STICKS AND STONES: Nineteen Eighty Seven: 12” EP

Jan 20, 2011

I was like “ooh, keen, an album by that bubblegum band from Milwaukee!” Turns out it’s actually a hardcore band from New Jersey, recorded ((“in the spring of our youths”)) in—you guessed it—1987. I dunno. Not to be a heathen unbeliever/cranky jaded one or anything, but 1987 was a pretty shit year for hardcore. In point of fact, so was 1986, and, in large part, 1985. Even 1983 and 1984 were only really interesting if you were living in some tertiary market whose homegrown HC scene took off a few years after the national hotspots. By 1986 ((at the VERY latest)), pretty much all the good was gone from hardcore; people just kept playing some variant of it because they really had no idea what else to do. Or thus are my findings. To support said findings, i point to the fruity and musiciany intros to the songs “Contempt” and “Society’s Pressure.” From about 1984 on out, just about every hardcore band had some songs that had extended musician-y intro parts like these, which i claim stems from an either subconscious or intentionally repressed desire to play fruity musician-y music instead of hardcore. By 1987, people were completely bored with hardcore, but they were playing it anyway—that’s my point here. I’ve always viewed 1987 as the big pop-punk year, myself—there were the Hard-Ons and the first Lemonheads album and White Flag and 7 Seconds “New Wind” and the Descendents and the Oysters and a whole gob of shit i’m sure i’m forgetting—and whatever hardcore was in 1987, with the long songs and the fruity guitary intros and the no sense of humor, was just, like, dross to me. I don’t even know what “dross” is, but that’s what it was. Twenty-three years later, when none of this matters a pinch of shit, i still can’t completely divorce myself from the notion that these guys are just a bunch of kids who were late for the party and therefore don’t quite “get” it, which is fairly unfair, but such is life. In any event, this era of hardcore holds little to no interest for me, although this is well-played and fairly well-recorded ((if you discount the unlistenable triggered snare sound, which was a popular—God knows why—snare drum recording method for a few years starting around 1986)), and seems like the kind of thing that should have grabbed a bigger chunk o’ market share Back In The Day. I conclude by saying that the fact that forty-five-year-olds are still shaking their fists at forty-year-olds and telling them they don’t know shit about hardcore is a beautiful thing indeed. Thanks for the memories. BEST SONG: “Thanks For The Cash.” BEST SONG TITLE: “Contempt” i guess? FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: Record is a single-sided 12”, with an etched b-side depicting, somewhat incongruously, one of those ‘50s styled microphones.

 –norb (Gunner)