Saturday, July 26, 2008

NYHC - Revised and Reordered***

Zen and the Art of: New York Hardcore - A NYHC Compilation

Todays post is all about NYHC.

A NYHC compilation is not, in any way, a new idea. And the comp I offer you today, painstakingly pieced together with 18 influential hardcore acts, is not going to blow any doors of subconsciousness open and make you all of a sudden love New York Hardcore. If you already enjoy NYHC from 85-90 then you will like this comp.

My major goal is not so much to turn people on to NYHC as much as rectify an issue I have noticed a few times. This is the fact that a number of these compilations are weighted towards one type of sound. The Revelation comp, The Way We Were, focuses more on straight edge youth crew hardcore while the New Breed comp (thanks Sven!) focuses more on the tougher bands. Of course, when dealing with NYC things from this time period they are all imbued with a natural toughness. The city was still a rough place and the struggle was all the more present. Drugs were rampant and so was disease. Gangs were prevalent and the crime was at an all time high. These thing then, become all the more evident upon listening to these two types of hardcore. For the sake of easy explanation (cuz lets face it, there is so much more involved on closer inspection) we will visualize this into these two styles. And both of these styles make sense in regard to the current state of affairs at that time. Hence the messages of positivity, the unity and the humanitarian concerns of the more youth crew variety. Also just as understandable are the messages of hate and anger and disgust of the tougher and more street oriented NYHC bands.

So my goal is essentially to marry these two ideas together even more so then I have experienced before. Here I am trying to portray a balance of ideas set forth by these bands in the late 80's period. One of mistrust, frustration and anger yet also one of hope, help and new directions. They are both equally valid and have their successes and failures, their idealisms, so to speak. But there is no denying, however idealistic, that these bands were a powerful force of influence and a catalyst for change in a situation that was against all odds.

Times seem easier today. We can overlook a lot of the bad things that still exist because we have TV or movies to watch, "reality shows" that are anything but real. We can go buy pre made healthy food at "Whole Foods" and get cheap and "hip" fashions, talk on our cell phones, go to myspace and get the latest "cool" band and the see the latest trends, etc etc. It's absurd. The bad things in life, to those who dont have to deal with them everyday, have been relegated to Youtube videos and the News thus furthering the sensationalism and yet utter desensitization of all the horrors that still exist today. The call of hardcore, and not just NYHC, is all the more important now. The odds against us are even greater, more subversive, crawling under your skin. And the messages of these 18 bands dont ring any less true today than they did 20 years ago. So scream your lungs out, be different, ask the world to be different, demand it, god damn it! Its, your world, our world. We all have a voice and if we need a little prodding from our favorite bands, than so be it. Music is a powerful medium and it should never lose that momentum for change.

So, this is music as well. It's not only about messages. It's also about badass tunes; jumping out of your skin, freaking the fuck out, with a smile or a sneer, flipping off the world and saying, "fuck you! I am going to stage dive off my bed, right now! I am going to go apeshit for no other reason than this breakdown makes me want to karate chop through all the bullshit!".

To start it off, I think Sick Of It All's "Clobberin' Time" is a choice way to get things moving. This song makes my blood boil. Beginning with KRS-One's awesome intro, the first ringing bass chords are some of the most chillingly powerful moments in hardcore history. I will leave the rest for you to decide. I personally have been enjoying the hell out of this mix for the past week while I was compiling it and feel songs flow together well. Also, I would like it to be noted, that even though this obviously a digital thing, I arranged the songs to flow as two sides of a cassette. I did this because when I was getting into a lot of this stuff cassettes were still prevalent. So, side A and side B have their own flows, peaks and valleys.

Side A
1. Clobberin' Time / Pay The Price - Sick of It All
2. Vitality - Beyond
3. Dead & Gone - Absolution
4. New Release - Raw Deal
5. Trapped - Crumbsuckers
6. Sick People - Breakdown
7. Blind Justice - Agnostic Front
8. Enforcer - Leeway
9. No Guts, No Glory - The Icemen
10. Malfunction - Cro-Mags

Side B
1. New Direction - Gorilla Biscuits
2. Time Is Now - Side By Side
3. Blue Blood - Biohazard
4. The Bright Side - Token Entry
5. ...Shall Be Judged - Burn
6. Breakaway - Straight Ahead
7. New York Crew - Judge
8. Disengage - Youth of Today
9. Mass Movement - Underdog

The last thing I would like to mention is the cover. Everything about the cover I owe to other artists. Most notably the amazing artist Dan Witz. Dan is a NYC artist that as far as I can tell was around in the 80's and from looking at his amazing oil prints of mosh pits one can only assume that he was there during those times. The artwork I made is basically a re-rendered version of one of his mosh pit paintings laid over a number of hardcore flyers from the era done by various artists. The text was the easiest part and that was done by me. (Carnivale Freakshow, for anyone who likes fonts) So, this is a free comp, not endorsed by anyone involved other than me. I encourage you to pass it around and play it very loudly. Get pumped, get inspired.

One things for sure, you need to go check out Dan Witz's artwork. His oil skills are sick and his street art is inventive and inspiring. He has an amazing looking book coming out this fall too.

22x28" oil and mixed media on canvas © Dan Witz (posted without permission)

Also, enjoy this flyer site, Hardcore Show Flyers. Tons of flyers from all time periods, updated daily. And man oh man, I wish I could've been at some of these shows...

One more thing...

Hahah!!! Sven, aka Luciferyellow, made this amazing picture in anticipation of the NYHC comp. Little did he know that Ganesh is a huge thing in my life. I am planning (for years now) a tattoo of Ganesh to be applied to my body at some point in time. A Revelation Ganesh holding NYHC records might be one of the best things ever. Thanks!!
(Although I have to admit, no Sheer Terror or Maximum Penalty.)

At a point brought up in the comments it was revealed that I completely overlooked the mighty hardcore of Agnostic Front. So please, if youre into it, re-download the mix, appended with AF and delete the old one from your player. I placed the song Blind Justice from 1984's Victim in Pain album making it the earliest piece of NYHC on the mix. As forefathers to a lot of the other stuff this fits nicely within the time period. I put it right in between Breakdown and Leeway. I think it sounds good right there. Tell me what you think.


Blogger blend77 said...

wow, did I just ramble on or what!
Making posts under the influence of coffee, For The Win!

11:24 AM  
Blogger luciferyellow said...

Yeah, I have to say, no Sheer Terror, the elephants are a bit disappointed ;-)
No, I think it's all good, they are forgiving creatures...
When I read your post this morning I had so many thoughts and I am going to comment again later, now I'll have to take care of the kids first and do all the things Proven Hollow was talking about (mow the lawn, Lowes, Bed Bath & Beyond...). An old dude's Saturday.

12:00 PM  
Blogger luciferyellow said...

NYHC of this era is by far my favorite HC, probably because this is what I listened to when I got into hardcore. Musically, you can’t do wrong with bands from that era. It’s like shooting fish in a barrel.
At that time I was a 16-17 year old kid living in Germany, pretty far removed from “Live on the streets” of NYC, both geographically, as well as socioeconomically. If had the great fortune to see a couple of amazing shows at ABC No Rio and CBGBs and a couple of other places that I don’t remember their names anymore when I visited NYC as a tourist. But no matter how many records from my favorite bands I bought, I really don’t know squat about that scene (so that’s my disclaimer).
The funny thing is that I probably know more about the background stories now then I knew back then when I was immersed as deep as I possibly could. And the reason for that is exactly what you are describing: The internet and the almost unlimited access to media that it provides. I embrace it because where I live now no HC scene (or any urban art scene for that matter) exists. So seeing this from a distance or, as in this case reminiscing about the good old times, is better than having nothing. Having that said, if I were to live in NYC and had access to all this, I might feel different about it, too, constantly comparing the current scene with the good old days…
The funny thing is that some of the bands that you feature here (notably SOIA, Biohazard, and maybe even the Cro-Mags) were the ones that (at least in my eyes) initiated the break with the good old times of punk and HC. I remember vividly how SOIA were branded as sellouts because they signed with a major label (and who could forget the great Born Against vs. SOIA radio debate about this).
And I think your description about the two big styles represented here is quite fitting. But I think you left out a third and maybe (hopefully) just as influential subscene of that time (all jokes about Sheer Terror aside…): There was this whole “alternative” scene centered around ABC No Rio with bands like GO!, Born Against, Nausea, Rorschach. To me they were interesting because they were political (maybe naïve) and really concerned with social change, compared to the “make a change, break down the walls” phrases of the youth-crew. But before I start rambling myself, let me just say: Awesome collection of songs! Kick-ass comp! Cheers.

2:43 PM  
Blogger gabbagabbahey said...

I'll echo the last part of Lucifer Yellow's comment there, and also a lot of what came before it.

I have to admit I don't pay too much attention to the old-school, straight-up whatever-type hardcore you post generally, but all the effort and thought you put into this made me sit up and download it. You probably don't want the term applied (one of my history lecturers thought sociology was a form of witchcraft), but your sociological critique of the NYHC scene sorta mirrored a discussion in the last post on my blog about Irish rock music in the 1980s and early 90s (Whipping Boy). But apart from that, the whole post is a great going-another-level-up discussion of hardcore which I strive for in a lot of my own blogging. Well done!

also that oil painting is amazing. especially where everyone is wearing either black, white or denim blue and he makes it into a beautiful oil painting with the skin tones.

5:12 PM  
Blogger blend77 said...

I have to agree with both of you. And though I stand firm to some degree that I was choosing this based on the style of sounds presented, I think for the sake of talking about it I overlooked what you guys mention. A far more fiercely political thought pattern.

At first I was considering Born Against, but since the presentation is so different I decided against it. And of course I wondered about putting Rorschach and possibly some other Jersey bands.

I think maybe it would be cool to add an addendum as another post. Add a "Side C" to the tape mix and address those bands and what they stood for. Thanks for pointing that out!

Also, I am glad you guys like the paintings. This guy Dan Witz is incredible with the brush.

Also, as someone growing up outside the city limits, its not entirely truthful for me to assume a stance of really "knowing" what NYC, especially in the 80's was like. But both of my parents were Bronx born and raised and my grandparents were all Manhatten born and raised, so the city and its ways were always a presence in my younger days. When I was able to go to the city in high school (1991) it was a vastly different place than it is now. Around the end of last decade things began rapidly changing to what they are now. Interesting to say the least. Especially with the horror stories my dad has of the city in the 80's.

Well, I think I am going to append to this post based on your comments. Keep and eye peeled and if you have any pointers or suggestions please share them and I will make an awesome little Side C Post with 8 or nine more bands from that section of NYHC.

9:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"punishment" by biohazard needs to replace "blue blood." song has like 16 separate mosh parts in it. can't fuck with that.

that is all.

12:38 AM  
Blogger Buske said...

Glad to see THE ICEMEN made it to mix. My all-time favorite band from NYHC and a very very underrated and overshadowed band.

I did, however, notice a little neglect in the Agnostic Front and Madball showings... 2 very important bands that are, quite possibly, the poster boy bands of NYC and the hardcore movement within it — both then and now. AF (Stigma) put NY on the map and they (him) are still out there representing to this day. There's a lot to be said about that.

Also, THE MOB. Prior to AF, The Mob was building NYHC fiercely, yet never seemed to get the credit they deserved for it either.

I realized I am kind of off topic with the subject and intent of this post, but I think I raised important points nonetheless, so I 'm just going to leave them and make you suffer through the obtuse post I just made - haha.

Good job though on the mix, it's hard to NOT make an amazing NYHC mixtape from any era.

10:03 AM  
Blogger blend77 said...

haha! Brendan, that is very true, that whole album is pure breakdown bliss, but it fell late on the timeline.

Similarly, to Buske, the Mob fell to early. I was attempting to keep this within the confines of 85-90, but I have to agree, there is no respect for AF up there and until an hour ago, I didnt realize that Madball was conceived in these times.

I think I know how I skipped AF. It is not labeled "NYHC" in my iTunes. Just "Hardcore"... So when I made the list it was culled from that Genre tag, and then I brought it to work and finished it. The funny thing is when I was looking for flyers, I didnt come across any AF flyers either. Or at least I didnt notice. So it flew under my radar, but they were and still are one of the most important bands in the genre.

So I appended the mix. I re-tracked it if anyone cares to download. It was an egregious error to not include them and thus they get their justice to stand with the rest of these amazing bands.

And also, I agree, that this comp could be made 20 different ways and still be awesome.

12:37 PM  
Anonymous jaysin said...

Nice mix. This was such a great time in hardcore, but also kind of weird cause there were so many new scenes emerging. I was into all those bands, but at the time they were getting big so was the whole Lookout scene (crimpshrine, op ivy, isocracy, stikky, corrupted morals, etc) which as a young punk rocker I was more into. From 87-89 you had all that going on, plus some awesome crusty stuff going on as well, Nauseau, Misery, all the british stuff, etc.

It was an exciting time to be a teenager getting into hardcore and punk.

Like The Hold Steady say on their new record "When the Youth of Today and the early 7 Seconds
Taught me some of life's most valuable lessons."


2:04 PM  
Blogger Francisco said...

Hey, Blend!

Noticed that Raein uploaded some songs to their Myspace?

I've downloaded the entire "release", the guy that uploaded it said that he ripped the album... so, do you know guys about this "new album" called "Nati Da Altri Padri". I'm looking for some info, but I can't find nothing. Really strange.

5:32 PM  
Blogger sweet baby jaysus said...

in standing up for the biohazard track, "punishment" was (as i found out yesterday on my neverending timeline quest) the most played video during the course of Headbanger's Ball reign on MTV.
just thought i'd throw that in.

5:59 PM  
Blogger sweet baby jaysus said...

i'm suprised Bold didn't make it to the list with all the tom capone love on here

6:02 PM  
Blogger blend77 said...

I did, deliberately, dismiss Bold from the proceedings. They had some good songs, but short of putting Wise Up, I didnt feel the flow with them. And since I put two tracks from The Way We Were comp already, I wanted to halt the complete bastardization of that comp and come up with something (slightly) new.

Side C is in the works right now.

7:19 PM  
Blogger enlinea said...

thanks for the introduction to ny HC, i was clueless about what define the NY type of hardcore. Great stuff over there. Keep the great job

9:07 PM  
Blogger mr.A said... day i show you my love for NYHC and esspecial for the the Cro - Mags dude. (every blogger with love for music has to start somewhere)

5:03 PM  
Blogger Terry said...

Thanks blend, I'll check it out. I know some of the bands, but the only song I know is "Trapped". Man, I LOVE the Crumbsuckers. If anyone has Beast On My Back (less hardcore and more metal than Life of Dreams...) as a dl I'd be grateful so I don't have to keep playing the cassettes over and over. I don't know too much NYHC and the bands I did check out back in the day (Agnostic Front, Sick of it All, Cro-Mags) were from Anthrax and S.O.D.'s visible tributes (tshirts and stickers on guitars)

6:28 PM  
Blogger luciferyellow said...

They have Crumbsuckers "Beast on my back"

6:38 PM  
Blogger Terry said...

Thanks lucifer! I've been looking for that for a long time. It's definitely not as'hardcore' but certainly quite a few bands shifted further into the metal side of things. i think B.O.M.B. is a strong and original sounding album. It's a shame this band only gave us two.

11:06 AM  
Anonymous Chris said...

This is great Blend.

Does anyone possibly have the NYHC Comp, New York Hardcore:Where the Wild Things are?

Also anyone have any uppercut they'd like to up?


3:02 PM  
Blogger world's greatest DAD said...

i would like to applaud the inclusion of Breakdown as that track is the best song on The Way It Is, and it also features my all-time favorite drum fill (killa double bass). Kudos as well on admitting your love for Sick of it All, who were i think the best of the knuckle-head variety of NYHC.

i think the distinction you make in recognizing youth crew vs. tough guy hardcore is an important one, as it produced two extremely different sets of fans. as far as i can tell this division had a lot to do with the whole skinheads-at-the-show phenomenon. (i remember pointedly choosing not to see biohazard, sick of it all, and sheer terror in Philly b/c i figured so many NYC knuckle heads would be there in addition to the PA/NJ/DE skinhead morons). I don't think there's a whole lot to NYHC; the simplicity is part of the success. it was also my window into so much that came after (quicksand, into another) that i will always have a soft spot in my heart for that stuff.

2:28 PM  

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