Saturday, April 20, 2013

Picking the Wrong City

This past week has been an incredible roller coaster of emotions for the United States, especially the Northeast, and more specifically the greater Boston area. I am from the area, living in parts of New England my entire life. This post seemed fitting for this week, and all of the fall out from the Boston marathon attack and the subsequent manhunt. The phrase used the most this week, aside from the new trendy Boston Strong fundraiser catch phrase, is "these guys picked the wrong city". My friend writes for Newsweek and in a recent response to the attacks on Patriots Day said this: "You don't fuck with Boston, because Boston fucks back".

This statement could be tossed aside as bravado, unable to be backed up by facts, but... all of you who have watched movies like the Departed, Good Will Hunting, The Brinks Job, Mystic River, The Town, or even Ted need to understand that all of the grit and toughness expressed by characters in those films are influenced by and express how people who actually live in this area think and act. and with that... I give you the best compilation album of all time, and quite possibly the finest American Hardcore punk album ever recorded.

Gang Green, The Groinoids, Jerry's Kids, The Freeze, The Proletariats, Decadence, The FUs
This is Boston Not LA
1982, Modern Method
Produced by Jimmy Dufour, Mark McKay, Sean Sweeney

In the late '70s and early '80s a new kind of punk started out in LA and moved to DC. This scene had a harder, dirtier sound than British and New York punk bands like the Buzzcocks, Sex Pistols, The Clash, and Ramones. Lead by the LA based Black Flag, and the DC based Bad Brains, this American Hardcore punk scene infiltrated many other cities along both coasts, including San Francisco, New York, and, of course, Boston.

This comp helped to promote the Boston sound and scene and distinguish them from the DC scene on the east coast. The title was initially supposed to be a rallying cry for Boston area bands to be themselves, instead of copying what LA groups like Black Flag, Fear, and the Germs were doing. Since then, it has become more of a statement that Boston, it's city and people, are harder than the soft citizens of the warmer, more luxurious cities of California.

This comp, and these bands would go on to influence a Boston music scene that would cultivate groups like The Unseen, The Lemonheads, Ten Yard Fight, Slapshot, The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Big D and the Kids Table, the Dropkick Murphys, and even Godsmack. NoFX frontman, and punk rock historian, Fat Mike has said this album is the best of all time (which he says about everything), and references it in his song 2 Jealous Agains, which is all about iconic punk records.

Trouble if You Hide is a track by the Freeze that seems pretty appropriate to the events of the past week. The lyric "please come forth with clues to confide, because there will be trouble if you hide" highlights the tenacity of the Boston spirit.

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