"Hardcore Architecture" Offers Revealing Peek At Where 1980's American Punk Angst Lived

Posted by Billyjam, May 14, 2015 03:00pm | Post a Comment

Hardcore Architecture'
s collection of photos of homes of the addresses of American hardcore punk bands of three decades ago offers a surprising and revealing peek at the actual locations where American 80's hardcore punk angst lived. And if, while browsing this engaging Tumblr page, that the addresses of these American punk bands would be mostly comfy looking middle-class suburban homes rather than say run down city squats, you would be right on point. For example the photo image above of the stately looking home is in fact the address Iowa punk band Pent Up Agression typed on the J-card cover of their 1985 cassette release Defining the Problem. They mailed the tape in hopes of review to MAMIMUMROCKNROLL (MRR) at the time who not only wrote a review but also published the band's contact address - which, three decades later, would provide the basis for the research of Hardcore Architecture's sleuths. Back in October 1985 in MRR issue #29 Tim Yohannan described Pent Up Agression's tape as packing "fast-as-hell, pissed political lyrics." To the late great punk ambassador Yohannan and his fellow MRR volunteers at the time back in eighties, no doubt, these typed or hand-written addresses on the cassettes that flooded their San Francisco PO Box would have been mostly just names of abstract locations. That was before the Internet. Hence why the current day Hardcore Architecture project involved simply inputting addresses via Google image searches to pinpoint the punk bands' matching addresses. Three decades later these homes, like the one above for  Des Moines' Pent Up Agression or below of fellow Iowa hardcore act Suburban Death Trip, have likely not changed too much.

A simple yet inspired project by Marc Fischer and Public Collectors (who document "the music underground" from "before the Internet") Hardcore Architecture succeeds in its goal of  exploring the relationship between the architecture of living spaces and the history of 80's underground American hardcore bands. This task is accomplished, via the Street View feature of Google Maps, by inputting the addresses found in demo tape and record reviews published from the years 1982 to 1989 in the beloved MRR zine - which by the way is still going strong and available at Amoeba Music where you will find the latest June 2015 MRR issue #359 (cover pictured left). Some of the MRR reviewers at the zine in those 80's American Hardcore years included such knowledgeable and dedicated scribes as the aforementioned (MRR founder) Tim Yohannan, Ruth Schwartz, Steve Spinali, Jello Biafra, Dogtowne, and Walter Glaser

Walter Glaser's MRR issue #52 review of Suburban Death Trip's untitled cassette, that he described as "Angry personal and political words topped with tight instrumentation. Not generic by any means," is referenced on Hardcore Architecture with the recent matching Google street view image (see above) of the address on the Iowa City punk band's 1987 tape. The band would have mailed their tape to the Bay Area's highly revered MRR in hopes of a review and.or airplay on the MRR radio show that began on KPFA in the late 70's and gave birth to the influential MRR zine. Meanwhile Glaser's review of Central California band Sordid Doctrine, whose cassette Then The Rains Came he described as "Metal punk with more originality than your average speedcore act," is linked to the corresponding Google street image below.

When asked this week what his main takeaway was after seeing the recently published corresponding addresses to some of the punk tapes that he had reviewed for MRR back in the 1980's Walter Glaser commented, "It's interesting to see the juxtaposition of the kinda nice(r) suburban homes with the rebellious lyrical content," adding rhetorically, "Is it kinda hypocritical or did that environment spurn the lyrics/attitude?" As for his initial impression of the Hardcore Architecture site, that he has absolutely nothing to do with, Glaser offered that, "I'm kinda funny about privacy so I don't know if I would really do a blog like that."

However the publishers of Hardcore Architecture insist that they are respectful of privacy issues with street names and numbers having being removed "to respect the privacy of people currently living at these addresses." They also invite readers (especially referenced band members) to contact them with any additional info and make note that their Google research is not perfect but approximate. Currently just a Tumblr page Hardcore Architecture will "later be supported by additional writing and exhibitions," promise its publishers who also link to "additional related content."

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Mrr (1), Maximumrocknroll (1), Walter Glaser (1)