Saturday, May 22, 2010

Sons of Ishmael "Hayseed Hardcore" LP

When I first started getting into North American hardcore, my next revelation was that there was a local scene. And to my amazement the local scene was as good as those records that I was mail ordering for. This SONS OF ISHMAEL 7” was one of the first records that I heard. I was floored. There was 13 songs on the 7” and they were all pretty ripping. The songs ran one into the other without a second for a break. That reminded me of the first MINOR THREAT 12”. And the duelling screaming guitars in “Another Groovy Tune” reminded me of SUICIDAL TENDENCIES. And then I came to find out that these guys were from here. Well not quite here but a small town called Meaford. To this day I have no idea where Meaford is. I have heard lots of stories about this shithole that had an air force museum, but I don’t have an idea of where it is in Northern Ontario. You get the idea that it is a small place not very well known. But the opening in “Small Town Mentality” has been a rallying cry for punks who had to endure hicks. And even if you didn’t live it you get it. “Cousin Clem, what’s that horrible noise.” “Goddamn them punk rockers.” “Welcome to Meaford, hyuck hyuck”. It was punk rock retaliation. We all got it. Anyway I was never lucky enough to get a copy of the first pressing. I originally had this taped for me by loads of people. The band eventually did a second pressing and I snagged a copy of that. It is much rawer sounding then Schizophrenic’s re-issue. The 12” sounds like it has been filtered through a pillow. It is heavier in the low end, which muddles some of the subtleties in the vocals and guitars department. It’s disappointing from that standpoint. I also hate how there are no track breaks between songs. The original 7’ has track breaks. It was easier to skip through songs if you wanted to. I never really did that because listening to “Hayseed Hardcore” is a full on assault from one song to the next. That is part of the beauty of this record. Anyway, it’s a minor complaint. And is made up for it by the bonus material included on this re-issue. There are three unreleased SONS OF ISHMAEL songs and an earlier cover of Neil Young’s “Ohio”, most of which ended up on compilations. “Ohio” sounds off pitch at the end. Like someone slowed down the reel to reel tape by accident or someone warped the record. Anyway these songs represent the only other recording by the “Hayseed Hardcore” line up. The band would get new members with Tim Freeborn (real name not punk pseudonym) being the only original member and this band would release an LP, an EP and a 10”. There was good songs on each of those records, but none of them would be chocked full of end to end hardcore gems. “Hayseed Hardcore” would go on to be recognized by LARM, HERESY, Pushead and so many others. It’s fitting to see it as part of the Toronto hardcore series. (Schizophrenic Records – 17 West 4th Street/ Hamilton, ON / L9C 3M2 / Canada / The songs found on here are:
1. Small Town Mentality
2. Break Free!
3. "Democracy"
4. Mr. Personality
5. Governors of Death
6. Todays Victim /Tomorrows Aggressor
7. Be a Man
8. Vice on my Brain
9. Parasites
10. Explanation
11. Social Drinker
12. Condemned to Live
13. Another Groovy Tune
14. Follow the Leader
15. Service to Your Country / End to Your Life
16. Divine Deception
17. Ohio

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