The Short List: 8.4.23

The Short List is a weekly dive into EPs, Splits, Reissues, Comps, Live Records, etc

EPs:

Rejekts Manmade Hell No Norms Records
September 1 2023

Boston’s Rejekts released one blazing tape, Dead to Rights, back in April. They are back with another scorcher. After a killer set opening for New Lows recently, they are lined up to open for American War Machine, Nothing But Enemies, and Sheer Terror on September 22 2023. In September, Rejekts unleash six new tracks of boisterous Boston punk. Heavy, energetic, enraged songs deliver the ferocity and honed enmity the world deserves currently. Rejekts, as is inferred from their name, plant themselves outside society with pride and confidence. Tracks like “Paranoid” and “Violence” illustrate the impact of this horrid social landscape on the feelings of open, smart people. Reading the album title, I think of Boston’s Ramallah line, “And Jesus himself would condemn us all to this self-made Hell.”

That spirit rings through other tracks titled, “Pressure,” “Boiled Alive,” and the title track itself. Liberated bass lines drive hard, maintaining a hardcore punk foundation balanced with some loose but heavy Oi!, a la The Wretched Ones. I would also acknowledge the snarling rock ‘n’ roll swag of San Diego’s Rat City Riot and Philly legends, The Boils. The band also cites UK82 and you can pick up some Chaos UK,  Blitzkrieg, Abrasive Wheels, etc. The quartet is riding momentum from other recent shows. Manmade Hell relays this well. The production is executed well. Drums are tight and ever present. The guitars are raw and loose. The vocals are fierce and mixed well. Nothing polished here and it elevates the band’s determination.

Order seven-inch at No Norms Store.

Follow Rejekts on instagram.

Each record is individually stamped by hand, including a double-sided lyric sheet, and a Rejekts sticker while supplies last.

VINYL INFO:
Black, 200
White, 100

REISSUE:
Stretch Arm Strong A Revolution Transmission Iodine Recordings
October 13 2023

Stretch Arm Strong was immediately embraced in 1997. There first record, Compassion Fills the Void, has metallic chords paired with abrasive screams, plus, a dash of punk and a little harmony. You could say (for the late 90s Victory comparison) like Mark Shutdown sang for mid-career (read, fuller sound) Snapcase. Even reading the title, Compassion Fills the Void, off the rip, declares this is not like other late ’90s metallic hardcore, not the beatdown metallic hardcore, the tough guy NYHC, or evil H8000. Songs like “Refuge,” “Second Chance,” and “Reason to Care” truly stood out to me. Nineteen-ninty-nine brought the outstanding Rituals of Life. Now on Solid State/Tooth & Nail, this garnered SAS growing attention. Their sound was drawing in a little more punk catchiness and some more clean singing. Still the record rattled souls with their metallic crunch and abrasive attack which hit like label mates Strongarm, Living Sacrifice, Overcome, and others like Coalition (who would drop their first LP, The Ignition, in 2001, which coincides with the record which we are about to discuss.) and the less mentioned genre-mixing, Overthrow (LIHC; check React).

Then, in 2001, in a career that parallels the aforementioned Snapcase (through my lens of the first two being dope but each one’s third was the pinnacle—and monumental hardcore records adding better production and songwriting, followed by an ok record and then one I sold back). Once the softer approach crept in, it took over, and I stopped listening. I still bought Engage (2003, Solid State) and Free at Last (2005, We Put Out), but they did not punch as the first three. But, we are here to celebrate Iodine’s reissue of this peak record of SAS. It took all the strengths of each record and portrayed the best of all the band’s attributes, combined with energy culled from punishing touring regimens filtered through bold production. A Revolution Transmission was a brash statement of an album title. SAS were reaching out to punk and hardcore kids and ready to lead. This record served as a beacon for the restless and forgotten.

Never to embrace the rock star goals of other peers, SAS epitomized their musical approach with one of the most anthemic, sing along hardcore songs in existence, “For the Record.” Check Spotify plays, and it has 321,000-plus while the rest of the album touts 30-78k. My only point, because I hate thinking of hardcore bands as having “singles,” is to spotlight the song’s impact. I have no idea if it was on a comp or video game or whatever, but my hope is it gets the play due to its powerful message.

“For the Record” is not SAS singing from the perspective of a band, but as hardcore fans appreciating the impact of the previous bands who toured through their isolated scene of South Carolina. Early lyrics reference the Confederate flag which “still shows the enslavement of our minds.” But it is the final couplets which embellish in the exclusive feeling of a live hard or or punk show:

I heard the word sincerity and I know now what that means.
I learned it first with Black Flag, mohawks, combat boots and torn-up jeans.
We were more than just a tour date. You were more than just a song.
We sweat and sang together and that helped us to carry on.
We were more. You were more. For the record.

SAS could have easily written a song thanking their fans. But the reversal of the perspective is what epitomizes punk and hardcore. There is no separation of the fans and the bands because we are equal as far as we participate and contribute. And the person to whom you are speaking in the crowd, could just as easily be jumping on stage in a minute to play in the next band.

But an album is not one song. We celebrate with Iodine Recordings the entirety of A Revolution Transmission. The catchiness was not too soft. It still wielded an edge, as an Ignite or H20 did at that time (and forward on…).
The opener, “A Means to an End,” after a thematic radio dial scrolling, charges in with double time snares, fast riffs, and strained vocals. In “Worst Case Scenario,” the second track, despite the intro of clean bellows and upswing of music, it does not come off as “emo” or anything. And it blends well with the harsh throat exorcism coupled with a dark, thrashy breakdown. The entire album utilizes all the glorious weapons of energetic, invigorating hardcore; two-steps, fast parts, breakdowns, harsh screaming, sing-along parts, finger pointing lines, gang vocals, etc)

“Take Back Control” opens with a slow, lighter bounce intro. But once it moves, it fucking moves. Vicous riffs pound relentlessly. “When Words Escape” is a punkier track, but doesn’t hold back. Other high points (a.k.a., my favorite songs) are “Parasite Complex,”, “Still Believe, Part 2” “Kill the Light,” and “Positive Aspects of Negativity.” SAS blended harsh delivery with compassion and strategic melody to deliver an iconic, an emblematic (of the era), an apex record with A Revolution Transmission.

Preorder at Deathwish Inc.

Follow Iodine Recordings
Follow Stretch Arm Strong

This limited pressing has been completely redesigned and packaged using elements of the original art and completely remastered for vinyl by Jack Shirley (Joyce Manor, Deafheaven, Jeff Rosenstock) at The Atomic Garden in San Francisco, CA. Offered in several exclusive color vinyl variants.

Bonus Flexi Seven-Inch
We are also offering a limited edition Flexi seven-inch with the song “Rock and Roll All Nite” (KISS Cover) that will be included with all of the deluxe editions of the LP, and as an add on item with all other editions. These will be limited to only 1,000 copies on orange vinyl.

VINYL INFO:

LP + 7″ Flexi: White / Orange / Green Twist
LP + 7″ Flexi: Green / White Pinwheel
LP: Mint Green
LP: Yellow (RevHQ Exclusive)

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