With more kids than ever swinging from the balls of days the 90s, I consider it my duty as an elder statesman of hardcore to tell Kids These Days the truth about How Things Were Back In The Day.
Consider the sad, embarrassing case of REVELATION RECORDS in the late 90s. Most people these days remember them for all the classic NYHC records they put out in the 80s, and rightly so. The sad truth is, though, that they were only a hardcore label for a few short years. By the late 90s, they had become the torchbearers for the 90s hardcore trend nobody talks about: when all the NYHC bands broke up, and all the guys who were in them started indie/alternative rock bands!
I’m glad that this era is mostly forgotten now and that people think of bands like Unbroken as the face of 90s hardcore, but the fact is that the Revelation indie/alt/emo bands were 10 times more popular than Disembodied, Trial, and Chokehold put together. It was all about trading in your Nikes for Chuck Taylors, your hoodie for a sweater, and starting a heartfelt, meaningful band that claimed to be part of the hardcore scene, but sounded like gay alternative rock. SOUND FAMILIAR??
Let’s take a look at the release that embodies this dreadful trend better than any other: Revelation Records “In-Flight Program,” a free “sampler” that they gave out in 1997 with catalogs, at record stores, and other places where people discovered music before the internet. I’ll skip over the NYHC tracks they included as bait, and focus on the meat of this comp: the definitive late 90s emo/indie “hardcore” bands!
You can download it here, if you’re a glutton for punishment.
TEXAS IS THE REASON, featuring members of Krishnacore bands 108 and Shelter, were probably the most popular of all these bands, and also the best. But if you listened to this and thought to yourself, “IDK man, this stuff doesn’t sound as bad as you’re making it out to be,” not so fast!! It’s all downhill from here, my friends.
Let’s all wish zakmorrison good luck with his being melancholy goals in 2012 (from the comments on this TITR song)
If you listen to this for like 10 seconds you’ll find it hard to believe, but SENSEFIELD were pretty big at the time. Before writing this post I hadn’t listened to them in years (for reasons that will be obvious), and they’re somehow worse than I remembered– like a shitty local version of Collective Soul, only even crappier than that :(
I’m guessing that the guys in SHADES APART were probably in various ‘classic, legendary NJHC bands’ before this, but I’m too lazy to look it up. All I know is that they could easily be some random local band who would have been the opener for the All/Toadies tour in 1995, or maybe got their “big break” opening for Silverchair on both of their Arizona shows.
I was going to make fun of this song until I remembered that FARSIDE were fucking sweet, and aged better than pretty much every other band from this era. That said, this video is mindbottling– so many XXL denim shorts, rockabilly haircuts, and bowling shirts!! Welcome to Orange County circa 1995.
Speaking of awesome OC pop-punk/rock bands from this era, I have to mention GAMEFACE even though they’re not on this comp. Yes, strong friendzone lyrics but no fucks given, I still love this band :(
Signed, every male Gameface fan ever (sent from the friendzone)
They weren’t really part of the emo fggt scene, but I’m including ICEBURN on here just for shits and giggles. As you can see, they weren’t hardcore, emo or anything else remotely related, but the ultimate in unmarketable, fringe genres: experimental jazz! Only not that good at it, via being dudes who were in hardcore bands a few years earlier (brb nerding out to Cecil Taylor, Jack Dejohnette and the one Chick Corea record that isn’t shamefully awful).
Another band who I never, ever heard anybody talk about in any context other than “who the fuck is BODYJAR?!” is the Australian pop-punk band BODYJAR. No idea who these guys were, where they came from or where they went, just that it was really weird to see Revelation hype them so much and that I had no clue why they signed this random, average band.
Let me clarify what I said about how Rev-style emo/indie bands were 10 times more popular than real hardcore: I did NOT mean all the weird, random bands like WHIRLPOOL. I don’t know anything about this band, literally never met a single person who liked them, and I think we all reacted the same to the news that they were on the same label as JUDGE: “Lolwat ok?!”
And last but not least, Greg from Sunn O)))/Southern Lord’s old, shitty alternative rock band ENGINE KID (more details on his other old, shitty bands here). Please note how sincere, meaningful and hearfelt they are- maybe it’s time for Greg to jump off the drO)))ne bandwagon and start an oldfag tr00 emo band!
Were you aware of this skeleton in the closet of the 90s hardcore scene??? Are any of these bands not shitty? Why can’t we learn from our mistakes and realize that going through tr00/srs phases always leads to embarrassing, shameful results???