Archive for the 'Hardcore History' Category

108 – 15 years later


So the 108 show is only one week away. I’m pretty excited about it (because I’m gonna harass Vic and Alan for BEYOND stories). I’ve never been a huge 108 fan personally, but there are a lot of them out there – young and old. One of them is our buddy Robbie Blythe. Being the gentleman/scholar that he is, he waxed nostalgic about 108 and explained why he’s one of those individuals who is excited to get stuffed in a small room to see, arguably, one of the best hardcore bands of the 90s.

I don’t remember exactly when the first time I heard 108 was. I would have been around 15 or 16, in grade 10 or 11 and I definitely had Holyname, their first lp, on a tape that had some other early/mid 90s hardcore on the flip side. I’m not sure that I liked that album as much as I liked the stories I had heard about the band. One in particular I remember was something about a fight breaking out in Buffalo and the singer, Rob Fish (who I was already familiar with via the Resurrection song on the Only the Strong comp.), playing the entire set lying in the middle of the floor. Sounds lame now, but it was the stuff legends were made of to my 16 year old self.

Like I said, Holyname wasn’t that amazing, but Songs of Separation- right from the opening scream of Opposition- was a pretty killer album. The first couple years of getting into hardcore, however, go pretty quickly and you go through a lot of bands and different periods. 108 was cool, but their records definitely fell to the bottom of my listening pile for a period… Until I heard their song Arctic on the Anti-Matter compilation. That was truly the moment I fell in love with 108. I guess, the fact that Krishna-core died with the early 90s and now the mid-90s were quickly coming to an end, finding their new record, Threefold Misery, was hard to do in Toronto. Rotate This finally got a copy in and I don’t think there has been a period longer than a month in the last 12 years that I haven’t listened to it. Perhaps it was the whole Krishna thing, but 108 is one of the most under-rated bands from the 1990s.

It’s been a few years since they reformed and they’ve put out an amazing ep (which I don’t have because my Ipod shit the bed) and a first-rate lp. I never got to see 108 the first time around and am so stoked that Stuck in the City are bringing them to Toronto. My core appreciation isn’t what it once was and I don’t make it out to too many shows; this is one show I definitely won’t miss though. Oh, and the fact that Alan Cage (Quicksand), who is hands down the best drummer in hardcore, is now playing with them blows my mind.



Remembering Who’s Emma

EDIT: Our friend Sparky posted a link  in the comments to a short piece he wrote about Who’s Emma on the To The Lions blog a while back. Go check it out!

Over the last few months – maybe longer – our friend Lyndall has been putting together a documentary project about Who’s Emma. In brief, Who’s Emma was an anarchist bookstore in Kensington Market that operated throughout the late 90s. A number of great bands played there over the years including DROP DEAD, LOS CRUDOS and many. BOARD OF EDUCATION played there as well. Unfortunately, I was never able to experience a show there but I hope and expect that Lyndall’s documentary will help those who weren’t there understand the value of that space to Toronto’s alt-culture community.

It’s pretty safe to say, almost 10 years on, that Who’s Emma existed when politics and different social ideas were a lot more important than they are now to the hardcore community. Ultimately, it was one of the last bastions for punk in Kensington Market.

Personally, I’ve become fascinated with any sort of history pertaining to the Southern Ontario Hardcore Community so I’m pretty excited about this. Some of Toronto’s best current bands were borne out of Who’s Emma and it will be interesting to see the space reflected upon.

If you want more info on the Remembering Who’s Emma project, check out Lyndall’s blog (link fixed). We’ll be sure to keep you in the know as to when the documentary will see the light of day.

Stop Buying the Fucking Gimmicks

KEEP IT UP was a hardcore band from the Golden Horseshoe that played shows from 2003-2007. They were named after either the eponymous YOUTH OF TODAY song or LOVERBOY album, but no one really knows. While they were around they released two 7″s (on the now defunct FEELIN IT RECORDS), a CD with the first 7″ and some B-sides as well as had a song on Revelation’s otherwise mediocre Generations Compilation despite having never really left Southern Ontario, if at all. (Note: the LOJ track on that Comp is also very good.)

The first time I saw KEEP IT UP was at the LEFT FOR DEAD reunion show in April 2004. They opened the show and got a packed Moe’s Tavern crowd moving. After that, I saw them countless times, none of which was sub-par despite the fact that near the end they were playing & practicing less and less. I always appreciated KEEP IT UP’s very Canadian approach to hardcore, in the sense that it didn’t matter if you were an edgemen or not, they didn’t care. It’s that sort of inclusive ambivalence that characterizes the country, is it not?

While they were around they also had some pretty great shirts, including the popular panther shirt (see image above), the R.I.P. O.D.B. shirt which I scored at the FIRST STEP/FIRED UP house show in 2005 and the controversial “fist smashing through the Iron Cross” shirt which the band recalled after someone pointed out that it looked an awful lot like a SKREWDRIVER image. I’ve only seen this shirt once or twice and I think it’s safe to say it’s a rare Southern Ontario Hardcore gem.

They played their last show in St. Catherines last July during Scene Festival and it looked like this:

It was easily one of the best local performances I’ve had the privilege of seeing. Since breaking up, two of the members have continued making music in URBAN BLIGHT and another went on in ATTACK IN BLACK.

There’s presently a copy of their first 7″ for sale with the /100 silkscreened cover up on eBay. Take a look if you don’t own it.

The “Sledgehammer” for the Myspace Generation

Hadn’t seen this in awhile. Back on it soon.

Muxtape in the City

Pop it in and give it a listen. Still not sure if I’ll change this often, but today was just go #1 at it and I was limited to what’s on my computer at work. Jump on the bandwagon just like us and send us your links.

Town of Hardcore + More

I’m sick at home right now so I’m making a post I’ve been meaning to make for the last 4 months…

Earlier this year, Eating Rats Records finally released the TOWN OF HARDCORE zineography. If you’ve never heard of Town of Hardcore but have even the slightest interest in Southern Ontario Hardcore or zines go buy this now before reading any further.

Town of Hardcore was a zine done over three years by Fat Steve, who is the former vocalist of Our War. If you don’t know who Our War is, again, get on that. Pissed-off Straight Edge Hardcore, believe it or not, has existed in Southern Ontario.

I digress. There were 11 issues of Town of Hardcore. Somewhere around 2004 I finally mustered up the courage to get one these and after that, whenever I heard about a new one, grabbing it was the first thing I would do at a show. If you’re a young kid thinking about making a zine, you have to own this. Every band that was popular in that era was interviewed, and he didn’t just ask generic questions. Steve is older and did a zine in the late 80s and some of his older reprints with bands like RAW DEAL are in there. He seems to have attended every show within a days drive during those years and reviews them. And if design is something to talk about, which plenty people think it is, the layout is phenomenal.

If you missed the boat on these when they were stand-alones (that now go for about $20 each on ebay) buy this and educate yourself. If you own the zines, the extra content is also worth the purchase (there’s an old Agnostic Front interview among other things).

On a zine-related note, I’ve picked up three zines between Strife and Ceremony. They are Unlimited Nights and Weekends, Growing Pains and A Buffet of Plagues and Pains. If you haven’t picked these up, do so if you still can. These guys were giving them away for free. Thanks to them for putting something back into the community. The question remains though: when is somebody gonna print one on 11×17? That’s my challenge.


Now that I’ve gotten that out of my system, thank you to everyone who came to the show last night. It was a huge success. All the bands had an incredible time and were paid well.

In the next day or two there’ll be a Cheap Tragedies review as well as the Ceremony review. We also did interviews with Trapped Under Ice and Ceremony which will go up as fast as I can transcribe them.


Hardcore Homework v 2.0

It was just brought to my attention, albeit a month after the fact, that Tim McMahon of Mouthpiece/Hands Tied/Livewire Records infamy has started a webzine called Double Cross.

There’s lots of hardcore history gold over there. Go check it out.

October 2018
« Jun