14 January 2015


Positive hardcore doesn't necessarily have to be all slick and polished...in fact, I kinda prefer the shit to be a little rough around the edges. Iowa's ONLY TEN BETWEEN US can maybe use a little sanding (and a little tuning), but fukk their raw ass '80s guitar and constantly cracking and creaking teenage vocals go a long long way towards making me not give half a shit how rough this demo sounds.  The riffs are basic but good, the attack teeters on chaos in (almost) the same way as a certain late '90s LA band did on their first EP, and the melodic leads are endearing (even if they put a time stamp on the demo). "INAA" is the killerest track - "I'm not afraid anymore!!!" is a great way to open a track. Get into it, sing along, jump on the dogpile in your mind while they sing about the joys of believing in positivity, even when staring at life's of grim realities like in "Yeah Right, That Kid Fucking Jumped". It'll put a smile on your haggard ass face.

I don't care if you're from the other side // All I care is that you've got HARDCORE PRIDE


Vince said...

Matt Davis (vida blue, Ten Grand) was in this band, RIP. Saw em open for Audience of the End and Tragedy in a living room in Iowa City one snowy night. Tragedy blew the power to the whole house a few times and AK Press was in the kitchen. We drove from IL on a school night :)

Mickey Nolan said...

Hi, I sang for this band.

We existed from about 1997? 1998? until around 2001. (For a straight edge nerd my memory is terrible.) We did a few demos. This one was, I believe, the last. When Matt passed in 2003, quite suddenly and unexpectedly, I put the box of cd-r's and tapes that contained odds and ends of most of our failed recordings in a box and put it on a shelf. Symbolically I put a lot of my memories about this band on a shelf as well. Recently the 3 remaining members of the band have been in touch and talked about sorting through all our stuff and making some kinda archive available for anyone who's interested. Mostly we exist these days as a footnote the legacy Matt left behind. He was an amazing dude, a crazily talented musician and a loyal and passionate friend.

Small town hardcore punk can be a labor of love. We went to incredible lengths to make this band work, including sometimes driving 4 hours on a week-night to facilitate an hour of practice. At the same time we routinely wrote 2 or more complete songs in a practice so for what little time we had, we were productive. We didn't really tour, per say, but did play shows around the Midwest. We were ambassadors for our local scene, and did our best to give touring bands a warm reception. At the same time we sometimes had a chip on our collective shoulders, always on the lookout for anyone who might roll into our small town scene and look down on us for being hayseeds. Few ever did, and those that sweated us were treated to our brand of snotty ranting and raving. Growing up in the heyday of the 90's Midwest hardcore scene I've been spectator to many bully pulpit beratings. We would do it in a heartbeat, and usually with more humor and bewildering turns of phrase than most.

The genesis of the band came from Matt, Jason, Tap and I wanting to do something simple and direct that channeled the purity of hardcore punk but could be accessible to anyone. We were a straight edge band I guess, but that message was always delivered with a combination of humor and concern. Not so much 'stabbed in the back' as 'we want you to be ok'. Our politics were in line with standard punk tropes. We sang about self determination, body acceptance, race, economics and even police brutality. I'd like to think us documenting an instance of police abuse in our small town would remind folks that it can happen anywhere.

I have some cherished memories of the band. Playing with Deathreat at the height of a sweltering summer in loft space in our town. Them trying to coerce the crowd to move in closer and us finally confessing to them that they smelled so bad that it was hard to do so. Cramming tons of kids in a living room for a Tragedy/Good Clean Fun combo Christmas gig. Explaining our police brutality song in Chicago while the police were in the front from of the space checking on a noise complaint. Martin coming in the room trying to wave to me to shut the fuck up and me smiling, thinking we were being egged on. Wearing a helmet with X's on it for most of our shows. Putting together and playing a fest to raise money for an underfunded public school's music program. Having some uptight christian lady writing a letter to the local paper complaining about the names of some of the bands playing and having my then 60 something year old mother write back talking about how kind and gracious the bands that had slept in her basement, coming from literally all over the world, were. Finally I remember how my elderly dad loved to show these folks his coveted tomato plants. Seeing my dad talking gardening with a fully sleeved out D-Beat swede warrior in crusty mad max regalia is something I'll not forget soon.

This band facilitated all of that. There's a lot of stories in hardcore and most never get told. Thanks, Robert, for sharing this and hopefully it is enjoyed.

Mickey Nolan