Thursday, June 23, 2016

Griver cd

Our next example of visceral and energetic hardcore comes to us from the coastal city of Wilmington, North Carolina. There are 8 songs on this five inch plastic disc, which clocks in around 25 minutes of playing time, and they are interesting, well played and well recorded to boot. These three guys put out a few records back in the day, including a dope 2 song 7" and an equally as noteworthy split 12" with The Exploder. They also had one of the better songs on the "Is The Human Heart So Selfish?" compilation I posted way back in late 2014 over here.

Listen, you're no dummy. By know you effin' know that I'm a sucker for bands that play this type of shit. Griver probably flew under the radar of more people than they should have, and that fact is precisely why this post is being written. This is the only full length exposition the band recorded, and the cd version you find here was given to us via Point The Blame Records, the Canadian label that may be best known for releasing the early Piebald record "Sometimes Friends Fight". This same label was also responsible for the Griver 7" I brought up in the previous paragraph, just so you know.

This is full, grooving, hectic and hard hitting meandering punk that has the right amount of heaviness, which contrasts the right amount of quieter passages. Plenty of changing, moving parts keep everything interesting, Dave Laney's vocal performance is always awesome, and that snare sound still gives me funny feelings almost every time I listen to "Scouting, May 8th". Really, I'm jealous of that shit for sure. This is arguably the best recording quality the band ever achieved as well.

These songs were recorded over the weekend of February 15th and 16th, 1997 in Chapel Hill at the yellow house. If you dig stuff that labels such as Old Glory, Level Plane, Great American Steak Religion or Inchworm were doing, I would bet you'd like this.

PTB #3. The vinyl version was self-released by the band under the Tyle Vora Records moniker.

1) The Letter I Never Had
2) The Underscoring Of Necessity
3) Scouting, May 8th
4) Graduate
5) Building Blocks
6) Song For Chris
7) Scaling Montana
8) To You...

-I Feel Alive Today-

V/A - "Inspirit" benefit compilation 7"

This record has a lot to it. So much in fact, that I took a total of 207 pictures of it before selecting the 20 that you see below (props to Sean and his adorable dog Lulu for the help, yo!). I owned this record years ago, but either misplaced it in a move (this is highly doubtful, folks) or it was physically lifted by someone without my knowledge. Let's go with that, because I don't lose any members of my vinyl record family...a 10" isn't exactly something I'd ever forget what I did with. My entire record collection sat shotgun in the U-haul truck while covered in a blanket during both my move down to Georgia and then back again to The Keystone State six years later. I've noticed over the past couple of months or so that random cds and cassette tapes of mine, some of which I had owned for a very long time, just don't seem to be in my hands anymore. Anyway, as I was bummed due to the dispossession of this seven inch, my main homie Sean eventually learned of my sadness and was kind enough to trade me one of his copies for a Thou t-shirt*. What a fucking guy, I gotta say.

Released in 1995 as a split effort between State College, Pennsylvania's Ancestry (run by Sam from Spirit Assembly) and Static Records from the great little college burg that is Princeton, New Jersey. It evidenced four awesome bands in total: California's emo superstars Amber Inn, Boston's straight forward, nasally and epically harsh female-fronted troupe Coleman, another (Santa Cruz) Californian band The Fisticuffs Bluff, and finally southeastern Pa's very own Elements Of Need, who of course features one of the guys from the now-famous comedy duo known as Tim and Eric. The Elements Of Need song which appears on this comp (here called "Untitled") is actually the final song from the bands side of the most excellent split 7" with Jasmine, a classic jam previously released by NY's Kidney Room and entitled "I Bet You'd Look Great In Silicon". This was very clearly not the song originally intended to find its way on Inspirit, a gigantic mix-up on someones part. The band makes a pretty noble effort to remedy this for whoever purchased the record via their info page in the layout of the compilation.

There are contributions from people who've been negatively impacted by sexual assaults on women, whether those victims were friends and loved ones, or themselves, and is both an informative yet sometimes difficult read. The artwork incorporates a few drawings of a penis having the foreskin removed, so just in case you were wondering if that type of graphic detail was included (all in the name of education, of course)... the answer is yes, it sure fucking was.

The etchings in the vinyl runout grooves oddly features the name of the guy who ran the aforementioned Kidney Room Records: R.Spooner A and R.Spooner B on each of the two corresponding sides.This makes the think that Kidney Room lent a helping hand in releasing this, or was originally supposed to put it out to start with. All of the songs included are quite good, and each band has its own style which distinguishes them clearly from the others on the record. This reinforces the fact that the American hardcore punk scene circa 20+ years ago never had a singular definitive style, but was made up of many different varieties of bands that always seemed to find some sort of common ground to work together on. This sums up the Inspirit compilation good enough for me.

The Coleman song was recorded live in January 1995 by Susan Barnaby and Bill T. Miller.
As mentioned earlier, the E.o.N. song originally appeared on a previous release, and no recording information appears on either record. The Fisticuffs Bluff recorded their contribution during June 1994 in San Diego with Matt. Lastly, Amber Inn's song was recorded at Enharmonik Studio by Eric Stenman in November 1994.

Overall, this is a genuinely important and gratifying achievement from the mid-90's. No catalog number is given from either involved record label. They just don't make 'em like this anymore, kids.

* That's not how it went down, actually. This trade only occurred after months of me badgering the shit out of him, as I'd been trying to unload my Chokehold and Thou shirts on him forever because I'm not as skinny as I used to be and they just won't fit me anymore. But yeah, It's safe to say we both walked away happy from the deal, or whatever.

1) Coleman - "Mother"
2) Elements Of Need - "Untitled" aka "I Bet You'd Look Great In Silicon"
3) The Fisticuffs Bluff - "The Logistics of Things"
4) Amber Inn - "With Regrets"

- the act is done, now why can't the memories go away? -

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

V/A - "Straight Edge As Fuck" compilation cd (parts I & II)

I think it's fair to say that this compilation was the introduction for many an edger to what was happening in and around the Swedish city of Umeå during the middle of the 1990's.

The original two versions of the Straight Edge As Fuck compilations were put out by Desperate Fight Records, a label which was operated by the vocalists of Abhinanda and Refused, two bands that appear on this record. Part I (Desperate Fight #2) was released in 1994, and the subsequent Part II (Desperate Fight #9) in 1995. This label was keen on bringing forth stuff from many of the bands featured on this disc. Shortly after Victory released Refused's Songs To Fan The Flames Of Discontent full length, they quickly repackaged and re-released both compilations in this handy singular collection. In doing so, it introduced many of these bands to kids in North America for the first time. You'll notice this version of Straight Edge As Fuck wasn't given a Victory catalog number; it was considered both a Desperate Fight and a "Desperate America" release, via VR's distribution of this newly-compiled version (see the logo on the bottom left of the fourth picture).

Here, tracks 13 through 18 originally appeared on the first installment, and the second edition was comprised of tracks 1 through 12. On the Desperate Fight version of Part I, there was a Final Exit song which was not mentioned on this redux version, but was included as a "hidden track" at the end of the cd. While there are some decent jams on this comp ("Everlasting", "The Demon and the Desert" and "All Of Us") the great majority of these bands just weren't for me. I did own a few Doughnuts and Refused records, but that was basically it as far as Swedish hc goes throughout the 90's.

Finally, this cd was released in 1996 and showcases fifteen bands for a total of eighteen (nineteen) songs.

1) Shield - "Kaleidoscope"
2) Doughnuts - "The Demon and the Desert"
3) Situation 187 - "Hatchet"
4) Abhinanda - "All of Us"
5) Aim - "Another Friday Night"
6) Eclipse - "Impasse of Lies"
7) Final Exit - Sing Along"
8) Saidiwas - "In the Ocean"
9) Refused - "Cheap..."
10) Reason For Anger - "Function?"
11) Separation - "When the Day Comes"
12) Purusam - "Oceans"
13) Drift Apart - "Burning"
14) Doughnuts - "Self Destruction"
15) Beyond Hate - "I Refuse"
16) Abhinanda - "Remark of Frustration"
17) Solitude - "Outside"
18) Refused - "Everlasting"

- all parts of Umeå are very safe -