Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Featured DVD and Book: American Hardcore



I apologize if this is old news to some of you out there... but I honestly feel compelled to throw this up and give it more screen time. I picked up the book ("American Hardcore: A Tribal History" by Steven Blush) almost three years ago and quite possibly have read it three or four times over in that span. The reason this book is so damn magically special, besides the fact that it's packed to the brim with information, is that it's pretty much the first to ever tackle this subject fully -- the American youth response to the dwindling of the 70's punk pioneers, and the surge of yuppie-ism gaining momentum. More specifically, it chronicles the '80 - '86 rise of the original "hardcore" within our fifty states.

Don't get me wrong, this isn't a boring "this happened, then this happened" kind of retelling... the history is retold by the actual people who lived it. Sure there's Blush as a 'quasi-narrator' (nicely set in bold font, in case you forget which part is him talking) to keep to keep it cohesive, but the bulk of the content is everyone who meant something to the movement putting in their two cents on whichever topic the chapter was highlighting. And it definitely cuts deep, it covers everything from specific bands, to hotbed areas of the country, to the agenda, to the fashion, to the shows, etc...

Honestly, this combo means so much to me because early '80s hardcore has to be my all-time favorite genre or 'style' of music (ie. Black Flag, Bad Brains, Dead Kennedys, Misfits, Minor Threat, Minutemen, etc)... and frankly, the lack of attention paid to it in the realm of music history really pissed my shit off. Any book or documentary I picked up before these were all the same, "Iggy and Lou Reed were on to something, then New York birthed punk rock at CBGB's, then England exploded with the Pistols, Clash, Damned and such, then a post-punk movement grew out of the ashes, watering things down by "getting experimental" ... then according to them it seems the world stopped for a bit... and suddenly, oh no, here's Nirvana! And it's some mystery how that happened. Get it together assholes, quit skipping over one of the most pure, radical, and important movements in our short musical journey on this planet.

So, anyway... to my delight, this book spawned a documentary, made by the same people. I really really wanted this to be the end all be all of my favorite documentaries, but when i saw it opening night up here in NYC, I was slightly (and I emphasize 'slightly') disappointed. But in a good way of sorts, if that makes sense... I mean, what did I expect, if you really wanted to capture all of this info in a documentary, it would have to be 12 hours long or something. So long story short, I loved it to death, but I see how it could seem they tried to cram as much info as possible into two hours. Which leads me to the DVD, and why it's featured... Rabidly purchasing this as well, the day it came out, the special features totally revived everything I hoped the movie would be. Swelling with more content, I couldn't have been more pleased.... So If you missed it in theaters, pick up this DVD now, and bop on down to your local book sellers and get a major dose of powerviolence... in book form!

Here's the trailer, if you need more convincing: