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Dance Ditch

Ok, just to prove that I, too, have indie cred (and way too much time on my hands, apparently), I've finally contributed to ILM's fantasy Rough Guide series with The Rough Guide to Screamo, 1989 - 1994: The Golden Years (Volume 1). And since I spent like three hours on it, I'm going to reprint here:

1. Moss Icon, “Dance Ditch,” from Mahpuia Luta (Vermin Scum, 1989)
2. Born Against, “Well Fed Fuck,” from Nine Patriotic Hymns for Children (Vermiform, 1991)
3. Heroin, “Meaning Less,” from Heroin (Gravity, 1993)
4. Rorschach, “Mandible,” from Protestant (Wardance/Gern Blandsten, 1992)
5. Antioch Arrow, “Go Go,” from Antioch Arrow (Gravity, 1993?)
6. Navio Forge, “Hate Machine,” from As We Quietly Burn a Hole Into… (Shadow Catcher, 1993)
7. Antioch Arrow, “Puppy Love,” from In Love with Jetts (Gravity, 1993)
8. John Henry West, “Avoiding,” from 3/12/93 (Ebullition, 1993)
9. John Henry West, “Bullet Proof” (Gravity, 1993)
10. Born Against, “Sendero,” from Battle Hymns of the Race War (Vermiform, 1993)
11. Universal Order of Armageddon, “Symptom” (Jade Tree, 1993)
12. Han Shan, “In Autumn” (Soledad, 1993)
13. Universal Order of Armageddon, “Painfully Obvious,” from split 7” with Born Against (Gravity, 1993)
14. Unwound, “You Bite My Tongue” (Gravity, 1993)
15. Angel Hair, “Origin of Species,” from Insect Mortality (Gravity, 1994)
16. Assfactor 4, “The Weight,” from Sometimes I Suck 7" (Repercussion, 1994)
17. Mohinder, “To Satisfy” (Unleaded, 1994?)
18. Mohinder, “The Mission” (Gravity, 1994)
19. Mukilteo Fairies, “Oly Latent Boys,” from Closet Check 7" (Outpunk, 1994)
20. Swing Kids, “Disease” (Kidney Room, 199?)

So yeah, a few dates are fuzzy, it's a little heavy on Gravity (well, they did corner the screamo market in '93), the VSS and Honeywell are missing. But otherwise it seems a not bad lil' primer.

Funny, I'm surprised how well some of those tunes have held up. Not that it's a surprise with Born Against or Unwound, say. And John Henry West is still a fucking classic; hits like railroad spike in the sternum. Han Shan is a lot thinner than I remember; I remembered it being heavier, more massive. But it's thin on structure and thin on sound. And I like how you can chart the balancing act between more conventional hardcore strains (JHW, Born Against) and the all-out theatricalism (Antioch Arrow, Swing Kids) that would eventually turn into whitebelt.

One of these days if I have a rainy weekend with nothing to do, I'll put together a Rough Guide to Unwound, just for nostalgia's sake.

For an index to all the fantasy Rough Guides so far, click here.


wham! you brought it all back. these days the only guitar schlop that matches THE GOLDEN YEARS is Load Records (on a good day).

there's only about 152 people in the whole of the UK that own the entire collection listed above. i am not one of them. but i AM close.

Great list, but where's Team Dresch? Girls did screamo too, though they predictably got shunted off to their own little gender-filtered subgenre. (related: was Melissa York drummer on either of them Born Against tracks?)

1. Mulkiteo's Closet Check. Holy shit. lest we forget.
2. TEAM DRESCH WAS NOT SCREAMO. Who is saying that?
3. Melissa York did not turn into a great drummer UNTIL she was in Vitapup, and I wish they had ten songs like Butterflies, rather than 10 SPOKEN WORD INTERLUDES on ever record.
4. Why is Ricardo Villalobos not on here?
5. Do you have pictures to prove that you were totally spock-core in 92?

Not to say i am not buying it or anything, I just think we all need to see that era of PS.

Of course I was just walking the as-yet-unweeded trail from Born Against-->Melissa York-->Team Dresch, and also was secretly hoping the definition of screamo wasn't gender-specific. (maybe it is?) Certainly "Hate the Christian Right" sounds pretty screamo to me. That is, if the definition of screamo includes "rips off 'I Will Never Forget You' from Zen Arcade"

'Bansheemo' then?

"Bansheemo" is indeed a pretty dope genre name. was screamo gender-specific? Probably, like so many things, yes but no, you know? (And was there a woman in UOA? A feel like when I saw them at some VFW in Maryland there was, but my memory is not so good.)

Anyway, to answer Hopper's pressing questions/comments:

1. Hell yes, and it hasn't softened a bit. There's probably an entire dissertation to be written on the Mukilteo Fairies' scream alone - such a freaking presence, such a vast rending.

2. No, nothing screamo about'em - way too melodic. Though I still love love love that first record.

3. Wait, who was in Vitapup? I totally forgot about them. I probably have some 7"s lying around here somewhere.

4. Um, because Ricardo Villalobos does not scream. (He takes way too much ketamine for that.)

5. I am not now, nor have I ever been, a member of the spock-core party. Sadly, in '92 I was probably wearing Stussy jeans and Adidas sneakers (not unlike the most recent retro line of Adidas, which in fact makes me feel quite old). I don't recall what I wore in the shirt department, but you can bet that it wasn't close to spock-core, or even for that matter particularly hip.

Having said all that -- man, I hope the internet isn't as permanent as they say it is.

Probably my favorite bansheemo artist of all time is Blueberry Macgregor of the Star Death...

Team Dresch did sorta drop the ball on their 2nd LP, though I like "Don't Try Suicide". I love all 3 Butchies albums though.

VFW in Maryland? Dude, Phillip, are you repping B-More? I've only been reading your stuff for a minute, but I thought you were from Spain or Germany or something. Also, no Refused? Too new jack?

dude! I'm fuggin psyched to see three records on here, that I actually did the screaming on.
Both J.H.W. 7inches & the Han Shan one.
Don't forget to play the End Of The Line 12", that's me too.
Lates...do bongs

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