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From the archives: Philip Sherburne picks the 20 best US Hardcore records ever made

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  • published
    23 Mar 2013
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    Philip Sherburne
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    From The Archives
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20 Best: US Hardcore records ever made

From 2003-2008, FACT operated as a bi-monthly print magazine. As part of a new From The Archives feature, we’ll be regularly uploading vintage articles from FACT’s ink-and-paper days. With The Vinyl Factory’s newly announced exhibition in mind, we’re kicking off proceedings in earnest with Philip Sherburne’s guide to the best of US Hardcore, originally published in 2008.

Hardcore is back. 

Not you-know-the-score ‘ardcore, but the American strain of punk that ruled suburbia in the ’80s, and its return is right on time. The ’80s were defined by Reagan, yuppie culture, and the Cold War; the ’00s have taken shape under Bush, the wholesale transfer of wealth to the super-wealthy, and the ‘War on Terror’. If the ’90s, for a privileged few, offered the chance to put one’s nihilism on hold, the old apocalyptic rash is back, and it burns worse than ever.

Hardcore’s revival has been a while in the making: in 2006, Paul Rachman’s film documentary American Hardcore (based on Steven Blush’s 2001 oral history of the same name) revisited the movement’s golden era in interviews with bands like Black Flag and Circle Jerks. This fall, MTV Books will publish Nathan Nedorostek and Anthony Pappalardo’s Radio Silence: A Selected Visual History of American Hardcore Music. It’s not all academic: bands like Fucked Up, Sex Vid, and even Sub Pop signees like Pissed Jeans and No Age are introducing a new generation of kids to the pleasures of power chords and breakneck tempos, while in the UK, groups like Gallows are reviving the classic American sound. If the original wave of hardcore was a reaction to the excesses of mainstream rock, new wave, and even punk- streamlining and accelerating the form, compressing it into atomic blasts of focused (and, often, unfocused) rage – then the current indie-rock hegemony leaves plenty of room for a furious, back-to-basics barrage.

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