"This is my fuck you!" - Kid Dynamite, how we miss thee
As I get older and more of a lush, it gets harder and harder to appreciate hardcore. I just don't have the young man's spastic energy too much anymore (except when my UCB box set arrives in the mail and I squeal like a kid with low expectations on Hanukkah before subjecting my girlfriend to two hours of avant-garde sketch comedy). Mostly because it sounds like shit anymore. I blame New York, mostly. We have them to thank for the metal breakdowns, sXe militancy, and thuggish mentaliy, after all. Besides, in the 80's, the recordings were so shitty you could actually make out bass and vocals instead of the guitar and drums dominating everything at a million miles an hour.
So, while my much beloved Cousin Brandon will vehemently disagree ("hey dude, have you heard the new "Triumph Through Victory" seven inch by Blood Under Oppression? It's got some sick moshes, brah."), there haven't been too many worship-worthy hardcore bands in recent memory. Other than Career Suicide, Government Warning, and New Mexican Disaster Squad, pretty much every hardcore band I've loved since the Reagan years have all had Dan Yemin in them.
The best one he was in, and probably the best hardcore band of the past twenty years, was Kid Dynamite. Their first, self-titled LP is one of the best punk records ever made, bar none. I suppose some purists would look down their nose on such an assertion, but trust me, any band inspired by Youth of Today is nothing to be impressed by, kids. (That's Youth of Today, one of the single worst groups to ever record music. I'd rather get hit in the nuts while someone blared Bette Midler at me than sit through another YOT song.)
One thing they had in their favor was the fact that you could mostly understand what Jason Shevchuk was singing in his distinctive voice, which put him a cut above the circus barkers grunting indeterminably about god knows what. Plus, given Dr. Dan's history with Lifetime, it wasn't any surprise that they could shoot for the gut, too. "Bookworm" is probably my favorite KD song, and god does it feel like a sock in the innards. The conflicted ruminations on regret, anger, letting go, and self-reliance all wrapped up in an artful metaphor are light years ahead of almost all other hardcore lyrics, almost all of which fall under the "I'll kick your ass if you mess with my friends/all my friends are backstabbing hypocrites" category.
"Heart a Tact" was the song that introduced me to the band (via the endlessly awesome first edition of Take Action!), and maybe it'll do the same for you. After just run-through, let's see how many of you are chanting "it tries to kill me but I kill it first!" at the exact correct moment. KD was the ideal melding - Shevchuk's anthemic soul-searching/rabble-rousing meets Dr. Dan's every-second-is-weirdly-catchy chug-chug hardcore. There's a reason their music still resonates almost a decade after its time.
Of course, like all good things, Kid Dynamite came to an end. Their alumni have gone on to form such rad bands as Paint it Black, None More Black*, and Armalite. How the fuck can you argue with that?
Cheap Shot Youth Anthem: http://www.mediafire.com/?63hleqx0bob
Heart A Tact: http://www.mediafire.com/?b2xcdcmvjxf
Pits and Poisoned Apples: http://www.mediafire.com/?1dzjvawxdba
*True, fun story. Paul from NMB gave me a pious lecture about sticking by ones friends when I said Madball was lame and then asked if they were anything like These Arms Have Hands. Then he unfriended me on MySpace. Say it ain't so, Paul! My feelings, they are hurtin'! (NMB is fuckin' rad, though. For the record.)