(this was written about a month ago, but is only just now appearing due to various reasons...)
hello. introductions are irrelevant, because so am i. but just to let you know the purpose of this 'column'. it's a mini review / round-up of what i consider to be the essential records coming out of the hardcore scene (and a little bit of other stuff) lately. your definition of hardcore music may be wildly different from mine, but, that's by the by. i'll throw in some handy links as we go on so as you can investigate further if you just find this to be a list of bands and obscure comparisons. rock on.
one important thing...
emo-core is a terribly mis-used genre name. i personally will not use this word. it is short for 'emotional hardcore'. how obscene. firstly, all hardcore is emotional. secondly, most bands described as emo-core, are not even remotely hardcore. biggest offenders: steve lamacq. kerrang. emo itself is a horribly mis-used term. personally, i will only use the word emo to describe a very narrow band of music, none of which will sound anything like the get up kids. note: go here - to learn all about what emo really is. and don't take me, nor this page (it's not mine by the way), too seriously on our puratinism over the word. thanks.
ok. there's been a couple of belting LP's rumbling out so far this year. the Vida Blue album (Blood of the Young) has blown away the cobwebs and reaffirmed that emo is still alive and well. explosive music, it's all about falling on the floor and getting tangled in guitar leads. expect awesome build ups, and lots of crying 'n' screaming. the other LP that's really impressed me is Quixote's "protests of the weak" (makoto). post-hardcore rock music done as well as i've heard it. file a long side Drive Like Jehu and Blue Tip, excellent.
the latest Red Scare LP ("strangers die everyday" - co-released between Hand Held Heart and Troubleman) is a grower. i wouldn't say it was quite as instant as 1999's debut, but fans of the Gravity sound won't go far wrong, big Heroin + Angel Hair influences. they've also branched out in new directions with some fantastic instrumentals. make sure you check this one out.
another record that grew on me was the final LP from Four Hundred Years (Lovitt), the 10" version of which has come out on Day After Records (Sunshine, Tribute) from the Czech Republic. it's a touch more melodic than their previous releases, but still has a big Shotmaker vibe at times, and has some great emo moments. overall, a good solid hardcore workout from these guys. sorry to see them go.
classic label, Vermin Scum (the Hated, Moss Icon) has started putting out records again. first release is a live, 1 sided 12" of goth/no-wave/garage/rock'n'roll weirdness from Glass Candy and the Shattered Theater. crazy vocals from Ida No make this a scary ride, and not for the faint of heart. worth checking out if you're into weird shit. meanwhile, i'm waiting for my copy of the Breathing Walker 12" to arrive. the band is basically Moss Icon, and some songs recorded many years ago that have only just found the light of day on LP. seeing as Moss Icon is basically one of the best bands ever, this will probably be essential. expect a review of this if i'm allowed to do this column again some time.
for those into instrumental post-rock, i can't recommend the Album Leaf 10" "in an off white room" (on Troubleman, see address earlier) enough. a total Aerial M type trip going on here, it's fantastic. make sure you get this if you see it. if you didn't know, it's Jimmy from Tristeza's side project. a weird one is the Papa M Sings one sided 12" on Galaxia. took me a couple of listens to get into this as i was a bit shocked! it's pretty much country music, with good ole M singing over the top. but once it's got you, there's no denying. this is a great piece of vinyl. limited to 1000, but you can get the CD copy if you are desperate. tsk.
the Orchid 10" (ebullition) is equally worthy of your time. probably not their best material, but if you're into their classic screamo hardcore style (probably the best band in the genre), this 10" is a record not to be missed. grab it on coloured vinyl if you're lucky.
also have to pay homage to the HiM LP that came out just before christmas (i think?). just total jazz, and it's incredible! fucking excellent, and smooth. Doug Scharin, Sean Meadows and Fred Erskine are among the performers. the new Tortoise LP isn't too shabby either.
a quick spin through a pile of 7" that have been catching my ear. Amdi Petersens Armé are on a total Minor Threat / early 80's HC trip. check out these Danes if you can. best UK 7" of late is the 100 Pets / Epic 45 split. awesome post rock, can make more Aerial M / Papa M comparisons here if you like. Song of Zarathustra (on Blood of the Young - see above) destroyed the UK on a recent tour, and were lovely people too. they have a new 7" out on a German label, i haven't had a chance to play it much yet, but expect more of that Angel Hair / keyboard-violence inspired stuff. also picked up a fuckin' cool thrash 7" by a band called Holier than Thou on, 625 records. one to get if you like your hardcore fast and skateboard influenced ! Countdown to Oblivion are ex-Swarm / Left For Dead, and totally destroy. amazing metal influenced hardcore, and i hate metal. get their 7" on Deranged if you see it. also of note is the "Songs of the Dead 2" CD comp, which is just nuts. full of big name hardcore / screamo bands like Locust, Devola, Racebannon, Ultimate Warriors, Usurp Synapse. best listened to in bite sized chunks, or just by programming it to play you the best stuff. and just making it in is the new Hail Mary one sided 7". more of their Born Against styled hc on this, their final recording. this is on Hand Held Heart.
things coming up, well, there's the LP due out from Yaphet Kotto very shortly (see Ebullition address). that should be impressive! the Ottawa stuff from the Ottawa / Jihad split is being handily re-pressed on the awesome Council Records (http://www.councilrecords.com) and i am totally looking forward to it. the Volume 11 (ex-Honeywell) LP is ready to go (on Hand Held Heart), and i am eager to get my hands on this one too. should be sweet! there's also long awaited discog's from Honeywell and the Hated (on Troubleman), and hopefully Evergreen (Suicide Squeeze) though i've been aiting 18 months for that. resorted to grabbing the music off napster, and it's the best emo-pop you'll ever here. to die for. there's a boat load of stuff i'm probably forgetting, but this is getting long already.
yeah, that's about it for now. if you want any additional info on this stuff or a personalised mix-tape, then feel free to get in touch, my e-mail is:
cheers. emo lives, kinda. maybe see you again shortly. i have to tell you about this fucking cool new band called city of caterpillar. thanks.