Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Poison Idea - Darby Crash Rides Again: The Early Years review

Poison Idea were formed in 1980 in Portland, Oregon, essentially by vocalist Jerry A. Lang. Their music at the time was very much informed by hardcore bands such as The Germs and Black Flag, whilst their motivation and drive was very much influenced by the work of bands such as Discharge. Their anger and energy pushed the speed limits of contemporary punk to a level which, for the time, was refreshingly original.  2012 sees Southern Lord release a number of Poison Idea titles, including “Darby Crash Rides Again: The Early Years”. Most of the material that covers the 29 short tracks, is either previously unissued or long being out of print. Essentially the album comprises Boner’s Kitchen Demo from 1981, Darby Crash Rides Again demo from 1982, a 1983 KBOO radio show and outtakes from the sessions that made up “Record Collectors Are Pretentious Assholes”. The songs that come together to make up the Boners Kitchen Demo provide a fascinating document as to where the band were, and how the music was allowed to develop and mutate. The recording is one continuous piece that includes band conversation and mistakes. The tunes are satisfyingly brutal and immediate, and although not note perfect, give the listener access to an archive of material that is vital to any history of American hardcore in the early 1980’s.

The KBOO radio benefit show is remarkable, not only for the quality of the live recording, but again, for the opportunity to experience some of the between song dialogue which at times is rather tongue in cheek, “…if you don’t call in, we’re going to keep playing this fucking noise, until we drive you crazy”. Indeed. A number of tunes appear more than once over the duration of the set, including their insane cover of Hawkwind’s “Motorhead”, which gives Lemmy’s tune their characteristic hardcore pummelling.

Sadly, Poison Idea guitarist “Pig Champion” died in 2006 and drummer Steve Hanford was arrested in 2008 for a number of alleged pharmacy robberies. That Southern Lord are releasing these artefacts now is testament to their support of the hardcore scene and the need to make these recordings available as an oral history of the development of the scene over the past 30 years.

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