destroy"), Iggy had never sounded quite so focused as he did here, and his lyrics displayed an intensity that was more than a bit disquieting. In many ways, almost all Raw Power has in common with the two Stooges albums that preceded it is its primal sound, but while the Stooges once sounded like the wildest (and weirdest) gang in town, Raw Power found them heavily armed and ready to destroy the world -- that is, if they didn't destroy themselves first. (allmusic.com)

http://www.mediafire.com/?2x1bdo1pcl7fz4r



HUSKER DU
Zen Arcade - (1984)

In many ways, it's impossible to overestimate the impact of Hüsker Dü's Zen Arcade on the American rock underground in the '80s. It's the record that exploded the limits of hardcore and what it could achieve. Hüsker Dü broke all of the rules with Zen Arcade. First and foremost, it's a sprawling concept album, even if the concept isn't immediately clear or comprehensible. More important are the individual songs. Both Bob Mould and Grant Hart abandoned the strict "fast, hard, loud" rules of hardcore punk with their songs for Zen Arcade. Without turning down the volume, Hüsker Dü try everything -- pop songs, tape experiments, acoustic songs, pianos, noisy psychedelia. Hüsker Dü willed themselves to make such a sprawling record -- as the liner notes state, the album was recorded and mixed within 85 hours and consists almost entirely of first takes. That reckless, ridiculously single-minded approach does result in some weak moments -- the sound is thin and the instrumentals drag on a bit too long -- but it's also the key to the success of Zen Arcade. Hüsker Dü sound phenomenally strong and possessed, as if they could do anything. The sonic experimentation is bolstered by Mould and Hart's increased sense of songcraft. Neither writer is afraid to let his pop influences show on Zen Arcade, which gives the songs -- from the unrestrained rage of "Something I Learned Today" and the bitter, acoustic "Never Talking to You Again" to the eerie "Pink Turns to Blue" and anthemic "Turn On the News" -- their weight. It's music that is informed by hardcore punk and indie rock ideals without being limited by them. (allmusic.com)

http://www.mediafire.com/?0e6bgk0yyqfobdv



Wednesday, February 9, 2011

THE GERMS
(GI) - (1979)

A blast of self-lacerating L.A. punk in its original glory, (GI) is simply classic; a commanding, rampaging sneer at everyone and everything infused with a particular, disturbed vision. Said vision belongs to Darby Crash, whose proclivities for charismatic manipulation were already well established before he fully spelled them out in lyrics like "Lexicon Devil," here featuring in a re-recording, and "Richie Dagger's Crime." His David Bowie worship was also paramount -- "Land of Treason," "Communist Eyes," and "Strange Notes" are just three numbers featuring his transformation of the apocalyptic aesthetics of albums like Diamond Dogs and Station to Station toward more brutal ends. Practically speaking, his snarling star quality comes through more than his words, but it's more than enough on that front. Pat Smear has an equal claim to being the album's star, though, and for good reason -- not only did he co-write everything, his clipped, catchy monster riffing was as pure punk in the late-'70s sense as anything, wasting no time on anything extraneous. Lorna Doom and Don Bolles keep up the side as a kickass rhythm section, Bolles in particular making a good mark in the first of his many drumming stints over the moons. Joan Jett's production got knocked at the time for perceived thinness, but she and engineer Pat Burnette actually did a great job at recording the band with crisp, strong results. The notorious closing number, "Shut Down (Annihilation Man)," makes for a nicely balanced contrast to the 42-second opener, "What We Do Is Secret." While the latter song is pure hyperspeed, Crash sounding like he's about to run out of breath on the shout-along chorus, "Shut Down (Annihilation Man)," recorded at a club gig, shows how the Germs could (quite intentionally) tick off an audience via long, meandering numbers if they so chose. (allmusic.com)

http://www.mediafire.com/?vd8uagv6tsl116u



GORILLA BISCUITS
Start Today - (1989)

Vying with Minor Threat for the title of "The Godfathers of Hardcore" are Gorilla Biscuits, and Start Today is the record that demonstrates their merits. Presented with both humor and energy, this is the record that proved straight edge kids knew how to have a good time, and that they had some pretty good musical ideas as well. Focusing on the hyper rants of lead singer Civ, and pushed along with loud and chunky guitar riffs by Walter Schreifel (later of Quicksand), the record sees the band tackle topics ranging from pets to friends and even to pride in the hardcore scene. It's certainly not without its politics, but the tone is surprisingly light, and Civ is clearly giving his opinion more than he is trying to convince others of anything. From the trumpets that announce the record's start, which are immediately followed by a chugging guitar chord, Gorilla Biscuits never really let up on the listener. Unlike so much of what the group influenced, there aren't a great deal of slowed-down musical interludes and unintelligible screams, though the band's tasteful use of the half-time "mosh part" makes it clear where they might have steered some of their copycats wrong. Start Today is a terrific representation of the beginnings of hardcore music, and for those involved in the scene it is certainly required listening.

http://www.mediafire.com/?dlyy1wyz1yfl081



Monday, February 7, 2011

FEAR
The Record - (1982)

In many ways, punk rock was a musical ink-blot test, and different people tended to see different things in it. Some saw punk as a call to organize the proletariat, others an opportunity to smash the state, some thought it was just a good excuse to get drunk and party, and a few folks figured it might be a easy way to make some quick money. Fear, however, had a fairly unique perspective -- they seemingly embraced punk as an efficient way to piss off everyone around them, and there's no arguing that they achieved their goals with flying colors on their first and best album, The Record. Between the anthemic "Let's Have a War" ("...so you can go die!") and the inevitable closer "No More Nothing," Fear (and particularly frontman Lee Ving) seemed to have a bit of something to offend just about everyone, though women, New Yorkers, and (especially) gays seems to suffer the greatest brunt of his wrath. It would have been easy to dismiss Fear as a bunch of lunk-headed hate-mongers if it weren't for the fact the band played with daunting skill and bruising intensity (there were one of the few L.A. punk bands who never got hit with the charge "They can't play"), and the fact that they were often quite funny -- like a well-told ethnic joke, you can't help but laugh as much as you might hate yourself for it (the band also managed to sound pretty convincing when they "meant it"). Does that make it OK? Not really. Does that make the record easier to listen to? Frankly yes. It makes sense that John Belushi was a big fan of Fear, because The Record sounds like the punk equivalent of the movie Animal House -- puerile, offensive, and often reveling in its own ignorance, but pretty entertaining on a non-think level while it lasts. (allmusic.com)

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EMBRACE
Embrace - (1987)

The band's one album, taken from two separate mid-'80s recording sessions, finds the fusion of Faith's instrumentalists and Minor Threat's singer -- Ian MacKaye himself, older brother of Faith's singer Alex -- a successful enough blast of post-hardcore. It's no surprise per se that MacKaye wanted to push himself more strongly in future; compared to Fugazi, Embrace is fine but nowhere near as gripping or inventive. As a vehicle for his righteous, cutting lyrics and strong voice, though, it's more than fine. With engineering help from the legendary Don Zientara, everything's well-recorded and produced, MacKaye clearly cutting through the heavy band crunch. Interestingly, the instruments that come through the best are Ivor Hanson's drums, a neat switch around from the usual domination via guitar. Not that Michael Hampton's work sounds weak or poor; if anything, he brings a sharp turn-of-the-'80s U.K. style to fore, with the understated inventiveness of John McGeoch's early work in Magazine and Siouxsie and the Banshees. Consider his exuberant performance on "Dance of Days," both fiery and just pretty enough. Compared to both Faith's and Minor Threat's work in general, Embrace tries for something a touch poppier and a little less immediately frenetic, like a pause for breath after a full-on rampage. MacKaye's lyrical aim dwells as much on personal concerns and a search for courage as much as anything, continuing the themes of earlier efforts as "Look Back and Laugh." "Building" revolves around self-accusations of failure, while the shimmering, reverb-touched drive of "Do Not Consider Yourself Free" urges vigilance with the realization that "there are others held captive." It's not quite the birth of emo -- if anything, Rites of Spring found themselves saddled with that peculiar honor -- but it's easy enough to imagine more than a few '90s bands taking the words as holy writ.

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