April 26, 2013 § Leave a Comment
Red Hare, Nites of Midnight, Dischord Records
Featuring the core members of Swiz, the post-hardcore Washington D.C. band that bridged the 1980s-1990s with their tough-as-nails attitude, infectiously sing-along refrains, and nimble and voracious musical outpourings, this project reveals the ageless angst that can still seize the night, especially when one enters middle-age doldrums. Irascible and iconic black punk veteran singer Shawn Brown, who first famously poured his viral vitriol onto crowds in blazing Dag Nasty, and combustible, insatiable guitarist Jason Farrell (Bluetip, Retisonic) join dizzying drummer Joe Gorelick (Garden Variety, Bluetip, Retisonic) and Swiz regular Dave Eight to shred all notions of retiring their chops and atavism. Dischord has not offered something as acerbic (“Fuck Your Career!”), acrid, and bitterly anthemic (“Be Half,” “Dialed In”), minus their abundant and admirable re-issues of the likes of Government Issue and the Faith, in well over twenty years. Yes, these same Swiz veterans tried something similar in Sweatbelly Freakdown, their mid-1990’s project, but that effort felt a tad uninspired; whereas, this album blasts from the gates with teeth bared, replete with Farrell’s sideways nod to mutant metal licks, Gorelick’s effortless percussive punches, and Brown’s steely street poetry on steroids. If this doesn’t leave an ex-hardcore listener breathless, renewed, and invigorated, then he or she should return to a heap of retrograde vinyl platters and ignore the future. As the final, pummeling, bass heavy tune “Night of Midnite” (with Farrell dropping in for vocal) attests, it’s time for people to take off their costumes, believe in whatever, run naked through their fears, and start living again. Swiz is dead: long live fiercely focused Red Hare.