October 31, 2011
By The Swizard (CA)
In a time when extreme music is becoming more acceptable in the mainstream, Trash Talk are a defiant reminder of punk, hardcore, and metal’s violent, unpredictable roots. In their six years of existence, they left behind the over-saturated, insular world of American hardcore, self-released an LP (with Steve Albini behind the boards, no less), and garnered the admiration of a lot of mainstream and larger indie media outlets without compromising their sound or especially their live show. Anyone who’s seen the band live will undoubtedly have stories about frontman Lee Spielman beating himself bloody with a microphone, crowds exploding into some of the most violence heavy reactions since early 80s hardcore, and incidents where Trash Talk and their crowd ended up going to battle with venue security or even local authorities. There probably isn’t another band active in music today who are truly living punk rock’s “we don’t give a fuck” attitude in the way that Trash Talk are.
Last week, the band released an EP entitled Awake, which is the band’s greatest recorded work thus far. Their debut, Plagues…Walking Disease, was ferocious, but a little too length. Their self-titled LP (recorded with Steve Albini) was dark, ugly, and showed the world they weren’t Bane or Terror, but lacked hooks and was a little rough to listen to at times. Eyes & Nines started strong, but fizzled towards the end. Awake is perfect. In eight minutes and thirty-nine seconds, Trash Talk show their ability to write memorable hooks then put those hooks through a anguished, frenzied world view and end up with some of the greatest American hardcore songs since Minor Threat or the Circle Jerks. “Burn Alive”, aside from being one of the greatest music videos produced in recent memory, could be the greatest punk rock song written in well over a decade.
Hardcore has been alive and well since the late 70s. The genre has changed with and often reflected the time it was in, and many have used a band or hardcore kid’s “scene lifespan” to either bolster their own time served or more often, downplay the involvement of the younger generation. Awake has that same frantic, desperate feeling found on Black Flag, Minor Threat, or the Dead Kennedys‘ early records. Trash Talk has managed to put a truly ugly, nihilistic record in the same way that hardcore’s first wave of bands did: by tapping into the struggle and despair of the time they live in. This is more than a best record of 2011, this is a best record of the decade and potentially the century.
Trash Talk will play Fun Fun Fun Fest’s Black Stage on Saturday, November 5 at 3:15 PM. They will also perform the night before at Empire Automotive Service (604 E. 7th St.) with Kool Keith, Death Grips, and Blackie as part of FFF Nites.