For a lot of people, 1981 is a year where the 1980s really found its feet. It’s a year where fewer things carry a feel of the 70s; it’s a year where the New Romantics and the new wave of synth pop stars dominated the charts. As well as being a solid year for pop, 1981 also found the New Wave of British Heavy Metal reaching its crescendo.
In the run up to the release of this cassette, Bleeders had been steadily building a following on the live circuit on their home turf of Pennsylvania and the surrounding areas. That sort of makes sense since they have a sound that would surely work much better live; on record, their no-frills, no-wave, distorted, zero budget approach is hellishly ugly. So much so, that it makes label mates The Meltaways seem like a manufactured, multi-million dollar, radio groomed pop rock trio by direct comparison. The recording of ‘Gash’ is so raw and unrelentingly grotesque, it borders on being unlistenable. Looking at it another way, it’s so hard going, that’s an achievement in itself.
Between work with Black Flag in the mid 80s Greg Ginn formed Gone, an instrumental outfit which took the power of his main band’s latter day approach and tempered it with funk and jazz influences. Their first album (‘Let’s Get Real, Real Gone For a Change’) was a low budget showcase of garage rock style, with often discordant guitars – always easily identifiable as Ginn’s work – playing over groove-led, funky but not always especially tight rhythms. This second album, a more than predictable continuation of Gone’s signature sound, shows no dramatic shift from that debut’s ideas. Some of the recording techniques may be slightly more primitive than those before, but at the heart of it all, remains Ginn’s unmistakable style.
After a handful of EP releases, OFF!’s debut album (released in the summer of 2012) was the year’s best punk record. Possibly even the best punk record of the previous decade. The combined talents of ex-Black Flag/Circle Jerks frontman Keith Morris and Redd Kross man Steve McDonald was always likely to result in something fairly explosive, but OFF! really pushes their ferocity to brilliant extremes.
It has been reported that OFF!’s upcoming tour dates have all been cancelled.
Lead vocalist Keith Morris recently slipped into a diabetic coma and is taking time out to recover. In addition to being OFF!’s frontman, Morris is also involved with Flag, a band including other former Black Flag members. Flag have been booked to appear at the Punk Rock Bowling Festival in Las Vegas in May. So far, this – and Flag’s other prior shows – remain unaffected.