26 September 2006

Shirtless Glowering Enraged White Guys Whipping The Bejesus Out Of One Another

That's Village Voice music editor Rob Harvilla's take on American Hardcore, the new documentary on... well, Harvilla's synopsis pretty much says it all, doesn't it?

"American Hardcore is one of those Dude That Music Scene We Had Was Totally Sweet, Dude docs designed to make said music scene's principals feel important and you personally feel lousy for having missed it," Harvilla writes, but at the same time acknowledges, "This all can feel oddly and sweetly romantic."

I haven't seen the film (not on release in the UK yet), but I saw a fair bit of the subject matter during that bleak period in the 1980s when the original punk scene had pretty much faded away and the East Bay pop-punk explosion hadn't yet got underway. True, the music was more to my liking than some other post-punk trends like drug-soaked speedmetal or atonal anarchist dirges (hello Crass!). But the difficulty of going to a hardcore show without coming soaked in blood (whether your own or someone else's didn't seem to matter, but actually it sort of did to me) took much of the shine off the scene for me. Maybe it was just a case of my not having been at the right shows; I'll see American Hardcore when I get the chance and report back if I have a change of heart.

But before I forget, despite all the moaning from those who would have preferred to see the Voice stuck forever in its 70s dinosaur rut (à la San Francisco's Bay Guardian), the new owners seem to be making some good staff and editorial decisions. Getting rid of the ancient hippies who were beginning to fossilise before our eyes was obviously an important step, and new hires like Harvilla show great promise. The guy can write well, and has a real knowledge of and passion for the material he covers, something that's been lacking from the Voice since, oh, around the time of the last Central Park love-in.

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