Happy 2010 everyone, obviously it's too early in the year to have any new releases, so these were all stragglers from 2009. A chunk of these come courtesy of Nick @ Cowabunga Records (thanks dude!), who does a great label with lots of quality releases. I also want to point out that the 3 demos I'm reviewing here are incredible, and give me hope for some great releases in 2010.
Bad Brains- 171A Sessions
A new Bad Brains bootleg has surfaced recently, and it's awesome that these haven't been released after all of these years. Legend has it that these were recorded for a compilation that was never released. The A side (Black Dots/ Send You No Flowers/ Redbone In The City)all appeared on the Black Dots LP, but these versions are much better. The B side is a reggae jam, which I could do without. The songs still lack the ferocity of the ROIR sessions, but this definitely fills a hole in your BB record collection. Track it down now, or cry later; bootlegs these days are pretty scarce.
I LOVED Needles' first 7", which seemed to sell out and go out of print immediately, so I made sure to buy this online as soon as I heard it was released. I hate to say that I was a little bit disappointed. It's not a bad record by any means, but I think it lacks the raw intensity of their first record. It's a bit less distorted/ blown out than the first 7", but flows well and it's still a ripper. Maybe I'm judging it a bit harshly because that first 7" was so good, definitely don't pass up this record.
Right Idea- demo
I was recently turned on to this Cleveland sXe band. They musically similar to Straight Ahead (they're named after one of their songs after all) and No For an Answer, but the vocals have a slight Uniform Choice vibe. The lyrics are pretty posi, but the music is enough for the hardcore crowd to be into as well. The flow of the record kinda slows down in the middle, but I'm sure "Right Idea" and "On Edge" are awesome to see live. This is their demo pressed to vinyl, so if you're like me, this is a good place to start.
Not Sorry- Moving On
Not Sorry is a new sXe band from Seattle (by way of upstate NY). This 7" is their demo plus 2 newer songs. I had downloaded their demo online a while back and liked it, so I made sure to get this. The songs are influenced by the older youth crew era of HC, with a heavy Chain of Strength influence. I also get a more modern vibe, w/ some parts reminding me of early Bane releases. I could see this appealing to a broad range of HC fans, but I prefer my HC more straight forward. Definitely looking forward to their next 7" on React!
High Life- Drink Yourself to Freedom
I think these guys like to drink beer... based on the album title, band name and insert illustration. I like this band more than I like drinking beer (which is not at all). I was half expecting another dumb party band, but instead I got some raw and angry 80's influenced hardcore. I almost get a Cleveland vibe, like the 9 Shocks Terror associated bands. This was definitely the surprise of the bunch, definitely give this a chance.
The Ladies- Trashed
I had seen the Ladies at No Way Fest 2, but this is my first Ladies record. This thing's great! Reminds me of the Shemps, but more raw. They do the mixing of punk and garage rock way better than most other bands these days attempting that style. There's only 3 songs on here but they're all hits. I need to track down their other releases now.
Video Disease- Make Me Pure
I liked Video Disease's first 7" and demo, so i was psyched to get my hand son this. The sound is a bit more polished, but still raw (the other recording were raw as shit though). I think you can hear all of the instruments a lot better than their previous releases, but I could see someone saying it lacked the same intensity. Unfortunately the band is now broken up, so their LP that they were working on will never be released. Either way, this is a real good 7" in its own right. I will also note that the cover art looks almost exactly like the cover of a 7" by a band called Blackbirds, which was released maybe 3 years ago.
Funeral Shock- Paint Thinner EP
I recall getting Funeral Shock's first 7" years back because they boasted an ex-Spazz member. It was ok, but this is way better. There's a heavy Black Flag influence, maybe B'Last (through weren't they just a later era Flag rip off anyway). Seems like a good balance of slower and faster parts.
Stressed Out/ Rip It Up
This is a split between 2 NJ bands who have toured together in the past. Stressed Out kick things off playing thrashy hardcore similar to Cut The Shit or Bones Brigade. I seem to remember their demo having a little bit more metal/crossover influence. Aside from one (poorly) overdubbed solo in "Deer Blood," it's pretty much a straight thrasher. The lyrics are more socially conscious than the average party thrash band, which is really nice to see. On the flip side Rip It up kick things off with a really moshy intro. I kind of wish their songs were more along the lines of this intro, as the rest of their songs are more fast. I think musically, this reminds me a lot of the first Suicidal Tendencies LP. Overall, the songs could be a little tighter, but I think if they have some potential. A solid split by 2 newer local bands.
Direct Control- Farewell
Possibly the last DC album, or just a tribute to Mikey Offender. This LP was recorded a while back, but finally came out recently. The music is as fast as previous recordings, but the guitar parts seem a little bit more complex. They re-record "Public Safety" from the MRR comp, but I prefer the original. They close out the LP with an instrumental, which was written by Mikey Offender (who sadly passed away, and filled in on bass for DC's Euro tour in 2005). I think overall, it doesn't compare to Direct Control's early releases, but continues what you'd expect after the Strung Up split LP. Hopefully this isn't their last recording.
Total Fury- Ears Go Deaf
This was a super limited release (500), that was only available on their west coast tour last year. I finally got a copy off eBay recently and figured I would review it. Over all it doesn't live up to the high standard they made for them self with 13 Songs and Committed to the Core. I like this better than some of their other recent split 7"s though. It's good, but I wouldn't go crazy to find it.
Damn, even though it just turned 2010, I think this demo will be hard to top. A new Chicago band with members of Pedestrians, Cardiac Arrest, Chronic Seizure and more... Musically it reminds me of the early Discharge singles, which were a bit more rock influenced, but still rage hard. A great demo, that's long enough to have been an EP.
Troops of Tomorrow (pro-tape)
Wow, this demo is fucking great, I must've listened to it 4 times in a row the first day I got it. Troops of Tomorrow is a new band from DC, who plays a Oi influenced hardcore. Modern comparisons to 86 Mentality and Set To Explode seem obvious, but fitting. There's a heavy early 80's Boston style here, maybe Slapshot and DYS (who they cover on here) mixed with somethign like Blitz. The vocals are very rough, and the lyrics are negative- just how I like it. This is a band to watch in 2010 for sure.
Injustice System (cassette)
INJ/SYS is a new band from FL. Musically they're heavily influenced by the good NYHC bands. I get a heavy early Cause For Alarm and early Sick Of It All influence, mixed with the early 80's NY bands like the Abused or the Mob. This type of stuff is right up my alley, and make for a killer demo. Real good, real fast, real stripped down HC- perfect. I recently got mp3s of their new 7", and I assure you that it will be a ripper as well.