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fall in love with early hardcore in three easy steps

Posted on: January 29, 2009


Welcome to the world of male homosociality, step into early hardcore. For most of today hardcore music I just have contempt, but I´m not one of that old guys who whines about the good old times. In fact I´m too young to take actively part in the days of early hardcore, my youth fell into the 90s. And I also don´t want to glorify the past; though guy shit, machismo, homophobia were always a problem in some parts of hardcore, from the beginning until today. But for my ears the early hardcore records keep until today their fresh breath, you still can feel the anger, the hope for something new, for something better, the enthusiasm and the fucking fun. Todays hardcore is so serious and narcissistic,  either they play metal or try to copy the old sounds. Well, here is the Antidote, the three greatest records of early hardcore, the energy gets my heart going even decades after its release…. of course just my personal view, if you don´t agree leave a comment or present your own selection, I´m eagerly interested.


Black Flag were formed 1977 in California from the mastermind behind the band: Greg Ginn. They are widely considered to be one of the first hardcore punk bands. Black Flag forged a unique sound early on that mixed the raw simplicity of the Ramones with atonal and microtonal guitar solos and frequent tempo shifts. The band was also known for the intense and evocative lyrics found in their songs, most of which were penned by Ginn. Like other punk bands of this era, Black Flag gave voice to an anti-authoritarian, non-conformist message, featuring songs punctuated with descriptions of isolation, neurosis, poverty, and paranoia, themes that would be explored further when Henry Rollins joined the group as lead singer in 1981 and in my eyes the golden age of Black Flag evolved. Most of the band’s material was released on Ginn’s independent label, SST Records. You may have a look at your record collection who many milestones were released by this label. They are even often regarded as pioneers in the movement of underground do-it-yourself record labels that flourished among the 1980s punk rock bands. The 1981 released “Damaged” was the first full-length from the band, mainly with songs from the pre-Rollins era, but with the only 20 year old guy on the mic. Songs like “rise above”, “TV party”, “six pack” or “gimmie gimmie gimmie” have their secured place even in nowadays hardcore pantheon.

“Try to stop us, it´s no use!”



Don´t call yourself hardcore or even punk if you don´t know Minor Threat. This iconic band from Washington DC existed only three short years, from 1980 to 1983, but their groundbreaking sound influenced uncountable bands. The song “straight edge” is the basis of a youth culture until today, although Ian MacKaye – who wrote the lyrics – don´t want to be connected with that phenomenon. Minor Threat released only four EPs, all released on (Ian MacKaye and Jeff Nelson´s) Dischord Records, down to the present day an important indie-label. All band members played in famous bands after the split up, which resulted from disagreement over the musical direction. To name just a few bands with Ex-Minor Threat participation: Fugazi, Embrace, Rites of Spring, Dag Nasty, Government Issue. Because all EPs from Minor Threat are awesome, I present the whole discography.

Out of step with the world!



From the Westcoast over Washington DC to the Eastcoast, but New York still isn´t on the map: Boston Hardcore. SS Decontrol (Society System Decontrol) started performing at smaller venues throughout the greater Boston metropolitan area in the summer of 1981. The band quickly gained notoriety within the local music scene for intense, charged performances and the provocative antics of their core group of followers, the Boston Crew. They released their debut LP “The Kids Will Have Their Say” on their own X-Claim label in 1982. By the way, X-Claim was never a “classic” record label (contrary to Dischord and SST), more a sort of a name and logo, which was used by a group of people in the Boston  Area to release records. In 1983 they added second guitarist Francois Levesque, who brought a more wild and savage guitar playing into the songs,  and released the EP “Get It Away”.  The opener “glue” is one of the most covered hardcore songs and nobody can scream like the vocalist in it. The last song is a cover of the Buzzcocks and though SS Decontrol covered an “old” punk band, they were later one of the first bands which was rooted in the hardcore sound but exhibited overt heavy metal characteristics, such as a relatively high number of lengthy guitar solos. This progress started 1984 with the follow up release to “get it away” for which they shortened their band name to SSD. At the same time at the westcoast Black Flag got under the influence of Henry Rollins (whose first release with his former band State of Alert was released on Dischord Records, Ian MacKaye (from Minor Threat/Dischord) again was a good friend of SS Decontrol) more and more into metal, but not with fast metal-influenced guitars and soli like SSD, Black Flag played longer, slower, and more complex songs, mixing in influences such as Black Sabbath with hardcore.

SSD broke up in 1985.  “Gotta stick together, gotta stick together!”


PS: the first photo was shot in Dortmund/Germany in 1999, Man Lifting Banner (a legendary dutch hardcore band, maybe I will tell their story once) played their  farewell gig (they actual reunited only for a few shows, first splitted up in 1994).


4 Responses to "fall in love with early hardcore in three easy steps"

memyselfandmaryjane posted another fine selection of three important hc records:


awesome post and choice of records, respect


from indonesia ,,, PUNK rock sta


Still LOve YU ,,,

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