Hardcore punk bands the Goons and Soulside are back with new music

Washington’s 1980s hardcore punk (or “harDCore”) bands were known for their vibrancy, intensity and rapid stylistic evolution. But the impatience in their songs was expressed in other ways. Few groups survived for long, often leaving a legacy of less than one album.

Nearly 40 years later, harDCore has become surprisingly important and increasingly available. Starting his on-and-off career in 1977, his DC punk reggae quartet, Bad Brains, has won the rights to many masters in 2021, releasing six albums, an EP, debuting his The single was gradually reissued. Founded almost 20 years after Bad Brains, The Goons have just pressed a new edition of ‘Live at the Black Cat’, recorded at a February 2000 gig.

When The Goons play their record release show this weekend, at Black Cat, of course, the night’s line-up will be generational. One of his opening acts is the HR Band, a group named after and fronted by Bad Brains lead singer Paul “HR” Hudson.

But reissues are only part of the story. Surprisingly, many harDCore veterans are making music together again. Recorded by two of his bands, Soulside and Scream, which started in the 80s new album. Also recently released is his debut album by Hammered Hulls and the Owners (a quartet that includes former members of his 80s local groups such as Ignition and Gray Matter, and more recently members of his Autoclave and Medications). it was done.

Soulside’s ‘A Brief Moment in the Sun’ was released in mid-November. Scream’s ‘DC Special’, the first album since 1993, is set to be released this year, though no exact date has been set. Details are yet to be revealed, but the “DC Special” will feature a number of guest appearances, including former Scream drummer Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters. (All four albums are sold by his Dischord Records, a local punk label founded in 1980.)

There were only a few characters in the 80’s DC scene. New bands often replaced the previous ones, while the population increased year by year. Hammered Hulls singer Alec MacKaye has collaborated with many other harDCore flagship artists, including Untouchables, Faith, The Warmers and Ignition. That last group’s drummer was Dante Ferrando, now co-owner of Black Cat and percussionist of The Owners. Also the owner is her longtime Cat employee Laura Harris, who played drums on her Ex Hex with local guitarist Mary Timony. Both play bass in new bands.

While some harDCore alumni have ventured into other musical genres, some of the now resurrected or re-formed bands sang styles that probably wouldn’t have caused a single boo at an ’80s DC punk gig. Pursue. Musically, what makes the Owners, Soulside and Hammered Hulls albums stand out is consistency and urgency, not innovation.

The owner’s self-titled album features speedy, straightforward rock’n’roll that recalls the less artsy quintessence of 1970s British glam rock, notably the collective screaming choruses of songs such as “Red Room Nights.” conspicuous in Soulside uses chugging hard rock to underpin Bobby Sullivan’s wordy lyrics and bluesy vocals. The latter is a call-and-response arrangement suggestive of gospel music and other African-rooted genres, often interwoven with backing vocals from guitarist Scott MacLeod. (Other players in the quartet are drummer Alexis Freisig and bassist Johnny Temple.)

In Careening, Hammered Hulls come closest to the classic Dischord mode. McKay yells loopy refrains like “Permission requested/Permission denied/Permission requested/Permission denied” over Mark Cisneros’ tightly looping guitar riff. sing. When Hammered Hulls employs call-and-response, the conversation is between his MacKaye and himself.

Punk can express the same kinds of teenage grievances pioneered by Chuck Berry and Carl Perkins in the 1950s, but it’s known for addressing larger issues. Soulside’s album title is taken from his characterization of the Reconstruction era of WEB Du Bois, and many of its songs address racial justice. (Tracks such as “70’s Heroes,” which mentions black activist John Africa, should probably come with study guides.) Soulside’s influence of reggae on new music reflects his ’80s style. If less than, Bob Marley’s mix of complaints and affirmations reverberates. In the album ending “It’s All About Love”.

“The Owners” has a lighter tone, as Catherine Ferrand sings about the joy of running fast and going out with non-punk precision. But the quartet also thinks about climate change on “Wrecked the World” and gentrification on “Low Rent Paradise,” a duet with guitarist Al Budd. The playful political tune is evenly packed with lilting drum her fills and a frenetic “Hey!”

By the mid-1980s, the blistering, declarative punk of Bad Brains and Minor Threat seemed exhausted. While Bad Brains began hopping between speed metal and reggae, Minor Threat frontman Ian Mackay (alec’s brother) moved on to a more diverse and expanded record with Embrace and, most famously, Fugazi. developed an approach. (On February 11, AFI Silver will host a screening of We Are Fugazi From Washington, DC, a documentary collection of live footage shot by the band’s fans.) But hardcore punk became an established style. , a continuous wave of young musicians. Goon, for example.

The band’s “Live at the Black Cat” is clearly protest music, but Serge Goon’s vocals are often too fast to decipher the lyrical target. Titles like “Nation in Distress” and “America Hates Its Youth” set the tone, and the singer’s introduction to “Ozone Alert” showed that he was just as aggravated about pollution as adults in general. is showing.

With their new release, the reanimated and re-formed ’80s DC punk band proves they can play with the ferocity of their youth well into their 50s. The current lineup of slightly younger Goons should show the same on stage this weekend. passed away on December 27 after a lifelong battle with cystic fibrosis, which was recently exacerbated by cancer treatments.

The band is selling t-shirts impersonating Klean, and Black Cat will be selling band memorabilia. All proceeds will be donated to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. No matter how fun it is to say “no” to anything, constructive action can be just as satisfying.

The Goons perform January 21, 1811 at the Black Cat on NW 14th Street. blackcatdc.com. $20.

Soulside will perform March 23rd at the Black Cat, 14th St. NW, 1811. blackcatdc.com. $20.

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