For a band that were part of the infamous New York Hardcore Scene in its eighties pomp and also it’s nineties resurgence, SFA remain sadly anonymous when great bands of that period are mentioned. They were one of the first bands to coin the term “hatecore” which was a tool to distinguish themselves from the posi-core scene, that the NYHC scene became in the late eighties. Was this the reason they largely go ignored? Looking to set the record straight is The 87-88 Tapes out now on State Of Mind Recordings and Refused Records.
You can smell the sweat on the graffiti covered walls on these recordings, which have been nicely polished up for our 2021 ears. It’s essentially a tarted-up version of their 1987 demo and 1988’s demo Tanks A Lot with a couple of live tracks from CBGB’s thrown in, but don’t for one minute think you’ve heard this already. It’s a lovingly compiled package featuring old interviews as well as new interviews with the guys and the cleaned-up audio has given the songs an entire new lease of life, whilst still leaving us yearning for those glory days once more.
Tracks like Dead Edge and Spite showcase the band at their stomping best while faster tracks like Gliss and Regret are an example of the influence they had on bands like Drop Dead and the like. SFA’s Negative Approach meets Agnostic Front umm approach, is classic hardcore in every sense of the word and there’s tracks on here that deserve to be mentioned in the same breath as Your Mistake, As One and Break Down The Walls and perhaps now they will be. The package wraps up with a trip back to prime CBGB’s with 6 tracks of such venomous hate, that if you could smell the toilets, you’d swear you were right there at the pit at the mecca of punk rock. To ignore SFA any longer is a crime against hardcore and a glaring omission from your NYHC collection. Rectify that oversight now. It’s about damn time… Chris Andrews
Go buy the record here