My first copy of Circle Jerks’ Group Sex was a cassette I recorded from a friend who has the vinyl. That was in the early 80’s. I have to make a total of 4 copies of it because I fucking worn out the previous 3 tapes. It was until the mid-80’s that the 2-in-1 CD of Group Sex and Wild in the Streets became available here and that's when I retire my cassette copies.
Next up is Cro-Mags’s Age of Quarrel. My friend brought back from New York some vinyl like Age of Quarrel, 3 Misfits albums (Earth AD, Live Evil and Walk Among Us), and some thrash records from Anthrax and Overkill. He gave me the punk ones and kept the thrash metals (this was 1986). I quickly played them when I got home. The last record I played was Age of Quarrel, since I played Walk Among Us twice or thrice, and needless to say I was blown away! This record rendered some of my NYHC records useless for a long time. It was years and years later that I revisited my Gorilla Biscuits, Agnostic Front and Youth of Today. This record is totally awesome.
I got turned on with the Misfits long after they disbanded. Walk Among Us took me completely surprised. I never thought hardcore can be this melodic without any hint of a sell out. And its ghoulish feel added an extra danger to an already dangerous genre. (Where did that shit come from!) Though, I have to admit that some of the lyrics really made me laugh more than anything else, especially Brain Eaters. Anyways, Walk Among US is the epitome of an “All Killer, No Filler” album. I’m listening to it right now while I’m writing this post.
This record is in very punks’ list, Bad Brains’ ROIR release. I was in my second year high school when my classmate introduced me to hardcore. I was already listening to the Clash, Pistols, Buzzcocks and SLF and already heard some hardcore songs like Kill the Poor TV Party so the transition was not that hard. He made a mixed tape of Fear, Black Flag, DK, Exploited, GBH, Wasted Youth, MDC, Suicidal Tendencies, DOA, Minor Threat and the Bad Brains. There are 2-3 songs per band and it’s a very good selection. I Love Living in the City, Catch 23, Business on Parade, Kill the Poor, You’re a Jerk, Institutionalized all classics. But one band stood out from the rest – Bad Brains. And the songs included in the mixed tape was Pay To Cum and Sailin’ On. I quickly put the tape in my Walkman which has an external speaker so we can listen to them without earphones. And when Pay To Cum blasted its way, I literally jumped up me seat and asked what band was that. And when he said Bad Brains, I told him that that’s the illest thing I’ve heard. It sounds really cheesy and all but that’s what I felt, like being hit with a baseball bat. I asked him if he has the complete album which unfortunately he doesn’t. All he has was the two songs he got from another friend’s mixed tape. Not until my first year in college that I got a hold of that album. ROIR’s releases are all in cassette format but I got a vinyl entitled “Attitudes: the ROIR Sessions” which has all the songs in the ROIR release. And when Tower Records opened here, I finally got the chance to buy ROIR CD, the yellow one, with lightning hitting the capitol, complete with liner notes from Ira Kaplan of Yo La Tengo. I was so stoked that it all I listened to for weeks.
This list is in no particular order and this last album, like the previous one is on everyone’s list. This is the genre-defining record - Discharge’s “Hear Nothing, See Nothing, Say Nothing.” This album is different from the rest of the album in the list since it has this distinct metallic feel to it. Of course, GBH also has that feel, but their guitars were not as distorted as Discharge’s. Even Discharge’s early outings were also not as distorted as the ones in the Hear Nothing record. You can actually tell if a Discharge song was pre or post Hear Nothing.
Honorable mentions go to Black Flag’s Nervous Breakdown, TSOL’s 1st EP, GBH’s City Baby’s Attacked by Rats, Subhumans’ The Day the Country Died, Descendents’ Milo Goes to College, Poison Idea’s Feel the Darkness, Suicidal Tendencies’ 1st Album, Vandal’s Peace Thru Vandalism, DRI’s Dirty Rotten Record and Rudimentary Peni’s Death Church.
Do you have your own list? Violent reactions? Post it in the comments.
Let the riots begin!