Mid 80’s smorgasbord, Vol 1
A few weeks ago I noticed that YouTube was seriously under representing the mid 80’s. It seems like there are a thousand early punk videos and millions of revival era videos, but not much in the way of everything that happened in-between. Is it because at the time video cameras cost about as much as a European vacation OR is it just some kind of nostalgia gap? Who dares to fondly recall the era of the shiny Camaro (with T-Tops, naturally) or the halcyon days of Z Cavarraci?
Rites of Spring – Hidden Wheel
Rites of Spring live on WMUC in September 1985, slightly different than the studio version they recorded at Inner Ear mainly because they were using Dag Nasty‘s backline to record that day. Great chorus swell on this song, Michael Hampton and Eddie Janney are a guitar de force when combined with drummer Brendon Canty. Actually everyone in this band is pretty talented, Hamptons solo record on Jade Tree back in 2000 or 2001 is worth finding. And if you listen to ROS and their descendants closely (Black Light Panthers, Happy Go Licky and even early Fugazi) you can almost hear how Guy Picciotto developed his approach to singing. Guy’s rhythm guitar playing is outstanding, he is understated (with a great guitar tone) but it’s his unique patterns that often leave you wanting more.
Sand In The Face – Pleased To Hate You
Mid 80’s New Jersey punk band that put out one LP and appeared on both the ?Hardcore Takes Over? compilation and the ?Mastertape Vol 2? compilation, released on Affirmation Records in 1983. It took me years to track down their self titled LP, which was high on the list of many record collectors since it’s release in 1986. Really love the artwork on this record, too. Kind of groundbreaking for the time. After breaking up, some of the members played in some type of white power and/or Nazi band, which has since tainted the memory of their prior work. They aren’t the first band to succumb to right wing fanaticism, so I’m not entirely sure why they are treated as such. If you’re going to pick and choose which bands get held accountable for their words and their actions, then why pick the lowest hanging fruit?
Nog Watt – Hunted
Unbelievably awesome Danish all-female punk band. From their 1985 ?Fear? EP.
Gauze – 勝手にさらせ
The first thing I heard from Gauze was their EP on Prank, I was sold from that moment on. Until then the only Japanese hardcore I was exposed to was current bands at that time, like Disclose, Wrestling Crime Master (who toured with Warzone) and bands from the absurdly long titled compilation “Kamikaze Attacked Amerika / Yankee Bombed Hiroshima, Nagasaki” like Insane Youth and Balzac. Gauze’s early songs and compilation appearances in 1985 show no signs of the intricate arrangements or delicate breakdowns played at full speed that would mark their later records. But the next year, with their ?Equalizing Distort? 12” EP, they apparently decided to abandon traditional punk and forge their own path. Ed note – Not sure what the song title says. Some of their song titles are in English, some are in Japanese. Unfortunately Google translate only provides a literal translation for Japanese characters, this came out as “Sarase Arbitrarily”. Whatever that means.
Token Entry – Antidote
Token Entry playing live on WNYU in 1987. Incredible live band and seriously underrated.
Ut – Bedouin
Some call UT an acquired taste, personally I think all of their work is impressive. This LP from 1985, ?Conviction? is highly rewarding with repeated listening. UT is really good at deconstructing rock music and even better at finding harmony in discordant tunings. History places UT as firmly at the base of the riot girl sound even though they belong to the early 80’s No Wave scene, surviving just as long as Sonic Youth or Swans, only headed in a much different direction. They had one song on the second ?New York Noise? compilation and two songs on the third one, all are worth tracking down.
Hüsker Dü – Won’t Change
From a 1985 compilation LP called “A Diamond Hidden In The Mouth Of A Corpse”.
Norman Bates & The Showerheads – Marlboro Man
Fun song from a great band, appeared on ROIR’s 1989 ?Scum Rock live at CBGB’s? cassette compilation, which coincidently features some of the awesomest band names in history, including, but certainly not limited to: Porno Dracula, Bloodsuckers From Outerspace, Traci Lords Ex Lovers, Fly Ashtray and my personal favorite, Fastlane & More McNuggets. I should mention that one of the first bands I ever saw live appears on this, Ed Gein’s Car. I saw them at the tender age of 13, I didn’t know what to expect. But watching them play turned out to be the loudest, rudest thing ever. My ears rang for days afterwards and I loved it.
Nausea – World Of No Tomorrow
Nausea’s original lineup, playing a strangely upbeat unreleased song on WNYU in 1988.
Radicts – Radio Riot
Great LP from these NY punks from 1991, released on Noiseville Records. Also the name of Mat Gard’s beloved fanzine and radio show. Like Pavlov’s companion, every time I hear this song I want to put on Poison Idea at full volume and read depraved tour diaries. Ed note- Not exactly from the mid 80’s, but I needed one more song.