I suppose I should have stated at the outset that the first few releases would get kind of short shrift -- for a variety of reasons, Rev #1-3 weren't ever truly on my radar early on. So we'll get through #s 2 and 3 today and then progress. Start today, if you will.
#2 -- "New York City Hardcore: Together" compilation
1991 -- ???
2011 -- gosh, I wish I'd paid more attention.
This was one of two of the early releases that I never actually owned. The reason's simple: I thought that the upcoming number 7, "New York City Hardcore: The Way It Is" was entirely this one with added tracks. That's not totally true, and one of the two songs that I recognized from this was re-recorded for the next record (Supertouch's "Searching for the Light"). So I don't have a lot of recollections of this, probably because I couldn't get this on grey vinyl. The sound quality is pretty iffy so it's more like I'm hearing my neighbor play great old hardcore instead of Katy Perry. A really brief breakdown:
* Warzone "As One" -- pretty great and I wonder if I'm finally becoming a Warzone fan at age 38
* Gorilla Biscuits "Better Than You" -- one of the standout songs because I worshipped GB when I first heard this -- cheerful and catchy with some of the more gloriously stupid lyrics out there
* Bold "Talk Is Cheap" -- we'll get into Bold later and I think they're one of the dullest bands in the history of hardcore, but this actually isn't bad, a bit more intense than the rest of their output
* Youth of Today "Together" -- at the height of their powers, they were pretty great here, hard to believe we weren't far off from the whateverness of "Break Down the Walls"
* Sick of it All "My Life" -- I'm not a fan of early SOIA, but this is one of the catchier songs they did (in that I actually remember it)
* Side by Side "Violence to Fade" -- 180 degrees from Bold in that I generally liked them, but man this is forgettable
* Supertouch "Searching for the Light" -- this was young Greg's favorite ST song, but this isn't the good version
It's tempting to think that if I'd given this a good listen back then, I would've loved it, since it had all the good of NYCHTWII and less of the dross. But with the exception of Warzone and Bold, all of these bands had plenty of other recorded output that I liked as much or more, and so this would've just sounded like a seven-song appendix.
#3 -- Sick of it All 7"
1991 -- SELLOUTS!
2011 -- This would've been a decent intro to hardcore.
I got Sam McPheeters' "Dear Jesus" collection not too long ago, and reading it now was a bit of a trip -- that was my personal bible round about 1991 and 1992, my guide to things that didn't really affect me but that I decided really were important. Chief among those was the issue of major labels, and the legendary Born Against-Sick of it All debate. I don't know why I cared, because I didn't know any of those involved and there was no danger of any Tucson bands signing to majors, but I did. I cared a lot and felt obligated to lecture any poor Tucson schmuck who didn't share my angst over Sick of it All or Killing Time or whoever. On down the line (see future Quicksand entry), I got more angsty, and then just dropped it to the relief of everyone who knew me, but for a time I was kind of loud about it, a foot soldier in a war that didn't concern me and was being fought out far away.
So: SOIA were a visible target and I made a big show of boycotting "Blood, Sweat and No Tears" and "Just Look Around," to the point where I think I still haven't heard them. Then later, once I'd tossed in the towel, I liked "Built to Last" and "Call to Arms" as much as I'd slagged the earlier records. Lost in all this was the debut Rev ep, which occupied a grey area: the indie-label debut of a band I'd decided represented bad things. Like Warzone, I owned this -- record collecting nerdery trumped my confused ethics -- but didn't listen to it a lot.
Now, it feels like nothing special. There's a certain youthful joy to it in that it's easy to imagine that it was recorded in one take start-to-finish, but it's really generic hardcore with only Lou's vocals to set it aside. I would've loved this if I'd heard it right after my first hardcore show (Malignus Youth, American Deathtrip, Upside, Justus, Suspended Animation in Bisbee, Arizona). Now, it's an artifact. One that highlights just what a dork I was.