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-MagsSide 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.