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Detroit, Michigan, United States
I'm a punk rock guru from Detroit. Part skinhead, part crusty, part metalhead, part hardcore kid, part party kid, 100% punk rocker.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Varsity/ Bloodpact- split LP review

Varsity/ Bloodpact- split LP review
These two bands were part of what I would call a lull period for punk and to an extent, hardcore- the late 90s to early 00s.  However, in this time, these two bands on this split LP were just a couple of the bands holding down the fort, and they weren’t too bad; they brought in numerous out-of-state bands and got many people in Michigan involved in hardcore.  The most notable part about this time is that it preceded the widespread use of the internet, though e-mail was somewhat regular by then.  This was when word-of-mouth was still the rule and flyers were still in use on a physical format; this sounds insignificant, but following this era, social networking exploded and how we would communicate with one another would be changed forever- last of the Mohicans, so to speak.  That’s what makes this release significant- it was among the last of the DIY pre-internet bands for the Michigan branch.
The two bands’ music is decent, but different- vastly different.  Varsity, the A side of the record, has nine tracks of earnest, youthful, downright cliché and cheesy youth crew.  Truth be told, this is the picture-perfect band to listen to if one wanted to get an idea of youth crew’s best and worst traits- naïve, simple lyrics, gang vocals, quick but not blisteringly fast beats, a mid-song breakdown, and collegiate font logo lettering.  These are honest and heartfelt positive hardcore songs written by high-school punks- for youth crew revival of that era, it’s middle-of-the-pack, par for the course, about what one would expect if Youth of Today had still been in high school and were from a better neighborhood, i.e. a more conservative, suburban one.  Fun to sing along to at times, but can grow old fast.
Side B is Bloodpact, who come with 11 songs of hardcore with a raspy powerviolence influence and a level-headed, slightly left-wing political lean.  I feel like the songs are here, but I absolutely hate the mixing done on this- the drums are WAY too loud, the guitars are hardly distinct from one another, and the vocals are too soft to be heard very well.  A slightly personal grip would be the peculiar names of the song titles, but with the lyrics and explanations listed, it’s not as big of a problem, as those are more important than the title of the song.  The music is not unlike the political hardcore of the time, played on a 45.  Short and simple music with long and complicated meanings behind the songs- another product of the time.  It’s impossible to overlook the mixing job, however- I’d be intrigued to hear the songs remixed and re-mastered.
DIY at its finest- always earnest, usually cheesier than Nachos on a Saturday night, and ultimately a fun package of 90s-era music.  I’m not an avid fan, but merely an interested one.  Definitely a piece for Michigan punk/hardcore collectors and so-called “noobs” to check out for this kind of music.
-Aunty Social

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