Comrades… For Your Ears.
Comrades – New York City, New York, USA.
NYC Punk stuffed-crust.
Comrades, formed in New York City in 2009, play a fast and upbeat Punk-Rock with elements of Hardcore, Crust-Punk, and Folk, with honest and outspoken lyrics, and a welcome, fresh energy to top it all off. Yes, I know what you are thinking, ‘he dropped the fresh-bomb’. Yes, yes I did. Fight me.
Comrades have accumulated a number of releases since formation, each exploring a different area of their sound. Immediate ‘for fans of’ comparisons, what comes to mind would be Leftover Crack, Star Fucking Hipsters and the early material of The Distillers.
Three standalone releases, an album, and two EPs, show the band to be well entrenched in the scene and within themselves (important), and if the photos of other bands and fans proudly wearing their shirts (see Facebook) are anything, then they definitely aren’t doing badly.
What It Is! EP 2011 – The bands first EP, gives 6 tracks of fast and upbeat Punk-Rock with plenty of grit and ballsy rhythms thrown in. The opening track, ‘Fallen Comrades’, has that Star Fucking Hipsters feel to it. Number one is fast and melodic with well structured vocals that shift between harder-edged snarls and urgent melodic singing, with some gang shouts for good measure. It does its job and gets your attention.
‘I guess there’s no truth but what you know!’ – ‘Friend Or Foe’
I shan’t say too much, but I will post some tracks so you can get a real feel for the release. ‘Underpass’ is another good one. More upbeat and carrying a classic Punk vibe, it is by far one of the best on the release and a welcome contrast to the heavier numbers. Plus, ‘Underpass’, or that particular Underpass anyway, sounds like a place to be. The song is an anthem to friendship and to comrades, so raise those drinks. My personal favourite from What It Is! however, is ‘Road Trip To The End Of The World’. ‘Why?’ you ask. Just have a listen:
Hold It Down!! EP 2012 – Next on the menu, the band’s second release. They really have a knack for grabbing attention with the first track, and if you thought ‘Fallen Comrades’ managed it, think again. The EP as a whole is a compiled mixture of finished tracks as well as demos, experimentation and and gritty live recordings. As it turns out, the EP is the story of its own recording and the few of the band that survived it.
Onslaughts of Crust-Punk and some weird sounds? Sounds about right. The second release is not for the faint hearted or those without an open mind. For example, the final track on the release is just a series or clapping and leg tapping with surprising rhythm, I actually really enjoyed it. While track six goes down the acoustic route, sounding like voice compilation of Fat Mike, Strza Crack and Jonny Hobo and the Freight-Train, it’s a nice touch.
We Got This 2013 – The debut full-length. I enjoy a good run up of EPs before the big release, and the first album by a band is always a huge achievement. So here it is, eighteen tracks, including ten studio tracks, a Folk version of ‘Tomkin’s Lullaby’ (track six) and some demos recorded in New York City’s famous ‘C-SQUAT’. Look it up, it’s a real example of community.
The band’s Anarchist politics shine through strongly with this album, as they have on the previous releases. However, having a full length worth of material is welcome and a step up. As with the above, I’ll post some of the songs mentioned so you can get a real feel before you stream or download the tracks from bandcamp later on.
As with release number one and two, the first track throws you right in. My personal favourite of all the initial onslaughts, ‘Benjamin Swenson’, is fucking solid Punk track. Fast and melodic yet hard edged with duel and interplay vocals. Plus, it contains my favourite one-liner from the band’s material – ‘…it’s hard to give a fuckkk, when you don’t give a shittt…..’. . The Crust-Punk sound-vibe plays us into the next two tracks, ‘In Circles’ and ‘Cats Not Cops’.
‘In Circles’ is down tempo for the most part, angst fuelled and punishing (not in an unlistenable way, don’t fret). ‘Cats Not Cops’ is back on the speed (subway) train that’s about to hit you if you don’t fucking move. Many of the US Punk scenes did and do have issues with police. Now, as much as its something you don’t see here in the UK quite as much, it’s still a real problem regardless of location. There’s no wonder that so many Anarchist collectives exist in the states.
Personally, I’m not an Anarchist, but sit more at a ‘Independent’ stand-point. However, as I am influenced by more than one ideology and stand point, suppression of freedom is not on. To quote Leftover Crack, ‘Because without respect, there’s gonna be nothing left’. Not from a song on this subject but, still, its true. George Orwell saw our contemporary society coming a mile off!
Politics aside, much of the album has a slower side to balance things out. ‘The Partys Over’ and ‘Once Upon A Crime’ are good examples, with the latter being an absolutely cracking song. However, the demos and Acoustic/Folk versions of album tracks and those from past releases really did it for me. Particularly, ‘Diary Of Decay’ and an acoustic version of ‘In This City’ from What It Is!.
Comrades. You can find them on Facebook for updates and general band related material. While bandcamp has all the music you need. Oh and before we go, all the music is F R E E to download from bandcamp. Enjoy!