Monday, January 19, 2009

January 19: Bad Brains, "Black Dots"

Artist: Bad Brains
Album: Black Dots
Year: 1996
Label: Caroline

First off, some label love. Caroline Records kicks so much ass! As if they weren’t awesome enough for unleashing Primus’ Frizzle Fry onto the world, they’ve got this to their credit as well. You’d be hard pressed to find “bad” releases from Caroline in the 90’s.

That being said, popular rumor says that we can all thank Ian MacKaye for the release of Black Dots. The rumor is, whilst digging through piles of recorded musical history, he stumbled across this tape, labeled as “Brains Demos.” After contacting HR, he was given the “blessing” to release them, and we are all thankful for that.

In reality, Black Dots is an archival release of studio outtakes from 1979. Recorded with legendary producer Don Zientara, this album blows away the Bad Brains' face-smashing, self titled release. Black Dots presents a more raw and aggressive take on nearly all of the Bad Brains tracks including "Don’t Need It," "Supertouch/Shitfit," and the unmistakable "Pay To Cum."

The urgency of the recording is somewhat startling and this record truely captures the essence to the early hardcore music scene. HR's vocals are more up front and smarmy than on the "real" releases of most of these songs, and the band is more loose and aggressive. The only time the band shifts out of eleventh gear is for the reggae jam, "The Man Won't Annoy You."

Black Dots is a crushing musical assault by a group of the finest hardcore rockers you'll ever hear. Easily on par with the infamous ROIR sessions, this record captures the Bad Brains at the height of their musical mastery. Anyone looking for raw, live perfection MUST check out Black Dots.

Standout tracks: "Attitude," "Banned In D.C.," "Send You No Flowers."

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