VARIOUS ARTISTS: Nardcore 30 Years Later: LP/CD/zine

Labors of love are instantly recognizable from the details. The packaging on this regional compilation is obscenely detailed and lavish (down to clear coat and embossing on the gatefold), maximizing all three formats. It comes with a zine and a CD. Thirty years after the formation of “Nardcore” (Oxnard + hardcore; Oxnard’s about fifty miles north of Los Angeles), its legacy is as thick as the overweight splattered vinyl. In the early ‘80s, beach community punk was formed and based around drinking, surfing, skating, partying, drugs, fucking up, and standing out. Too many of its first wave bands went on to record at Mystic studios, failed to ever get paid, signed away their rights, and teetered on obscurity while bands just south of them like Social Distortion, Circle Jerks, and The Adolescents are in no immediate danger of being forgotten. This comp, thirty-six tracks (on the CD; less on vinyl) of twenty contemporary bands—some of them in it for the long haul, like Ill Repute, Dr. Know, and a track from RKL’s Bomer (RIP)—is a fantastic snapshot of a resistant culture. The songs, by and large, are ‘80s-style hardcore. Not lots of melody, gruffly voiced, quickly paced, some mildly flirting with metal, and based on a tough resilience. Taken as a whole, it’s a powerful portrait of a land that most think as something quick to pass through between San Francisco and Los Angeles. It’s exactly what a comp should be. Nice work.

 –todd (Burning Tree)