Radio Raheem

Antidote Thou Shalt Not Kill LP

This hooked-up reissue of NYHC pioneers ANTIDOTE’s action-packed 1983 EP includes a bunch of early demo tracks as well as a full live set from CBGBs, making it a rather hearty meal. The original record is great, exemplifying the kind of raw vitality and anthemic energy that New York punks would echo for decades to come. Like all the best hardcore from this era, it sounds pretty fresh even today. Unlike some archival releases, the extra material here is well worth a listen. Recorded at BAD BRAINS producer Jerry Williams’s 171-A Studio, the ’82 demo sessions provide a glimpse at the group’s scrappy beginnings and progression into becoming the furious first-wave thrash unit we know them as. The CBs material is particularly compelling, as it showcases dimensions of their sound from that era that don’t appear to be captured on record anywhere else. Live, the band’s proficient ripping is strewn with sinister instrumental panache that adds some awesome and unexpected depth to their identity (check out that sick rendition of “Deadly Rain”). None of the bonus stuff has ever been released in any sort of official capacity until now, and the LP comes with a 12×12″ 16-page booklet with photos, flyers, and liner notes. There’s no denying ANTIDOTE’s rightful place in the hardcore hall of fame, and this record provides more proof than ever before. The reformed band is still at it too, and just played in Philly this month. 

Krieg Kopf War on Terrorism LP

First vinyl collection from this early 80s NYHC group, comprised of re-recorded songs from two cassette releases and a live track. Although this is most recommended to folks who were there at the time, War on Terror offers an interesting time capsule of regional punk full of influences from the era’s luminaries. Most of the songs are straight-ahead hardcore with a fast part, a slow breakdown, and a fast part again. Sonically, they sound similar to Victim in Pain-era AGNOSTIC FRONT, and I definitely hear MINOR THREAT, especially on songs like “Hasty Ambush,” where vocalist Jason Deranged adopts an Ian-style holler. While the template is familiar, the speed, tightness, and punchy bass of the band makes me wonder why they don’t have a higher historical profile. There are some West Coast fingerprints on this album too though, such as the frequent Greg Ginn-esque atonal psych guitar fills, Fresh Fruit snaky spy guitar lines, and a pronounced Jello-affected warble on “Immortal.” Short bursts like “Terrorism,” “Warhead,” “Gun Power,” and the great sing-along chorus of “The Work Song” (the standout from the album for me) are all quality, vintage adrenaline hits. The band stretches out on a few songs, over the three-minute mark with one track, with forays into spoken-word lyrics, funky bass, and guitar solos that, frankly, did not age well. Paranoia about Cold War-era nuclear proliferation in “The Atom Bomb” makes total sense for the time, but the quasi-rap in “Violent Reaction” with the line “I’ve got to break loose on the dance floor” about fighting at shows is tiresome. Check it out if you have a soft spot for classic NYHC.

Psychos One Voice LP

Maybe you know the PSYCHOS from their song “Before” on the Big City’s One Big Crowd comp. Maybe you’ve seen old photos of NY street kids rocking PSYCHOS T-shirts with the illustrated colossal man who is either a) caught inside, b) attempting to smash, or c) struggling to uphold the name “PSYCHOS.” Maybe the Back With a Vengeance CD by post-PSYCHOS group TRIP 6 is your most coveted disc. Maybe I’m assuming too much about you, but even if you’re completely unfamiliar with the band, I guarantee you elation upon hearing these primitive hard-as-hell blasts of simplified rock’n’roll, which formed the basis of what we know to be NYHC. The music is raw, simplistic, hard, and extremely catchy. The breakdowns of “Blind Justice” and “Rejected Youth” are the basis of NYHC to come, while you could perpetually skank to the duration of “One Voice.” It’s not as rapid fire as classics like AGNOSTIC FRONT, ANTIDOTE, and CAUSE FOR ALARM, or inventive and odd as the MOB, URBAN WASTE and FATHEAD SUBURBIA, but like some of these aforementioned groups, the PSYCHOS have a definitive style all their own. As expected, the insert booklet and layout of the record is another top quality Radio Raheem production. This stands as a fantastic representation of NYHC at the time: unfashionable, raw, and eclectic. Praise be.

United Mutation Dark Self Image LP

The specs on this years-in-the-making collection: complete sessions for UNITED MUTATION’s three earliest studio recordings, selections from which comprised the band’s Dischord EP and Mixed Nuts Don’t Crack LP contributions. Most of these 26 tracks have already resurfaced on various ’90s German compilations (the hype sticker notes six previously unreleased cuts) but the presentation here is meticulous enough to warrant interest from anyone who’s already got their other records. The gatefold jacket is covered—inside and out—with UNITED MUTATION’s bizarre collages, and the artwork continues alongside photos, flyers, and liner notes in the massive booklet. Geographically adjacent to the Washington, DC scene in the early ’80s, UNITED MUTATION lacked the musicality that marked many of their Dischord contemporaries (MINOR THREAT, the FAITH, SCREAM, etc.), instead crafting a rawer, more abrasive sound. The comparisons to VOID are not unfounded, especially on the unhinged Mixed Nuts tracks on side B. Check this one out.