Does Mark McCoy age? I see him from time to time, bumping into him in Brooklyn. I see recent pictures of him, the guy doesn’t seem to age. It’s like he’s a vampire of hard-core and provocative macabre art. He always seems to have this glow about him as his head is curiously popped onto his slender vegan frame. I wonder what his nighttime regimen is. I wonder if he uses a mint julep face scrub or mango mulch that he applies just before bed. The man has wonderful skin. It’s amazing to behold. Amongst the passing taxi exhaust clouds, piles of garbage and ketchup splatterings all over on the city streets, I see the soul of suns reflected in his New York City vegan glow. He manages to float above all of that and belch out some of the greatest records both visually and sonically.
Let’s start with:
Goodbye World • At Deaths Door LP
I was excited to get this a bit more than some of the latter releases when I found out that Aaron Aspinwall (Repos, Death Dedication, The Mushuganas, etc) was going to be doing vocals on this record. Anyone standing in front of Aspinwall when he is fronting for a band will agree that it can be terrifying. You might even fear for your life a bit. He’s probably one of the kindest people on the planet but when he puts the power of those lungs into the commitment of what he’s doing, the earth splits open. It’s unsettling. The music is bonkers off the wall HC in what you have come to expect from Youth Attack. With a little rock-n-roll riffage buried in the tornado of sound, it strikes me right away that Aaron’s vocal phrasing is thoughtful and adds an interesting and captivating quality to the music. Much of the music of this genre has the singer belting out in 4×4 time directly with the drums but there is a nuance to this that really makes it jump off the turntable. Lyrically this is dark as shit, I mean, like, meconium dark. And it’s sticks to you too, just mike meconium. The cover art is unbelievably haunting which just builds on that this Goodbye World record might actually be soundtrack when you’re at deaths door.
Mangled State • Pain Incarnate flexi
Youth Attack – I gonna do a Mangled State flexi.
Consumer – Flexi records are super delicate.
Youth Attack – that’s why I’m going to make it hard to get out of the package without possibly damaging it. You’ll have to be gentle.
Consumer – what’s the cover?
Youth Attack- it will be tucked inside an Origami of buildings falling down and rubble. Be gentle.
Consumer – (blink, blink)
Youth Attack – (gently push his finger against the mouth of consumer) Shhh, be gentle.
Here’s the thing with flexis and lathe cuts for that matter, you always lose a little bit of sound quality. However, that tends to work for Mangled State. Their wall of aggressive sound comes at you with a consuming force. Imagine driving toward a tunnel and the split second before you realize it’s just a tunnel painted on the side of a mountain, your spine is through your chest. Look, I’m from Michigan and putting a Negative Approach song on your record is the second quickest way to a man’s heart (first way being through the sternum) but, to be honest, it doesn’t help as much as you think it might. And I say that in a good way. My purpose is to convey that this is a standalone tiny flexible masterpiece of noise. Sometimes when a band decides to remake a song of a luminary in the genre, the song is used to make the record familiar to the listener, to give credibility to the record and this exercise is usually a failure wherein the band is instantly shadowed by their predecessor before even being able to start cutting their own path. However, here, the Negative Approach cover just adds to the already brilliant sound that these spry young lads have put down.
Grinning Death’s Head • Cataclysm 7″ EP
First of all, who is the hunk on the cover in the black jeans standing in the forest hubba hubba?
This is a dazzling two song ripper. These might be the actual longest songs that McCoy has ever been part of. The first side alone clocks in at nearly 4 1/2 minutes. I mean, gosh, his wrist must’ve been so tired. I bet he had to wear a wrist brace for a week. The song doesn’t feel long and does not lose interest. Yes, of course it dark. Yes, of course it’s creepy. Right around halfway to two thirds in, a haunting keyboard creeps in the background just to make things a bit more ominous. To be honest, I was listening to this and was compelled to look up the church of Satan. For real, I was. I wanted to find out what the seven fundamental tenants of the satanic church are. And then I remember that I was trying to listen to this record and I went back to listening. I again found myself looking up things about the origin of Satanism… I’m not sure if there’s any connection but maybe there is.
On the flip we have another 4 1/2 minute plunge into what I am now calling GothCore or HardGoth or HopelessCore or HardSad, still spit-balling names but I’m pretty sure it’s going to be a thing.
I write this with all honesty, I would really like to see this band live. I’m betting it would be terrifying and transformative. I joke here and there but I’m being honest when I tell you that this is amazing. I’m reminded of Fundamental tenant number five: Beliefs should conform to one’s best scientific understanding of the world. One should take care never to distort scientific facts to fit one’s beliefs.
After hearing this record, I believe in the science and have concluded that we are doomed.
VEIL II • Negative Space 7″ EP
Dropping a needle on this, I am immediately taken aback by what a powerhouse this band is. I grab the lyric/credit insert and realize this isn’t a band in the traditional sense at all! This is just two best buddies hanging out in their pajamas making some great hardcore music.
The one guy, Matthew, probably called his friend James and said – Hey James I have all these poems that I think would be great songs
The other guy, James, probably, said – Hey Matthew, that’s funny you should call me on the telephone right now because I have all of these songs that need some good poems put on top of them
Almost the same way that a Reese’s peanut butter cup went from an idea in the ether to America’s favorite milk chocolate cup filled with peanut butter snack. The artwork is, as is the usual, stunning and complicated. The full color printing on a transparency of a gruesome eyeball, worms and skull headed spiders gives the sleeve a 3D effect. If you were one of the lucky ones that picked up a test pressing you received a Youth Attack crayon pack and a coloring book of adorable little bears being tormented by horrific demons. These 6 songs are over before they start. I think I’ve flipped this 4 times in a row now and it’s nonstop. Couple quick thoughts about a couple of the standout songs for me. “Veil II” I think is maybe a good Mother’s Day song. I would suggest picking this record up and sitting down with your mom on the second Sunday of May and read along together. Also, in the song “Clarity I” they use the word “bloody” so these two fellas might be English, as in from the UK.
The Consequence cassette
8 blazing late 80s NYHC style tunes that (if they were a little less muddy) would fit perfectly on Where the Wild Things Are or Big City’s One Big Crowd comp. It’s the same program on the flip but that’s great because these first are catchy and leg-bouncing similar to Uppercut, and Raw Deal (Killing Time). My favorite track on here is “You Let Them Win”. The song starts off mid-tempo and then has some group shout out parts and I’m a total sucker for “unity” style vocals. One other thing that sets this apart is the packaging and artwork. The cassette itself is clear with images inside that give the tape a View-Master feel, and the j-card is a booklet with overlapping art. All in all, it’s a very great way to wrap up this glob of McCoy releases. (JD)
Justin Dratson: JD MA: Matt Average NW: Nate Wilson