Note: Constitution Is Dead.
Qué tranza, morrxs! We're back with the next special post I've been preparing since last week. You may already know that my hardcore and punk tastes involve mostly both 80s and 90s eras and I also wanted to further explore the impressive latino and chicano hardcore punk scene in the U.S. during the 90s. Some of these bands have already been here in different reviewed compilations such as Libérame. Go and check'em out once again for refreshing your memory.
Now, I recently re-watched Más Allá de los Gritos (Beyond the Screams) documentary, released in 1999 by Lengua Armada Records (record label owned by Martin Sorrondeguy, also vocalist of Los Crudos and Limp Wrist), which perfectly describes the origins and rise of the latino and chicano hardcore scene in the U.S. There's also many references to different social and political issues such as neighborhood identity, transborder and immigration struggles (notably with the passing of the infamous Proposition 187), the NAFTA agreement and the rise of the Zapatista Army in Mexico, police brutality, xenophobia, racism and discrimination, among others, that deeply changed the vision of these bands. And, of course, how the D.I.Y ethic of this hardcore scene dealt with these topics. You can view the documentary here.
I'll review the featured bands in the aforementioned documentary. I think the list is more than enough for having an idea how the latino and chicano hardcore bands developped these social and political issues, whilst they tried to preserve their cultural heritage (for example, singing in spanish) and recall the struggle of the immigrants and minorities in the country that many people within the scene completely ignored or didn't want to hear about. Sadly, this generated many discrimination towards these bands for their social and political agenda.
Lastly, these bands inspired the rise of many spanish-speaking hardcore bands the next two decades and both their musical influence and political message alike, are still relevant today. That's why I used the same name for this special post. There will also be some extra special guests (both featured and non-featured in the documentary) that don't necessarily fit in this category but at least had a latin@ or chican@ as a member and/or treated social and political issues concerning the latino and chicano communities in the U.S.A. I hope you'll like it. We'll start with Subsistencia, Ricanstruction, Revolución X, Sbitch and Arma Contra Arma.
Subsistencia - Nuestra Tierra Anahuac
Subsistencia was a L.A.-based experimental hardcore band that only released in 1998, through XRF Xican@ Records and Films, their first and only full-length album named Nuestra Tierra Anahuac. There are also some compilations where this band participated to. Regarding the sound, the band played fast and straightforward hardcore punk with some anarcho punk influences. It also had traditional indigenous instruments and rhythms, as well as some ska and reggae moments. The lyrics are in spanish with both female and male vocals and deal with different topics such as feminism, zapatism, social struggle, political opression, economic injustices, spiritualism and personal revolution, among others. It's one of those bands whose sound is a little bit difficult to identify but it's a real pleasure to listen to. I really love their musical approach which is something different to what we're used to publish here in the blog. It still manages a superb hardcore punk spirit, though. Nothing else matters. In 1999, Lina, their female vocalist, left the band and joined Tragátelo, another impressive latino/chicano female-fronted hardcore punk outfit that will also be featured in this special post. I'm not really sure if Subsistencia is still active today without Lina. Finally, our friend of Fugitive Equilibrium blog ripped this CD. The credits go to its editor (Thanks, pal!). For a strange reason, lyrics sheet wasn't concieved for this record. There's only a manifesto of the band's projection. Nothing else. It's such a shame. However, if you speak spanish, you can understand the lyrics because the vocal style is clear. This record is absolutely a must. Highly recommended. Enjoy!
Sbitch - s/t
Sbitch - s/t
This impressive El Paso-based female-fronted hardcore band existed between 1998 and 2001. During their lifetime, they released 2 splits with P.U.S. from the UK (1998, Revolt Tapes/You're Not Normal Records) and Foilin' The Works (2000, Los Bandidos Records), Satisfy The Instinct LP (2001, Not On Label, self-released) and this s/t (200x, Not On Label, unreleased). Regarding the sound, Sbitch played short, fast and loud hardcore punk, the way we do fuckin' like it. There are also some traces of crust punk, d-beat and thrashcore. Just like their latino and chicano homologues, this band had political lyrics. I cannot further speak about this aspect because I must confess that getting information about this band was nearly impossible. Their records are really scarce and Internet doesn't help either. In fact, this s/t is incomplete because at least 2 or 3 songs are missing. Besides, there's little information about this record. It was given to a Discogs user, whose identity is also a mystery, by one of the band members (probably when the band didn't exist anymore). I don't know exactly how our anonymous collaborator (yes, he does exist) could get these mp3 files. Anyway, you should check this band out. It's powerful and full of passion. FFO female-fronted hardcore punk bands such as Ruidosa Inmundicia, Punch, Infect and Tørsö. Highly recommended. Enjoy!
Arma Contra Arma - Let No One Deceive You
Both José Casas and Martin Sorrondeguy from Los Crudos were in this short-lived side-project. This is the only EP (1997, Lengua Armada Records) that this band ever released during its lifetime but there are also some compilations where they participated to. For this record, Martin took the drums, whilst José took the bass. I don't know the other projects of the other two band members (Victor, voice and Jaime, guitar). Regarding the sound, Arma Contra Arma played fast and agressive hardcore punk like Los Crudos with heavy influence of 80s mexican hardcore punk bands such as Atoxxxico and Solución Mortal. Also, their lyrics dealt with different social and political issues such as nationalism and immigration. I'm quite fascinated with the sound of this band. I didn't know it before watching the documentary that inspired this special post. If you dig other latino and chicano hardcore bands such as Los Crudos, Youth Against and Huasipungo, this is for you. Highly recommended. Enjoy!
Revolución X - S/T and Política Y Esparcimiento...
This is the discography of this awesome L.A.-based mexican hardcore punk band. During their lifetime, they only released two albums: S/T (1994, Inepsie Records, New Wave Records, Toxic Grafity Records and !Angrr! (France)) and Política Y Esparcimiento... (1995, Lengua Armada Records (USA)). Regarding the sound, just like their homologues, Revolucion X played short, fast and uncompromising hardcore punk, heavy influenced by early 80s mexican hardcore punk and some U.S. latino punk such as Los Olvidados. With irreverent and politically-charged lyrics, Revolucion X treated different topics such as zapatism, immigration, political corruption in different countries of Latin America such as Mexico and Brazil, critics to US trade embargo on Cuba, liberation of Puerto Rico and even references to a stuffed Julio Iglesias (yes, it truly hurts when someone criticize one of your spanish meme idols but life's pain, you y'all know, right?). Both discs were ripped by Carry On Screaming blog, so all credits go to its editor (Thanks, pal!). Click on the image and you'll get the material with artwork, lyrics sheet, inserts and layouts. All-in-one. Highly recommended. Enjoy!
Ricanstruction - Liberation Day
We successfully conclude this first part of the special post with this interesting puerto rican experimental hardcore band. This record was released by CBGB Records Ltd. in 1998. They also released Abu Jamal (2002, AWOL Records) and Love + Revolution (2004, Uprising Records). Why do we publish puerto rican bands in this post? As you may know, Puerto Rico has been occupied by the U.S. since more than 100 years ago. Yes, puerto ricans are also american citizens but they pay taxes to the union and don't have a vote in the U.S. congress. So, it's more apparent than real their "free association" to the U.S. and puerto ricans have tried to be truly independent. Now, Ricanstruction musical style is very different to their homologues' posted so far: they had a special mix of hardcore punk, heavy metal, hip-hop, salsa and reggae. Can you guess what kind of subgenre could spawn of this sound mix? Yes, you guessed it. Rapcore. They sound just like Rage Against The Machine and Gojira but more underground. Also, their lyrics were sung in english with heavy political stances such as situation of political prisoners, immigration, system failures, corruption, self-management, direct action, zapatism as well as other latin american liberation movements and, of course, the wished liberation of their beloved caribbean island. I'll only post their first album because it's the only one that I've got and their later releases are less hardcore punk-oriented. I really liked the concept. Rapcore can be underground too. Believe it or not. Highly recommended. Finally, I hope you really enjoyed this first part of the special post. We'll come back tommorow with more big surprises. Kisses and hugs!