I find it interesting now that I’m a bit older that there’s some nostalgia for a time that I feel I just lived through. That means really that I’m just old, but hear me out for a second. Back in my day…. OK no not going to go down that road at all, but here’s some examples.
Last year someone e-mailed me about flyers from the 2000’s. I have a ton, from travelling around the midwest, Buffalo and of course Hamilton and Toronto.
I recently followed a fellow on Instagram who writing a book about that era.
A recent Twitter poll asked about people’s thoughts on the best era for hardcore. The 90’s won, but the 2000’s wasn’t that far behind (But for fuck’s sake, the 80’s are the only correct answer — pound for pound the output of the 80’s shits on the subsequent three decades, and eats it for breakfast).
The 90’s were a weird decade, where it seemed like the first half was dominated by moshy bands and the last half was emo bands or garage rock. Some of those categorizations were a bit out of order (is Assfactor 4 really an emo band?), but
With that said, the 2000’s were a really good time for straight up hardcore, with 9 Shocks Terror, Tear It Up, Life’s Halt, What Happens Next? and a whole slew of big and small bands who ripped it across the country and into towns. And let’s face it, hardcore in the 2000’s was great internationally. Forward (from Japan) released their first LP, “Just Go Forward To Death” in 2000 and followed up with the Fucked Up 12″ in 2004 (and two tours of the US). Disclose, DSB, Crude, Hammer, Total Fury — just to start to list the bands that came over from Japan and played through the US and Canada in the 2000’s. Wolfbrigade, Vicitims, Martyrdod, Selfish, Sunday Morning Einsteins, DS-13 and others came from Scandanavia and did the same. So the resurgence of straight up hardcore was clearly not just from the US (although, that’s always going to be the focus I suspect).
Yet, compare that to the worldwide hardcore phenomenon from, say just 1984. Some of the releases: Misfits “Die Die My Darling”, Crucifucks, Broken Bones “Crucifix”, Black Flag “My War” and “Slip It In”, Chaos UK, Conflict “Increase the Pressure”, Subhumans “From The Cradle To The Grave”, Nurse “Nurse II”, Asta Kask “En Tyst Minute”, Samhain “Initium”, The Mob “Let The Tribe Increase”, G-Zet 12″ EP, Masturbation EP, Die Kreuzen LP, Wretched “Libero Di Vivere..”, Confuse “Nuclear Addicts”, Mob 47 EP, Discharge “Never Again”, Articles of Faith “Give Thanks”, Agnostic Front “Victim In Pain”, B.G.K. “White Male Dumbinance”, Disorder “Under the Scalple Blade”, Olho Seco EP, Systematic Death “Systema”, Anti-Cimex “Raped Ass”, Raw Power “You Are The Victim”… and those are the ones that struck me as important, game-changing or just great releases held in high regard some 34 years later. Anything in the 2000’s strike you as holding a candle to that lot? That’s a lot of top tier releases from just 1984. For a more complete list: https://www.discogs.com/search/?q=&style=punk&year=1984
With all that said, the 2000’s weren’t bad by any means. It was a time when records were still cheap to make and purchase, lots of stuff was being traded as the next wave of hardcore kids got into DIY while others got into Biohazard. Bands like 9 Shocks Terror introduced us to The Stalin and Lip Cream (if we weren’t acquainted before) and the Internet allowed us to dig deeper into whatever arcane crevice we liked. The classic hardcore sound rose up again. Bands started playing faster — less garage rock, more thrashing for a lack of a better term. That DIY network that was so important in the 80’s was back in place too, where the Internet made it easy to chat with people from across the world, e-mail facilitating tour bookings, cellphones allowing for quick updates from the road (rather than pulling over at a pay phone and using a black box to do long distance cheap) — the entire process of being DIY was easier.
More than one person look at the revival of hardcore in the 2000’s as something that brought them back to hardcore punk. I won’t name names, but a lot of people hold 9 Shocks Terror as being one of the bands that rekindled their interest in hardcore in America (remember at the end of the 90’s we were swamped with emo, garage rock and the remnants of grunge). So, while that’s an important note for a lot of people personally and for others it might be that the 2000’s were when they got into hardcore, none of that really compares to the output of the 1980’s as a whole and that’s a touch worrisome as people should be able to look at each decade and see that even if you have some remarkably tight connection to the music being made today or last decade or the 90’s; none of it compares to the significance of the stuff being put out in the 80’s. That doesn’t mean you can’t like it — go right ahead — for the same reason I like DJ Screw and Out Cold, they happen to resonate with me. Try to put that aside — and listen with your ears, and think with your brain that perhaps that thing you love so dearly wouldn’t have existed without what came before it and influenced it. To that end, you can dig deep and go back to the things that influenced punk, which influenced hardcore; Stooges, MC5, Fugs, NY Dolls. Or go further back to the ones that influenced them, The Who, Rolling Stones, Sonics, Bowie, T-Rex. You get the picture. The continuum will take us back to the beginning of rock, back to the rhythm and blues. That’s important to remember and know. Someone could, and probably should point out that hardcore’s best decade was the 1920’s.