I have a couple confessions to make, Hardcore is not my genre. Even in times when I need to listen to something with hardcore’s intensity, the style is not my choice. So when I was asked to review the new Born Wrong/Kleins 96 Split 10″ from Rebel Time Records I was a bit apprehensive because I hate not giving something a good review because I think the punk rock community has a lot of negativity in it, a lot of division where there should be unity. So to help me prepare for writing the review I actually Wikipedia’d Hardcore. I wanted to get a bit of history. What I found was that the term Hardcore possibly originated from DOA’s 1981 album of the same name. I guess I just found that a bit fitting considering BornWrong (Hamilton, On) and Kleins 96 (Regina,SK) are torchbearers for their countrymen’s scene.
My last confession for the night is that in a collection of 300+ punk albums, this split is only the 3rd hardcore album in it (Triple Crossed, and Sick of it All’s Based on a True Story are the other two) so I don’t have a huge frame of reference from which to draw from. When I Wikipedia’d Hardcore it also talked about the more technical aspects of the style, and while I read some of it, I didn’t take a whole lot away from that portion of the article, but what I can tell you is this, I enjoyed the 8 song album (4 by each group). It contains all of the intensity and aggressiveness that I think I always assumed hardcore was supposed to have, while also having all the emphasis on rhythm, screamed vocals, and drop tempos into musical breakdowns (thanks Wikipedia) that Hardcore fan have become accustomed to hearing.
Highlights from the album include Kleins 96 “Eucharist” and Born Wrong’s “Burn a Debt” but for fans of this genre I don’t think there is a track that you could go wrong with. Now when I need something to provide me with a little extra intensity, this is probably the album from my collection that I am going to turn to.
On March 20th, Anti-Flag released their 8th studio album, The General Strike, and it seems like they haven’t received a whole lot of press for their efforts. But that isn’t to say they don’t deserve it. Much like their last record, The People or the Gun, Anti-Flag has once again scored the soundtrack to an important political issue of the time, the Occupy movement ( while the previous album addressed the Bailout situation).
It seems funny to me that just like both of these events have been largely ignored by the mainstream, Anti-Flag’s last two albums have seemingly flew under the radar of the punk scene. Now, Anti-Flag is not breaking any new ground with their latest 12 tracks as they carry the same type of sound that they have become known for by mixing melodic moments with more street punk sounds. What they are doing is putting together politically scathing lyrics and touching upon subject matter that is not common in a lot of music. When they released The Bright Lights of America, I read a review stating that the album really lacked direction. This is not the case with The General Strike, and the direction becomes quite clear from the first aggressive track. Combine their tried and true sound with their lyric themes and direction and then you get something special.
I just received my copy of the album yesterday and I am still getting a handle on it, but I am completely enjoying it. One of the coolest surprises though was when I opened up my package and a drop card for the Vans Warped Tour EP came out which includes 3 songs from the album and 2 unreleased tracks (“SKATE” and “Whistleblower”). I knew that the download would be given out at the cd release shows, but I didn’t know it would be included in my order. All I can say is this, if you are at all interested in Anti-Flag or political punk rock give the album its due, give it a listen, you won’t be disappointed.
Stream (or download) the new(ish) garage rock / lo-fi three track demo from Chicago punkers, Poor Boy.