Saturday, May 21, 2011

Blast from the Past: Sink with Kalifornija

Title:  Sink with Kalifornija (Amazon, Interpunk, CD Universe, Last.fm, Wikipedia)
Artist:  Youth Brigade (BYO Records, MySpace, Last.fm, AllMusic, Wikipedia)

The Sink with Kalifornija CD is a compilation that includes the Sound & Fury album (the 1983 re-release version), the What Price EP, and live tracks from a show in 1985.  While being one of the lesser known bands to come out of the late ‘70s / early ‘80s California punk scene, Youth Brigade is one of the most important.  They aren’t important because of the quality of their music (which isn’t bad by any stretch of the means but it isn’t breathtaking either) but because of the record label that they started – BYO Records. 

I was never able to get my hands on any Youth Brigade releases until I discovered Music Dimensions sometime in 1995/96 because you just couldn’t find it anywhere.  I picked up the tape of Sound & Fury soon after finding Music D’s and instantly became a fan of the band.  The song that stood out to me, and still does, is the anthem “Sink with California” which calls on people to ditch nationalities in favor of embracing our common humanity.  Other stand out moments included “Fight to Unite,” “Modest Proposal,” “What Will the Revolution Change,” and “Men in Blue, Pt. 1” (which includes an awesome rap).  One thing that Youth Brigade was never afraid to do was write songs that broke the four minute mark.  In fact this band never really seemed to adhere to the loud fast rules of the early hardcore punk scene.  That is the strength of Sound & Fury and the Sink with Kalifornija CD. 

Sadly Youth Brigade will probably never gain the notoriety of their CA counterparts (Social Distortion, Agent Orange, Descendents) or some of the bands that they signed to BYO Records (7 Seconds, The Bouncing Souls) but they still played an extremely important part in the formation of the American underground and to this day continue to run one of the great independent record labels in this country.   

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