Wednesday, October 3, 2012

VICTIMS and the 00's revisited.

Starting My A.M. With a pot of coffee and a Copy of the First VICTIMS LP "Neverendinglasting" which is a record I've been meaning to re-listen to for awhile, as I remember it being a really savage template for what the band would do over subsequent great records on Havoc and Tankcrimes , but as per many many bands over the course of Swedish Hardcore punk, the earliest record has the rawest edge and the advantage of an initial explosion of pent-up ideas. There's little atmosphere, just one raging track into the next.
I picked up this U.S. Press last night at Amoeba for $5 Mainly because of the Stellar Color Vinyl - a purple with subtle splatter when held in light, which is kind of the ONLY color choice on the US color press ( the Euro Version is Black and white) that works as the rest of the packaging is a haphazard selection of different reds, oranges, gloss black, light blue.
It's pretty much Open War on late 90's / early 00's punk records right now and kind of reminds me of the late 80's/ early 90's where the explosion of hardcore yielded so many great bands but was followed by so much imitation and a glut of releases that it dulled the focus of the music and ideas. For the Casual listener, it became hard to pick out of the 200+ piece Mystic Records catalog what was actually good and worthy of their $3, and almost en masse people lost interest and moved on to different ideas and music, or the generational wave had passed. Now Like then, the economy was bad and the fatigue manifested itself in people just DUMPING stuff...and suddenly you can buy some of the Era's best records ( or like I've been doing, upgrading to the limited versions I was too lazy to mailorder) at rock bottom Prices. Indeed, my last trip to Amoeba yielded a Limited DIRECT CONTROL album for $3! It's not quite the level of buying Classic early 80's European hardcore singles for $2 in 1991, but the pattern at least is similar.

Most Records in that Nineties period were pressed in the thousands- and big DIY hardcore records from the time would easily sell 10,000-20,000 + copies. Even in the early 00's Records would be pressed multiple times, something that seems to rarely happen now as records transition- for most people outside of collectors and older fans- to an adjunct collectible representation of a download , and are seemingly pressed around a break even point of 500 copies. THe micro-pressings of 300 to me seem like the most insane thing, where there's not even an outreach to try to reach a broader audience - which does require a bit of effort- so it's basically like the Records don't even exist. Same time, the broad availability of downloads, youtube and other sources completely alters the equation. I've never been able to fathom the idea of making your music hard to get / ultra-limited as a promotional means, as it seems counterintuitive to the entire spirit of hardcore, which was to spread ideas, infect people's minds with them and take over.

However, one thing that completely fueled the surging wave of 00's hardcore - particularly interest the stripped down 80's hardcore, European Thrash and Japanese harcore was the music finally became broadly distributed beyond having to write some one overseas with a tape or record trade and wait a month or two to hear it or dig through record bins for a few years to finally find a copy. Finally all this Great music was available for people instantly. It does poses a broader question of fatigue of having such a cultural overload of music that will ALWAYS be available, piled on 30 years of punk history of a genre, with an easy template to continually produce more. Anyway, Pot of coffee's almost gone and Better get on it.

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