Sunday, June 14, 2009

Classic Comps vol. 4- Flex Your Head

This is kind of a no-brainer, I always loved the DC hardcore scene. After doing the NYHC comp last time, I felt I dropped the ball by not doing Flex Your Head sooner. I like how each band has multiple songs each. Dischord's been re-releasing a lot of their records on colored vinyl with download codes lately. Not that they were out of print, but some got remastered, plus it's cool to see these releases on color. Flex Your Head came on 4 different covers, the one displayed is the one I own, but I obviously prefer the XXX cover. I would also recommend tracking down the Dischord 1981: a Year in Seven Inches LP or CD, as it has the proper releases of some of the more prominent bands on here.

1. Teen Idles - I Drink Milk
2. Teen Idles - Commie Song
3. Teen Idles - No Fun

The Teen Idles were basically the reason Dischord Records started, which was to release their first 7". "I Drink Milk" is a pretty juvenile, song, but kinda catchy in its monotone nature. "Commie Song" has a little more punch, but not as catchy. "No Fun" in a pretty good decent Stooges cover. These songs overall are good but not great, however they laid the groundwork for what would be a thriving hardcore scene.

4. Untouchables - Rat Patrol
5. Untouchables - Nic Fit
6. Untouchables - I Hate You

The Untouchables were fronted by Ian MacKaye's younger brother Alec, and all the members went on to do notable bands later on. I really like the Untouchables, but unfortunately this is all that's available by them. I hear rumors that a 7" was recorded but never released... "Rat Patrol" kicks it in with a pretty good hook in the chorus and the singer's raspy voice. Some people may recognize "Nic Fit" from Sonic Youth's shitty cover. This song's pretty bare bones start and stop hardcore, not much to it, but what else would you want? "I Hate You" is a little more mid-paced, but has a chorus that's all sing a long.

7. State Of Alert - I Hate The Kids
8. State Of Alert - Disease
9. State Of Alert - Stepping Stone Party

SOA's one of my favorites from this era, and probably most notable for being Henry Rollins' first band. "I Hate The Kids" if the best song out of these 3. Pretty good riff, and sing a long chorus, just fast and simple. "Disease" is a short blast, but not the best. Apparently it was a thing in DC to cover "Stepping Stone." Minor Threat, SOA, the Untouchables and Government Issue have all recorded versions. The SOA version's a little more chaotic, and it doesn't seem like they knew the words and just made them up.

10. Minor Threat - Stand Up
11. Minor Threat - 12XU

Minor Threat were probably one of the more important early hardcore punk bands. They had the speed of hardcore and actually had somethign intelligent to sing about. "Stand Up" is sort of a call to arms type song, and fits along with the rest of their classic discography. "12XU" is a Wire cover, which rules. I kinda feel like Minor Threat gets written off being a band that a lot of people get into early, but over 10 years later they sound just as good to me.

12. Government Issue - Hey, Ronnie
13. Government Issue - Lie, Cheat, & Steal

Government Issue was always a band that I liked but never loved. Musically similar to Minor Threat, but maybe a little slower. Hey Ronnie" is obviously directed at the then president, and has a great sing along intro. "Lie, Cheat, & Steal" is about the same pace as the previous track, and has a catchy chorus. GI released a hell of a lot more records than any of these other DC bands, most of them were real good aside from a few later releases

14. Youth Brigade - Moral Majority
15. Youth Brigade - Waste Of Time
16. Youth Brigade - Last Word

Youth Brigade was a great band, and this is way better than the band of the same name from CA. They featured the former singer of Teen Idles, and some others who went on to bigger things. "Moral Majority" is just a straight up classic hardcore song. "Waste Of Time" is pretty good, but the weaker of the 3 songs. "Last Word" is a little slower, but is pretty anthemic in a good way.

17. Red C - Jimi 45
18. Red C - Pressure's On
19. Red C - 6 O' Clock News
20. Red C - Assassin

Red C is a band that basically had a demo and these tracks. "Jimi 45" is a skipper, pretty lame instrumental. "Pressure's On" is one you'll want to get to as soon as possible. You may recognize it from being covered by Citizens Arrest (on their demo) and more recently by Ceremony. Great song! "6 O' Clock News" has a real lame verse, but the chorus part is kinda thrashy and way better- probably another skipper though. "Assassin" is a better/shorter song, but not nearly as good as "Pressure's On."

21. Void - Dehumanized
22. Void - Authority
23. Void - My Rules

Void is a band that kind of brought somethign a little different to the table. They bordered on chaos, but were able to keep it together just long enough to get the song done. The guitar work is insanely good, but retains the simplicity of punk. All of these songs are fucking killer! "My Rules" was later re-recorded for their split LP w/ the Faith

24. Iron Cross - Wargames
25. Iron Cross - New Breed
26. Iron Cross - Live For Now

Iron Cross has the distinction of being one of the first American bands to be more Oi inspired. The recording quality is a little weird, where the vocals are real low in the mix. All 3 songs are about the same mid tempo pacing with nothing really standing out.

27. Artificial Peace - Artificial Peace
28. Artificial Peace - Outside Looking In
29. Artificial Peace - Wasteland

Artificial Peace I always felt was way under appreciated, aside from these 3 songs they had a discography LP on Lost and Found back in the 90's that's killer. "Artificial Peace" has a weird jam band solo in the middle, and starts out weird but rips somewhere in the middle. "Outside Looking In" is a pretty great song, and probably one of the best examples of start/stop hardcore song writing. "Wasteland" is pretty fast at the start, but the chorus is more slow in a good way.

30. Deadline - Stolen Youth
31. Deadline - Hear The Cry
32. Deadline - Aftermath

Deadline is another band that didn't do much aside from a killer demo, which Dischord recently repressed on CD. Hey Dischord, do a vinyl version and I'll buy it! "Stolen Youth" is a great slow song. "Hear The Cry" is a great song, and way faster to the typical DC style of this LP. "Aftermath" closes out the comp on a kind of slow tempo, it gets a little faster towards the end, but not the best way to end the record. Deadline's other stuff is better I think.

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