State of Mind

The Path / Psychic Weight Fight Death split CD

First up is the PATH. They have a straightforward punk/hardcore sound, screamed vocals, and the parts with gang vocals add an element of chaos, but in a good, fun, energetic type of way. Lots of soundbites within their songs and lyrics touching on subjects like trans rights, fucking the government, etc., and a WARZONE cover to boot. I don’t know why but, every time the gang vocals hit, I picture a massive dogpile and it makes me smile. PSYCHIC WEIGHT is a bit slower and more on the metal end of the spectrum, although that’s not to say they’re a metal band by any stretch. I mean, I’m pretty sure I heard some slide guitar in the first song. The lyrics paint a picture of a dark and dismal view of humanity. I probably could have done without the instrumental/soundbite clip in the middle of their offering, but that’s nitpicking. All in all, this split hits all the marks and does what a good split is supposed to: give you two bands that are not at all the same, but have enough in common that it’s not weird.

SFA The 87–88 Tapes LP

SFA (STANDS FOR ANYTHING) formed in 1984, joining the burgeoning NYHC scene to play alongside other early bands of the genre like TOKEN ENTRY and SHEER TERROR. During the twelve-plus years they stuck around, they’d share stages with the likes of AGNOSTIC FRONT and frequently play at the top clubs like CBGBs—this LP collects two sessions previously only released on cassette in 1987 and 1988, as well as some bonus live material. To differentiate themselves from the popular “posi-core” movement of their era, the band coined the term “hatecore” to describe their music. They definitely hated stuff, notably ska and Kurt Cobain (as expressed on songs from their ’90s LPs), but before that, they were pounding out tunes with a recognizable 7 SECONDS and MINOR THREAT influence that can be heard on the on the 1988 Tanks a Lot tape that occupies the A-side of this record. The 1987 demo on the B-side is a bit thrashier and gnarlier in nature, even when they cover BOBBY DARIN’s 1959 hit “Dream Lover.” This collection comes with a cool booklet with lyrics, interviews, and side-by-side pics of the band members then and now, and your NYHC collection is not quite complete without it.