The Vinyl Factory and The Mott Collection have now produced a new exhibition and publication: American Hardcore, 1978-1990 taking place at the The Vinyl Factory, Chelsea, London from 11th April to 4th May, 2013.
Bringing together 50 American hardcore records spanning the apex of the genre, Toby Mott’s invaluable collection together with Bryan Ray Turcotte’s curation – tells the story of hardcore punk through its iconic, anarchist artwork.
The collection showcases the subtle shifts and changes, and finally the overall unification of what began as a disparate musical style that developed into a rigid set of fixed codes, sounds, and political beliefs. Taken together, the exhibition illustrates the movement’s genesis and shifts over a decade, but also show a crude DIY graphic style that chimed perfectly with the music.
In the spirit of the music, hardcore punk burned most brightly for a very short space of time.
Over the course of little more than 12 years, groups like Black Flag, Bad Brains and the Dead Kennedys created an angry and disaffected subgenre of punk which flared spectacularly in local suburban communities across America and made waves across both the country and the world.
In this period the genre crystalized into something (anti-)sacred, preserving an ethic of rebellion and DIY culture that pushed beyond punk’s anti-establishment posturing.
Most importantly for its bands and their cult followings, hardcore was something uniquely American.
To talk of a disaffected youth disaffected with punk puts hardcore into some sort of perspective. The Sex Pistols may have paved the way, but for the kids in the underground scenes on the West Coast, punk style was still too ‘English’.
Likewise, in the US the big-city outfits like New York Dolls and the Ramones were seen as decadent, enjoying major label contracts in the classic rock ‘n’ roll tradition.
Hardcore threw all that out the window. The bands, like their fans, wore t-shirts, jeans and boots and worked in gas stations; their labels were independent and the covers hand-printed.
The group to strike the first blow was Black Flag who emerged from Hermosa Beach, California in 1978 alongside the Germs and the Circle Jerks, themselves featuring original Black Flag singer Keith Morris.
In that vein, the scene remained fiercely local, spawning a proliferation of DIY labels whose abrasive attitudes were reflected in the immediate and iconic nature of the 7” artwork.
Popping up in small West Coast communities like Hermosa Beach, Oxnard and San Pedro and simultaneously in East Coast cities such as Washington DC and Boston the Hardcore movement was obsessively local, yet at the same time extremely far reaching due to the punishing tour schedules bands would put themselves through.
As a result, the scene evolved as both disparate and tribal, and by the mid 80′s many of its original exponents had splintered off to form new projects, while bands like Bad Brains and Bad Religion began experimenting with broader influences.
A celebration of the searing US suburban punk scene represented by bands such as Black Flag, Bad Brains and Dead Kennedy’s and the accompanying aesthetic writ large by artists including Raymond Pettibon.
The exhibition also features a limited edition silk screen print featuring the ‘AMERICAN HARDCORE’ catalogue cover artwork.
Available to pre-order now 50 UKP , exclusively from The Vinyl Factory
The collection of 50 seven-inch singles will be for sale as a framed artwork from the gallery.
In addition, The Vinyl Factory has created this commemorative publication – images below of the book being produced
* Custom sized, 200 x 250mm publication with outer dust jacket, oversized fold-out A1 print and exclusive 7″ vinyl pressing of Black Flag interview from 1981
* Limited to 300 copies worldwide, each hand signed and numbered
* 112-pp section sewn with soft cover, printed on 150gsm Munken Lynx paper; outer dust jacket printed on Munken Black
* Contains oversized A1 fold out print showing the collection of 50 7” American Hardcore singles
* Features extended Q&A with author and UK punk collector Toby Mott and US punk collector and curator Bryan Ray Turcotte
* Published by The Vinyl Factory
* Printed by Ditto Pressd using a Risograph machine – a special print process akin to screen printing, chosen to reflect the DIY aesthetic of the artwork.
The Exhibition will run from the 11th April to the 4th May, 2013
The Vinyl Factory Chelsea
91 Walton Street
London SW3 2HP
Put this in your diary today – and we will bring you a gallery feature on the Exhibition when it opens.