NEOS: Three Teens Hellbent on Speed: LP

Sep 16, 2021

I review a lot of Supreme Echo releases. Not only does he unearth rare and unheard Canadian punk rock (which I love), but he is also a Victoria BC local with an undying love for our local scene. I am sure I have written about my holy trinity of Victoria BC punk rock before moving to this fair city. A quick recap: NoMeansNo, Dayglow Abortions, and Bum were the three bands from Victoria that I was aware of and made me want to live here. If I had heard Neos at that time, it wouldn’t be a trinity at all. Sure, there were punk bands in Victoria prior to the Neos, but they were probably the first to embrace hardcore, not by being aware what was going on elsewhere in 1982 so much as just wanting to play faster. In the pantheon of punk history, the band has somehow become legendary and a footnote simultaneously. A couple of 7”s with more songs that you can count on both hands, one tour down the West Coast and they were gone. Here in Victoria, punks were always well versed in the legend of the Neos, but you would also hear people as varied as members of Dinosaur Jr. and Hirax name checking them as influences. This anticipated discography does not disappoint. Forty-eight tracks spanning their recorded output, some demos and even some clips from their appearance on MRR Radio. It’s gloriously packaged on neon orange vinyl and comes with a massive booklet with an overview/memoir of the band by guitarist/vocalist Steve Bailey. The booklet really struck a nerve with me. Steve is an amazing human being who I absolutely adore, and it meant a lot to me to read his story, including his trials and tribulations with mental illness as a young teenager and framing it within the punk rock/hardcore subculture. It is somehow comforting to know the people who you look up to have felt the same things you have, even if those of us in question are well past middle age now. This record is essential listening forty years after the fact. This is my home. –Ty Stranglehold (Supreme Echo, supremeecho.com)

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