Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Ancient Heads (Indulgent Writing about Hardcore #1)

Ancient Heads - For My Brothers
Though an unapologetic yank thru n’ thru, I did a brief tour of childhood duty in the rainy climes of the United Kingdom (‘92-97) while my Dad worked for the Dow Chemical company. It’s a great place, birthed Black Sabbath and the Stones, but for summer fun? Not really my glass of Shloer.

That’s why the concept of summer jams always sikes me. See, back in those days, when the sun seemed to retreat behind grey whitewash for 14 waking hours of the day, when ‘Blue Peter’ and ‘The Big Breakfast’ tried (and failed) to wet my whistle and most brit cuisine turned my yankee stomach into a quivering hunk o’ gelatinous goop (no offense, but seriously...what the fuck is up with Bisto gravy?), it was my Dad’s collection of tapes and records that buoyed the sunshine up in my soul, a meaty connection ‘tween dumbing power chords and sunny midwestern shores. Ramones “Too Tough to Die,” Blue Oyster Cult “Some Enchanted Evening,” Alice Cooper “Billion Dollar Babies,” may incite the disaffected journos to talk of “punk” and “prog” and “shock” and other meaningless buzz-words, but for me? That shit sounds like the breezy swing of summer fun.

So, when Ancient Heads, a band who really doesn’t sound like any of the aforementioned, releases a tape of three summer jams, I’m immediately transported back to that wide eyed time when shit seemed so important, and some song seemed to punctuate every facet of my life. Per Matt Laforge, this triple serving of AH delights is the band’s most ‘Floorpunch-esque offering to date’ and I can’t help but agree.

Short, punchy and nary a second spent hemming and/or hawing around the point, For My Brothers makes for essential [summer] core without resorting to goofy Tumblr tomfoolery like cartoon drawings of wigger cats in sunglasses or moshing burritos or whatever wannabe LOC bands from Florida are schlepping.  “For my Brothers” is a perfect opener, gang chant in effect, while “Fight Back”’s clarion declaration that “WHAT DOESN’T KILL ME ONLY MAKES ME STRONGER” mean that this here’s a cassette you can/should listen to while driving your broken down Camry with windows rolled down, stopping only occasionally to pelt the odd simpleton with a water balloon and maybe skank around your car at a red light.

Summer, if you’ve learned nothing from  Spicoli, Ringwold and the other cretins of Reagan-American cinema, is a time of pregnant possibility. A time of forging love and friendships, of taking trips and of whittling away long pointless hours in pursuit of cheap grub and/or a place to chill...and though some of us have had to trade swimming pools and cut-offs for desk jobs and stock options, it’s these little rippers, solid bursts of unrequited, unabashed truth n’ mosh, which draw me back into this “thing.” The core is relevant to all seasons, but I’d like to think it’s somehow more alive in the sweltering days from Mid June-Late Sept. If for nothing else, this lil’ one-two-three is an honest reminder of everything I love about the core: short, fast, loud and CATCHY. Maybe summer for you means listening to Sublime and having to visit your girlfriend’s parents or some shit, and that’s fine...but throw this one on a few times, let the tunes grab you by your lapels and fuck you up with some serious truth.

***This issue of indulgent writing about hardcore was originally printed in Mosher's Delight fanzine and written by Dylan Chadwick***

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