AGGRESSIVE RESPONSE: Self Destroyer: LP

Life is short. Records like this remind me of that. This is hardcore punk played adequately, with barked vocals that sort of sound like a mix of Roger Miret and Damian Abraham, though a bit harder to decipher. Here’s the thing: there’s nothing wrong with this record and the dudes in the band look like nice enough, well-intentioned contributors to their scene. It’s not so bad that it makes me mad. It’s not so good that it gets me excited. All it really does is make me wish I had those twenty minutes back. I know that sounds harsh, but hear me out. A thousand bands have played hardcore punk just like this. Half have done it worse, half have done it better. I don’t know what the scene is like in Albany, New York. All I know is that it’s the capital of New York. I can’t recall ever hearing a band from Albany, so I’m guessing the scene is pretty small. Aggressive Response might be an important part of it right now, I don’t know. Keeping a local scene alive and healthy will always include a lot of very average bands, and that’s okay, actually crucially important. In order for a leader to emerge from a pack, there has to be a pack to begin with. The problem here is that recording and releasing a record has become a lot easier and cheaper than it used be, which means a lot of very average bands are committing very average music to vinyl. Bands used to face the barrier of not having a label willing to shell out the bucks to make it happen unless that band was something special, or at the very least, above average. Anyway, life is short, and it’s hard enough finding the time to listen to all the music I know that I love already. So call me jaded, but spending twenty minutes with very average music makes me wish I’d just listened to Start Today again instead.

 –Chad Williams (Wax Deli, waxdeli.com, [email protected])