ESPERANZA: 1998 - 2001: LP

May 25, 2021

Easily the most underrated and underappreciated Los Angeles hardcore band pre-9/11, Esperanza may have had a short life but it was a meaningful one even if only in the eyes of its members and those few who bore witness to their live chaos. The idea for the band was birthed in the late ’90s as a response to bullshit in the punk/hardcore scene at the time such as racial, social, and economic issues that many so-called punks turned a blind eye to. Their musical formula was a love for classic DC hardcore with an even more aggressive edge, “in your face” lyrics, and live sets where they made it clear which side of the fence they were on. This LP collects their cassette demo and songs on compilation appearances from labels as reputable as 625 Thrash and Lengua Armada. Eleven songs in total but each one a goddamn gem. No live recordings, no outtakes; just as close to an immaculate discography of a band that I think I’ll ever hear. The aesthetically pleasing packaging includes a full color insert and deluxe booklet with lyrics, liner notes, high quality photos, and full color album jacket. Watching cop cars burn on the streets of Santa Monica last summer at the hands of a community who would not tolerate any further injustice from the pigs is something I’ll never forget and certainly something I never thought I’d see in my lifetime. As I, and the entire world, saw cops scattering away like scared cockroaches all I could think of was the chorus to Esperanza’s “Lessons from Rampart”: “No more, we won’t take anymore! We won’t sit back while you attack!” These words ring as true today as they did twenty years ago. Absolutely essential. –Juan Espinosa (Extinction Burst,